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FROM THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES TO CON
GRESS. JAN. 31, 1811.
I lay before Congress a letter from the charge d'affaires of the United States at Paris, to the Secretary of State: and another from the same to the French minister of foreign relations : also two letters from the agent of the American congul at Bordeaux, to the Secretary of State,
Copy of a letter from Jonathan Russell, Esq. Charge
d' Afaires of the United States at Paris, to Mr. Smith, Secretary of State. Paris, Dec. 11, 1810.
SIR,_On the evening of the 9th instant, I learnt that the Essex frigate had arrived at L'Orient on the 4th, and had been put under quarantine for five days, for the want of a bill of health, during which time the messenger is not allowed to come on shore. At the same time that I received this intelligence, I was also informed that the brig New Orleans Packet was seized at Bordeaux, under the Berlin and Milan decrees, by the director of the customs at that place. The simultaneous occorrence of these two events, formed in my opinion a crisis which required a prompt decision of this government. Under this impression I immediately addressed to the duke of Cadore the note, of wbich the enclosed is a copy, and in which I thought it politick to remonstrate with firmness, against the proceedings of the director of the customs at Bordeaux, and to leave the government here at liberty to disavow them. This disavowal, however, I am persuaded, depends entirely on the nature of the despatches brought by the Essex. I feel, therefore, the most lively anxiety to receive them. In the mean time I give this letter a chance of reaching you, by a vessel about leaving Bordeaux for New York.
Since my last, the Hanseatick towns bave been annexed to this empire.
I have informed Mr. Pinkney of the arrival of the Essex, and suggested to him the possibility that the proclamation
of the President bad come out by her, in order that he might, if he thought proper, make a final attempt to obtain a repeal of the orders in council, wbile it was yet in the power of the British ministry to do it with a good grace. I bave the honour to be, &c.
JONA. RUSSELL. Hon. R. Smith, Sec'y of State, United States.
Mr. Russell to the Duke de Cadore. Paris, December
10, 1810. SIR,—I have this moment learnt that the American brig New Orleans Packet, lately arrived at Bordeaux, has, with ber cargo, the bona fide property of citizens of the United States, and laden at the port of New York, been seized by the director of the customs under the Berlin or Milan decrees. I have also been informed, that this director of the customs, not satisfied with this hardy violation of the solemn assurances given by your excellency to general Armstrong on the 5th of August last, and confirmed by your letter to bim of the 7th September, that these decrees were revoked and would cease to operate from the 1st of November, has, without regard to the plighted faith of bis government, andounced his intention of selling the provis sions which constitute a part of the cargo, under the pretext that they are perishable.
The clear and unequivocal manner in which the revocation of the Berlin and Milan decrees were announced by your escellency, forbid me for a moment to suppose, that tbe violent proceedings of this man will be sanctioned by his majesty the emperor and king, or that the least delay will be allowed in placing the property tbus arrested at the free disposition of the rightful owner, whose confidence alone in the good faith with which it becomes nations to perform their engagements, has brought him to the place where he is so inhospitably treated.
I am persuaded that your excellency will not, on this occasion, attempt to remind me of the conditions on which the revocation of those decrees were predicated. These conditions were in the alternative, and the performance of either is sufficient to render absolute and perpetual that revocation. It is of no importance that the British orders in council have not been withdrawn, if the United States, in due time, perform tbe condition which depends alone on tbem. And what is this condition? why, to execute an act of Congress against the English, wbich, to be thus executed, requires the previous revocation of these very decrees. The letter of your excellency, of the 5th of August, appears to have been written with a full knowledge of this requisition of the law, and manifestly with the intention to comply with it, in order that it might be competent for the President of the United States to exercise the contingent power which had been given to him.
