The Marquis of Lansdowne
, in pursuance of the notice he had given at an early period of the session, and since postponed, now felt it his duty to call their lordships' attention to the transactions which had taken place on the occupation of the Floridas by the American forces; and with a view to that object, he intended to move for copies of 288 the communications which passed between his Majesty's government and the government of the United States, with respect to the invasion of the Floridas, and more particularly the trial and execution of British subjects by the general commanding the troops of the United States. It was unnecessary for him, after what had passed at the beginning of the session, to enter into any explanation as to the motives which induced him to delay bringing forward this subject to so late a period. That explanation relative to the transactions between this country and the United States which the noble earl opposite had promised to give, had in the first instance induced him to abstain from pressing the consideration of the subject; but any silence which had taken place 'either on his part, or on that of parliament, could not be construed into a disposition to acquiesce in what appeared to be a departure from the law of nations, and the introduction into warfare of a barbarous practice, subversive of the principles of humanity, by which civilized states were governed. He was most unwilling to cast any reproach whatever on the government of the United States for the occurrence of the transaction, which he could not but characterize as one of the most atrocious that could be committed. He was far from attributing to that government any disposition to encourage or countenance that act. He had too high a respect for the character of the distinguished individual who filled the first office in the government of the United States, to believe that he, or any one connected with him in that government, would approve of the proceedings of general Jackson, In moving, therefore, for the correspondence which had passed between the United States and the Prince Regent's government, he was in hopes to find that proper explanations had been given.—He should now briefly state the origin of the transaction to which his motion referred. In the winter of 1817, in consequence of disputes which had arisen between the United States and the Seminole Indians, a war was commenced by the latter, who were charged with the commission of most flagitious outrages on the citizens of the United States. General Jackson, who was intrusted with the direction of the military operations against the Seminoles, thought fit to carry the war into the neutral territory of Spain, under the pretext that the Indians might make themselves 289 masters of the forts, as the Spanish force was unable to resist them. How far this ground for the invasion of a neutral state was justifiable, it was not his present purpose to inquire, though it would be impossible for him not to call their lordships' attention before he sat down to the final cession of the Floridas by Spain. The invasion at the time it occurred, however, was, he admitted, a question solely between Spain and the United States. The circumstance to which he wished particularly to call their lordships' attention was, as he had already said, the trial and execution of two British subjects under the authority of the American commander, He thought the invasion of the Spanish territory was in itself an act of violence; and he believed it would be felt by all the world, that if state necessity was made the ground of so extraordinary a measure, those who had the conduct of the operation ought to be careful to avoid every unnecessary act of inhumanity. For instance, when Copenhagen was, under the pretext of state necessity, taken possession of by our government, it would have been an act of great aggravation, had the British general, intrusted with the command of the expedition, proceeded to try and condemn to death the subjects of neutral powers found in the Danish capital. General Jackson was, however, no sooner in possession of the Spanish territory than he proceeded to bring British subjects before courts-martial, and try and condemn them to death for pretended offences against the United States. There was some difference in the situation of the two individuals who had undergone this melancholy fate. Ambrister, it appeared, had undoubtedly borne arms against the United States; and he was not prepared to say, that there did not exist a right, according to the laws of war, in the commander of an army to refuse to regard the subjects of a neutral state taken with arms in their hands as regular prisoners of war. This might lead to a denial of quarter; but it was a most unjustifiable extension of the principle when it was applied to the case of Ambrister, who was not taken in arms. The principle was in itself one of great cruelty, and it never could be the interest of any nation to apply it in a way which would establish a practice so repugnant to all the feelings of humanity. Ambrister was only proved to have borne arms in opposition to the invasion of the Floridas, but was not found 290 under arms. These circumstances he stated from the published account of the court-martial. With respect to Arbuthnot, the facts were materially different. Neither in the evidence produced, nor in the finding of the court-martial, was it pretended that Arbuthnot was found bearing arms, either at the time of the invasion, or in Fort St. Marks, in which he was taken. There was no proof of any connection between him and the Indian chiefs, except a letter which was spoken to by one witness; and nothing to make out the charge of his having instigated the Indians to hostility. It appeared that he had supplied the Indians with articles of merchandize, among which were some small quantities of lead and powder. This was a kind of transaction very common in war, and the property of the neutral merchant, when taken, had generally been held to be forfeited; but in no case was it ever before heard of, that he should be condemned to pay also the penalty of his life. But it was not only the sentence of the court-martial which was in this case calculated to excite indignation, the subsequent conduct of the American general was still more revolting. One prisoner was condemned to death; the other to the punishment of a severe imprisonment. General