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General TURREAU, Minister Plenipotentiary of his Imperial and Royal Ma. jesty, to Mr. MADISON, Secretary of State.
Washington, 2d yan. 1806. SIR-Formal orders of my government oblige me to infift upon the contents of my official note, of the 14th of October, relative to the commerce, which some inhabitants of the United States maintain with the rebels of St. Domingo.
Not receiving any answer to that note, I had room to hope, that the go. vernment of the union would take prompt and effectual meafures to put an end to the causes which produced it; but your filence towards me, especially in relation to St. Domingo, and that of your government towards congrefs, impofes upon me the duty of recalling to your recollection the said official note, and of renewing to you my complaints upon the tolerance given to an abuse, as shocking, as contrary to the law of nations, as it is to the treaty of peace and friendship existing between France and the United States.
I will not return, fir, to the different circumstances which have attended the commerce with the revolted part of St. Domingo, to the scandalous publicity given to its shameful success to the rewards and encomiums prostituted upon the crews of armed vessels, whose destination is to protect the voyages, to carry munitions of every kind to the rebels, and thus to nourish rebellion and robbery.
You ought not to be surprised, fir, that I call anew the attention of the American government to this subject.-His excellency Mr. Talleyrand has already testified his discontent to Gen. Armstrong, your minifter plenipoten. tiary at Paris ; and you will be of opinion, that it is at length time to pursue formal measures against every adventure to the ports of St. Domingo occupi. ed by the rebels. The system of tolerance which produces this commerce, which suffers its being armed, which encourages by impunity its extenfion and its excess, cannot longer remain ; and the emperour and king my master, expects from the dignity and the candour of the government of the union, that an end will be put to it promptly.
I add to this dispatch a copy of the official note, which has already been transmitted to you. I earneftly request, that you acknowledge the receipt of both, and receive anew assurances of my high confideration.
TURREAU. Faithfully translated.
J. WAGNER, Chief Clerk, Department of State.
From Mr, TALLEYRAND Y0 Gen. ARMSTRONG, without date, but received
in Gen. Armstrong's letter to the Secretary of State, of 10th Aug. 1805.
SIR I have several times had the honour to call your attention to the commerce carried on from the ports of the United States to those of St. Domingo occupied by the rebels. These commercial communications would appear to be almost daily increased. In order to cover their true destination, the vessels are cleared for the West Indies, without a more particular designation of the place, and with the aid of these commiffions, provise jons, arms, and other objects of supply, of which they stand in need, are car. ried to the rebels of St. Domingo.
Although these adventures may be no more than the result of private fpecu. lations, the government of the United States is not the less engaged to put an end to them, by a consequence of the obligations which bind together all the civilized powers, all those who are in a state of peace. No government can fecond the fpirit of revolt of the subjects of another power ; and, as in this ftate of things, it cannot maintain communications with them, it ought not to fayour those which its own subjects maintain.
He is impoffible, that the government of the United States lould longer
From Mr. TALLEYRAND to General ARMSTRONG.
Paris, 29th Thermidor, 18th year, (16th Auguft, 1805.) SIR-Since the letter I had the honour to write to you on the 2d Thermidor, concerning the armaments which were making in the ports of the United States, for the western parts of St. Domingo, freth information upon this point confirms every thing which had been received. The adventures to St. Domingo are publickly made ; vefsels are armed for war to protect the convoys ; and it is in virtue of contracts, entered into between Deffalines and American merchants, that the latter send him supplies and munitions of war. 1
I add, fir, to the letter I have the honour to write to you, a copy of a sentence given at Halifax in the matter of a merchant of New York, who had conveyed into the revolted part of St. Domingo, three cargoes of gun powder, and who was taken on his return by an English frigate.
If even in the English tribunal, where this prize was condemned, the whole island of St. Domingo was considered as a French colony, how can the fede
ral government tolerate that the rebels of this colony should continue to receive from America fuccours against the parent country? It is impossible that that government should be ignorant of the armaments making in its ports. Too much publicity is given to them, not to render it reasonable, and it ought to perceive that it is contrary to every system of peace and good friendship to suffer longer, in its ports, armaments evidently directed against France.
