Life of Henry Clay/06 Ghent and London

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Life of Henry Clay by Carl Schurz
Chapter VI. Ghent and London.

CHAPTER VI.


GHENT AND LONDON.


The British government, when offering to negotiate directly with the United States, had designated London, or Gottenburg in Sweden, as the places where the negotiators might meet. Its purpose was to isolate the United States as much as possible. It desired to be left alone in dealing with the Americans, and to shut out all influences friendly to them. To this end, London and Gottenburg seemed to be convenient localities. Finally, however, it agreed that the peace commissioners should meet at Ghent, in the Netherlands. The American envoys had all arrived there on July 6, 1814. There were among them men so different in point of character and habits and ways of thinking, that to make them agree among themselves might have appeared almost as difficult as to make a satisfactory treaty with England. The principal clash was between Adams and Clay. John Quincy Adams was then forty-seven years old, with all his peculiarities fully matured, — a man of great ability, various knowledge, and large experience; of ardent patriotism, and high principles of honor and duty; brimful of courage, and a pugnacious spirit of contention; precise in his ways; stiff and cold in manners; tenacious of his opinions; irritable of temper; inclined to be suspicious, and harsh in his judgments of others, and, in the Puritan spirit, also severe with himself; one of the men who keep diaries, and in them regular accounts of their own as well as other people's doings. Two days after the commissioners had all arrived at Ghent, he wrote in his journal: —

"I dined again at the table d'hôte at one. The other gentlemen dined together at four. They sit after dinner, and drink bad wine and smoke cigars, which neither suits my habits nor my health, and absorbs time which I can ill spare. I find it impossible, even with the most rigorous economy of time, to do half the writing that I ought."

He had been a Federalist, but his patriotic soul had taken fire at the injuries and insults his country had suffered from Great Britain. For this reason he had broken with his party, exposed himself to the ill-will of his neighbors, and supported Jefferson's and Madison's administrations in their measures of resistance to British pretensions.

Clay was ten years younger than Adams, certainly no less enthusiastic an American patriot, nor less spirited, impulsive, and hot-tempered; having already acquired something of that imperiousness of manner which, later in his career, was so much noticed; quick in forming opinions, and impatient of opposition, but warm-hearted and genial; no Puritan at all in his ways; rather inclined to "sit after dinner," whether the wine was good or bad; and, while willing to work, also bent on having his full share of the enjoyments of this world. "Just before rising," Adams wrote in his Diary one day, "I heard Mr. Clay's company retiring from his chamber. I had left him with Mr. Russell, Mr. Bentzon, and Mr. Todd, at cards. They parted as I was about to rise." John Quincy Adams played cards, too, but it was that solemn whist, which he sometimes went through with the conscientious sense of performing a diplomatic duty. No wonder the prim New Englander and the lordly Kentuckian, one the representative of eastern, the other of western, ways of thinking, when they had struck points of disagreement, would drift into discussions much more animated than was desirable for the task they had in common. Russell, a man of ordinary ability, was much under the influence of Clay, while Bayard, although not disposed to quarrel with anybody, showed not seldom a disposition to stick to his opinion, when it differed from those of his colleagues, with polite but stubborn firmness. "Each of us," wrote Mr. Adams, "takes a separate and distinct view of the subject-matter, and each naturally thinks his own view of it the most important." A commission so constituted would hardly have been fit to accomplish a task of extraordinary delicacy, had it not been for the conspicuous ability, the exquisite tact, the constant good-nature, the "playfulness of temper," as Mr. Adams expressed it, and the inexhaustible patience of Albert Gallatin, a man whose eminence among his contemporaries has probably never been appreciated as it deserves. Without in the least obtruding himself, he soon became the peacemaker, the moderating and guiding mind of the commission.

The British envoys, who arrived at Ghent on August 6, having permitted the Americans to wait for them one full month, were Lord Gambier, a vice-admiral, Henry Goulburn, Secretary in the colonial department, and Dr. William Adams, an admiralty lawyer, men not remarkable for ability or standing, but apparently somewhat inclined to be overbearing in conduct. Indeed, the advantage of position was altogether on their side.

