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ed; an indulgence which, when it is considered to be (as it really is) not only a mitigation of that principle of just reprisal upon which the order itself is framed, but a deviation in favour of the United States, from that ancient and established principle of maritime law, by which the intercourse with the colonies of an enemy in time of war, is limited to the extent which that enemy was accustomed in time of peace to prescribe for it, and which, by reference to the conduct of France in a time of peace, would amount to a complete interdiction, cannot fail to afford to the American government a proof of the amicable disposition of his majesty towards the United States. .
You will observe sir, also, that the transportation of the colonial produce of the enemy from the United States to Europe, instead of being altogether prohibited (which would have been the natural retaliation for the rigorous and universal prohibition of British produce and manufactures by France,) is freely permitted to the ports of Great Britain, with the power of subsequently re-exporting it to any part of Europe, under certain regulations.
The object of these regulations will be the establishment of such a protecting duty, as shall prevent the enemy from obtaining the produce of his own colonies at a cheaper rate than that of the colonies of Great Britain. - In this duty, it is evident that America is no otherwise concerned, than as being to make an advance to that amount for which it is in her own power amply to indemnify herself at the expense of the foreign consumer.
Another most important relaxation of the principles upon which his majesty's orders proceed, is that which licences the importation of all flour and meal, and all grains, tobacco and other articles, the produce of the soil of America, with the exception of cotton, through the ports of his majesty's dominions, into those of his enemies, without the payment of any duty on the transit. This is, I beg leave to observe, an instance in which his majesty has deprived his measure of its most efficacious and hurtful operation against the enemy, through motives of consideration for the interests of America. The reason why his majesty could not feel himself at liberty, consis'tent with what was necessary for the execution of his purpose, in any tolerable degree, to allow this relaxation to apply to cotton, is to be found in the great extent to which
France has pushed the manufacture of that article, and the consequent embarrassment upon her trade, which a heavy impost upon cotton, as it passes through Great Britain to France, must necessarily produce.
I cannot refrain from calling the attention of the government of the United States, to the contrast between the different modes in which his majesty's orders and those of France are carried into execution. By his majesty's, the utmost consideration is manifested for the interests of those nations whose commerce he is reluctantly compelled to impede, and ample time allowed for their becoming acquainted with the new regulations, and conforming to them.-Whereas France, without any previous notice, and without any interval, applies her orders to trade already entered upon in ignorance of any such orders, and subjects to condemnation ships, whose voyages, when commenced, were in strict conformity to all the regulations at that time promulgated by France.
Even with these and other modifications, his majesty is not unaware that a measure extorted from him by the injustice of the enemy, must inevitably produce inconveniences to the neutral parties who are affected by its operation.
* The right of his majesty to resort to retaliation, cannot be questioned. The suffering occasioned to neutral parties is incidental, and not of his majesty's seeking
In the exercise of this undoubted right, his majesty has studiously endeavoured to avoid aggravating unnecessarily the inconveniences suffered by the neutral. And I am commanded by his majesty, especiallyçto represent to the government of the United States, the earnest desire of his majesty, tu see the commerce of the world restored once more to that freedom which is necessary for its prosperity; and his readiness to abandon the system which has been forced upon him, whenever the enemy shall retract the principles which have rendered it necessary; but his majesty entertains the conviction, upon which alone his present measures are founded, that it would be vain to hope for such a retraction, until the enemy shall himself have been made to feel a portiou of the evils which he has endeavoured to inflict upon others. I have the honour to be, &c.
D. M. ERSKINE. Hon. James Madison, Secretary of State.
Trunslation of a Letter from M. Champagny to General
Armstrong. Paris, Jan. 15, 1808. Sir,—The different notes which you have done me the honour to address to me, have been laid before his majesty.
The proceedings of England towards all governments are so contrary to the law of nations, and to all the rules constantly observed, even among enemies, that no recourse against this power is any longer to be found in the ordinary means of repression. In order to annoy her, it is become necessary to turn against her the arms which she makes use of herself; and if transient inconveniences result therefrom, it is to her alone they are to be imputed. Since England respects no laws, how could they be respected with regard to her ? The maritime laws which she violates, ought they still to be a protection to her? And if some powers tolerate the infractions committed on their independence, could they have the right to require, that France alone should restrain herself within limits which her enemy has every where overleaped ?
