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JQA Diary, volume 29 1 March 1816
JQA Neal Millikan U.S. Constitution Orders in Council (British) Commerce Diplomacy/Diplomatic Activities Court Life and Society (European)
405 March 1816.

1. VII:15. I wrote this morning a short despatch to the Secretary of State, to enclose copies of two Notes, received from Count Beroldingen the Minister of Wurttemberg; and the papers sent with them. The first of these Notes I received in January, and the second last Tuesday Night, on my return from London. The latter enclosed a Letter from the king of Wurttemberg, addressed to the United States of America, and contained an autographical Communication of the Marriage of his Son the Crown Prince of Wurttemberg, with the Grand Duchess Catherine of Russia. I enclosed the King’s Letter with the despatch— I also answered the Count’s last Note. Mr Smith made copies of the other Papers to be sent. After breakfast we went into London. I stopped at Lord Castlereagh’s and he received me. He apologized for not having yet answered my late Notes, as having been unwell, and much pressed with business in Parliament. I told him there was but one of them which required immediate attention, and that was the one relating to the Discrimination between British, and American Vessels in Ireland. Since my last Note to him on that subject, I had received a new statement from Ireland, upon a representation from several Masters of American Vessels now at Londonderry, waiting for a decision of this Government; and who, if that should be against them, would be obliged to go away in ballast, or to come to this Country for freight. He enquired how it was in America, with regard to the Execution of the Convention of 3. July last; and mentioned the account he had seen in the Newspapers, that the Bill for carrying it into effect, passed by the house of Representatives had been rejected by the Senate. I told him that I had received no Communication from the Government on the subject; but the Convention having been ratified, was by the Constitution of the United States the Supreme Law of the Land; and the introduction and the failure of the Bill in question could only proceed, as indeed it was stated in the newspapers, from a difference of opinion between the two houses, as to the mode of giving effects to the Convention— He asked if in the mean time the Convention was actually carried into effect; and if so from what time the execution had commenced. I said I had no doubt it was in full execution; for as it was the Law of the Land, the extra duties upon British Vessels could not be levied in contravention to it. As to the time when it had commenced, I could not say.— The purport of the Convention was, that when ratified, it should be binding upon the parties, for four years from the time of the signature. This variation from the usual term of Commencement, the exchange of the Ratifications, had been introduced at the desire of the British Plenipotentiaries; and I had some conversation concerning it, soon after the conclusion of the Convention; first transiently with Mr Robinson, who had been one of the British Plenipotentiaries, and afterwards with the Earl of Liverpool. For some time after the signature, an extra duty upon Cotton imported in American Vessels had been levied. An order of Council had then issued placing the Vessels of the two Nations on the same footing. My own opinion had been that the Convention was binding on both parties from the day of the signature; and that whatever duties contrary to it had been levied must be refunded. I had communicated all these Circumstances to the American Government, and had received for answer, that the President had not issued a Proclamation, corresponding to the Order in Council; because the Order had never been communicated, and because it did not extend to Tonnage duties— That the Convention would be ratified, and after that, if there was any diversity of opinion as to the time of its commencement, it might be arranged by a mutual understanding between the two Governments— But then, said Lord Castlereagh, there is yet something to be done to carry the Convention into effect, and I will ask Mr Robinson to appoint some time when I will ask you to see him, and come to some arrangement about it— Particularly as there would be a great inconvenience in refunding duties already collected— In the mean time we will endeavour to settle this matter in Ireland, without touching upon the question as to the right— Either by enlarging the privilege of American Vessels, to take a number of Passengers in equal proportion with British Vessels, or by reducing the numbers that British Vessels may take, to the same proportion, to which American Vessels are restricted. I said that in either case, we should be satisfied; but it was necessary the vessels of the two Countries should be placed on the same footing— Particularly as I was now given to understand that the discrimination extended to the amount of the Cargo, as well, as to the number of the Passengers— It was by an Act of Parliament described