Jackson took upon himself, not the right of mitigating the sentence, but of aggravating it. He ordered the punishment of death to be inflicted upon Ambrister, who had been condemned by the court-martial to imprisonment only. Could these transactions be justified on any principle of the law of nations, or in any way by the plea of necessity, which had alone led to the invasion of Florida by the American army? But suppose that general Jackson was authorised in proceeding with severity against Ambrister and Arbuthnot, he ought to have felt that, from the analogy of punishments enacted by the laws of the United States, he could not inflict on these men the penalty of death, and that they could, in fact, be liable to nothing more than fine and imprisonment. The noble marquis referred their lordships to an act of the United States, a clause of which he read, by which citizens carrying en correspondence with a foreign power at war, or acting as commissioners or agents for such power, were liable, on conviction, to the penalty of 1,000 dollars, and one month's imprisonment. Thus it appeared, that citizens of the United States, guilty of 291 the same offence as that with which Arbuthnot was charged, with the aggravation of violating their allegiance to their own government, could only be fined and imprisoned; and yet, with this act of the Congress staring him in the face, general Jackson had taken upon himself to sentence a British subject to death. He did more; after the sentence was passed, he proceeded to carry it into execution, in defiance of one of the articles of the American military code, which provides that no sentence of a court-martial affecting the life of an individual shall be carried into effect until it has been communicated to and approved by the president of the United States. To demand an explanation of such a transaction was a duty incumbent on this government; but its disavowal was not so much called for by the honour of this country as by that of the United States. That it was disapproved by that government was a hope which he cherished in common with those friends of humanity who looked to the American States as the means of diffusing over that part of the world the spirit of freedom and love of justice which they inherited from their ancestors, of planting in that continent all that was most noble in this. But how could such a hope be entertained, if this atrocious transaction should finally prove to be sanctioned by the government of the United States? He should not trouble their lordships further on this subject; but it was impossible for him not to advert to that event which had so materially changed the situation of this country with respect to its colonial power in the West Indies. He meant the cession of the Floridas. He could state without fear of contradiction in that House or elsewhere, that no colonial cession so materially affecting the interests of this country had ever before taken place. It was his anxious wish, and, he believed, that of all the country, that the peace now enjoyed should be of long duration; but neither their lordships nor those who administered the government were justified in overlooking the prospect of a renewal of hostilities at some period or other. Should a war take place the relative situation of this country would be essentially changed. He could without the slightest hesitation assert, that the acquisition of the Floridas would place a great part of the commerce of this country with the West Indies at the mercy of the United States. In the case of hostilities, our homeward-bound fleet 292 could not pass the Gulf of Florida without the greater part becoming the prey of gun boats and small privateers of every description. Another injurious consequence to this country was, that the possession of Florida gave the United States a commanding influence over the present black governments, or any which might hereafter be formed in the West Indies. He was for from supposing that the noble lords opposite were insensible to the importance of this cession, but the event was strangely inconsistent with the commanding influence which it was supposed British councils had obtained by the late adjustment of the affairs of Europe. That settlement had often been the subject of congratulation on the other side; but with all the titles which it gave this government to influence, it was extraordinary that a transaction so inimical to our interests should be the act of the country which, owed us the greatest obligations. How did it happen that ministers had been unable to prevent this cession? Why was such an event not guarded against by the treaties concluded at the peace? This neglect was the more remarkable, when it was considered that at the peace of Utrecht—a peace concluded by persons not much complimented for attention to the general interests of the country—it was provided by a specific article, that Spain should not cede any of her colonies to another power. Any one would think it impossible that such a security should not have been asked at the congress of Vienna; and yet from the treaties it appeared that nothing had been done there in the way of security, no provision introduced to guard against so momentous an occurrence as the aggrandizement of another power, in such a way as to completely subvert our influence in the West Indies. It had been stated, he understood, by high authority in another place, by the secretary of state for the foreign department, that the silence of the treaty of Vienna respecting the cession of the Spanish colonies was unimportant. When asked why no provision to guard against such cessions had been introduced the noble lord answered, that although the treaty of Utrecht was not referred to, the omission was unimportant as the treaty of Seville, signed in 1729, and which remained in force, confirmed the provision in the treaty of Utrecht. Thus it was asserted that complete security was obtained; but ought it not to have occur- 293 red to the noble lord, that with regard to that part of the American continent the cession of which was most dangerous to us, this security could by no means apply? Florida at the time of the treaty of Seville, having been ceded to this country it was quite impossible that treaty could confirm the article of the peace of Utrecht, so as to prevent the late cession to the United States. But, independently of any renewal which might