Since the time when President Madison seized upon the Russian offer of mediation, in March, 1813, the fortunes of war had been vacillating. The Americans had made a successful expedition against Fort George, and the British had been repulsed at Sackett's Harbor. But the first great naval disaster then happened in the defeat of the Chesapeake by the Shannon off Boston Light. New naval successes, especially Perry's splendid victory on Lake Erie, September 10, 1813, relieved the gloom. General Harrison won in the fight of the Thames, in which Tecumseh was killed, on October 5. But a winter expedition led by Hampton and Wilkinson against Montreal failed; Fort Niagara was lost, Black Rock and Buffalo were burned, and great quantities of provisions and stores destroyed. These disasters were scarcely counterbalanced by General Jackson's success against the Creeks in the Southwest; but this and the recovery of Detroit were the only considerable advantages gained on land in 1813. The opening spring brought another failure of an expedition along the shore of Lake Champlain into Canada under Wilkinson. The blockade was constantly growing more rigid. Not a single American man-of-war was on the open sea. The successful fights at Chippewa and Lundy's Lane, and then the crowning disgrace of the capture of Washington, were still to come. Meanwhile the discontent with the war prevailing in New England, which was destined to culminate in the Hartford Convention, although apparently not spreading, continued to be active and to threaten rebellious outbreaks. But the most ominous events were the downfall of Napoleon, the conclusion of peace in Europe, and, in consequence, the liberation of the military, naval, and financial resources of Great Britain for a vigorous prosecution of the war in America. What had already happened was only child's play. The really serious business was now to come. The outlook appeared, therefore, extremely gloomy. While on his way to Ghent, Gallatin had spent some time in London, and had earnestly tried there to interest, in behalf of the United States, the Emperor of Russia, who was on a visit to his English ally. That effort, too, had failed. The United States were without an active friend.

Most of these things had become known, not only to the Americans, but also to the British commissioners. These gentlemen were, therefore, naturally inclined to treat the United States as a defeated enemy suing for peace. At the opening of the negotiation the British demanded as a sine qua non that a large territory in the United States, all the country now occupied by the states of Michigan, Illinois, and Wisconsin, the larger part of Indiana, and about one third of Ohio, should be set apart for the Indians, to constitute a sort of Indian sovereignty under British guaranty, not to be purchased from the Indians by the United States, and to serve as a "buffer," a perpetual protection of the British possessions against American ambition. They demanded also that the United States should relinquish the right of keeping any armed vessels on the Great Lakes; and, in addition to all this, they asked for the cession of a piece of Maine in order to make a road from Halifax to Quebec, and for a formal renewal of the provision of the treaty of 1783 giving English subjects the right of navigating the Mississippi.

This meant almost a surrender of American independence. It was the extreme of humiliation. That such a proposition could be thought of was a most painful shock to the American envoys. All they could do was promptly to reject the sine qua non, and then think of going home. This they did. They not only thought of going home, but they openly spoke of it. The British commissioners received the impression, and reported it to their government, that the Americans were very much in earnest, and that what they really desired was not to make peace, but to put things in an aspect calculated to unite their people at home in favor of the war. Then something of decisive importance happened behind the scenes, which, no doubt, the Americans would have been glad to know. The leading statesmen in England were not at all anxious to break off negotiations, especially not upon points a final rupture on which might have "made the war popular in America." In fact, as Lord Liverpool wrote to Lord Castlereagh, they were apprehensive that then the war would be a long affair; that "some of their European allies would not be indisposed to favor the Americans," meaning especially the Emperor of Russia, and that this American business would "entail upon them prodigious expense." They did not desire to have it said that "the property tax was continued for the purpose of securing a better frontier for Canada." Besides, the state of the negotiations at the Vienna Congress was "unsatisfactory;" the situation of the interior of France was "alarming;" the English people were tired of war taxes. Was it not more prudent after all to let the Americans off without a cession of territory? The Duke of Wellington was consulted; he emphatically expressed himself against any territorial or other demand which would "afford the Americans a proper and creditable ground" for declining to make peace, The British commissioners were instructed accordingly.

Of this the Americans were, of course, ignorant. Only Clay felt it intuitively. According to Mr. Adams's Diary, Clay had "an inconceivable idea that they will recede from the ground they have taken." That is to say, he had the instinct of the situation. The British dropped their sine qua non; they gave up a proposition which they made to treat on the basis of uti possidetis, each nation to hold what it possessed or occupied at the time of signing the treaty; they finally showed themselves willing to accept the American proposition of the status ante bellum as a basis for the final arrangement. But one thing they would not do: they would not listen to anything about stipulations touching principles of blockade, rights of neutrals, impressment and right of search, concerning which the Americans insisted upon submitting the draft of an article. This they declined so peremptorily that all further discussion seemed useless. What, then, became of "Free Trade and Seamen's Rights?" What of the original instruction that the commissioners should break off forthwith and come home if they failed in obtaining a concession with regard to impressment? President Madison had in the mean time reconsidered the matter and sent further instructions authorizing them to treat on the basis of the status ante bellum, — substantially, to restore things to the state in which the war had found them. Not a proud thing to do, but better, he thought, than to go on with such a war.