It will not be pretended, that the decrees have ju fact been revoked; but that the delay of the United States in performing the condition presented to them authorizes their revival. The case of the New Orleans Packet is the first which has occurred since the 1st of November, to which the Berlin or Milan decrees could be applied, and if they be applied to this case, it will be difficult for France to show one solitary instance of their having been practically revoked. As to delay on the part of the United States, there has been none. No official information of the letter of your excellency of the 5th of August, left France for the United States, owing to circumstances which it was not in the power of general Armstrong to control, until the 29th of September, and to this moment I have not learnt that such official information has been there received. I might indeed have learnt it, and been able now to bave communicated to your excellency, the measures on which the President has decided in consequence of it, had not the frigate the Essex, despatched by him, been put under quarantine on her arrival at L'Orient, for the want of a bill of health, and the messenger thereby detained since the 4th of this month.
I will not undertake to decide whether a bill of health ought, in courtesy, to be exacted of a frigate of a friendly power, coming in the winter season from a place not known to have been lately afflicted with any malignant disease ; but surely the delay which this exaction occasions, cannot be imputed to a want of due diligence on the part of the American government.
It is from this view of the subject that I am thoroughly convinced, that the application of the Berlin or Milan decree, by the director of the customs at Bordeaux, to the New Orleans Packet, will not be approved by his majesty, but that prompt and efficient measures will be taken to correct a procedure, which, if persisted in, might produce a state of things which it is the obvious interest of both nations to avoid.
I pray your excellency to be assured of my most distinguished consideration, &c.
Copy of a Letter from Chr. Meyer to Mr. Smith, Sec
retary of State. United States Consulate, Bordeaux, Dec. 6, 1810.
SIR, --I have the honour to enclose a copy of Mr. Catbalan's letter to me, received this morning, concerning the recapture of the schooner Grace Ann Greene, of New York, Daniel Greene, master, who brought her into the port of Marseilles, having two British officers and seven sailors on board, and they only being six men, amongst which pumber two boys.
The brig New Orleans Packet, of New York, with a cargo of provisions and three hundred bags of cocoa on board, bound to the Mediterranean for a market, went to Gibraltar, where, after lying some time, came to this port, where he has been sequestered.
The schooner Friendship, of and from Baltimore, cap. tain Snow, with a cargo of coffee and campeache, is arrived five days ago in ibis river. Whatever the issue may be of these two vessels, I shall have the honor to in. form you of. I remain, very respectfully, sir, &c.
CHR. MEYER. The Secretary of State of the U. States
of America, Washington.
Copy of a Letter from Chr. Meyer to Mr. Smith, Secretary of State United States Consulate, Bordeaux, Dec. 14, 1810.
SIR,-Annexed is triplicate of my respects to you of the 6th instant, the brig Osmin and ihe ship Commodore Rodgers, by which the original and duplicate went, having pot got to sea yet.
The brig New Orleans Packet, of New York, captain Harris, mentioned in my former letter, has since been seized by the collector, and her cargo has been put in the imperial customhouse.
The schooner Friendship, of and from Baltimore, cap. tain Snow, has been sequestered.
This is accompanied with an account of sundry advances made for the relief of distressed seamen for this port and the port of Bayonne, with twenty-two vouchers, amounting to francs 4,934 20, and for which I have drawn on Jonathan Russell, Esq. our charge d'affaires at Paris.
Captain Sheddy, of the schooner Maria Louisa, bound to New York, has eight distressed seamen on board, and for whom I bave paid no passage money, nor have I laid in provisions for them.
The ship Commodore Rodgers, captain Shaler, from Bayonne, bound to New York, will carry home from 50 to 60 seamen in distress, of whom I shall have the honour to transmit you a list and an account by my next.
The duty on cocoa has been reduced from fr. 5 50, to fr. 2 75, per pound.
The Essex frigate has arrived at L'Orient, from the United States.
This is accompanied by a file of newspapers and which I shall have the honour to continue to send whenever op. portunities to offer. . I have the honour, &c. &c.
CHR. MEYER. Robert Smith, Esq. Secretary of State.
FROM THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES TO THE
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, FEB. 19, 1811. I TRANSMit to the House of Representatives a report of the Secretary of State, complying with their resolu• tion of the eighteenth instant..