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3d Session.

No. 11.






In compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the 5th instant, the last correspondence between Mr. Motley, as minister to the Court of St. James, and the Department of State.

JANUARY 9, 1871.-Read, ordered to lie on the table and be printed.

To the Senate of the United States :

I transmit to the Senate, in answer to their resolution of the 5th instant, a report from the Secretary of State, with accompanying docaments,

U. S. GRANT. WASHINGTON, January 9, 1871.


Washington, January 9, 1871. The Secretary of State, to whom was referred the resolution of the Senate of the 5th instant, requesting the President “ to communicate to the Senate, if compatible with the public interests, the last correspondence between Mr. Motley, as minister to the Court of St. James, and the Department of State, together with such other dispatches or papers touching the subject matter to which such correspondence relates, including all telegraphic dispatches and other communications relating to his recall,” has the honor to lay before the President the correspondence and papers called for by the resolution.


List of accompanying papers.

1. Mr. Fish to Mr. Motley, No. 3, May 15, 1869.
2. Mr. Motley to Mr. Fish, No. 8, June 12, 1869.
3. Mr. Fish to Mr. Motley, No. 23, June 28, 1869.
4. Mr. Motley to Mr. Fish, No. 48, July 15, 1869.

5. Mr. Motley to Ur. Fishi. No. 49, (private and contidential,) July 15, 1869.

6. Mr. Motley to Mr. Fish, No. 65, July 30, 1859.

Upon one point the President and the Senate and the overwhelming inass of the people are convinced, namely: that the contentioni, from its character and terms, or from thie time of its negotiation or from thie circumstances attending its negotiatio!, would not have removeal the sense of existing grievance; would not have attorded real substantial satisfaction to the people; would not have proved a hearty, cordial settlement of pending questions, but would have left it feeling of dissatisfaction inconsistent with the relations which the President desires to have firmly established between two great nations of common origin, common language, common literature, common interests and objects in the advancement of the civilization of the age.

The President believes the rejection of the convention to have been in the interest of peace, and in the direction of a more perfect and cordial friendship between the two countries, and in this belief he fully approves the action of the Senate. That action is quite recent and has been the cause of some excitement and popular discussion on both sides of the Atlantic, and possibly of some little disappointment, if not of irritation, in England. The tone of the press and the proclaimed opinions of some public men in each country suggest that the present is not the most bopeful moment to enter upon a renewed discussion, either of the objections to the lately proposed convention, or of the basis of a renewed negotiation. A suspension of the discussion on these questions for a short time (but in communicating with Lord Clarendon you will be particular to assure him that the desire on our part is that this suspension be limited to the shortest possible time consistent with its object) will allow the subsidence of any excitement or irritation growing out of the negotiation or of the rejection of the treaty-- will enable the two governments to approach the more readily to a solution of their clifferences.

The President hopes that her Majesty's government will view the propriety of the suspension in the same light in which he proposes it, as wholly in the interest and solely with a view to an early and friendly settlement of the questions between the two governments.

lle hopes that when the question shall again be considered, it may comport with the views of her Majesty's government to embrace within the scope of the negotiation some agreement by the two governments, detining their respective rights and duties as neutrals in case the other government becomes unfortunately involved in war with a third power.

The absence of some agreement or definition on this subject was among the causes leading to the rejection of the recent convention, under which, had it been adopted by the two countries, none of the grave questions which have arisen would have been passed upon by a tribunal whose decision either party (much less other nations) would regard as authority, so as to prevent repetition or retaliation. It might, indeed, well have occurred in the event of the selection by lot of the arbitrator or wnpire in different cases, involving, however, precisely the same principles, that different awards, resting upon antagonistic principles, might have been made.

If, however, the two great leading maritime comunercial nations of the world establish a rule to govern themselves, each with respect to the other, they may reasonably hope that their conclusion will be accepted by the other powers, and will become for the future recognized as a part of the public law of the civilized world.