Without doubt the federal government would not wish, in order to favour certain private speculations, to give new facilities to rebellion and robbery (brigandagc); and tolerance of a commerce lo scandalous would be unworthy of it. Neither your government nor his majesty can be any longer indifferent to it; and as the serioutiefs of the facts, which occasion this complaint, obliges his majefty to consider as good prize every thing which shall enter the port of St. Domingo, occupied by the rebels, and every thing coming out, he per. Suades himself, that the government of the United States will take, on its part, against this commerce, at once illicit and contrary to all the principles of the law of nations, all the repressive and authoritative measures proper to put an çod to it. This system of impunity and tolerance* can no longer continue; and his majefty is convinced, that your government will think it due from its frankness promptly to put an end to it. Receive, fir, the assurances of my high considerations.
(Signed) CH. M. TALLEYRAND. To his Excellency General Armstrong. Faithfully translated.
J. WAGNER, Chief Clerk Department State.
THE VIOLATION OF NEUTRAL RIGHTS, THE DEPREDATIONS ON THE
COLONIAL TRADE, AND IMPRESSMENTS OF AMERICAN SEAMEN.
To the Senate and House of Representatives
of the United States. IN my message to both Houses of Congress, at the opening of their present feffion, 1 submitted to their attention, among other subjects, the oppression of our commerce and navigation by the irregular practices of armed vessels, publick and private, and by the introduction of new principles, derogatory of the rights of neutrals, and unacknowledged by the usage of nations.
The memorials of several bodies of merchants of the United States are now communicated, and will develope these principles and practices, which are producing the most ruinous effects on our lawful commerce and navigation.
The right of a neutral to carry on commercial intercourse with every part of the dominions of a belligerent, permitted by the laws of the country (with the exception of blockaded ports, and contraband of war) was believed to have been decided between Great-Britain and the United States, by the sen. tence of their commissioners, mutually appointed to decide on that and other questions of difference between the two nations ; and by the actual payment of the damages awarded by them against Great Britain, for the infractions of that right. When, therefore, it was perceived that the same principle was revived, with others more novel, and extending the injury, instructions were given to the minister plenipotentiary of the United States at the court of London, and remonftrances duly made by him on this subject, as will appear by documents transınitted here with. There were followed by a partial apd temporary suspension only, without any disavowal of the principle. He has, therefore, been instructed to urge this subject anew, to bring it more fully to the bar of reason, and to insist on rights too evident and too important to be Surrendered. In the mean time, the evil is proceeding under adjudications
* Ne pourroit durer d'advantage.
Extra& of a letter from the Secretary of State fo James MONROE, Esq. dated
Department of State, April 12, 1806.
“ THE papers herewith inclosed, explain particularly the case of the brig Aurora.
“ The sum of the cafe is, that whilst Spain was at war with Great Britain, this vessel, owned by a citizen of the United States, brought a cargo of Spanith produce, purchased at the Havana, from that place to Charleston, where the cargo was landed, except an insignificant portion of it, and the duties paid, or secured, according to law, in like manner as they are required to be paid, or secured, on a like cargo, from whatever port, meant for home consumption; that the cargo remained on land about three weeks, when it was reshipped for Barcelona, in old Spain, and the duties drawn back, with a deduc. tion of three and a half per cent, as is permitted to imported articles in all cases, at any time within one year, under certain regulations, which were pursued in this case ; that the vessel was taken on her voyage by a British cruiser, and fent for trial to Newfoundland, where the cargo was condemned by the court of vice admiralty; and that the cause was carried thence, by appeal, to Great Britain, where it was apprehended that the sentence below would not be reverfed.
The ground of this sentence was, and that of its confirmation, if such be the result, muft bc, that the trade in which the vessel was engaged was unJawful, and this unlawfulness must reft, first, on the general principle assumed by Great Britain, that a trade from a colony to its parent country, being a trade not permitted to other nations in time of peace,cannot be made lawful to them in time of war ; secondly, on the allegation that the continuity of the voyage from the Havana to Barcelona was not broken by landing the cargo in the United States, paying the duties thereon, and thus fulfilling the legal pre-requisites to a home consumption ; and, therefore, that the cargo was subject to condemnation, even under the British regulation of January, 1798, which so far relaxes the general principle as to allow a direct trade between a belligerent colony, and a neutral country carrying on such a trade.