When the British accepted this basis, and the Americans gave up their contention for definite stipulations concerning the principles of blockade and the impressment question, the peace was virtually assured. Only matters of detail had to be agreed upon, which, if both parties sincerely desired peace, would not be difficult. But confused and apparently interminable wrangles sprang up concerning the definition of the status ante bellum, mainly with regard to the British right to the navigation of the Mississippi and the American right to fish in British waters, which had been coupled together in the first treaty of peace, in 1783, between the United States and Great Britain. The British commissioners now insisted upon the British right to navigate the Mississippi, but proposed to put an end to the American right to the fisheries. It is needless to recount in detail the propositions and counter-propositions which passed between the two parties upon this point, as well as the furious altercations in the American commission between Clay and Adams, taxing to the utmost Gallatin's resources as a peacemaker; Clay insisting that a renewal of the right of the British to navigate the Mississippi, which had been conceded in the treaty of 1783, and again in Jay's treaty of 1794, when Spain held the whole of the right bank of the Mississippi, with part of the left, and the British dominions were erroneously supposed to touch on the head-waters of the great river, would be giving them a privilege far more important than we should secure in return, as the fisheries were "a matter of trifling moment;" and Adams maintaining with equal heat that the fisheries were a thing of great value, while the privilege to navigate the Mississippi enjoyed by the British under the treaty of 1783 had never led to any trouble or inconvenience. At last, after these long and angry discussions, after much sending of notes and replies, in which the American envoys displayed great skill in argument, and after repeated references of the disputed points by the British commissioners to the Foreign Office in London and long waiting for answers, the British government declared that it was willing to accept a treaty silent on both subjects, the fisheries as well as the navigation of the Mississippi. This declaration reached the American commissioners December 22, 1814, and with it the last obstacle to a final agreement was removed. It appeared that the British government had become fully as anxious for peace as the American. Clay adhered to his first impressions in this respect throughout the negotiation; for ten days before, on December 12, when other members of the commission still suspected the British of seeking an occasion for breaking off, Adams wrote in his Diary: "Mr. Clay was so confident that the British government had resolved upon peace, that he said he would give himself as a hostage and a victim to be sacrificed if they broke off on these points." There is reason to believe that he would not have been sorry if they had broken off.

The treaty was signed on December 24, 1814. It may well be imagined that the American commissioners heaved a sigh of relief, all, at least, except Clay. For five weary months they had been fighting from point to point a foe who seemed to have all the advantages of strength and position, and all the while they had been in constant apprehension that any hour might bring more evil news to destroy the fruit of their anxious labors. With dignity but not without impatience they had borne the gruffness with which the English commissioners had frequently thought proper to emphasize the superiority of the power behind them. Like brave men they had gone through the dinners with their British colleagues, the ghastly humor of which during the first period of the negotiation consisted in cheerful conversations about the impossibility of agreeing, the short and fruitless visit of the American commissioners to Europe, their speedy return home, and so on. Then finally the altercations among themselves, which grew warmer as the negotiation proceeded, had made it appear doubtful more than once whether they would be able to present a united front upon all the important points. In these altercations Clay had appeared especially fretful, constantly dissatisfied, and ungovernable. Adams's Diary teems with significant remarks about Clay "waxing loud and warm;" about his "great heat and anger;" how "Mr. Clay lost his temper, as he generally does whenever the right of the British to navigate the Mississippi is discussed;" how "Mr. Clay, who was determined to foresee no public misfortune in our affairs, bears them with less temper, now they have come, than any of us; he rails at commerce and the people of Massachusetts, and tells us what wonders the people of Kentucky would do if they should be attacked;" how "Mr. Clay is growing peevish and fractious," — and, recollecting himself, Adams contritely adds: "I too must not forget to keep guard on my temper." At the very last, just before separating, Adams and Clay quarreled about the custody of the papers, in language bordering upon the unparliamentary. But for the consummate tact and the authority of Gallatin the commission would not seldom have been in danger of breaking up in heated controversy.