The President recognizes the right of every power, when a civil conflict has arisen within auother state, and has attained a sufficient complexity, magnitude, and completeness, to define its own relations and those of its citizens and subjects toward the parties to the conflict, so far as their rights and interests are necessarily affected by the conflict.

The necessity and the propriety of the original concession of belligerency by Great Britain at the time it was made have been contested and are not admitted. They certainly are questionable, but the President regards that concession as a part of the case only so far as it shows the beginning and the animus of that course of conduct which resulted so disastrously to the United States. It is important, in that it foreshadOns subsequent events.

There were other powers tluat were contemporaneous with England in sinilar concession, but it was in England only that the concession was supplemented by acts causing direct damage to the United States. The President is careful to make this discrimination, because he is anxious as much as possible to simplify the case, and to bring into view these subsequent acts, which are so important to determining the question between the two countries.

You will, therefore, be pleased, in your social and private intercourse and conversation, as well as when it becomes necessary in your official conversation and intercourse, to adopt this view of the issuance of the declaration of neutrality by Great Britain, and the other powers, and to place the cause of grievance against Great Britain, not so much upon the issuance of her recognition of the insurgents' state of war, but upon ber conduct under, and subsequent to, such recognition. And it is desirable that you avail yourself of early and suitable occasion, in your social intercourse with the representatives of other powers which made sitnilar recognition, to let them understand the position of this Government on that question, and that the United States make such recogni. tion by them no ground of complaint. I am, sir, your obedient servant,


2. Mr. Motley to Jr. Fish.

No. 8.



London, June 12, 1869. (Received June 23, 1869.) Sir: On the 10th June I had an interview with Lord Clarendon, at his house, as owing to a slight indisposition he was unable to go to the foreign office. I told him that I had been instructed to say that the United States Government was ready to enter into arrangements for converting the portocol signed on 9th October, 1868, in regard to naturalization, into a trais, whenever the necessary legislation had been completed by Par

He expressed a doubt whether there would be time for carrying the Derasary ineasure through Parliament during what is left of the present ssion; almost every remaining day being assigned for other business, and there being so many various interests involved in the measure to be prepared, so far as this country and its Indian and many colonial possessious are concerned. He did not say positively that it was imposbible to introduce and carry through a bill before the prorogation, and proposed to make some detinite inquiries in the proper quarter in regard to the matter. The report of the commission was voluminous and interesting, but it would require much time and careful deliberation for the framing of a proper bill to meet all contingencies, and its introduction would necessarily cause long debates. Meantime the great principles on which the treaty would be based had been definitely settled by the protocol, and would stand as a guide in case of international questions arising before the conclusion of a convention. The theory of indefeasible allegiance was forever abandoned, and although it was not so simple a matter to cover all the complication of consequences growing out of the new order of things in so complex an empire as Great Britain as it was in the case of the treaties made between the United States and the German governments, yet there could be no doubt that at least in the next session there would be time for the needful legislation. I made no further remark save to express the hope that so desirable and vitally important a measure should not be delayed a moment longer than absolutely necessary—an observation in which bis Jorulship entirely acquiesced.

In regard to the northwest water bowdary convention, I simply ol). served that there had been no time for its consideration in the Senate before the adjournment, but that it woulil come up in the regular course of business at the future Executive sessions when that body should reassemble in its next winter session.

I then approaches the momentous attilir of the rejection of the claims convention. I told him that I was fully sensible of the gravity of the occasion, and of the contingencies which would depend on negotiations concerning such vital, and as they might be called, such burning questions as those comprehended under the simple title of a convention for the settlement of all outstanding claims. Certainly it was my wish, so long as I was honored with my present post of envoy, to do what in me lay toward establishing a wholesome, honorable, and cordial feeling between two such great nations as Great Britain and the American Republic, consistently with regard to the honor and interests and the just claims of my own country. I observed that I had been instructed to give the reasons why, in the opinion of the President, the treaty · signed on the 14th of January last had been rejected; bitherto nothing having been said beyond the bare announcement of the fact. The United States Government thought it almost superfluous to say that the refusal of the Senate to give its consent to a convention implied no discourtesy to the government with which the treaty was negotiated, and they recognized that the magnitude of the pending questions and claims required more than the brief statement to which the peculiar delicacy of the circumstances had limited the first announcement.