to me as being known by the name of the Passengers Act; but I had not seen it; and knew not when it had past; or what were more particularly its provisions. With regard to the extra-duties levied at the Trinity-House, Lord Castlereagh said it was not in the power of the Government to remove them— They had been laid for the maintenance of Light-Houses: the Trinity House was specially privileged to collect them, and they were not considered as among the duties and charges contemplated by the Convention. I told him that as we had similar charges for the maintenance of Light-Houses, the principal object must be to have a decision; as the principle must of course be reciprocal. I then observed that it was announced in the Newspapers that the Queen would hold a Drawing-Room next Thursday; and I had thought it probable her Majesty might fix that time to grant me an Audience— She had appointed a time for that purpose, at the last 406Drawing Room which she held, in the Autumn; upon the arrival of the Austrian Archdukes— I was then confined to my house by illness, and could not avail myself of Her Majesty’s Condescencion. I wished also to know whether Mrs Adams would be received by the Queen at the same time, and as she must ask the favour of Lady Castlereagh to present her, she wished to know when it would be convenient to her Ladyship to see her— He said, he believed the paragraph in the Newspaper was a mistake— That the Queen would hold no Drawing-Room next week; nor until after the Prince Regent’s return to town. That he hoped the Prince would return next week. He was entirely recovered from the Gout; but still had a weakness in the joints, which made it difficult for him to stand— But whenever the Queen should hold her Drawing-Room, I should have notice. Lady Castlereagh was usually at home every Morning, until 2. O’Clock, and would be glad to see Mrs Adams, whenever it should suit her convenience— I told Lord Castlereagh that I had a Commission for a Consul to present, which I should take to the foreign-office; and that I had received the Copies of the papers for which I had applied to him— I asked him what fees were to be paid for them, and he referred me to Mr Hamilton— He said he had been for some days unwell with an influenza that was going about; and the house of Commons was no place for recovering from such a complaint. He was however now much better and hoped to get out again by next Monday From Lord Castlereaghs I went to the Office in Craven-Street; and soon afterwards General Scott came in. He informed me that he intended to leave town next Sunday, to visit Scotland, and to be at Liverpool, to embark for the United States, by the 20th: of this Month; unless his impatience should grow upon him and hasten still more his departure— A War between the United States and Spain appears inevitable; and the General hastens home, to have his share in the Service— He says he was told yesterday, by six or seven members of Parliament, that if we should not undertake any thing against the Island of Cuba, nor endeavour to obtain any exclusive privileges from the South-Americans, the Ministers here could not engage this Nation in a War against us, for the sake of Spain— Would that the experiment may not be tried— After General Scott took leave, I went down to the Foreign-Office, and enquired, for Mr Cooke and Mr Hamilton, the Under Secretaries of State. Neither of them was there, and Mr Cooke has been for some days unwell. I saw Mr Bidwell the Chief Clerk, gave him Mr Ingraham’s Commission, and enquired for that of Mr Luke— Bidwell knew nothing about it; and after sending to another part of the Office to enquire, and waiting some time without receiving an Answer, he told me he supposed the exequatur was not ready, owing to the Prince Regents illness. After returning to Craven-Street, I went to the Morning Chronicle-Office, and to the shop, where Cobbett’s Register is published to procure the papers for the last six weeks, to send to Mr Jackson at Paris— I could procure only three odd numbers of Cobbett; and none of the Morning Chronicle. The tax of four pence Sterling upon every Newspapers, prevents the Editors from printing any supernumerary Sheets— I took this day’s Chronicle, and left it with the odd sheets of Cobbett to be sent by Mr Gallaudet— This Gentleman is desirous of obtaining through the medium of the Danish Minister or otherwise, a publication of a Dr Castberg, employed by the Danish Government to travel for information relative to the Institutions, for instructing the deaf and dumb— I wrote a Note to Mr Bourke, enquiring if he could put me in the way of procuring that publication— The Carriage came as I had ordered it at five O Clock; but Richard brought with him a man named Robert Martin, whom he recommended to be footman in his place— He detained me some time to make enquiries concerning him; and it was thus near 7 O’Clock when I got home— No Evening after dinner— George had been at home from Noon— Dr Nicholas, who is a Welshman, having given his boys a half Holiday, for St: David’s day.— I received a Letter from Coll: Aspinwall.