THE CAROLINE AFFAIR AND THE DIPLOMATIC CRISIS BETWEEN BRITAIN AND THE UNITED STATES IN THE PERIOD 1837-1841
Corresponding Author(s) : Nguyen Van Sang
UED Journal of Social Sciences, Humanities and Education,
Vol. 7 No. 5 (2017): UED JOURNAL OF SOCIAL SCIENCES, HUMANITIES AND EDUCATION
The Caroline affair has been one of the historical events of British-American diplomacy since the War of 1812 to the Webster-Ashburton Treaty 1842. The beginning of accident was the destruction of the American Caroline ship by British Army forces in Upper Canada on December 29, 1837. When the incident occurred, Britain’s and the United States’ opinions on this issue was in stark contrast. The differences in opinions were the causes of tensions between the two countries. In the threat of war occurrence, Britain and the United States held talks on the Caroline affair. Caroline's handling of the problem had played a significant role in reducing tensions, paving the way for resolving conflicts in the relationship between the two countries through the Webster-Ashburton treaty in 1842. At the same time, this issue established new principles in international politics. This article is intended to contribute to the history of the Caroline affair, McLeod’s case and the history of British-American relations related to this issue from 1837 to 1841.
 Caroline Steamboat had a rather complicated history. It was a 46 ton, 74 feet steam vessel that was built at Ogdensburg, New York in 1824 and was used until it was burned on December 29th, 1837. See. Caroline (Steamboat), burnt & over the falls, December 29th, 1837, http://images.maritimehistory ofthegreatlakes.ca/47530/data [access date: 16.06.2017].
 See. E. Collins., Jr., M.A. Rogoff, “The Caroline Incident of 1837, the McLeod Affair of 1840-1841, and the Development of International Law”, American Review of Canadian Studies, Vol. XX, I.1, 1990, p. 81.
 The Webster - Ashburton Treaty, also known as the Washington Treaty, were signed on August 9th, 1842 between Daniel Webster representing the United States Government and Lord Ashburton representing the British Government to deal with issues related to border dispute and other issues in the relationship between Britain and the United States. About the history of the Washington Treaty. See more. H.T. Gordon, The Treaty of Washington, Concluded August 9, 1842, by Daniel Webster and Lord Ashburton, Berkeley 1908.
 William Lyon Mackenzie was also known as McKenzie and Mackenzie. He was a businessman, journalist, politician born in Scotland in 1795 and died in 1861 in Toronto, Canada. Mackenzie was the leader of the 1837 uprising in Upper Canada, a member of the Legislative Assembly and the first Mayor of Toronto. He played an important role in the pre-Columbian political life in Canada. See more. William Lyon Mackenzie, http://www.thecana dianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/mackenzie-william-lyon/ [access date: 16.06.2017]; William Lyon Mackenzie, Canadian Journalist and Revolutionary, [in:] Encyclopedia Britannica, https://www.britannica.com/biography/William-Lyon-Mackenzie [access date: 16.06.2017].
 About the cause of the uprising in 1837 see more. R. Collin, S.J. Ronald, The Rebellion of 1837 in Upper Canada, Ottawa, Canada 1988.
 According to Daniel Leab, there are three main causes for Caroline Affair: First, due to a geographic map error, a portion of the border between the United States and Canada under British rule had been still in dispute. Second, the Americans believed that the British would be expelled from North America and Canada would join the Federation of Americas. Third, Canadians were unhappy with the British rule and considered the United States as a source of support for the uprisings. See. D.J. Leab, Encyclopedia of American Recessions and Depressions, Vol. I, Oxford 2014, p. 155.
 When the uprising started, more than 1000 people participated. These people mostly came from northern Toronto, mostly immigrants from the United States. See more. Rebellion in Upper Canada, [in:] The Canadian Encyclopedia, http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/rebellion-in-upper-canada/ [access date: 16.06.2017].
 Interests in Canada were not a new issue, especially territorial issues were always concerned about the UK and the US. At this point, the vigorous development of missionary thinking in the American society was one of the driving forces behind the support of the border residents and the American leadership. See. H. Jones, “The Caroline Affair”, The Historian, Vol XXXVIII, No. 3, 1976, p. 485.
 On December 7th, 1837, Secretary of State John Forsyth sent a letter to the Governors of New York, Vermont and Michigan expressing the President's instructions to respect international obligations and restrain any intervention in the internal affairs of another country to avoid hostility against the United States. See more. Letter of Mr. Forsyth to Governor Marcy, December 7, 1837, H. Ex. Doc. No. 4, 25 th Congress, 2d Session, p. 29-30.