The complaints about Clay's ill-tempered moods were undoubtedly well founded. Always somewhat inclined to be dictatorial and impatient of opposition, he had on this occasion especial reason for being ill at ease. He, more than any one else, had made the war. He had advised the invasion of Canada, and predicted an easy conquest. He had confidently spoken of dictating a peace at Quebec or Halifax. He had, after the withdrawal of the Orders in Council, insisted that the matter of impressment alone was sufficient reason for war. He had pledged the honor of the country for the maintenance of the cause of "Free Trade and Seamen's Rights." Now to make a peace which was not only not dictated at Quebec or Halifax, but looked rather like a generous concession on the part of a victorious enemy; to make peace while disgraceful defeats of the American arms, among them the capture of the seat of government and the burning of the Capitol, were still unavenged, and while, after some brilliant exploits, the American navy was virtually shut up in American harbors by British blockading squadrons; a peace based upon the status ante bellum, without even an allusion to the things that had been fought for, — in one word, a peace, which, whatever its merits and advantages, was certainly not a glorious peace, — this could not but be an almost unendurable thought to the man who, above all things, wanted to be proud of his country.

It is, therefore, not surprising that, during these five weary months of negotiation, Clay should have been constantly tormented by the perhaps half-unconscious desire to secure to his country another chance to retrieve its fortunes and restore its glory on the field of war, and, to that end, to break off negotiations on some point that would rouse and rally the American people. Thus we find that, according to Adams, on October 31, when complaint was made of the delays of the British government in furnishing passports for vessels to carry the despatches of the American commissioners, "Mr. Clay was for making a strong remonstrance on the subject, and for breaking off the negotiation upon that point, if they did not give us satisfaction." A passport arrived the same day, rendering the remonstrance unnecessary. When the negotiation had gone on for three months and it was perfectly well understood that the British would not listen at all to any proposition concerning impressment, Clay, who alone had pressed this subject, was again "so urgent to present an article" on impressment that Mr. Adams "acquiesced in his wishes;" the article was presented and rejected by the British at once. Less than two weeks before the final agreement, discussing the question of the fisheries and the navigation of the Mississippi in the commission, Clay broke out, saying, "he was for a war three years longer; he had no doubt three years more of war would make us a warlike people, and that then we should come out of the war with honor, — whereas at present, even upon the best terms we could possibly obtain, we shall have only a half-formed army, and half retrieve our military reputation." His agony grew as an agreement was approached, and culminated two days before the treaty was signed, when the British note on the fisheries and the navigation of the Mississippi had been received, which seemed to make the conclusion of the peace certain. "Mr. Clay came to my chamber" (writes Mr. Adams), "and on reading the British note manifested some chagrin. He still talked of breaking off the negotiation, but he did not exactly disclose the motive of his ill-humor, which was, however easily seen through. In the evening we met, and Mr. Clay continued in his discontented humor. He was for taking time to deliberate upon the British note. He was for meeting about it to-morrow morning. He was sounding all round for support in making another stand of resistance at this stage of the business. At last he turned to me and asked me whether I would not join him now and break off the negotiation. I told him, No, there was nothing now to break off on."

Only then he gave it up, and with a heavy heart he consented to sign the treaty of peace. The treaty provided that hostilities should cease immediately upon its ratification. It further stipulated for a mutual restoration of territory (except some small disputed islands), of property, archives, etc.; a mutual restoration of prisoners of war; a commission to settle boundary questions, those questions, if the commission should disagree, to be submitted to some friendly government for arbitration; cessation of Indian hostilities, each party to restore the Indians with whom they were still at war to all possessions and rights they enjoyed in 1811; compensation for slaves abducted by British forces; a promise by both governments to promote the entire abolition of the slave-trade; but not a word to indicate what the British and the Americans had been fighting about.