have been expected of the article contained in the treaty of Utrecht, it was surely not too much for this country to expect, from Spain and from the influence the government was said to have obtained in the councils of Europe, that ministers should nave been able to avert an occurrence, the prevention of which was so important to our interests. He had thought it his duty to call their lordships attention to this subject, but it was not his intention to move for any papers relative to the cession of the Floridas. On the other point, however, he was desirous of obtaining official information, in the hope of preventing the recurrence of transactions of a nature so violent and unjustifiable, and which tended to establish principles which, if if admitted, would produce, a change in the law of nations most unfavourable to humanity. He concluded with moving an address to the Prince Regent, for copies of all communications between the government of the United States and his majesty's government, relative to the proceedings which took place on the invasion of the Floridas by the troops of the United States in 1818, and more particularly with reference to the trial condemnation, and execution of two British subjects by order of general Jackson.
§ Earl Bathurst
said, he would not follow the noble marquis through all the particulars into which he had entered regarding the cession of Florida to the United States. He was certainly the less called upon to reply to the noble marquis on that point, as the papers for which he had thought fit to move contained no allusion whatever to it. He could not, however, refrain from noticing the notion of the noble marquis, that to prevent the cession of the Floridas was a duty to be expected from his majesty's ministers. He would not go the length of saying, that cases might not occur in which it would be proper for one government to oppose cessions by another: but how dangerous would it be to establish it as a principle, 294 that no state could make a cession to another without becoming responsible to this country. Nothing could be more inimical to the preservation of peace than to lay it down as a principle, that the ministers of this government should go about from court to court with the pretension of dictating or regulating all the arrangements that might be allowed to take place between our country and another. With regard to what had been said on the subject of the treaty of Utrecht, he should only remark, that at the time that treaty was concluded the Floridas were not in the possession of Spain. Leaving with this remark the subject of the cession of Florida, he should proceed to make a few observations on what had fallen from the noble marquis in support of the main object he had in view. The noble marquis had misunderstood what his noble friend had stated at the commencement of the session. He did not say he would take an opportunity of re-stating all that had passed in the communications with the government of the United States. What he said was, that he would take an opportunity of stating the general principles which had guided his majesty's government in their communications with respect to the transaction to which the noble marquis's notice referred. Their lordships were doubtless aware that what had passed in the communications between the two governments on this subject was matter of great delicacy; and he was confident that their lordships would not think fit to call for a disclosure, unless they should be of opinion that the case was such as required this country to demand from the United States reparation by the punishment of the individual who had committed the offence. Now it appeared to him that there was not sufficient ground to induce their lordships to adopt this opinion. It was true that two British subjects had in the course of military operations been taken on a neutral territory by the American troops, and tried and executed; but it was well known, not only that this act of violence and cruelty was not done by the order of the American government, but that it had been committed without any knowledge or participation whatever of that government. The act which had been committed formed, indeed, a charge brought on the part of the American government against their general: what might be the result of that charge, it was not necessary to inquire: all that their 295 lordships were called upon to consider was, whether the case was one for which retribution ought to be demanded. Now, their lordships could not fail to recollect, that the occasion which justified a demand of reparation ought to be one which rendered the right and the policy of such a course of proceeding unquestionable. If reparation were once asked, it became necessary to enforce it at all hazards. The demand once made, it must be supported to the utmost extremity. But before such a course was taken, their lordships would doubtless pause, and ask, whether the case was one which would justify the involving the two countries in war. Above all, their lordships would doubtless feel that this was, of all others, a most unfit time to embark this country in a dispute for the protection of British subjects who might engage without the consent of their government in the service of states at war with each other, but at peace with us. Any British subject who engaged in such foreign service without permission, forfeited, he conceived, the protection of his country, and became liable to military punishment, if the party by whom he was taken chose to carry the rights of war to that cruel severity. This was a principle admitted by the law of nations, and which in the policy of nations had been frequently adopted. It was obvious, therefore, that if it were to be maintained that this country should hold out protection to every adventurer who entered into foreign service, the assertion of such a principle would involve us in interminable warfare. With respect to Ambrister, it became a question from what appeared in evidence, whether he was not a person engaged in foreign service without the consent of his government; and whether, having thereby forfeited the protection of his own country, he could only claim that of the power which he served. That he had not received the permission of this government was certain; and however cruel and atrocious the conduct of those who condemned him might be, the whole merits of the case depended on his