The United States, more than any other power, have to complain of the aggressions of England. It has not been enough for her to offend against the independence of her flag, nay, against that of their territory, and of their inhabitants, by attacking them even in their ports, by forcibly carrying away their crews ; her decrees of the 11th November have made a fresh attack on their commerce, and on their navigation, as they have done on those of all other powers.
In the situation in which England has placed the continent, especially since her decrees of the 11th of November, his majesty has no doubt of a declaration of war against her by the United States. Whatever transient sacrifices war may occasion, they will not believe it consistent either with their interest or dignity to acknowledge the monstrous principle, and the anarchy which that government wishes to establish on the seas. If it be useful and honourable for all nations to cause the true maritime law of nations to be re-established, and to avenge the insults committed by England against every flag, it is indispensable for the United States, who, from the extent of their commerce, have oftener to complain of ihose violations. War exists, then, in fact, between England and the United States; and bis majesty considers it as declared from the day on which England published her decrees. In that persuasion, his majesty, ready to consider the United States as associated with the cause of all the powers, who have to defend themselves against England, has not taken any definitive measure towards the American vessels which may have been brought into our ports. He has ordered that they should remain sequestered, until a decision may be had thereon, according to the dispositions which shall have been expressed by the government of the United States.
OF THE COMMITTEE TO WHOM WAS REFERRED THE COR
RESPONDENCE BETWEEN MR. MONROE AND MR. CANNING, &c. &c. &c. IN SENATE, APRIL 16, 1808.
MR. ANDERSON, from the committee to whom was referred, on the 4th instant, the correspondence between Mr. Monroe and Mr. Canning, and between Mr. Madison and Mr. Rose, relative to the attack made upon the frigate Chesapeake, by the British ship of war Leopard ; and also the communications made to the Senate, by the President of the United States, on the 30th day of March last, containing a letter from Mr. Erskine to the Secretary of State, and a letter from M. Champagny to general Armstrong, reported :
That on a review of the several orders, decrees, and decisions of Great Britain and France, within the period of the existing war, it appears, that previous to the measures referred to in the letters from Mr. Erskine to the Secretary of State, and from M. Champagny to general Armstrong, various and heavy injuries have been committed against the neutral commerce and navigation of the United States, under the following heads :
1st, The British order of June, 1803, unlawfully restricting the trade of the United States, with a certain portion of the unblockaded ports of her enemies, and con;
demning vessels with innocent cargoes, on a return from ports where they had deposited contraband articles.
2d. The capture and condemnation, in the British courts of admiralty, of American property, on a pretended principle, debarring neutral nations from a trade with the ene. mies of Great Britain, interdicted in time of peace. The injuries suffered by the citizens of the United States, on this head, arose, not from any publick order of the British council, but from a variation in the principle, upon which the courts of admiralty pronounced their decisions. These decisions have indeed again varied, without any new orders of council being issued; and in the higher courts of admiralty, some of the decisions which had formed the greatest cause for complaint, have been reversed, and the property restored. There still remains, however, a heavy claim of indem:ity for confiscations, which were made during the period of these unwarrantable decisions, and for which all negotiation has hitherto proved unavailing.
3d. Blockades notified to the minister of the United States at London, and thence made a ground of capture, against the trade of the United States, in entire disregard of the law of nations, and even of the definition of legal blockades, laid down by the British government itself. Examples of these illegitimate blockades will be found in the notifications of the blockade of May 16th, 1806, of the coast from the river Elbe to Brest inclusive-blockade of 11th May, 1807, expounded 19th June, 1807, of the Elbe, Weser, and Ems, and the coast between the same-blockade 11th May, 1807, of the Dardanelles and Smyrnablockade of 8th January, 1808, of Carthagena, Cadiz, and St. Lucar, and of all the intermediate ports between Carthagena and St. Lucar, comprehending a much greater extent of coast than the whole British navy could blockade, according to the established law of nations.
4th. To these injuries immediately authorized by the British government, might be added other spurious blockades by British naval commanders, particularly that of the island of Curracoa, which for a very considerable period, was made a pretext for very extensive spoliations on the commerce of the United States.
5th. The British proclamation of October last, which makes it the duty of the British officers to impress from American merchant yessels, all such of their creys as