 See. R.Y. Jennings, “The Caroline and McLeod Cases”, The American Journal of International Law, Vol. XXXII, No. 1, 1938, p. 82.
 Mr. Trowbridge wrote, “The loyalists are under arms along the lines and the several ferries guarded. McKenzie and Dr Rolfe the leaders of the patriots are in this city [...]. I feel as though our situation is somewhat critical [...] disturbing the understanding that exists between this Government and that of Britain”. He also presented the situation, pointing out the purpose of Mackenzie and the insurgency in Buffalo. He also suggested that Mr. Fillmore recommend to the President or Minister of War the situation in Buffalo if necessary. See more. Letter of Mr. Trowbridge to Mr Fillmore, December 12, 1837, H. Ex. Doc. No. 4, 25th Congress, 2d Session, p. 30.
 Mr. Trowbridge wrote, “The loyalists are under arms along the lines and the several ferries guarded. McKenzie and Dr Rolfe the leaders of the patriots are in this city [...]. I feel as though our situation is somewhat critical [...] disturbing the understanding that exists between this government and that of Britain”. He also presented the situation, pointing out the purpose of Mackenzie and the insurgency in Buffalo. He also suggested to Mr. Fillmore recommend to the President or Minister of War the situation in Buffalo if necessary. See more. Letter of Mr. Trowbridge to Mr Fillmore, December 12, 1837, H. Ex. Doc. No. 4, 25 th Congress, 2d Session, p. 30.
 The insurgent army chose Navy Island as its headquarters to set up an interim government as it had a very good place to organize, gather forces and prevent attacks from the British. The Navy Island, located on the Niagara River near both Canada and the United States, was very easy to reach in Canada, and it was also easy to call for American assistance along the border. The island had a relatively high elevation of 10 to 20 feet so it was harder to access. A frequent gathering place of outlaws on the uninhabited island was also a concern of the Canadian Government. See. H. Jones, Ibid, p. 488.
 See. British-American Diplomacy: The Caroline Case, http://avalon.law.yale.edu/19th_century/br-1842d. asp#intro [access date: 16.04.2017].
 S.D. Abraham, “On the Necessity of Pre-emption”, European Journal of International Law, Vol. XIV, No. 2, 2003, p. 215.
 J.B. Moore, History and Digest of the International Arbitrations to which the United States has been a party, Vol. III, Washington 1898, p. 2426.
 See. L.P. Rouillard, “The Caroline Case: Anticipatory Self-Defence in Contemporary International Law, Miskolc Journal of International Law, Vol. I, No. 2, 2004, p. 106-107.
 Gilman Appleby's testimony of what happened on board Caroline was later confirmed by Charles F Harding, James H. King, William Seaman, William Kennedy, William Wells, John Leonard Sylvanus Staring and John Haggarty in their testimony. These people admitted that they were on board Caroline at the time and that statements by Gilman Appleby were true. See more. Affidavit of the Commander of the Caroline, December 30, 1837, [in:] British and Foreign State Papers, 1837-1838, Vol. XXVI, London 1855, p. 1373-1375.
 See more. Affidavit of the Commander of the Caroline, December 30, 1837, [in:] British and Foreign State…, p. 1374.
 According to initial testimony of Captain Caroline and his crew, after the attack, only 21 people were found aboard, Amos Durfee was killed, others were wounded, and twelve were missing. These missing persons were believed to have been on board when the Caroline sank at Niagara Falls. However, in reality, only two dead were Amos Durfee killed in the dock with a bullet on his head and a little boy serving chamber known as "Little Billy" was shot while trying to escape from Caroline. Two people were arrested as prisoners. One was a 19-year-old American and one was Canadian. Both were led. Americans paid and returned to the United States, while Canadians later spent time in the defense at Chippewa. See more: Reports of Cases Argued and Determined in the Supreme Court of Judicature and in the Court for Correction of Errors of the State of New York, Ed. by J.L. Wendell, Vol. XXV, New York 1842, p. 485-488.
 See. L.C. Evensen, Martin Van Buren, North Mineapolish 2005, p. 59.
 See. President Martin Van Buren’s Proclamation of Neutrality in the Caroline Affair, January 5, 1838, [in:] Presidential Documents: The Speeches, Proclamations, and Policies that Have Shaped the Nation from Washington to Clinton, Ed. by J.W. Watts, F.L. Israel, New York and London 2000, p. 91-92; See more. Message from the President of the United States to Congress and Correspondence with Great Britain January 1838 relative to the Disturbances on the Canadian Frontier of the United States and the destruction of the Caroline American Steamboat, January 8 1838, [in:] British and Foreign State Papers…, p. 1372-1373.
