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tolerable; and an apprehension of still greater misery, from the calamities of war, drove them to speak a language which could not be misunderstood or disregarded.
Many members of the house of commons, who had been the advocates of the orders in council, particularly Mr. Wilberforce, and others from the northern counties, were forced now to make a stand against them, or to meet the indignation of their constituents at the approaching election. It is, therefore, the country, and not the opposition, which has driven the ministers to yield on this occasion, and the eloquence of Mr. Brougham would have been in vain had it been destitute of this support.
What has now been done, has been most reluctantly done, and yielded to coercion instead of being dictated by a spirit of justice and con ion. The ministers were resolved to concede nothing until the last extremity. Lord Castlereagh undoubtedly went down to the house of commons on the 16th instant, determined to preserve the orders in council in their full force, and when he perceived that he should be in the minority, he endeavoured to compromise by giving up as little as possible.
It was decided by the cabinet, in consequence of the vague declarations of his lordship on that night, to suspend the orders in council, and to make this suspension to depend upon conditions to be previously proposed to the United States. Driven from this ground by the motion of Mr. Brougham for the call of the house, for Thursday the 25th of this month, the ministers at length issued the order of the 23d; and even this order was carried in the cabinet by a small majority only, five members voting against it. With these facts before my eyes, I feel myself constrained to chasten my exultation on what has taken place, with some fear of a return of the old injustice in a new form.
Mr. Graham to Mr. Russell. Sir,
Department of State, August 9th, 1812. The secretary left this city about ten days ago, on a short visit to Virginia. Since that period, Mr. Baker has, in consequence of some despatches from his government, addressed to Mr. Foster, made to me a communication respecting the intentions of his government as regards the orders in council. It was of a character, however, so entirely informal and confidential, that Mr. Baker did not feel himself at liberty to make it in the form of a note verbal or pro memoria, or even permit me to take a memorandum of it at the time he made
it. As it authorizes an expectation that something more precise and definite, in an official form, may soon be received by this government, it is the less necessary that I should go into an explanation of the views of the president in relation to it, more particularly as the secretary of state is daily expected, and will be able to do it in a more satisfactory manner.
I refer you to the enclosed papers for information as to the maritime and military movements incident to the war, and will add, that the president is anxious to know as soon as possible the result of the proposals you were authorized to make to the British government respecting an armistice. He considers them so fair and reasonable, that he cannot but hope that they will be acceded to, and thus be the means of hastening an honourable and permanent peace.
I have the honour, &c. &c. (Signed)
JOHN GRAHAM. Jonathan Russell, Esq., &c. &c. &c.
Mr. Graham to Mr. Russell. Sir,
Department of State, August 10th, 1812. Thinking that it may possibly be useful to you, I do myself the honour to enclose a memorandum of the conversation between Mr. Baker and myself, alluded to in my letter of this date. From a conversation with Mr. Baker since this memorandum was made, I find that I was correct in representing to the president, that the intimation from Mr. Foster and the British authorities at Halifax was to be understood as connected with a suspension of hostilities on the frontiers of Canada.
I have the honour, &c. &c. (Signed)
JOHN GRAHAM. Jonathan Russell, Esq., &c. &c. &c.
Memorandum referred to in the above letter. Mr. Baker verbally communicated to me for the information of the president, that he had received despatches from his government, addressed to Mr. Foster (dated, I believe, about the 17th June), from which he was authorized to say,
that an of ficial declaration would be sent to this country, that the orders in council, so far as they affected the United States, would be repealed on the 1st August, to be revived on the 1st May, 1813, unless the conduct of the French government, and the result of the communications with the American government, should be such as, in the opinion of his majesty, to render their revival unnecessary. Mr. Baker moreover stated, that the orders would be revived, provided the American govern-.
ment did not, within 14 days after they received the official declaration of their repeal, admit British armed vessels into their ports, and put an end to the restrictive measures which had
grown out of the orders in council. The despatches authorizing the communication to the American government, expressly directed that it should be made verbally, and Mr. Baker did not consider himself at liberty to reduce it to writing, even in the form of a note verbal or pro memoria, or to suffer me to take a memorandum of his communication at the time he made it. I understood from him that the despatches had been opened by Mr. Foster at Halifax, who, in consequence of a conversation he had had with vice-admiral Sawyer and sir John Sherbroke, had authorized Mr. Baker to say, that these gentlemen would agree, as a measure leading to a suspension of hostilities, that all captures made after a day to be fixed, should not be proceeded against immediately, but be detained to await the future decision of the two governments. Mr. Foster had not seen sir George Prevost, but had written to him by express, and did not doubt but that he would agree to an arrangement for the temporary suspension of hostilities. Mr. Baker also stated, that he had received an authority from Mr. Foster to act as charge des affaires, provided the American government.would receive him in that character, for the purpose
of enabling him officially to communicate the declaration which was to be expected from the British government, his functions to be understood, of course, as ceasing on the renewal of hostilities. I replied, that although to so general and informal a communication no answer might be necessary, and certainly no particular answer expected, yet I was authorized to say, that the communication is received with sincere satisfaction, as it is hoped, that the spirit in which it was authorized by his vernment may lead to such further communications as will open the way, not only for an early and satisfactory termination of existing hostilities, but to that entire adjustment of all the differences which produced them, and to that permanent peace and solid friendship which ought to be mutually desired by both countries, and which is sincerely desired by this.