With respect to the general principle which disallows to neutral nations, in time of war, a trade not allowed to them in time of peace, it may be observed,
First, That the principle is of modern date ; that it is maintained, as is believed, by no other nation but Great Britain ; and that it was assumed by her under the auspices of a maritime ascendency, which rendered such a principle subfervient to her particular interest. The history of her regulations on this subject shews, that they have been constantly modified under the influence of that consideration. The course of these modifications will be scen in an appendix to the fourth volume of Robinson's Admiralty Reports.
Secondly, That the principle is manifestly contrary to the general interest of commercial nations, as well as to the law of nations settled by the most apo proved authorities, which recognizes no restraints on the trade of nations not at war, with nations at war, other than that it Hall be impartial between the latter, that it shall not extend to certain military articles, nor to the trache tation of persons in military service, nor to places actually blockaded arba lieged.
Thirdly, That the principle is the more contrary to reason and to me inasmuch as the admiflion of neutrals into a colonial trade, shut againk the in time of peace, may, and often does, result from confiderations which one to neutrals direct channels of trade with the parent state, shut to the r times of peace, the legality of which latter relaxation is not knowa to w been contested ; and inasmuch as a commerce may be, and frequently opened in time of war, between a colony and other countries, from conside ations which are not incident to the war, and which would produce thin effect in a time of peace ; such, for example, as a failure, or dimincond the ordinary sources of necessary supplies, or new turns in the courk op fitable interchanges.
Fourthly, That it is not only contrary to the principles and practic i other nations, but to the practice of Great Britain herself. It is well kor? to be her invariable practice in time of war, by relaxations in her patie laws, to admit neutrals to trade in channels forbidden to them in times peace ; and particularly to open her colonial trade both to neutral vele a supplies, to which it is shut in times of peace ; and that one at leat after objects in these relaxations, is to give to her trade an immunity from capir, to which in her own hands it would be subjected by the war.
Fifthly, The practice which has prevailed in the British dominions, les tioned by orders of council and an act of parliament, (39 G. S. C. 98. 1 izing for British subjects a direct trade with the enemy, ftill further die the force of her pretensions for depriving us of the colonial trade. These see in Robinson's Admiralty Reports pallim, that during the laft wara los ed commercial intercourse prevailed between Great-Britain and her enesta France, Spain and Holland, because it comprehended articles neceffary for manufactures and agriculture ; notwithstanding the effect it had in opcrit vent to the furplus productions of the others. In this manner the afuses 2 suspend the war itfelf, as to particular objects of trade beneficial to beril; whilft she denies the right of the other belligerents to suspend their doczes ed commercial restrictions, in favour of neutrals. But the injuftice and in fiftency of her attempt to press a strict rule on neutrals, is more forcibo played by the nature of the trade which is openly carried on between th> lonies of Great Britain and Spain in the Weft-Indies. The mode of it is 1 tailed in the inclofed copy of a letter from
, wherein it will be seen that the American vessels and cargoes, after being condemned in a courts, under pretence of illicit commerce, are sent, on British accoudt, enemies of Great Britain, if not to the very port of the destination interrupt when they were American property. What respect can be claimed to others to a doctrine not only of lo recent an origin, and enforced with or uniformity,but which is so conspicuously disregarded in practice by the itself, which stands alone in contending for it?
Sixthly, It is particularly worthy of attention, that the board of com fioners jointly constituted by the British and American governments, the 7th article of the treaty of 1794, by reversing condemnations of the to courts founded on the British instructions of November, 1793, conden the principle, that a trade forbidden to neutrals in time of peace, cool to opened to them in time of war ; on which precise principle thefe inftruose were founded. And as the reversal could be justified by no other author than the law of nations, by which they were guided, the law of nations, ding to that joint tribunal,condemns the principle here combatted. Woo the British commissioners concurred in these reversals, does not appear : whether they did or did not, the decision was equally binding ; and precedent which could not be disrespected by a like fucceeding tribanal, ought not to be without great weight with both nations, in like qucftius curring between them.