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As the execution of the maritime measures indicated by the imperial decree of the 21st of November, 1806, rests naturally with his excellency the minister of marine, and that moreover, he has already had the honour of addressing you some first observations on the application of that decree, I transmitted, without delay, your letter, and asked from him the new explanations which you might desire. When they shall have been forwarded me, I will have the honour of informing you of them. Accept the assurance of my high consideration,

CHAMPAGNY. His Excellency Gen. Armstrong.



CIL OF NOV. 11, 1807.

At our Royal Palace, at Milan, Dec. 17, 1807. O NAPOLEON, emperor of the French, king of Italy, and protector of the Rhenish confederacy.

Observing the measures adopted by the British government, on the 11th of November last, by which vessels belonging to neutral, friendly, or even powers the allies of England, are made liable, not only to be searched by Eng. lish cruisers, but to be compulsorily detained in England, and to have a tax laid on them of so much per cent. on the cargo, to be regulated by the British legislature.

Observing that by these acts the British government denationalizes ships of every nation in Europe, that it is not competent for any government to detract from its own independence and rights, all the sovereigns of Europe having in trust the sovereignties and independence of the flag; that if by an unpardonable weakness, and which, in the eyes of posterity, would be an indelible stain, such a tyranny was allowed to be established into principles and consecrated by usage, the English would avail themselves of the tolerance of governments to establish the infamous principles, that the flag of a nation does not cover goods, and to give to their right of blockade an arbitrary extension, and which infringes on the sovereignty of every state; we have decreed, and do decree as follows:

ARTICLE 1. Every ship, to whatever nation it may belong, that shall have submitted to be searched by an "English ship, or to a voyage to England, or that shall have paid any tax whatsoever to the English government, is thereby, and for that alone, declared to be denationalized, to have forfeited the protection of its king, and to have become English property. · ARTICLE 11. Whether the ships thus denationalized by the arbitrary measures of the English government, enter into our ports or those of our allies, or whether they fall into the hands of our ships of war, or of our privateers, they are declared to be good and lawful prizes.

ARTICLE 1. The British islands are declared to be in a state of blockade, both by sea and land. Every ship, of whatever nation, or whatsoever the nature of its cargo may be, that sails from the ports of England, or those of the English colonies, and of the countries occupied by English troops, and proceeding to England, or to English colonies, or to countries occupied by English troops, is good and lawful prize, as contrary to the present decree; and may be captured by our ships of war or our privateers, and adjudged to the captor. ..

ARTICLE IV. These measures, which are resorted to only in just retaliation of the barbarous system adopted by England, which assimilates its legislation to that of Algiers, shall cease to have any effect with respect to all nations who shall have the firmness to compel the English government to respect their flag. They shall continue to be rigorously in force as long as that government does not return to the principle of the law of nations, which regulates the relations of civilized states in a state of war. The provisions of the present decree shall be abrogated and null, in fact, as soon as the English abide again by the principles of the law of nations, which are also the principles of justice and of honour.

All our ministers are charged with the execution of the present decree, which shall be inserted in the bulletin of the laws.

NAPOLEON. By order of the Emperor. The Secretary of State,




TO ENGLAND AND FRANCE. MARCH 30, 1808. (Message and Documents recalled, and not to be found in Secretary of State's Office : Two of the papers, however, were afterwards made publick. See Message, April 2, 1808, p. 473 of this vol.]


HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. · APRIL 1, 1808. In answer to the inquiries of the resolution of the House of Representatives of the 30th of March, relative to certain dates, I transmit a report of the Secretary of State made to me on that subject.


The Secretary of State has the honour to report to the President, in conformity to the resolution of the House of Representatives of the 30th of March, that the only information which has been received respecting the letter from which the extract inserted in general Armstrong's letter to the Secretary of State of January 22, 1808, was taken, is in the extract itself, to which no date is given ; and that no copy of any letter from the French ministry to him is subjoined to, or known to be referred to, in his said letter of January 22d, except that, a copy of which was communicated to Congress by the President on the 29th of March,* and which bears date January 15th, 1803. It does not appear from any information received by the Department of State, at what date, either this letter of January 15th, or the letter from which the inserted es. tract was taken, were received by the minister of the United States at Paris. Respectfully subunitted.

JAMES MADISON. Department of State, April 1, 1908.

* No message of 29th of March is to be found on the Journals of Congress,



GRESS. APRIL 2, 1808. Believing that the confidence and union of our fellow citizens, at the present crisis, will be still further confirmed by the publication of the letter of M. Champagny, to general Armstrong, and that of Mr. Erskine, to the Secreiary of State, communicated with my message* of the 30th ult. and therefore, that it may be useful to except them from the confidential character of the other documents accompanying that message, I leave to the consideration of Congress the expediency of making them publick.


Washington, February 23, 1808. S1R,-1 have the honour to transmit to you, the copies of certain orders of council, which his majesty has thought proper to issue in consequence of the hostile conduct of France towards the navigation and commerce of Great Britain, and of neutral states.

His majesty has been induced hitherto to forbear recur. ring to measures of this nature, by the expectation that the governments of the neutral states, who have been the objects of the French decrees, would have been awakened to a just sense of what they owe to their interests and own rights, and would have interposed with effect, either to prevent the execution of the French decrees, or to procure their abrogation.

But his majesty, having been disappointed in this just expectation, and perceiving that the neutral nations, so far from opposing any effectual resistance, have submitted to whatever regulations France may have prescribed for giving effect to her decrees, can no longer refrain from having recourse to such measures, as by retorting on the enemy the inconveniences and evils produced by his injustice and violence, may afford the only remaining chance of putting an end to a system, the perseverance in which

[* The message of March 30 is not printed in either of the journals, - See preceding page.] VOL. Vbe


is not more injurious to his majesty's dominions, than to nations not parties to the war between Great Britain and France.

The principle upon which his majesty finds himself compelled to proceed, would justify a complete and unqualified retaliation, on his part, of the system announced, and acted upon by France, in respect to his majesty's dominions: and his majesty might therefore have declared in a state of rigorous and unmitigated blockade, all the coasts and colonies of France and her allies. Such a measure, the maritime power of Great Britain would have enabled his majesty to enforce: nor would those nations, which have acquiesced, without effectual remonstrance, in the French decree of blockade, have derived any right from the perfect execution of a corresponding determination on the part of his majesty, to complain of hiš majesty's enforcing that measure, which the enemy has executed imperfectly, only from the want of the means of execution.

His majesty, however, actuated by the same sentiments of moderation, by which his majesty's conduct has been uniformily governed, has been desirous of alleviating, as much as possible, the inconveniences necessarily brought upon neutral nations, by a state of things so unfavourable to the commercial intercourse of the world ; and has therefore anxiously considered what modifications it would be practicable to apply to the principle upon which he is compelled to act, which would not, at the same time that they might afford relief from the pressure of that principle upon neutral or friendly nations, impede or enfeeble its operation upon the enemy.

In pursuance of this desire, the order in council, which, if it had ended with the sixth paragraph, would have been no more than a strict and justifiable retaliation for the French decree of November, 1806, proceeds, as you will observe, sir, to provide many material exceptions, which are calculated to qualify the operation of the order upon neutral nations in general, but which must be considered as most peculiarly favourable to the particular interests of the United States.

It will not escape you, sir, that by this order in council, thus modified and regulated, the direct intercourse of the United States with the colonies of the enemy is unrestrain

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