having borne arms against the United States. Of Ambrister he had no previous knowledge whatever; and the only knowledge he had of Arbuthnot was from his name appearing to a despatch of the Indian chiefs; but it appeared merely as testifying the accuracy of the translation. The application for arms, which was the subject of this despatch, was made to the governor of the 296 Bahama islands, who very properly re fused to supply any assistance whatever, observing, that the application ought to be addressed to his majesty's government. Whether or not he had acted so as to forfeit the protection of this country, depended on the nature of the transactions in which he had been engaged, and the proof of the facts. In considering this question, it was to be recollected, that he states, in his own correspondence, that he had armed a body of negroes against the United States. If the facts were made out, it would appear that the fate of these unfortunate men formed a question to be settled between the government of the United States and its commander, and not between the two nations. As to the conduct of general Jackson in setting, as the noble marquis bad said, the laws of the United States at defiance, that was an offence for which he was accountable to his own government. Such conduct in a military commander certainty would not be passed over in this country, nor did he suppose in any that pretended to freedom. The case of Arbuthnot was in many respects different from that of Ambrister; but it had been much misunderstood. It appeared that the Indians had applied to the Spanish commander of St. Mark's, and threatened to take forcible possession of the place; and when the fort was taken, Arbuthnot was found with two Indian chiefs among the garrison. In his defence he said he was a British merchant carrying on trade between the Bahama islands and the Indians; and had he done nothing more, had he been engaged in mercantile speculations only, though found in the fort, he would doubtless have been entitled to protection. The circumstance of the kind of trade in which he was engaged could not deprive him of a right enjoyed by British subjects. He would even go farther and say, that however partial the interest which he might have taken in the affairs of the tribes with whom he traded; whatever services he might have done them short of having joined in their wars; however much he might have desired their success, and endeavoured to promote it without identifying himself with their government, he would not have rendered himself liable to the tribunal on whose authority he was condemned, nor have forfeited the protection of that state to which be owed allegiance. But if his trade was merely a secondary consideration—if his cha- 297 racter as a merchant was subordinate to his capacity as a political agent—if he did not content himself with the profits of commerce, but engaged in the transactions of war without consent of his own government, then undoubtedly he forfeited British protection. The noble marquis had gone too far in saying, that there existed no evidence on the trial to convict Arbuthnot of any political connexion with the Indians. Though nothing else existed but his own correspondence, its contents would appear sufficient. The signature of the letters imputed to him he had not disavowed; he did not deny that he wrote them, nor did he give any explanation by which their tendency could be eluded. In them there was an evident reference to his formal appointment by the Indian tribes as their agent. So much did he identify himself with their cause, while he maintained his support of British interests, that he was supposed to be a British agent employed to assist and support them. This was not the case. He was an agent of the Indian tribes for the purpose of making communications between them and the British government, and not of the British government for communicating with the Indian tribes. Nor did he confine himself to this commission. He not only professed to be the channel of communication between the Seminoles and us, but between these tribes and the government of Spain. Here, therefore, not only was British protection renounced but the British character was entirely thrown off. Throughout the wholes of his correspondence he identified himself with the tribes whose cause he had espoused. In his letters were perpetually recurring such phrases as, "we think so and so, we intend so and so, it is our right," &c. These letters he had not disavowed, and therefore they were to be taken as conclusive evidence that he was a political agent of the Indians. There was a communication of his to the governor of the Bahamas, in which he distinctly called himself a political agent of the tribes. Trade formed the least part of his connexion with them, and the capacity of a merchant was that in which he was least known. Under these circumstances, he would ask their lordships, whether Arbuthnot was not to be considered rather as a political agent of the tribes among whom he was found, subject to the responsibility which such a character imposed, than as a Bri- 298 tish merchant trading in a neutral character, and entitled to British protection? It only remained for him to state, that Arbuthnot, considered in the character of an Indian agent, had not suffered otherwise than those with whom he acted. This was a material part of the question. Now it appeared, that two Indian chiefs taken in St. Mark's along with Arbuthnot were executed, and that he was not exposed to greater severity than those with whose cause he identified himself. In offering these observations to the House, he trusted that he should not be considered as defending the conduct of general Jackson, or as approving of the sentence by which our countrymen had suffered. There was not, he believed, an individual among their lordships in the House, there was not a man in the country, there was not a humane or impartial citizen of America, who would not unite in condemning his atrocious and unjustifiable acts. He only begged leave to say, that in the proceedings for which these two British subjects were tried, there were discoverable such grounds of justifying the punishment by which they suffered, as exempted the government of this country from the necessity of embarking in a demand of reparation, which must have led to a war if persisted in, and from which we could not have retreated with honour.
