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Jackson, Francis James

British minister to the United States, who succeeded David M. Erskine in 1809. An experienced diplomatist, he had lately figured discreditably in the affair of the seizure of the Danish fleet by British men-of-war at Copenhagen. He had become known as “Copenhagen Jackson,” whose conduct did not commend him to the good — will of the people of the United States. The impression was that he had come with explanations of the cause of the rejection of Erskine's arrangement. The Secretary of State, finding he had nothing to offer, addressed Jackson in a letter in which a tone of discontent was conspicuous, declaring the surprise and regret of the President that he had no explanations to offer as to the non-ratification of the Erskine arrangement, or authority to substitute any new arrangement for it. The object of the letter, probably, was to draw out from Jackson an explicit admission, as a basis for an appeal to the nation, that he had no authority to treat except upon the ground of Canning's three conditions— namely, 1. The repealing as to Great Britain, but the keeping in force as to France, and all countries adopting her decrees, so long as these decrees were continued, all American non-importation and non-intercourse acts; 2. The renunciation by the United States, during the present [111] war, of any pretensions to carry on any trade with the colonies of belligerents not allowed in time of peace; and 3. The allowing British ships-of-war to enforce, by capture, the American non-intercourse acts with France and her allies. Jackson declared that the rejection of that part of the arrangement of Erskine relating to the affair of the Chesapeake and Leopard was owing partly to the offensive terms employed in the American note to Erskine concerning it. This note had offended the old monarch, with whom Admiral Berkeley was a favorite. In it Secretary Smith said, April 17, 1809: “I have it in express charge from the President to state that, while he forbears to insist on a further punishment of the offending officer, he is not the less sensible of the justice and utility of such an example, nor the less persuaded that it would best comport with what is due from his Britannic Majesty to his own honor.” Jackson's manner was offensive. He had an unbounded admiration for the government he represented, and a profound contempt for the Americans as an inferior people. He treated the officers of the United States government with the same haughty bearing that he did those of weak and bleeding Denmark, and, after one or two personal interviews, Secretary Smith refused to have any further intercourse with him except in writing. The insolent diplomat was offended, and wrote an impudent letter to the Secretary. He was informed that no more communications would be received from him, when Jackson, disappointed and angry, left Washington with every member of the diplomatic family, and retired to New York. The United States government requested his recall, and early in 1810 he was summoned to England. No other minister was sent to the United States for about a year.

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Copenhagen Jackson (4)
David M. Erskine (4)
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