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ble contingency, took the precaution, it was said, to proceed to Upper Canada, and to lay the case before the Lieut. Governor, who obligingly assured him, that in case the guns should in the course of events fall into his possession, he would promptly restore them to their right owners.

On the news of the commotions on the frontier, Maj. Gen. Scott, of the U. S. army, was ordered to proceed to that quarter, and to adopt such measures as should be necessary for the public security and the execution of the laws. At Albany he was joined by Gov. Marcy and Adj. Gen. Macdonald, and arrived at Buffalo on the 10th of January. There was probably some communication between him and the leaders at Navy Island, but the nature of these communications was not made public. The President of the United States, on the 5th of January, issued a proclamation, reciting that violations of the public peace had taken place on the northern frontier, and among other things, that "a military force, consisting in part, at least, of citizens of the United States, had been actually organized, had congregated at Navy Island, and were still in arms under the command of a citizen of the Unite: States, and that they were constantly receiving accessions and aid." He earnestly exhorted all citizens of the United States who had thus violated their duties to return peaceably to their homes, and warned them that in compromitting the neutrality of the government, they would render themselves liable to arrest and punishment, and that they would receive no aid nor countenance from their government, in any difficulties which they might be thrown into, by the violation of the laws of their country, and of the territory of a neighboring and friendly nation. Soon after the appearance of this proclamation, it was understood that two companies of U. S. troops were on their march to the Niagara frontier.

Mackenzie, the head of the Provisional Government, having come over from Navy Island to Buffalo, was arrested by the U. S. Marshal, on a charge of raising an armed force for the invasion of a country with which the nation was at peace, and was admitted to bail in the sum of $5,000, three citizens of Buffalo having offered to become his bail.

Soon after the arrival of Gen. Scott and Gov. Marcy at the frontier, it began to be rumored that Navy Island was to be evacuated. On the 12th of January, the loyalist volunteers at Chippewa opened a brisk cannonade upon the works at the island, which was not productive of any serious results. During the night of the 14th, the Patriot army at the island passed over to Grand Island, which is within the territory of the United States, and disbanded. They had previously sent over to Schlosser, in a scow, the cannon and muskets

belonging to the United States and the State of New York, which were there placed in the care of Col. Ayres, of the New York militia. In the passage over, the boat came very near going over the falls, with all the men on board. They were saved only by the accidental rise of a squall of wind from the north west, by the aid of which, with the use of blankets for sails, they succeeded in stemming the force of the current, which otherwise, in consequence of the heavy lading of the boat, they would have been unable to accomplish. The number of the Patriot army, on being mustered for their discharge, was stated to be 510 men enrolled, besides about 150 supernumeraries. They passed over to the main land, and most of them proceeded quietly and unarmed to Black Rock and Buffalo. The British flag was on the following day hoisted at Navy Island. Gen. Van Rensselaer, on his arrival at Buffalo, was arrested by the U. S. Marshal, for a violation of the neutrality law, and discharged on bail to the amount of $3,000. On the 19th, Gov. Marcy returned to Albany.

The resolution for the evacuation of Navy Island was undoubtedly formed with the purpose on the part of the leaders, (with the exception of the commander-in-chief, who was probably willing to abandon the service,) of proceeding to the west, and joining another party which was preparing to invade the province from the neighborhood of Detroit. Their plans for proceeding thither by water were defeated, and in their persevering efforts to accomplish their purpose, they suffered severe privations and hardships, and many of them perished. A narrative of the proceedings connected with this other expedition would be foreign to our present purpose. The object of the present narrative is to state only those events which are directly or indirectly connected, in their causes or consequences, with the burning of the steamer Caroline. It might perhaps be satisfactory to the reader to be furnished with the whole correspondence which passed between the representatives of the two governments on this subject. This would occupy more room than we can devote to it, and it is not necessary to the clear understanding of the present position of the questions involved, as they are presented in the correspondence which follows.



Mr. Fox to Mr. Webster.
WASHINGTON, March 12, 1841.

The undersigned, Her Britannic Majesty's Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary, is instructed by his Government to make

the following official communication to the Government of the United States:

Her Majesty's Government have had under their consideration the correspondence which took place at Washington in December last, between the United States Secretary of State, Mr. Forsyth, and the undersigned, comprising two official letters from the undersigned to Mr. Forsyth, dated the 13th and 29th of December, and two official letters from Mr. Forsyth to the undersigned, dated the 26th and 30th of the same month, upon the subject of the arrest and imprisonment of Mr. Alexander McLeod, of Upper Canada, by the authorities of the State of New York, upon a pretended charge of arson and murder, as having been engaged in the capture and destruction of the steamboat Caroline, on the 29th of December, 1837.

The undersigned is directed, in the first place to make known to the Government of the United States, that Her Majesty's Government entirely approve of the course pursued by the undersigned in that correspondence, and of the language adopted by him in the official letters above mentioned.

And the undersigned is now instructed again to demand from the Government of the United States, formally, in the name of the British Government, the immediate release of Mr. Alexander McLeod.

The grounds upon which the British Government make this demand upon the Government of the United States, are these: That the transaction, on account of which Mr. McLeod has been arrested and is to be put upon his trial, was a transaction of a public character, planned and executed by persons duly empowered by her Majesty's Colonial Authorities to take any steps and to do any acts which might be necessary for the defence of her Majesty's territories, and for the protection of Her Majesty's subjects; and that consequently, those subjects of Her Majesty who engaged in that transaction were performing an act of public duty, for which they cannot be made personally and individually answerable to the laws and tribunals of any foreign country.