The Marquis of Lansdowne
replied. He was happy to think that the public opinion in America as highly disapproved of the conduct of general Jackson as it did in this country. When he stated his sentiments with respect to that conduct, he had studiously abstained from expressing any opinion regarding reparation. He had not said that the conduct of the individual in question would justify a war. All that he wished was, to obtain any papers containing a disavowal on the part of the American government of the act of their military agent, and an official declaration that no instructions were given him to warrant his proceedings; so that they might never be drawn into a precedent on any future occasion. He could not conceive how the government of the United States for which he entertained the greatest respect, could hesitate to declare, that transactions so objectionable had never met with its concurrence. With the idea, therefore, that such a declaration might easily be obtained, and that such a consequence would result from it, he had submitted his present motion. 299 He would not again enter into the two cases, or the reasons on which the treatment of the unhappy individuals had been defended. He could not help, however, stating a second time, that he did not see how the conduct of Arbuthnot brought him within the range of responsibility to the American general. He was not proved to be engaged in any military transactions. All that was established against him, allowing the fullest credibility to the evidence on which he was convicted, was, that he had allowed himself to become the channel between the Spanish government and the Indians. He was found in the fortress of St. Mark's; he was proved to have traded with the Indians; to have supplied them with articles used in war: he was charged with being their agent, and with negotiating in their behalf; but nothing was alleged to have been done by him in a military capacity; and yet it was only in a military capacity that he could have been condemned by a court martial.—He would now say a few words regarding the cession of the Floridas, on which he had received no satisfactory answer from the noble secretary. The noble earl had said, that the two questions were not necessarily connected, and had therefore declined to give the information which he had expected. The noble marquis was sensible that he might have made a separate motion for papers, and thus have brought the subject before the House in a formal manner; but he thought that he could accomplish the object as well by giving an opportunity of explanation, which might prevent the necessity of a distinct inquiry. The noble earl, however, instead of explaining how far the interference of this government had been exerted to prevent the cession of the Floridas to the United States, had taken the extraordinary course of declaring the principle of interference unjustifiable and mischievous. He had not said that it was ineffectual in this case, but he had laid down a doctrine, by which its application would soon be destroyed in every other. The defence that was formerly set up for not requiring a guarantee from Spain that 6he would not cede any of her colonial possessions to another power, was, not that the principle of establishing such a security was improper, but that it was unnecessary, because the provisions of the treaty of Utrecht, which had been confirmed by the stipulations of the treaty of Seville, were still in force, and 300 formed a sufficient security. He admitted that the treaty of Seville could not afford a sufficient guarantee against the cession of the Floridas, because they did not belong to Spain at the time that was made. Some stipulation therefore, he thought, ought to have been introduced into the treaty of Vienna, to accomplish this object. It had never before been contended, that a security of the kind ought not to exist; and as it did not exist before the congress at Vienna, it ought then to have been established. The doctrine of the noble secretary, that no interference could be justified, would destroy the principle on which the balance of power rested, which it had hitherto been the custom to rely upon as our security. At the congress at Vienna in 1814, a stipulation could have been easily procured from Spain, for whom we had done so much, and would not have been objected to by the other powers of Europe. Our influence was then great, and could have procured this reasonable security.
