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JQA Diary, volume 29 10 November 1814
JQA Neal Millikan Jay Treaty (Anglo-American Commercial Treaty of 1795) Diplomacy/Diplomatic Activities Treaty of Ghent Native Americans War of 1812

10. VI:30. A second day belated. On examining the drafts for the Note with the Amendments of Messrs: Clay, Bayard & Russell, I found more than three fourths of what I had written erased— There was only one paragraph to which I attached importance, but that was struck out with the rest— It was the proposal to conclude the Peace on the footing of the State before the war, applied to all the subjects of dispute between the two Countries, leaving all the rest for future and pacific Negotiation. I abandoned every thing else that was objected to in my draft, but wrote over that paragraph again to propose its insertion in the Note. I had gone through my examination of the papers at breakfast time, and Mr Gallatin took them— At 11. O’Clock we had the meeting of the Mission. Every thing in the Note as amended was agreed to without difficulty, excepting my proposed paragraph— Mr Clay objected strongly against it; because we are forbidden by our Instructions from renewing the Article of the Treaty of 1794. allowing the British to trade with our Indians— Mr Gallatin who strenuously supported my proposition thought it did not necessarily include the renewal of that Article of the Treaty of 1794. because it only offers the State before the War, with regard to the objects in dispute— The Indian trade never had been in dispute— He admitted however that if the British Government should accept the principle, and propose the renewal of the Treaties, we could not after this offer refuse it— I stated in candour that I considered my proposal as going that full length— That I was aware it would be a departure from our Instructions as prepared in April 1813.— But the Government for the purpose of obtaining Peace, had revoked our Instructions of that date, upon a point much more important in its estimation, the very object of the War, and I have no doubt would have revoked them on the other point had it occurred to them that they would prove an obstacle to the conclusion of Peace— I felt so sure that they would now gladly take the State before the War as the general basis of the Peace, that I was prepared to take on me the responsibility of trespassing upon their Instructions thus far— Not only so but I would at this moment cheerfully give my life, for a Peace on this basis— If Peace was possible it would be on no other— I had indeed no hope that the proposal would be accepted— But on the rupture it would make the strongest case possible in our favour; for the world both in Europe and America— It would put the continuance of the War entirely at the door of England, and force out her objects in continuing it— Mr Clay then said, if the proposal was to be made at all, now was not the time for making it— If our projet should be rejected, and we should hereafter find Peace 167unattainable upon other terms we might offer it as a last resource; but that it was not proper at present— As to the Indians he had gone as far in concession upon that subject, as was possible—he would concede no more— And if we wanted Peace, Great-Britain wanted it quite as much— He saw no reason to believe that she would continue the War merely for the Indian trade— I said that it was for the British Government, and not for me to consider how far Peace might be necessary for them— I believed they were not sufficiently convinced of its necessity— If my proposal was to be made at all, now was precisely the best time for making it, because it would take off whatever there might appear to be of exorbitancy in our demands; and would not as it might hereafter have the appearance of shrinking from our own grounds— Mr Gallatin dwelt upon the same argument, and urged that several of our Articles very much needed some such softener— Mr Bayard thought now the most favorable time for making the proposal, as the state of the War is now much more favorable to us, than we have reason to expect it will be in one or two Months— Mr Russell wavered. He asked how the proposal offered more than the projet itself— I told him that the projet offered all the knots of the Negotiation for solution now; and the proposal was to make Peace first, and leave them to be solved hereafter— Mr Clay finally said that he would agree to the insertion of my proposal in the Note; but reserving to himself the right of refusing to sign the Treaty, if the offer should be accepted and the principle extended beyond his approbation. The draft was then taken by Mr Hughes to be copied off fair, and Mr Gallatin, Mr Russell and myself remained to compare the residue of the Articles as they were prepared. A concluding Article, providing for the Ratifications and their exchange was prepared by Mr Gallatin and me; after which I went out and walked about an hour— On returning home at four o’clock our Landlord Mr Decobu apologized for not having our dinner ready— He had thought we were all to dine at the Intendant’s; but it was the English Plenipotentiaries who dined there. Mr Hughes was prepared with the Note, at his Rooms, at the back of our house— I took the Projet to him, and he copied on it the concluding Article— They were then brought back to our dining Room, and we signed the Note— Mr Clay still manifesting signs of Reluctance— He objected to the formal concluding Article, and thought it ridiculous— And he recurred again to the paragraph proposing the State before the War, as the general basis of the Treaty— He said the British Plenipotentiaries would laugh at us for it. They would say, aye aye—pretty fellows you; to think of getting out of the War, as well as you got into it!— I think it very probable this commentary will be made on our proposal— But what would be the commentary on our refusing Peace upon those terms?— Mr Russell dined with us, about 5 O’Clock, and immediately after dinner Mr Hughes took our Note and projet to the British Plenipotentiaries. I spent an hour of the Evening at Mr Smith’s.