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they wonld submit with a dependence truly colonial, to carry on their trade through British ports, and to pay such duties as the British government should think fit to impose, and such charges as British agents and other British subjects might be content to make.
The United States abstained from this traffick, in which they could not embark without dishonour; and in 1809, ibe system shrunk to narrower dinensions, and took the appearance of an absolute prohibition of all commercial intercourse with France, Holland, and the kingdom of Italy.
The prohibition was absolute in appearance, but not in fact. It had lost sometbing of former exuberance, but nothing of former pliancy, and in the event was seen to yield to the demands of one trade, while it prevented every other.
Controled and relaxed and managed by licenses, it did not, after a brief exhibition of impartial sternness, affect to “ distress the enemy” by the occlusion of his ports, when the commerce of England could advantageously find its way to them. At length however, this convenience seems to be enjoyed no longer, and the orders in council may apparently be now considered (if indeed they ought not always to have been considered) as affecting England with a loss as heavy as that which they inflict on those whose rights they violate. In such circumstances, if it be too much to expect the credulity of 1807, it may yet be hoped, that the evidence of the practical effect of the French repeal need not be very strong to be satisfactory. It is however as strong as the nature of such a case will admit, as a few observations will show.
On such an occasion it is no paradox to say, that the want of evidence is itself evidence : That certain decrees are not in force, is proved by the absence of such facts as would appear if they were in force. Every motive which can be conjectured to have led to the repeat of the edicts invites to the full execution of that repeal, and no motive can be imagined for a different course. These considerations are alone conclusive.
But farther, it is known that American vessels bound confessedly to England, have, before the 1st of November, been visited by French privateers, and suffered to pass upon the foundation of the prospective repeal of the decree
of Berlin, and the proximity of the day when it would become an actual one.
If there are not even stronger facts to show that the de. cree of Milan is also withdrawn, your lordship can be at no loss for the reason. It cannot be proved that an American vessel is practically held by France. Not to be de. nationalised by British visitation, because your cruisers visit only to capture, and compel the vessel visited to terminate her voyage not in France, but in England. You will not ask for the issue of an experiment whicb yourselves intercept, nor complain that you have not received evidence, which is not obtained because you have rendered it impossible. The vessel wbich formed the subject of my note of the 8th instant, and another more recently seized as prize, would, if they had been suffered, as they ought, to resume their voyages after having been stopped and examined by English cruisers, have furnished on that point unanswerable proof; and I have reason to know, that precise offers have been made to the British government to put to a practical test the disposition of France in this respect, and that those offers have been refused. Your cruisers however have not been able to visit all American vessels bound to France, and it is understood, that such as have arrived have been received with friendship.
I cannot quit this last question without entering my protest against the pretension of the British government to postpone the justice which it owes to my government and country, for this tardy investigation of consequences. I am not able to comprebend upon what the pretension rests, nor to what limits the investigation can be subject. ed. If it were even admitted that France was more emphatically bound to repeal her almost nominal decrees than Great Britain to repeal her substantial orders (which will not be admitted) what more can reasonably be required by the latter Than has been done by the former ? The decrees are officially declared by the government of France to be repealed. They were ineffectual as a ma. terial prejudice to England before the declaration, and must be ineffectual since. There is therefore nothing of substance for this dilatory inquiry, which if once begun may be protracted without end, or at least till the hour for just and prudent decision has passed. But, if there were room to apprehend that the repealed de
Crees might have some operation in case the orders in council were withdrawn, still, as there is no sudden and forioidable peril to which Great Britain could be exposed by that operation, there can be no reason for declining to act at once upon the declaration of France, and to leave it to the future to try its sincerity, if that sincerity be suspected.
I have thus disclosed to your lordship, with that frankness which the times deinand, my view of a subject deeply interesting to our respective countries. The part #bich Great Britain may act on this occasion cannot fail to have important and lasting consequences, and I can only wish that they may be good.