 See. Letter of Mr. Forsyth to Mr. Fox, January 5, 1838, [in:] Reports of Cases Argued and Determined.…, p. 489-490.
 The advocate of Mr.Fox in the letter to Mr.Forsyth was based on a letter from the Upper Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada, Sir Francis, the report of the investigations and the attachments sent from Upper Canada. See more. Letter of Mr. Fox to Mr. Forsyth, February 6, 1838, [in:] Reports of Cases Argued and Determined..., Ed. J.L. Wendell, Vol. XXV, New York 1842, p. 490-491.
 See more. Letter of Mr. Fox to Mr. Forsyth, February 16, 1838, [in:] Reports of Cases Argued and Determined…, p. 491.
 In a letter to Mr.Lord Palmerston, Mr. Stevenson sent all the documents, evidence and some signs of the anger of the British army stationed in Upper Canada, details related to the destruction, sank the Caroline and continued to issue viewpoint on compensation requirements. Attached documents included: 1. The first communication from the district attorney of the United States to the President, transmitting affidavits in relation to the destruction of the steamboat Caroline; 2. Copy of a letter from her Majesty's minister at Washington, of the 6th of February, to the Secretary of State, transmitting the copy of a communication from the Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada, with divers reports and depositions annexed, in relation to the same; 3. Whole body of evidence of American citizens in relation to the same, taken by officers of the United States, under the direction of the Executive; the originals being on file in this legation. See more. Letter of Mr. Stevenson to Lord Palmerston, May 22, 1838, H.Ex. Doc. No. 183, 25th Congress, 3d Session.
 See. Letter of Lord Palmerston to Mr. Stevenson, June 6, 1838, [in:] Reports of Cases Argued and Determined…, p. 500; Letter of Mr. Stevenson to Mr. Forsyth, July 2, 1839, H.Ex.Doc. No.33, 26th Congress, 2d Session.
 Christie was suspected of being one of the British who participated in the Caroline attack on the night of December 29th, 1837. He was later accused by the United States and detained on August 23rd, 1838. November 6th 1838, the Queen sent a dispatch to Mr. Fox, the British Foreign Secretary in Washington, said that the arrest was not possible because of the fact that the actions Mr Christie allegedly acted on were personal to the superiors. See. L.P. Rouillard, Ibid, p. 109; R.Y. Jennings, Ibid, p. 93.
 Alexander McLeod served in the British Army during the Napoleonic Wars. He went to Upper Canada in the 1920s. Prior to the Caroline case, Mc Leod was assigned to Buffalo, New York to collect information. Here he learned that, on the night of December 29th, 1827, the Caroline would be used to aid the insurgents of William Lyon Mackenzie on the Navy Island. This information was then transferred to Andrew Drew, commander of the Royal Navy. It was a basis for Andrew Drew to carry out the raid and destroy the Caroline, known as the Caroline case. See. Alexander McLeod, [in:] The Canadian Encyclopedia, http://www.biographi.ca /en/bio/mcleod_alexander_10E.html [access date: 12.07.2017].
 See. R. Y. Jennings, Ibid, p. 85.
 See. National Rights and State Rights, A Review of the Case of Alaxander McLeod: Recently determined in the Supreme Court of Judicature of the State of New York, Boston 1841, p. 10.
 See. Letter of Mr. Fox to Mr. Forsyth, December 13, 1840, [in:] Reports of Cases Argued and Determined…, p. 500-501.
 See. Letter of Mr. Forsyth to Mr. Fox, December 26, 1840, Reports of Cases Argued…, p. 501-502.
 Martin Van Buren was the Governor of New York State. In the election campaign, Van Buren wanted to seize significant support from the state of New York. Therefore, building a good relationship between the federation and the state of New York during this time was very necessary. However, he won 1,129,102 votes, while rival William Henry Harrison with 1,275,016 votes, Van Buren even failed in his homeland - New York state. See. L. Pastusiak, William Henry Harrison, [in:] Prezydenci Stanów Zjednoczonych Ameryki, Warsaw 2005, p. 194-195.
 See. Letter of Mr. Fox to Mr. Forsyth, December 29, 1840, [in:] Reports of Cases Argued…, p. 503-505; Letter of Mr. Forsyth to Mr. Fox, December 31, 1840, [in:] Reports of Cases Argued…, p. 505.
 See. Inaugural Address of William Henry Harrison, Thursday, March 4, 1841, http://avalon.law.yale.edu/19th_century/harrison.asp [access date: 12.07.2017].
