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The same
day Liverpool sent a second letter,[511] in which he said distinctly
that, in viewing the European settlement, it was material to consider
that the war with America would probably be of some duration; that
enemies should not be made in other quarters by holding out too long
on the questions of Poland, Naples, and Saxony, for he was
apprehensive that "some of our European allies will not be indisposed
to favor the Americans; and, if the Emperor of Russia should be
desirous of taking up their cause, we are well aware from some of Lord
Walpole's late communications that there is a most powerful party in
Russia to support him. Looking to a continuance of the American war,
our financial state is far from satisfactory. We shall want a loan for
the ensuing year of 27,000,000 or 28,000,000. The American war will
not cost us less than 10,000,000, in addition to our peace
establishment and other expenses. We must expect, therefore, to have
it said that the property tax is continued for the purpose of securing
a better frontier for Canada." Castlereagh himself had already spoken
of the financial conditions as "perfectly without precedent in our
financial history."[512]

The renewal of the European war, avowedly dreaded by Liverpool,[513]
was thought not impossible by Castlereagh and Wellington; while
conditions in France already threatened an explosion, such as
Bonaparte occasioned in the succeeding March. "It is impossible,"
wrote Wellington, "to conceive the distress in which individuals of
all descriptions are. The only remedy is the revival of Bonaparte's
system of war and plunder; and it is evident that cannot be adopted
during the reign of the Bourbons."[514] Neither he nor Castlereagh
doubted the imminence of the danger. "It sounds incredible," wrote the
latter, "that Talleyrand should treat the notion of any agitation at
Paris as wholly unfounded."[515] A plot was believed to exist, which
embraced as one of its features the seizing of the Duke, and holding
him as a hostage. He himself thought it possible, and saw no means in
the French Government's hands adequate to resist. "You already know my
opinion of the danger at Paris.... The event may occur any night, and
if it should occur, I don't think I should be allowed to depart. My
safety depends upon the King's;"[516] but he was characteristically
averse to any step which bore the appearance of precipitate
withdrawal.

While the American negotiators were drawing up the _projet_ which they
had decided to present in response to the British demand, the
combination of circumstances just stated led the British ministry to
resolve on removing Wellington from Paris on some pretext, lest his
services should be lost to them in the emergency now momentarily
dreaded. The urgency for peace with America co-operated to determine
the ostensible reason, which was almost a true one. The American
command was offered to him. "The Duke of Wellington would restore
confidence to the army, place the military operations on a proper
footing, and give us the best chance of peace. I know he is very
anxious for the restoration of peace with America, if it can be made
upon terms at all honorable. It is a material consideration, likewise,
that if we shall be disposed for the sake of peace to give up
something of our just pretensions, we can do this more creditably
through him than through any other person."[517] Liverpool voiced the
conclusions of the Cabinet, and it would be difficult for words to
manifest more forcibly anxiety to escape from a situation. Wellington
himself drew attention to this. "Does it not occur to your lordship
that, by appointing me to go to America at this moment, you give
ground for belief, all over Europe, that your affairs there are in a
much worse situation than they really are? and will not my nomination
at this moment be a triumph to the Americans, and their friends here
and elsewhere?"[518] Conditions were alarming, but the action
resembled panic.

The offer, which was really a request, brought Wellington by a side
wind into the American negotiations, and enabled him to give the
Government the weight of his name and authority in concluding a peace
otherwise than on their "just pretensions." The war, he said, has been
honorable to Great Britain; meaning doubtless that, considering the
huge physical mass and the proximity of the United States, it was well
done to have escaped injury, as it was militarily disgraceful to the
American Government, with such superiority, to have been so impotent.
But, he continued, neither I nor any one else can achieve success, in
the way of conquests, unless you have naval superiority on the lakes.
That was what was needed; "not a general, nor general officers and
troops. Till that superiority is acquired, it is impossible, according
to my notion, to maintain an army in such a situation as to keep the
enemy out of the whole frontier, much less to make any conquest from
the enemy, which, with those superior means, might, with reasonable
hopes of success, be undertaken.... The question is, whether we can
obtain this naval superiority on the lakes. If we cannot, I shall do
you but little good in America; and I shall go there only to prove the
truth of Prevost's defence, and to sign a peace which might as well be
signed now." This endorsed not only Prevost's retreat, but also the
importance of Macdonough's victory. The Duke then added frankly that,
in the state of the war, they had no right to demand any concession of
territory. He brushed contemptuously aside the claim of occupying the
country east of the Penobscot, on the ground of Sherbrooke's few
companies at Castine, ready to retreat at a moment's notice. "If this
reasoning be true, why stipulate for the _uti possidetis_?"[519]