With this desire, an authority was given to Mr. Russell on the subject of an armistice, as introductory to a final pacífication, as has been made known to Mr. Foster; and the same desire will be felt on the receipt of the further and more particular communications which are shortly to be expected.
With respect to the joint intimation from Mr. Foster and the British authorities at Halifax, on the subject of suspending
judicial proceedings in the case of maritime captures, to be accompanied by a suspension of military operations, the authority given to Mr. Russell, just alluded to, and of which Mr. Foster was the bearer, is full proof of the solicitude of the government of the United States to bring about a general suspension of hostilities on admissible terms, with as little delay as possible. It was not to be doubted, therefore, that any other practicable expedient for attaining a similar result would readily be concurred in. Upon the most favourable consideration however, which could be given to the expedient suggested through him, it did not appear to be reducible to any practical shape to which the executive would be authorized to give it the necessary sanction. Nor indeed is it probable, that if it was less liable to insuperable difficulties, that it could have any material effect previous to the result of the pacific advance
ade by this government, and which must, if favorably received, become operative as soon as any other arrangement that could now be made. It was stated to Mr. Baker, that the president did not, under existing circumstances, consider Mr. Foster as vested with the power of appointing a charge des affaires, but that no difficulty, in point of form, would be made, as any authentic communication through him or any other channel, would be received with attention and respect.
Mr. Monroe to Mr. Barlow. Sir,
Department of State, June 16, 1812. An act declaring war against Great Britain will probably pass both houses of congress on this day or to-morrow. It has already passed the house of representatives, and, from what is known of the disposition of the senate, its assent is expected without delay.
This result has grown out of the continued aggressions of that power on our commerce. Propositions were made in both houses of congress to comprise France in the same declaration, and in the senate the vote was 15 for, to 17 against it. In the other house the majority against it was proportionably greater. Its defeat in both houses has been doubtless, in a great measure, owing to a passage in your last letter,which intimated the intention of the French government to make some proposition in favour of indemnities, to be comprised in the treaty you were negotiating, whereby an expectation was excited that that interest would be provided for, and satisfaction given on the other grounds of complaint against France. The sentiment in both houses, as it is with the nation generally, produced by so many acts of injustice, for which reparation has not been made, is strong against France. The arrival of the Wasp, which you promised to despatch in two or three weeks from the date of your last letter, with the result of your labours, and which may be now daily expected, was another motive for delaying ulterior measures with respect to her. In advising the war against England, was distinctly implied by the late message, which brought that subject under consideration, the president stated to congress
strong dissatisfaction with the conduct of the French government on every former ground of complaint, and to which others of more recent date have been added, with the single exception of the repeal of the decrees. He promised also to bring our affairs with that power fully before congress, as soon as he should receive the communications which you had promised to forward by the Wasp. I communicate these facts, which are of a character too marked to require any comment, that you may be enabled to turn them to the best account in promoting an amicable accommodation with the French government of every wrong received from it, which is sincerely desired.
You were informed by my letter of the 6th of May, of such outrages committed by a squadron which was reported to have sailed from Nantz in January last, as were at that time known here. It appears that several vessels sailing from American ports to Lisbon and Cadiz laden with the productions of the United States, were seized and burnt at sea. The crews of these vessels were taken on board one of the French vessels, and afterwards transferred to another of our vessels engaged in the same trade, which was also seized, in which they made their
way home. These men forwarded here the evidence of these acts, copies of which have already been transmitted to you. I forward to you by this conveyance, the evidence of other aggressions, which will claim, in like manner, your particular attention. Most of these documents have been laid before congress, and referred by it to this department.
You will analize all these cases of recent spoliations, and place them in the class of aggressions to which they severally belong, on principle. In demanding of Great Britain the repeal of her orders in council, on the ground of the repeal of the French decrees, this government has, from a regard to justice, given to France all the credit to which she had any claim, believing that the notification alone of the French minister of foreign affairs, to the minister plenipotentiary of the United states at Paris, of their repeal, was sufficient to justify the demand of the repeal of the orders in council of Great Britain, on her own principle. But it was never the