 See. Letter of Mr. Fox to Mr. Webster, March 12, 1841, [in:] The Works of Daniel Webster, Vol. VI, Boston 1864, p. 247-250.
 Webster asked John Crittenden to meet Governor Seward of New York to find a way to free McLeod, but Seward refused. Webster decided that McLeod's local lawyers could hardly complete the task and put pressure on Crittenden to make sure McLeod had a lawyer. Quickly, a lawyer representing the Supreme, Joshua A. Spencer appeared as McLeod's aspirations. Spencer was known as the US district Attorney. See. A.T. Downey, The Creole Affair: The Slave Rebellion that Led the U.S. and Great Britain, New York and London 2014, p. 61.
 See. Letter of Mr Webster to Mr Crittenden, [in:] British and Foreign State Papers, 1840- 1842, Published by Great Britain Foreign Office, Vol. XXX, No. 2, London 1858, p. 1139-1142.
 Section 10, Article I, of the United States Constitution states: "No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War, Peace in another State, or with a foreign power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay". Under this rule, only the federal government has the power to enter into Treaties or negotiations with foreign countries. This meant that the issue of foreign affairs belonged to the federal authority. See. The World Book Encyclopedia, About America: The Constitution of the United States of America with Explanatory, 2004, p. 24 (English version.
 See. Public Announcement - Death of President Harrison, April 4, 1841, http://www.presidency. ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=67332 [access date: 12.07.2017].
 See. L. Pastusiak, John Tyler, [in:] Prezydenci Stanów Zjednoczonych...., p. 212.
 See. A.T. Downey, Ibid, p. 60.
 See. Letter of Mr. Webster to Mr. Fox, April 24, 1841, The Works of Daniel Webster…, p.1139-1142.
 See more. D. Webster, The Diplomatic and Official Papers of Daniel Webster: While Secretary of State, New York 1848, p. 123-133.
 The trial of McLeod lasted for eight days from October 4th to 11th, 1841. Participants included: 1. The Members of the Court; 2. The Members of the Bar and Reporters; 3. The Prisoner and Constables who attended him; 4. The Jury drawn to try him; 5.The Witnesses who had a seat by themselves; 6. Citizens generally. See more: M.T.C. Gould, The trial of Alexander McLeod for the murder of Amos Durfee, New York 1841.
 Problems in the US and British relations during this period were Oregon boundary, Northeastern in Maine and New Brunswick, Caroline affair, Creole case. These issues were resolved through the negotiation process of Webster - Ashburton Treaty in 1842. On the process of addressing these issues see more: E.D. Adams, “Lord Ashburton and the Treaty of Washington”, The American Historical Review, Vol. XVII, No. 4, July1912, p. 764-782.
 See more. Letter of Mr. Everett to Mr. Webster, December 31, 1841, [in:] Correspondence between Great Britain and the United States relative to the Treaty lately concluded at Washington, 1842-1843, London 1843, p. 15.
 Lord Ashburton had many advantages in taking the mission to Washington. Ashburton had a long time previously living in the United States. He married the daughter of Senator Bingham of Pennsylvan. R. Y. Jennings, Ibid, p. 88.
 Letter of Lord Ashburton to Daniel Webster, January 2, 1842, [in:] Correspondence between Great Britain…, London 1843, p. 252-254.
 See. Letter of Mr. Webster to Mr. Everett, January 29, 1842, [in:] Correspondence between Great Britain..., p. 18-19.
 In this letter, Webster also sent an attachment with the letter that Webster had replied to Mr. Fox on April 24th, 1841 and extracted from the Message of the President to the Congress at the 2nd Session of the 21st Congress. See. Extract from the Message of the President to Congress at the Commencement of the Second Session of the 21th Congress, [in:] The Works of Daniel Webster…, p. 293-294.
 See. Letter of Daniel Webster to Lord Ashburton, July 27, 1842, [in:] The Works of Daniel Webster…, p. 292-293.
 See. Letter of Lord Ashburton to Daniel Webster, July 28, 1842, [in:] The Works of Daniel Webster…, p. 294-301.
 See. Mr. Webster to Lord Ashburton, August 6, 1842, [in:] Message from the President of the United States to the two House of Congress at the Commencement of the Third Session of the 27th Congress, Doc. No.2, Washington 1842, p. 135-136.
 By the end of August 1842, the United States Congress passed a Law establishing the federal jurisdiction for similar cases to McLeod. This event, along with the message of the President of the United States on August 6, 1842, ended with the Caroline affair and McLeod’s case. See. The Writings and Speeches of Daniel Webster, Vol. XI, Ed. by J. M. McIntyre, Boston 1903, p. 295-301.