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the commercial classes may have to suffer in consequence of them, particularly those, who, having habitual relations with England, using a common language, and often mixing their interests, might more frequently occasion an apprehension of some commercial connivance with the English, inasmuch as they would have greater facilities in covering it. This circumstance made it necessary to use towards them precautions more exact, and an unceasing watchfulness, in order not to be exposed to abuses, which might result from a less constant vigilance. But it is not to France, it is to England, that these inconveniences to individuals ought to be imputed. She it is who has given the example of measures unjust, illegal, and infringing on the sovereignty of nations. To oblige her to renounce them, it has become necessary to combat her with her own arms : in violating the rights of all nations, she has united them all by a common interest, and it is for them to have recourse to force against her; to forbid her the search (la visite) of their vessels; the taking away of their crews; and to declare themselves against measures which wound their dignity and their independence. The unjust pretensions of England will be kept up as long as those, whose rights she violates, are silent; and what government has had more to complain of against her than the United States ? All the difficulties which have given rise to your reclamations, sir, would be removed with ease, if the government of the United States, after complaining in vain of the injustice and violations of England, took with the whole continent the part of guarantying itself therefrom. England has introduced into the maritime war an entire disregard for the rights of nations: it is only in forcing her to a peace that it is possible to recover them. On this point the interest of all nations is the same. All have their honour and their independence to defend. Accept, sir, &c. &c. &c.
Extract from a Letter of Gen. Armstrong to Mr. Madison.
Paris, Feb. 17, 1808. “ Enclosed is a copy of the answer from the minister of marine to my letter of the 13th instant, in relation to
the sale of a part of the cargo of the ship James Adams. It would now appear, that the promises of forbearance made by another department, are applicable only to vessels sequestered in the ports, and not to such as have been captured at sea."
(5th division of prizes.]
Extract from a Letter of the Minister of Marine to General
Armstrong. Paris, Feb. 15, 1803. “I OBSERVE to you moreover that the question now is not as to a vessel sequestered in port; but as to a prize made at sea, and seized for a contravention of the decree of the 17th Dec. last: that the provisional sale ordered on account of the “average” is for the interest as well of the captured, as of the captors, and it is directed according to the case provided for by the regulation of the 2d Prajrial, 11th year."
General Armstrong to Mr. Madison. Paris, April 5, 1808.
“ I RECEIVED the despatches you did me the honour to address to me by Mr. Lewis, on the 26th ultimo.
“ Though I had complained often and earnestly of both the principles and operation of the emperor's decrees of November, 1806, and December, 1807—(having written at least twenty notes on the different cases which have arisen under them) yet, as the President's orders were express, that on receipt of your letter I should superadd to whatever representations might have been previously made, a formal remonstrance against those decrees, I did not lose a moment in writing and presenting the enclosed note; the terms of which will, I hope, appear to be such as were proper or necessary to the case, and calculated, either to obtain a recall of the illegal measures, or to leave in full force the rights accruing to the United States from a failure · on the part of France to recall them. To this note I have not yet received an answer, nor have I reason to expect one soon, as the emperor has left Paris (it is said for Spain) and had, at no time before he set out, indicated any
alteration in the views which originally produced the decrees in question.
“ Mr. Pinkney found means (in the return to the continent of M. d'Alopeus) to communicate the President's views on the subject of the general embargo, and particularly the desire he had, that it should not be considered as a measure of hostility against any foreign nation. Some explanations of this kind were perhaps necessary in England, where, from the misrepresentations of our own people, the character of the policy was likely to be misunderstood ; but as neither the same, nor any other reason existed for making them here, none have been offered."
General Armstrong to M. Champagny. Paris, April 2,
1808. SIR, -Having submitted to the government of the United States, copies of the imperial decrees of the 21st of November, 1806, and 17th of December, 1807, and of the expositions which your excellency has been pleased, at different times, to give of them, I have recently received the instructions of the President to remonstrate against both the provisions and operation of the said decrees, on the ground of their infracting, as well the positive stipulations of a particular treaty, as the incontestable principles of publick law.