Thus ended the war of 1812, on paper; in reality, it went on until the news of the peace arrived in America. It stands as one of the most singular wars in history. It was begun on account of outrages committed upon the maritime commerce of the United States; but those parts of the country which had least to do with that maritime commerce, the South and West, were most in favor of the war, while those whose fortunes were on the sea most earnestly opposed it. Considering that the conduct of Napoleon toward the United States had been in some respects more outrageous, certainly more perfidious and insulting, than the conduct of Great Britain, it might be questioned whether the war was not waged against the wrong party. As a matter of fact the Orders in Council furnished the principal cause of the war. That principal cause happened to disappear at the same time that the war was declared. Hostilities were continued on a secondary issue. But when peace was made, neither the one nor the other was by so much as a single word alluded to in the treaty. To cap the climax, the principal battle of the war, the battle of New Orleans, was fought after the peace had been signed, but before it had become known in America. It is questionable whether such a peace would have been signed at all, had that battle happened at an earlier period. While the peace, as to the United States, was not one which a victorious power would make, the closing triumph in America had given to the American arms a prestige they had never possessed before.

Neither was the reception the treaty met with in accord with the fears of the American, or the hopes of the British commissioners. While the leading statesmen of England congratulated one another, as Lord Castlereagh, writing from Vienna, expressed it in a letter to Lord Liverpool, upon being "released from the millstone of an American war," the war party in England, who wanted to "punish" the impudence of the United States, were deeply mortified. They would not admit that the peace on the British side was an "honorable" one, since England had failed to "force her principles on America," and had retired from the contest with some defeats unavenged. In the United States, on the other hand, where some of the American envoys, especially Clay, had feared their work would find very little favor, the news of peace was received with transports of joy. To the American people it came after the victory of New Orleans; and their national pride, relieved of the terrible anxieties of the last two years, and elated at the great closing triumph on the field of battle, which seemed to wipe out all the shame of previous defeats, was content not to look too closely at the articles of the treaty. Indeed, the American commissioners received, for what they had done, the praise of all their fellow-citizens who were unbiased by party feeling, — praise, which, taking into account the perplexities of their situation, they well deserved. With no decisive victories on their side to boast of, with no well-organized armies to support their pretensions, with no national ships on the high seas, with the capture of Washington, the burning of the Capitol, and the hurried flight of the President still a favorite theme of jest at the dinner-tables and in the clubs all over Europe, they had to confront the representatives of the haughtiest, and, in some respects, the strongest power on earth. If it was true that they had not succeeded in forcing the British formally to renounce the right of impressment and to accept just principles of blockade and of neutral rights, it was also true that the British had begun the negotiation with extravagant, humiliating, peremptory demands, presenting them in the most overbearing manner as sine qua non; that they had found themselves obliged to drop these one after another; that in the discussion about the fisheries and the navigation of the Mississippi, they had been dislodged from position after position, until finally they accepted a treaty which stood in strange contrast to their original attitude. The American commissioners had the satisfaction of hearing the Marquis of Wellesley declare in the House of Lords, that "in his opinion they had shown a most astonishing superiority over the British during the whole of the correspondence."

However reluctantly Clay had signed the peace, his proud patriotic heart became reconciled to it as the general effects of all that had been done disclosed themselves. These effects were indeed very great, and he had reason to be satisfied with them. The question has been much discussed, whether there was any statesmanship, any good sense, in making the war of 1812 at all. It is true that it was resolved upon without preparation, and that it was wretchedly managed. But if war is ever justified, there was ample provocation for it. The legitimate interests of the United States had been trampled upon by the belligerent powers, as if entitled to no respect. The American flag had been treated with a contempt scarcely conceivable now. The question was whether the American people should permit themselves not only to be robbed, and maltreated, and insulted, but also to be despised, — all this for the privilege of picking up the poor crumbs of trade which the great powers of Europe would still let them have. When a nation knowingly and willingly accepts the contempt of others, it is in danger of losing also its respect for itself. Against this the national pride of Young America rose in revolt. When insulted too grievously, it felt an irresistible impulse to strike. It struck wildly, to be sure, and received ugly blows in return. But it proved, after all, that this young democracy could not be trampled upon with impunity, that it felt an insult as keenly as older nations, and that it was capable of risking a fight with the most formidable power on earth in resenting it. It proved, too, that this most formidable power might find in the young democracy a very uncomfortable antagonist.

