On June 21 1812, there is a further flood of letters exchanged between Augustus Foster, the British Minister in America, and Secretary of State James Monroe. Foster had been told by Monroe about the declaration of war earlier but it on the 21st that he receives official notification of war with the receipt of President Madison's Proclamation. In his letter of today, Monroe adds: "In announcing to you this event which terminates your official relations with this Government, I will not withhold the expression of the respect and good wishes which you have personally inspired, and which are still extended to you." Foster is being told nicely that he must leave. Foster is already making arrangements to depart but he is anxious to reach an agreement to allow the exchange of mail to continue between the two countries. Monroe advises him that this issue is before Congress. Foster is also concerned that the British ship arriving with the two survivors of the Chesapeake will not be fired on. He also wants to ensure that this does not happen to the ship he will need to depart. The various letters are produced below.
Mr Monroe to Mr. Foster
Department of State,
June 2lst, 1812
Sir,I Have the honour to communicate to you a proclamation*.of the President, making known the existence of a state of war between the United States and Great Britain.
In announcing to you this event which terminates your official relations with this Government, I will not withhold the expression of the respect and good wishes which you have personally inspired, and which are still extended to you.
I have the honour to be, &.
[Enclosure] By the President of the United States of America,
Whereas the Congress of the United States, by virtue of tl\e constituted authority vested in them, 'have declared by their act, bearing date the 18th day of the present month, that war exists between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and the dependencies thereof, and the United States of America, and their territories; now, therefore, I, Jarrtes Madison, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the same to all whom it may concern: and I do specially enjoin on all persons holding offices, civil or military, under the authority of the United States, that they be vigilant and zealous, in discharging the duties respectively incident thereto; and! do moreover exhort all the good people of the United States, as they love their country; as they value the precious heritage derived from the virtue and valour of their fathers; as they feel the -wrongs which have forced on them the last resort of injured nations; and as they consult the best means, under the blessing of Divine-Providence, of abridging its calamities; that they exert themselves in preserving order, in promoting concord, in maintaining the authority and the efficacy of the laws, and in supporting and invigorating all the measures which may be adopted by the constituted authorities, for obtaining a speedy., a just, and an honourable peace.
In testimony whereof, I have .hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of.the United States to be affixed.to these presents.
Mr. Foster to Mr. Monroe
June 21 1812.
Sir, I Have had the honour-to receive your letter of this day, in which you transmit to-me enclosed, a copy of the President's proclamation, declaring a state of war to exist between the United States and Great Britain, and intimate to me, the consequent cessation of my diplomatic functions near the United States.
While I beg leave to assure you, that I am duly sensible to the flattering (expressions in your letter, in allusion personally to myself, permit me, Sir, to regret the occasion which has produced them.
I request that you will have the goodness to furnish me with the necessary passports, to enable me to proceed on my way to New York, to embark for England. I mean to set out on Tuesday, the 23d instant; you will much oblige me by sending them to me to-morrow.
Mr. Baker, His Majesty's Secretary of Legation, will remain behind, to see that the agreement relative to the restoration of the surviving seamen belonging to the Chesapeake, shall be carried into full effect, and to wind up the affairs of the mission; and I propose leaving my steward and one or two more of my domesties, for the purpose of attending to my individual concerns, all of whom I have perfect confidence will be considered under the protection of the laws of nations.
I have the honour to be, &c.
Mr. Foster to Mr. Monroe
Washington, June 20th, 1812.
Sir, I Had the honour, yesterday, to acquaint you, verbally, with the circumstance of His Majesty's schooner Bramble, being on her way to Boston, with the two surviving seamen belonging to the Chesapeake frigate, who, it ivas stipulated, should be returned to that ship. I have reason to believe, that she will touch at New York, on her way to Boston, to communicate with me; and I have therefore to request of you to take the President's pleasure, as to whether she will be admitted to enter at those ports, and suffered to depart unmolested.
I should likewise be obliged to you, if you would inform me, whether His Majesty's packet boat, being a vessel conveying dispatches, and which is daily expected, will be admitted into New York, and allowed to depart , unmolested, as it is probable I shall take my passage in the packet, unless a ship of war should be sent for me from Halifax. I should be much obliged to--you for an early official assurance upon this subject.
I should also be obliged to you to inform me, whether, in consideration of the mutual advantage to be derived therefrom, to the mercantile part of the community in both countries, the packets will in future be allowed to pass freely by the American Government.
I have.the honour to be, &c.
Mr. Monroe to Mr. Foster
Department of State
June 21, 1812.
Sir, I Have had the honour-to receive your letter of the 20th instant. Orders be given to the Collectors of the ports of. New York and Boston, and to the Commanders of the public armed vessels of the United States, to admit His Britanic Majesty's schooner the Bramble, into either of those ports: with the surviving seamen who were taken from the Chesapeake, and to suffer her to depart without molestation. Similar orders will be given in favour of the British packet boat, which you intimate may be soon expected at the port of New York.
At this time no arrangement can be made for a regular communication between the two countries by packets. It will be sufficient to state, that whenever a packet arrives with a flag of truce from your Government, it will be permitted to enter and retire, observing always the regulations applicable to such cases.
I have the honour to transmit to you a passport for the person to whom you propose to commit your dispatches for your Government.
I have the honour to be, &c.
Mr. Foster to Mr. Monroe
June 21, I8 12.
Sir, I have had the honour to receive your letter of this day's date.
Not having a clear and distinct conception of the footing on which His Majesty's packet boats would be, should they in future enter the harbour of New York with a flag of truce; permit me; to ask you, whether by your expression, of observing always the regulations applicable to such cases," I am to understand that the letters which may be brought by the packets are to be delivered to an American officer, or if they may not be, as usual, received from the Captain of the packet, by the agent for packet boats at New York.
The accommodation, as I conceive, must be mutual to both nations, if the agent were to be allowed to continue receiving the mail as usual, but I fear that any other arrangement would render it impracticable to continue the intercourse.
I beg to observe, that in the case of the war declared by Sweden against Great Britain, the communication by packet boats was not interrupted, as being convenient to individuals in both countries; and it would certainly seem -to be much more a matter of convenience to the subjects and citizens of two countries, whose commercial relations have been so long and so intimately connected.
Allow me to request from you, Sir, an early reply on this point, as my departure will be so immediate.
I have now to ask, whether a schooner, as it appears, named, the Whiting, in the service of His Majesty, which is said in the public papers to be on her way here with dispatches to me, and a King's messenger on board, will be allowed to enter the port of the United States to which she may be bound.
As it is possible that the Bramble schooner may not be the vessel which will convey to Boston the two men to be restored to the Chesapeake, but some other may be dispatched by the Admiral in lieu of her, I trust this will make no difference in the permission to enter the American port.
I have the houour-to be, &c.
A. J. FOSTER.