(1817).After the War of 1812
, an Anglo‐American arms race threatened the peace. Fearing U.S. encroachments, Canada
stationed warships on the Great Lakes
and demanded that Great Britain
follow suit. America responded with its own vessels. Britain
preferred, however, to focus its naval energies on the high seas, while America—confident that it could construct ships quickly if crisis loomed—wished to avoid an expensive naval race. A mutual disarmament treaty therefore appealed to both nations. In notes exchanged between British minister Charles Bagot and Acting Secretary of State
Richard Rush, America and Britain pledged to maintain no more than one ship each on Lakes Champlain and Ontario
, and only two on the remaining Great Lakes
. This accord neither completely nor immediately disarmed the lakes, nor did it address land forces; but it did constitute the first qualitative disarmament treaty in history. No more warships were introduced, the Anglo‐American “era of good feelings” continued, and tensions eased along the border. Responding to war threats in 1940, both Canada and the United States
modified Rush‐Bagot to permit naval construction and training.
Edgar W. Mcinnis , The Unguarded Frontier: A History of American‐Canadian Relations, 1942.
Bradford Perkins , Castlereagh and Adams: England and the United States, 1812–1823, 1964.
Kenneth Bourne , Britain and the Balance of Power in North America, 1815–1980, 1967.
Thomas W. Zeiler
Bagot, Sir Charles
Sir Charles Bagot (băg´ət), 1781–1843, British diplomat. As minister to the United States (1815–20) he negotiated the Rush-Bagot Convention, which limited armaments along the U.S.-Canadian border. As governor-general of Canada (1841–43), he was instructed by the British cabinet to resist Canadian demands for responsible government along the lines proposed by the earl of Durham. Bagot, however, allowed Robert Baldwin and Sir Louis LaFontaine to form a ministry on the basis of their parliamentary majority.