If the warlike impulse in this case was mere sentiment, as has been said, it was a statesmanlike sentiment. For the war of 1812, with all the losses in blood and treasure entailed by it, and inspite of the peace which ignored the declared causes of the war, transformed the American Republic in the estimation of the world from a feeble experimental curiosity into a power, a real power, full of brains, and with visible claws and teeth. It made the American people, who had so far consisted of the peoples of so many little commonwealths, not seldom wondering whether they could profitably stay long together, a consciously united nation, with a common country, a great country, worth fighting for; and a common national destiny, nobody could say how great; and a common national pride, at that time filling every American heart brimful. The war had encountered the first practical disunion movement, and killed it by exposing it to the execration of the true American feeling; killed it so dead, at least on its field of action, in New England, that a similar aspiration has never arisen there again. The war put an end to the last remnant of colonial feeling; for from that time forward there was no longer any French party or any English party in the United States; it was thenceforth all American as against the world. A war that had such results was not fought in vain.

Clay might, therefore, well say, as he did say a year later in a debate in the House of Representatives: —

"I gave a vote for the declaration of war. I exerted all the little influence and talent I could command to make the war. The war was made. It is terminated. And I declare, with perfect sincerity, if it had been permitted to me to lift the veil of futurity, and to foresee the precise series of events which has occurred, my vote would have been unchanged. We had been insulted, and outraged, and spoliated upon by almost all Europe, — by Great Britain, by France, Spain, Denmark, Naples, and, to cap the climax, by the little contemptible power of Algiers. We had submitted too long and too much. We had become the scorn of foreign powers, and the derision of our own citizens. What have we gained by the war? Let any man look at the degraded condition of this country before the war, the scorn of the universe, the contempt of ourselves; and tell me if we have gained nothing by the war? What is our situation now? Respectability and character abroad, security and confidence at home."

All this was true; but he was very far from foreseeing such happy results at the time when he put his name to the treaty of peace. To him it seemed then a "damned bad treaty," and his mind was restless with dark forebodings as to its effect upon the character of his country and his own standing as a public man.

But the sojourn in Ghent was after all by no means all gloom to his buoyant nature. He had found things to enjoy. The American commissioners were most hospitably received by the authorities and the polite burghers of Ghent. Public and private entertainments in their honor crowded one another, and they enjoyed them. Even Mr. Adams enjoyed them, he, however, not without characteristic remorse, for thus he castigates himself in his Diary: "There are several particulars in my present mode of life in which there is too much relaxation of self-discipline. I have this month frequented too much the theatre and other public amusements; indulged too much conviviality, and taken too little exercise. The consequence is that I am growing corpulent, and that industry becomes irksome to me. May I be cautious not to fall into any habit of indolence or dissipation!" Clay's temperament, no doubt, enabled him to bear such pleasures with more fortitude and less apprehension of dire consequences. There was no twinge of self-reproach in his mind, and later in life he often spoke of the days of Ghent with great satisfaction. He would certainly have enjoyed them still more, had he at the time looked farther into the future.

The diplomatic business at Ghent completed, Clay, in conjunction with Adams and Gallatin, was instructed to go to London for the purpose of negotiating a treaty of commerce. He did not, however, make haste to present himself in England, for there was still a feeling weighing upon his mind, as if, after the many defeats in America and the to him unsatisfactory peace, he would not like to be in the land of a triumphant enemy. So he lingered in Paris. But as soon as he heard of the battle of New Orleans, he was ready to start. "Now," said he to the bearer of the news, "now I can go to England without mortification." While in Paris he was introduced to the polite society of the French capital. A clever saying is reported of him in a conversation with Madame de Staël: "I have been in England," said she, "and have been battling for your cause there. They were so much enraged against you that at one time they thought seriously of sending the Duke of Wellington to lead their armies against you." "I am very sorry," replied Mr. Clay, "that they did not send the duke." "And why?" "Because if he had beaten us, we should but have been in the condition of Europe, without disgrace. But if we had been so fortunate as to defeat him, we should have greatly added to the renown of our arms."

He arrived in London in March and went to work with Gallatin to open the negotiation intrusted to them. Mr. Adams did not follow them until May. They met again, as British commissioners, Goulburn and Dr. Adams. Mr. Robinson, afterwards Lord Goderich and Earl Ripon, then Vice-President of the Board of Trade, were substituted for Lord Gambler. The negotiation lasted three months; it was friendly in character, but resulted in very little. The British government declined to open the questions of impressment, blockade, trade with enemies colonies in time of war, West Indian and Canadian trade; nothing of value was obtained save some advantages in the commerce with the East Indies, and a provision abolishing discriminating duties.

Clay arrived in the United States again in September, 1815, and was duly received and feasted by his friends and admirers. The people of the Lexington district in Kentucky had in the mean time reëlected him to the national House of Representatives.