Page:Henry Adams' History of the United States Vol. 4.djvu/53

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1807.
43
DEMANDS AND DISAVOWALS.

make reparation if such reparation should prove to be due:[1]

"Of the existence of such a disposition on the part of the British government you, sir, cannot be ignorant. I have already assured you of it, though in an unofficial form, by the letter which I addressed to you on the first receipt of the intelligence of this unfortunate transaction; and I may perhaps be permitted to express my surprise, after such an assurance, at the tone of that representation which I have just had the honor to receive from you. But the earnest desire of his Majesty to evince in the most satisfactory manner the principles of justice and moderation by which he is uniformly actuated, has not permitted him to hesitate in commanding me to assure you that his Majesty neither does nor has at any time maintained the pretension of a right to search ships of war in the national service of any State for deserters."

If it should prove that Berkeley's order rested on no other ground than the simple and unqualified pretension to such a right, the King had no difficulty in disavowing it, and would have none in showing his displeasure at it.

Although Monroe thought this reply to be "addressed in rather a harsh tone," as was certainly the case, he considered it intended to concede the essential point, and he decided to say no more without instructions. He might well be satisfied, for Canning's "surprise" was a mild expression of public feeling.

  1. Canning to Monroe, Aug. 3, 1807; American State Papers, iii. 188.