In discharging this duty, your excellency will permit me to recall to your remembrance the twelfth and fourteenth articles of the treaty made between the United States and France, on the 30th of September, 1800. These articles provide,
1st. That "it shall be lawful for the citizens of either country to sail with their ships and merchandise (contraband goods always excepted) from any port whatever, to any port of the enemy of the other, and to sail and trade with their ships and merchandise, with perfect security and liberty, from the countries, ports, and places of those who are enemies of both, or of either party, without any opposition or disturbance whatsoever; and to pass not only directly from the places and ports of the eneny aforesaid to neutral ports and places, but also from one place belonging to an enemy to another place belonging to an enemy, whe
ther they be or be not under the jurisdiction of the same power, unless such ports or places shall be actually blockaded, besieged, or invested.”
2d. That“ vessels sailing for a port or place belonging to an enemy, without knowing that the same is either besieged, blockaded, or invested, may be turned away from such port or place; but they shall not be detained, nor any part of their cargo (not contraband) confiscated, unless, afier notice of such blockade or investment, they shall again attempt to enter ; but they shall be permitted to go to any other port or place they shall think proper."
3d. That“ free ships shall give a freedom to goods, and that every thing shall be deemed to be free and exempt, which shall be found on board the ships belonging to the citizens of either of the contracting parties, although the whole lading, or any part thereof, should appertain to the enemies of either : contraband goods being always excepted."
These stipulations are not more clear in themselves, nor of more indisputable application and authority in the present case, than the injunctions of publick law, by which they arc enforced, viz. that local regulations (excepting by virtue of convention) cannot apply to foreign nations on the high seas, without violating the rights of the one, and the freedom of the other; that blockades can only exist, when places are so invested that no serious attempts can be made to approach them without exposing the parties making them to imminent danger; that merchant vessels may be visited without any degradation to the flag of the nation to which they belong, &c. &c. &c. But why multiply proofs of a position which is not denied ? Does not the official report of your enlightened predecessor, of the 21st of November, 1906, admit the illegitimacy of the original decree? Does it not expressly say, that the doctrines of blockade introduced by England are monstrous and indesensible ? and that the practice, like the doctrine, is a mockery of right, and an insult upon reason? After strictures so severe, because so just, what can be said for the policy of France, which differs in nothing from that of England ? Has your excellency attempted to defend either the theory or the practice of this policy, on the ground of its conformity to the principles of publick law? Or bave you done more at any time, or on any occasion, than to seek a justification for it on the bare suggestion, that the United States have acquiesced in the measures of England? And how has even this suggestion been maintained ? By an exposition of the wrongs inflicted on American commerce! and which have been notoriously practised by all the belligerents in turn. Have not the ships of the United States been encountered by all ? Have they not been turned from their original destination ? Have they not been dragged into foreign ports for adjudication? Have they not in several instances been burnt on the high seas! is not the argument, founded on this state of things, equally good for either, or for all the belligerents? And can France derive from it rights which do not equally accrue to her enemies? There is, however, another and a better answer to this suggestion, which your excellency has already seen in the letter I had the honour of writing to you on the 16th of February last, viz. that the suggestion is neither well or plausibly founded ; and that the United States neither have submitted, nor will submit, to the usurpations of Great Britain, nor to those of any other nation. Accept, sir, &c.
JOHN ARMSTRONG. His Excellency the Minister
of Foreign Relations.
Extract of a Letter from General Armstrong to Mr. Madi
son. Paris, April 12, 1808. “ I have detained Mr. Lewis till to day, on the supposition that my letter of the 2d instant to M. de Champagny would be answered.... This was, however, a mere accommodation to forms, since the absence of the emperor and that of the minister of foreign relations, rendered this supposition highly improbable. There being then no publick reason for Mr. Lewis's longer stay in Paris, and the permission to the Osage to prosecute her voyage to England not including one to return to France, I have thought it best that he should embark with such despatches as were ready, proceed to Falmouth, in England, and thence, after receiving Mr. Pinkney's orders, return with all possible expedition to the United States. He has accordingly been instructed to this effect."