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John Tyler Presidential ALS to Daniel Webster Disputing Lord Ashburton’s Claim that their Treaty Established a Right to Search American Ships on the High Seas
Virginia 1843 - Autograph Letter Signed as President, to Daniel Webster. Charles City County, Virginia, May 22, 1843. 2 pp. "I have read and now return the private dispatches with which you favored me from Mr. [Edward] Everett and your letter in reply. Lord Ashburton must certainly be under great mistake in relation to what passed between you on the right of visit and of search. Most certainly but one language has been held in all our Cabinet consultations, which was uniformly in negative of any such right." President John Tyler writes to his former Secretary of State Daniel Webster, who had resigned from Tyler's cabinet under pressure from fellow Whigs two weeks earlier.The Webster-Ashburton Treaty of 1842 resolved a number of issues between the U.S. and Britain's Canadian colonies. It settled the nonviolent "Aroostook War" over the Maine-New Brunswick border, agreed to borders and shared use of the Great Lakes, reaffirmed the 49th parallel border in the western frontier up to the Rocky Mountains. It also defined crimes subject to extradition, and called for a final end to the slave trade on the high seas. The British negotiators had wanted to make a "right of search and visit" part of the treaty but its final language failed to establish such a new right in international maritime law. Complete Transcript Chs City County Va May 22, 1843.My Dear Sir;I have read and now return the private despatches which you favoured me from Mr Everett and your letter in reply. Lord Ashburton must certainly be under great mistake in relation to what passed between you on the right of visit and of search. Most certainly but one language has been held in all our Cabinet consultations, which was uniformly in negation of any such right. When I left Washington, being much straightened for time, I desired Mr Spencer to answer for me in regard to the Bunker Hill celebration, and since I have been here he sent me on a draft of a letter which I approved. I presume ere this the committee has received it. I certainly propose to be with you upon that occasion. I received a letter a few days since from Mr Legare making known to me your objections to the appointment of Doctor Martin as Chief Clerk in the State Department. I was not aware before that you had any personal objections to the Doctor, and it occurred to me that his appointment to that place would leave me more at liberty upon the subject of the Head of the Department. I had not perceived either that the Spectator had taken any personal ground. Most certainly if such had been known to me, I would not for a moment have encouraged the idea of his appointment I have desired Mr Cushing who has just left me to converse with you on this subject and if your feelings remain unchanged, I must look out for another place for Doctor Martin.Be assured of my constant regard and esteem. John Tyler Mr WebsterHistorical BackgroundFor ten months in 1841 and 1842, Webster negotiated with British diplomat Alexander Baring, 1st Baron Ashburton (1774-1848) at the Ashburton House on Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C. The Treaty called for a final end to the slave trade on the high seas, so the "right of visit and of search" mentioned in Tyler's letter refers to, among other things, the boarding and searching suspected slave-trading ships. The Atlantic Slave trade was banned by British law in 1807, and a year later under U.S. law in 1808. It was the first year that Congress was allowed to end the onerous practice because of a clause in the U.S. Constitution. However, neither the British nor the American act banned slavery itself, which encouraged a robust clandestine trade. In 1808, the British Royal Navy established, at considerable expense, the West Africa Squadron to patrol the coast and intercept the illegal slavers. During the same period, tensions between Britain and the United States were coming to a head over the impressment of American sailors. The issue would lead to the War of 1812. (See website for full description)
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Last Found On: 2017-09-23           Check availability:      AbeBooks    

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