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THE CANADIAN HISTORICAL REVIEW American Iay'sTreaty: A Study inCommerce andDiplomacy. ByS.F. BEMIS. Newrevised edition.New Havenand London:Yale University Press[Montreal:McGill University Press]. 1962.Pp.xx,526.$7.50. "ax-•T M•. IAY'S amv. A• wasa badone," wroteHenryAdams, "fewpersons even thenventured to dispute; noonewouldventure onitsmerits to defend it now." FewAmerican historians havedisputed thisverdict andwhiletheyhavebeenless harsh in theirjudgment thanJay's contemporaries, theyhavebeensevere nevertheless in theircriticism of hiswork.Theyhaveusually argued thathe gaveup toomuch andreceived toolittle,andthatnotreaty would have been preferable to theonehesigned. The standard workonthisvexedandcomplicated subject is S. F. Bemis' ]ay's Treaty andit isa pleasure toseeit reissued fortyyears afteritsfirstappearance. Thegreat merit ofthis book isthescholarship which Professor Bemis has brought to bearupontheperiodandthe generally coolanddispassionate toneof his analysis. Thedifficulties which Jayfaced wereformidable, forbothAmerica's expectations and Britain's circumstances were such thatany negotiation was bound tobedifficult andanysetfiement unsatisfactory toextremists. TheUnited States wanted anadvantageous commercial treaty, thewithdrawal of Britain's garrisons from thenorthwest posts, andthecessation bytheRoyal Navyofitsviolations of whatshe deemed tobeherrights onthehighseas. Britain, because ofherresentmentoverthe Revolution andher obligation to her remaining colonies, was reluctant to open hermarkets freely to American goods. Herbetrayal of the Indians in 1788made herequally reluctant to retirefromtheposts. Andher involvement in thewarswithFrance madeit verynearlyimpossible to retreat from thepositions which she hadtaken regarding maritime rights. Professor Bemis recognizes these difficulties andin hisstudy bothexamines these problems and untangles the threads ofthe negotiations which led toasettlement . Hehas fulland careful chapters studying theissue ofthewestern posts and theefforts toachieve acommercial treaty. Heexamines withclarity theimpact of theFrench Revolutionary wars upon neutral rights onthehighseas andreviews thefrontier crises of 1794withdeliberation andbalance. Andfinally, hestudies with precision thecourse ofthenegotiations culminating in thetreaty. The qualities revealed inthese chapters are, ofcourse, theones wehave come to expect from Professor Bemis. Heisasturdy defender ofAmerican rights and interests and anacknowledged scholar. Butif one cannot quarrel withtheskill withwhich hemarshals hisevidence, one candiffer withtheconclusions atwhich he arrives. Hestresses toostrongly, forexample, theroleoftheMontreal merchants in shaping Britain's decision tocling totheposts. Professor A.L.Butt has shown thatit was nottrade, butthesense ofbetrayal oftheIndians, thatmoved Britain toactasshedid.He istooharsh in hiscondemnation of Britain's shifting views on neutral rights. The Rule of1756, the changing conception ofwhat constituted contraband, thealteration ofblockades, andtheenforcement ofimpressment were damaging tothe United States. They may even have been "violent and arbitrary" changes, as Professor Bemis says. But maritime law isultimately what the great powers say itis. Indeed, the United States insubsequent wars moved away from herearlier views and closer toBritain's. Thetimes make villains ofusall. vagvIv. WS 245 Giventhesecircumstances, then,the final judgmenton Jay is too severe. Professor Bemis does admitthatit wasHamilton wholaiddownthelineforJay to followandsuggests that the treatyshould be namedafterthe formerrather thanthelatter.Buthe does arguethatwith greater skillanddelicacy Jaymight havesecured betterterms.But thiswasmostunlikely.Jay did secure Britain's withdrawal fromtheposts andhedidgeta limitedcommercial treaty.He could nothavebargained for moreandhe mighthavebeengivenless.Greatpowers, whentheyarefighting fortheirsurvival, areneverlikelyto grantgenerous terms tosmall andweakneutrals. Thiswastheproblem thatJayfacedandneither skfil, energy, nordevotion could overcome it. PATRICK C. T. WHITE University ofToronto TheNavyLeague o[ the UnitedStates. By ARMIN RAPPAPOt!T. Detroit:Wayne State University Press [Toronto: Ambassador Books Ltd.].1962.Pp.282.$7.50. THIS WELL-WRITTEN STUDY thoroughly demolishes thecharge, raised byCharles A. Beard andothers, thattheNavyLeague hasbeen apowerful lobby subsidized by armsmanufacturers andshipbuilders eagerfor enhanced profits through naval expansion. Utilizing the archives of the society andextensive research in the pertinent sources, theauthor depicts theLeague aschronically in financial straits, receiving fewcontributions fromwealthy industrialists andmunitions makers, and oftenineffectual in influencing publicopinion. TheAmerican NavyLeague wasfounded in thepattern of thenavalsocieties established in GreatBritainin 1894andonthe continent priorto 1899.A group of civilians, enthusiastic advocates of a "BigNavy,"secured a New Yorkcharter fortheNavyLeague of theUnitedStates in 1902.Awareof waning popular interest afterthe1898war,theNavyDepartment welcomed thecreation of the society asa means toeducate citizens totheneeds anduses ofa powerful navy. Officials of theLeague fromthefirstdefined its function aseducational and propagandistic, andeschewed theroleof a direct congressional lobby. Furthermore , thesociety didnotinterfere in NavyDepartment planning butsought only toarouse popular support foritsrequests. Theearly years oftheNavy League were trying ones, characterized bysmall membership andinadequate funds. By1915,in startling contrast to theGerman Navy League's membership ofover one million andanannual budget ofnearly a quarter ofa million dollars, theAmerican group hadonly7,000members and operated onanannual income of$15,000. American peace societies, backed bythe churches andbytheCarnegie fortune, farsurpassed theoft-damned NavyLeague in members andfunds. Thetwoworldwarsdidstrengthen thesociety, although theall-time highreached in...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1710-1093
Print ISSN
0008-3755
Pages
pp. 244-245
Launched on MUSE
2016-04-06
Open Access
No
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