Penned November 9, the day before the American negotiators at Ghent
handed in their requested _projet_, this letter may be regarded as
decisive. November 13, Liverpool replied that the ministry was waiting
anxiously for the American _projet_, ... and, "without entering into
particulars, I can assure you that we shall be disposed to meet your
views upon the points on which the negotiation appears to turn at
present;" the points being the _uti possidetis_, with the several
details of possession put forward by Bathurst. The American paper was in
London before the 18th, when Liverpool wrote to Castlereagh, "I think we
have determined, if all other points can be satisfactorily settled, not
to continue the war for the purpose of obtaining, or securing, any
acquisition of territory. We have been led to this determination by the
consideration of the unsatisfactory state of the negotiations at Vienna,
and by that of the alarming situation of the interior of France." "Under
such circumstances, it has appeared to us desirable to bring the
American war, if possible, to a conclusion."[520] The basis of the
_status quo ante bellum_, sustained all along by the American
commission, was thus definitely accepted, and so stated formally by
Bathurst.[521]

This fundamental agreement having been reached, the negotiations ran
rapidly to a settlement without further serious hitch; a conclusion to
which contributed powerfully the increasing anxiety of the British
ministry over the menacing aspect of the Continent. The American
_projet_,[522] besides the customary formal stipulations as to
procedure for bringing hostilities to a close, consisted of articles
embodying the American positions on the subjects of impressment and
blockade, with claims for indemnity for losses sustained by irregular
captures and seizures during the late hostilities between France and
Great Britain; a provision aimed at the Orders in Council. These
demands, which covered the motives of the war, and may be regarded as
the offensive side of the American negotiation, were pronounced
inadmissible at once by the British, and were immediately abandoned.
Their presentation had been merely formal; the United States
Government, within its own council chamber, had already recognized
that they could not be enforced. The _projet_ included the agreement
previously framed concerning the Indians; who were thus provided for
in the treaty, though excluded from any recognition as parties to it,
or as independent political communities. This was the only demand
which Great Britain can be said fairly to have carried, and it was so
far a reduction from her original requirement as to be unrecognizable.
An American proposition, pledging each of the contracting parties not
again to employ Indians in war, was rejected.

The remaining articles of the _projet_, although entirely suitable to
a treaty of peace, were not essentially connected with the war. The
treaty merely gave a suitable occasion for presenting them. They
provided for fixing, by mixed commissions, the boundary lines between
the British possessions and the United States. These the Treaty of
1783 had stated in terms which had as yet received no proper
topographical determination. From the mouth of the St. Croix River,
and the islands within it and in the adjacent sea, around, north and
west, as far as the head of Lake Superior, the precise course of the
bounding line needed definition by surveyors. These propositions were
agreed to; but when it came to similar provision for settling the
boundary of the new territories acquired by the Louisiana purchase, as
far as the Rocky Mountains, difficulties arose. In the result it was
agreed that the determination of the boundary should be carried as far
as the most northwestern point of the Lake of the Woods, "in
conformity with the true intent of the said Treaty of Peace of one
thousand seven hundred and eighty-three." The treaty was silent on the
subject of boundary westward of the Lake of the Woods, and this
article of the _projet_ was dropped. It differed indeed from its
associates, in providing the settlement for a new question, and not
the definition of an old settlement. In conclusion, the British
commissioners obtained the adoption of an agreement that both parties
"would use their best endeavors to promote the entire abolition of the
slave trade." In Great Britain the agitation for this measure had
reached proportions which were not the least among the embarrassments
of the ministry; and at this critical juncture the practical
politicians conducting affairs found themselves constrained by a
popular demand to press the subject upon the less sympathetic
statesmen of the Cabinet.

The American commissioners had made a good fight, and shown complete
appreciation of the factors working continuously in their behalf.



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