The transaction in question may have been, as Her Majesty's Government are of opinion that it was, a justifiable employment of force, for the purpose of defending the British territory from the unprovoked attack of a band of British rebels and American pirates, who, having been permitted to arm and organize themselves within the territory of the United States, had actually invaded and occupied a portion of the territory of Her Majesty; or it may have been, as alleged by Mr. Forsyth, in his note to the undersigned of the 26th of December, "a most unjustifiable invasion in time of peace of the territory of the United States." But this is a question essentially of a political and international kind, which can be discussed and settled only between the two Governments, and which the courts of justice of the State of New York cannot, by possibility, have any means of judging, or any right of deciding.

It would be contrary to the universal practice of civilized nations to fix individual responsibility upon persons who, with the sanction or

by the orders of the constituted authorities of a state, engaged in military or naval enterprises in their country's cause; and it is obvious that the introduction of such a principle would aggravate beyond measure the miseries, and would frightfully increase the demoralizing effects of war, by mixing up with national exasperation the ferocity of personal passions, and the cruelty and bitterness of individual re


Her Majesty's Government cannot believe that the Government of the United States can really intend to set an example so fraught with evil to the community of nations, and the direct tendency of which must be to bring back into the practice of modern war atrocities which civilization and Christianity have long since banished.

Neither can Her Majesty's Government admit for a moment the validity of the doctrine advanced by Mr. Forsyth, that the Federal Government of the United States has no power to interfere in the matter in question, and that the decision thereof must rest solely and entirely with the State of New York.


With the particulars of the internal compact which may exist between the several States that compose the Union, foreign Powers have nothing to do the relations of foreign Powers are with the aggregate Union that Union is to them represented by the Federal Government; and of that Union the Federal Government is to them the only organ. Therefore, when a foreign Power has redress to demand for a wrong done to it by any State of the Union, it is to the Federal Government, and not to the separate State, that such Power must look for redress for that wrong. And such foreign Power cannot admit the plea that the separate State is an independent body over which the Federal Government has no control. It is obvious that such a doctrine, if admitted, would at once go to a dissolution of the Union, as far as its relations with foreign Powers are concerned; and foreign Powers, in such case, instead of accrediting diplomatic agents to the Federal Government, would send such agents not to that Government, but to the Government of each separate State; and would make their relations of peace and war with each State depend upon the result of their separate intercourse with such State, without reference to the relations they might have with the rest.

Her Majesty's Government apprehend that the above is not the conclusion at which the Government of the United States intend to arrive; yet such is the conclusion to which the arguments that have been advanced by Mr. Forsyth necessarily lead.

But be that as it may, Her Majesty's Government formally demand, upon the grounds already stated, the immediate release of Mr. McLeod; and Her Majesty's Government entreat the President of the United States to take into his most deliberate consideration the serious nature of the consequences which must ensue from a rejection of this demand.

The United States Government will perceive that, in demanding Mr. McLeod's release, Her Majesty's Government argue upon the assumption that he was one of the persons engaged in the capture of the

steamboat Caroline:" but Her Majesty's Government have the strongest reasons for being convinced that Mr. McLeod was not in fact engaged in that transaction: and the undersigned is hereupon instructed to say, that although the circumstance itself makes no difference in the political and international question at issue; and although Her Majesty's Government do not demand Mr. McLeod's release upon the ground that he was not concerned in the capture of the "Caroline," but upon the ground that the capture of the "Caroline" was a transaction of a public character, for which the persons engaged in it cannot incur private and personal responsibility; yet the Government of the United States must not disguise from themselves that the fact that Mr. McLeod was not engaged in the transaction must necessarily tend greatly to inflame that national resentment, which any harm that shall be suffered by Mr. McLeod at the hands of the authorities of the State of New York will infallibly excite throughout the whole of the British Empire.

The undersigned, in addressing the present official communication by der of his Government, to Mr. Webster, Secretary of State of the United States, has the honor to offer to him the assurance of his distinguished consideration. H. S. FOX.

The Hon. DANIEL WEBSTER, &c. &c. &c.

Mr. Webster to Mr. Fox.


Washington, April 24, 1841.

The undersigned, Secretary of State of the United States, has the honor to inform Mr. Fox, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of Her Britannic Majesty, that his note of the 12th of March was received and laid before the President.

Circumstances well known to Mr. Fox have necessarily delayed for some days, the consideration of that note.

The undersigned has the honor now to say that it has been fully considered, and that he has been directed by the President to address to Mr. Fox the following reply:

Mr. Fox informs the Government of the United States that he is instructed to make known to it that the Government of Her Majesty entirely approve the course pursued by him in his correspondence with Mr. Forsyth in December last, and the language adopted by him on that occasion; and that that Government have instructed him “ again to demand from the Government of the United States, formally, in the name of the British Government, the immediate release of Mr. Alexander McLeod ;" that "the grounds upon which the British Government make this demand upon the Government of the United States are these:-That the transaction on account of which Mr. McLeod has been arrested and is to be put upon his trial was a transaction of a public character, planned and executed by persons duly empowered

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