James Madison Papers
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From James Madison to Congress, 11 June 1812 (Abstract)

§ To Congress

11 June 1812. “I transmit for the information of Congress copies of letters which have passed between the Secretary of State and the Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of Great Britain.”1

RC and enclosures, two copies (DNA: RG 233, President’s Messages, 12A-D1; and DNA: RG 46, Legislative Proceedings, 12A-E2). Each RC 1 p.; in the hand of Edward Coles, signed by JM. For enclosures, see n. 1.

1JM forwarded copies of the following letters and their enclosures: Foster to Monroe, 7 June (4 pp.) and 8 June 1812 (1 p.); and Monroe to Foster, 10 June 1812 (1 p.) (printed in ASP description begins American State Papers: Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States … (38 vols.; Washington, 1832–61). description ends , Foreign Relations, 3:462–64, 464–68). Foster’s 7 June letter complained that, notwithstanding his earlier assurances that British officials in Canada had played no role “in urging the Indian Tribes to the late atrocities committed on the frontiers of the United States, but had even endeavoured … to restrain them as far as lay in their power,” reports to this effect “still continue to be circulated with revived industry” and were even countenanced in an address made by an American state governor. To settle the matter, Foster enclosed copies of a 29 Mar. 1811 letter from Sir James Craig to Lord Liverpool (3 pp.) and Lord Liverpool’s 28 July 1811 reply (1 p.), which had directed British officials in Canada to dissuade the Indians from hostilities. The British minister requested that this material be laid before the president as soon as possible. On 8 June 1812 Foster forwarded some additional papers on this subject, including a copy of a 26 Feb. 1811 instruction to the British deputy superintendent general of Indian affairs that he should forbid his agents to encourage the Indians in “any warlike enterprise” against the U.S.

In his 10 June response Monroe sent Foster extracts from letters written by U.S. officials between 24 May 1807 and 18 Apr. 1812 to demonstrate that whatever might have been the intentions of the British government, the conduct of its “subordinate agents, has tended to excite the hostility of those tribes towards the UStates.” In assessing the conflicting evidence from British and American officials on the subject, Monroe reminded Foster of another communication “lately made to this Govt. respecting the conduct of Sir James Craig in another important transaction, which it appears was approved by Lord Liverpool.” (The reference here was to the mission of John Henry.)

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