His lordship answered that a dry notification of the refusal of the Senate's advice and consent had been received from the United States Government, and they had heard nothing more on the subject, except Mr. Sumner's speech. I proceeded to say-according to my instructions—that the treaty having been, by accident, made public in the United States before any consultation upon it in the Senate, had called fortlı almost unanimous and singularly strenuous expressions of disapprobation from most of the organs of public thought, and many of the leading minds in the country. Its rejection in the Senate was foreshadowed by the spontaneously expressed feeling of the nation.

He asked me how the treaty happened to be made public before it had been acted upon. I answered that, as I had been informed, it was by an accident. More than this I was unable to state. He said it was first published in the United States—not in England-to which I made no reply.

I continued my statement by informing him that there were various causes for the sentiments so generally made manifest in the United States; some relating directly to the terms, tenor, and nature of the convention itself, on which part of the subject I did not propose at that moment to dilate, and others to the time and circumstances of the negotiation. Certainly it could not be denied that the United States Government, like all other governments, was continuous in its vitality, and that a treaty begotiated according to the rules was not an affair of party, nor to be contirmed or rejected on party grounds. The rejection of the claims treaty, however, was not in the slightest degree an attair of party, as was sufficiently proved by the vote in which Senators of every shade of political opinion bad emphatically united. This lordship observed that it could not be denied that this resuit might induce more cantion in future, as when dealing with plenipotentiaries from the L'nited States it would be necessary for a government to remember that there was a greater power behind them—namely, the Senate. I answered simply that this force had always been there, no full power from the United States Government being drawn up without the phrase, - by anal with the advice and consent of the Senate," being inserted, and that the simple line of the ('onstitution, giving the treaty-making power to the President contained the familiar limitation. Of course, his lordship manifested his knowledge and appreciation of these facts. I proceeded to say that this exercise by the Senate of its power to withhold its consent, in regard to treaties, was never capricious, never occurred except for grave reasons, and ought never to cause dissatisfaction or complaint on the part of the other contracting power, or be regarded as a discourteous proceeding. I could give him, if he wished, many instances in our listory of a similar refusal on the part of the Senate, but certainly never had this coördinate right been used by the Senate more deliberately and dispassionately, or from purer or more minixed motives, than in regard to the convention of the 14th of Jan. lary, 1869.

I then set forth very fully, in accordance with the instructions in your No. 3, the reasons why both the Senate and people of the United States had looked with so much distavor upon an attempt to settle questions of vast importance and of momentous consequences or contingencies exactly at a moment when a new chief magistrate has been elected, and was, within six or seren we of the date of the treaty, to be installed in his great office and to settle them without any cousultation, formal or informal, with that eminent person, or with the Senate, or with any member thereof. I refrained from any further comments on those proceedings, save to indicate them as in themselves almost suficient to canse a delay in the ratification of the convention, even had its terms been in themselves far less objectionable.

Having given the causes at length which had brought about the rejection of the treaty, so far as you wished me to explain them, I went on to observe that her Majesty's government would naturally wish to learn what, in the opinion of the United States Government, was the proper course to pursue in the premises. I added, accordingly, that I was instructed to say that, in the opinion of the President, it would be well to'pause for a brief period—a limited interval-not longer than might be necessary for the subsidence of violent emotions and public manifestations of excited feeling created by the rejection of the treaty, and by the various trains of causes which had led up to that event, be. fore once more calmly reviewing the situation, and looking the great issues between the countries, with all their diffieulties, dangers, and contingencies, steadily in the face.

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