By giving up her orders in council and the blockades, to which my letter of the 21st of September relates, she has nothing to lose in character or strength. By adhering to them she will not only be unjust to others but unjust to herself. I have the honour to be, &c.
WM. PINKNEY. The Most Noble the Marquis Wellesley, &c. &c. &c.
Great Cumberland Placc, Dec. 8, 1810. MY LORD,—I have the honour to represent to you that en American vessel, (the Fox) proceeding with an American cargo from a port of the United States to Cherbourg, in France, in the confidence that the repeal of the decrees of Berlin and Milan had, in conformity with repeated pledges and the obvious demands of justice, been followed by the revocation of the British orders in council, has been captured since the first of last month by an English frigate, for an alleged breach of those orders, and brought into Plyniouth, and since proceeded against in the high court of admiralty as prize of war.
It is my duty to require that this vessel and her cargo may be restored, as speedily as possible, to their rightful owner; that she may be left at full liberty to resume the lawful voyage in which she was engaged, and that effectual measures may be adopted with as little delay as circumstances will peripit, for the prevention of similar interruptions in future.
· I understand that the captors, in this case, are likely to be urgent for condemnation ; and that the orders in coun. cil will, if unrepealed, be considered by the court as imposing upon it a necessity to pronounce such a sentence. I am furiber informed that the cause may be heard, if the captors press it, on or very soon after Tuesday next. I trust, however, that the necessary steps will be taken by the British goveronient for preventing the signal injustice and the many embarrassments that could not fail to result from such an adjudication. I have the honour to be, &c.
AIr. Pinkney to the Secretary of State. London, Dec.
23, 1810. Sir, I received on the 20th instant, from Liverpool, your letter of the 19th of October, the only one yet received of a date subsequent to the 17th of July.
My letter of the 14th of November will show that I had myself resolved upon the course of proceeding which the last paragraph of your letter indicates. I now wait only for the restoration of the capacity of the government.
I presume that my note to lord Wellesley of the 21st of September, will be considered as having anticipated such parts of your letter as relate to blockades. No answer of any sort has been given to that note, but I will not fail to take the first occasion to reinforce it, by enlarging on the considerations to which you allude. In my opinion the subject cannot be too much pressed, nor the importance of it exaggerated. If such blockades are to continue, we shall have got rid of the orders of 1807 and 1809 in vain.
You will perceive, that in my note above mentioned, I undertook to mention the blockade of the whole island of Zealand, as one of those paper blockades to which the United States objected ; that in my note of the 25th of August, that blockade was comprehended under the general description of such orders as were “ analogous to" the orders in council of 1807 and 1809; and that in my late note (of the 10th instant, I have urged the revocation of all the blockades to which my note of the 21st of September related.
I had no instructions to warrant me in representing any other blockade than tbat of May, 1806, as indispensable in the view of our laws concerning commercial intercourse with Great Britain and France. I have endeavoured, however, so to shape my different nutes to lord Wellesley, as that when taken together they may be considered to embrace the whole of the paper blockades for every pur, pose, or only for particular purposes, as future instructions or convenience might require.
Upon the subject of impressments I need not say any thing, as the affair of the Chesapeake has not been adjnst ed. For other matters, I refer you to the newspapers. I have the honour to be, &c.
FROM THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, TO BOTH
HOUSES OF CONGRESS. Nov. 5, 1811.
Fellow Citizens of the Senate
and of the House of Representatives,
In calling you, together, sooner than a separation from your homes would otherwise bave been reqnired, I yielded to considerations drawn from the posture of our foreign affairs ; and in fixing the present, for the time of your meeting, regard was had to the probability of further developments of the policy of the belligerent powers towards this country, which might the more unite the national councils, in the measures to be pursued.
At the close of the last session of Congress, it was hoped that the successive confirmations of the extinction of the French decrees, so far as they violated our neutral commerce, would have induced the government of Great Britain to repeal its orders in council ; and thereby authorize a removal of the existing obstructions to her com. merce with the United States.
Instead of this reasonable step towards satisfaction and friendship between the two nations, the orders were, at 2