The Earl of Liverpool
said, that he would not have troubled the House, had he not been so pointedly alluded to by the noble marquis, and had not what he had said on the first day of the session been somewhat mistaken. His noble friend had explained that mistake. He had not said that he would lay papers on the table to explain the transaction; but that he would be ready at a subsequent period of the session to show the principle on which this government had acted. There were two aspects of this question, which were often confounded, and from which great mistakes had arisen—he meant its morality, or rather immorality; and the political ground that it had for demanding reparation. Looking at general Jackson's conduct in the former view, he did not hesitate to say, that it exhibited acts of as violent and as outrageous a nature as could be found in history—acts for which he was responsible to God and his country, and yet, considering the distinction he had made, they might not be of a kind, to justify a demand of reparation from this country. He was free to say, that the British government had not overlooked the acts in question; that they had had various, communications on the subject; and that it was after the most mature deliberation that they had adopted the course which they now followed. When a question arose regarding the act of a foreign state, it was their duty to weigh well the nature of the 301 first step in demanding reparation; a demand once made, if unattended to, must be pursued even to the extremity of a war. The question was, then, did those men suffer so unjustifiable a punishment at the order of the American government, as to render it imperative on us to make it a ground of national interference? He would say, no; and he would defend himself on the following grounds:—If an individual voluntarily embarked in war against any state with which his own government was at peace, he exposed himself to all its dangers and liabilities, without having a right to the protection of his own country. He might bring, as a proof of this, the provisions of a treaty concluded between lord Grenville and Mr. Jay, in 1784; it stipulated, that the subjects of neither state should engage with any power in a war against the other, and that if they did they should be left to the treatment to which the subjects of the third power were liable. This stipulation he had no doubt had a reference to the Indian wars. He did not say that this justified the conduct of general Jackson, as regarding his own country; but it justified us in not demanding reparation. If a volunteer engages in the wars of another state, against the sovereign of a state with which we are at peace, any severity inflicted on him is directed, not against the government to which he owes allegiance, but to that of which he holds the commission. If reparation is demanded, that state may say, "You are our friend, he has become our enemy; he has, therefore, no longer a title to your protection, and in punishing him we offer no indignity to you." Now, however unjustifiable general Jackson's conduct was, Arbuthnot and Ambrister, as being volunteers, and as exposing themselves to danger without any authority from their own government, had no right to appeal to their own nation for protection. The case of Ambrister was indeed allowed to stand on that ground. He was taken aiding the enemy; and though general Jackson's conduct was most atrocious in inflicting upon him a capital punishment, contrary to the sentence of the court-martial, that was an affair merely between the general and his government. The case of Arbuthnot stood on different grounds: he was not taken in arms, but he was proved equally to have aided and assisted the enemy. Would the noble marquis contend, that political and civil servants should be§302 exempted where military agents were punished? The question could only be therefore, "did Arbuthnot assist the Indians?" and on this head he thought no doubt could remain. He had petitioned the British government to be allowed to interfere: he had gone to reside among them when he knew that another British agent had been discouraged, and his services in the cause of the Indians had not been denied. Much evidence he was willing to allow, had been produced in court which did not deserve the least attention; but there was a letter of his which was written with his own hand, and which he had not denied, asking arms and ammunition, expressly for the purposes of the war. He had, therefore, placed himself in the same situation as though he had taken up arms. With regard to the commutation of the sentence on Ambrister, and the infliction of a severer punishment when the court had awarded a minor, it was impossible to speak of it without horror. No general in this country, no officer, however exalted his rank or eminent his services, could have dared to have set aside the judgment of the court, and to have substituted another, without exposing himself to the severest punishment. It was not here a question what might be done in the heat of passion; but when the laws are once appealed to, it has been observed, that the greatest tyrant would be content with its decision. This was all he felt it necessary to say upon the subject. Upon the other subject, touched upon by the noble marquis, he would say a very few words. If by the faith of treaties Spain was bound to make no cession of the Floridas, it would be inconsistent with every principle of justice and generosity (if justice and generosity were not here the same) in the existing state of that monarchy, to call upon Spain to exercise such a guarantee, unless we were prepared to make common cause with her in resisting the cession. To call upon a country not to give up what it was for her interest to cede, but what it was much against our interest she should surrender, was a principle than which nothing could be more ungenerous, more unfit, or more improper. What consequences this cession might have on the fate and destinies of the new nations, it would be out of place here to inquire. As far as the interests of Great Britain were concerned, this was not a case in which this country could be justified in interfering.—The motion was negatived.