AuthorCraig Forcese
Chapter 13
It will be for [the British] government to show a necessity of self-defense,
inant, overwhelming, leaving no choice of means, and no moment for
deliberation. It will be for it to show also that the local authorities of Canada,
even supposing the necessity of the moment authorized them to enter the
territories of United States at all, did nothing unreasonable or excessive.
— daniel weBster (24 aPril 1841)1
A ,  discussions continued. Ambassador
Henry Stephen Fox in Washington f‌irst formally raised the
McLeod matter with the new secretary of state, Daniel Web-
ster, in early March 1841, again asserting that even had the Canadian
been present at the Caroline raid, it “would be contrary to univer-
sal practice of civilized nations to f‌ix individual responsibility upon
persons who, with the sanction or by the orders of the constituted
authorities of a State, engaged in military or naval enterprises in their
country’s cause.”2 The Caroline af‌fair was, from a British perspective,
a justif‌iable employment of force for the purpose of defending the
British territory from the unprovoked attack of a band of British
rebels and American pirates, who, having been permitted to arm
and organize themselves within the territory of the United States,
had actually invaded and occupied a portion of the territory of Her
As for Alexander McLeod, Fox demanded “formally, in the name
of the British Government, the immediate release” of the detained

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