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and that after the first of November they will cease to have effect; it being understood that, in conséquence of this declaration, the English shall revoke their orders in council, and renounce the new principles of blockade which they have wished to establish, or, that the United States, conformably to the act you have just communicated, shall cause their rights to be respected by the English.
It is with the most particular satisfaction, sir, that I make known to you this determination of the emperor. His majesty loves the Americans. Their prosperity and their commerce are within the scope of his policy.
The independence of America is one of the principal titles of glory to France. Since that epoch the emperor is pleased in aggrandizing the United States, and, under all circumstances, that which can contribute to the independence, to the prosperity, and the liberty of the Americans, the emperor will consider as conformable with the interests of his empire. Accept, sir, the assurance of my high consideration.
Duc de Cadore. His Excellency General Armstrong, &c.
General Armstrong to the Duke of Cadore.
[No date.] Sir,—The enclosed copy of the law of the United States of the 1st of May last, has been transmitted to me officially by the Secretary of State, and I hasten to lay it before your excellency. It will supply any want of authenticity which may be found in that already communicated.
In making this second communication of the law, I cannot but recall to your recollection an inference, injurious cither to my government, or to myself, which may be drawn from the first paragraph of the letter you did me the honour to write to me on the 5th instant. In this paragraph it is said : “S. M. auroit désiré, que cet acte, et tous les autres actes du gouvernement des Etats Unis, qui peuvent intéresser la France, lui eussent toujours éte notifiés officiellement. En general elle n'en a eu connoissance qu’indirectement, et apres un long intervalle du
temps. Il resulte de ce retard, des inconveniens graves, qui n'auroient pas lieu, si ces actes etoient promptement et officiellement communiques."*
From these words it may be inferred, either that the United States have been habitually negligent in transmitting to me, such of their acts as concern France, or that I have neglected to perform my duty, in not presenting these acts with sufficient promptitude.
In looking back on the publick measures of the United States, which in any way interest France, I find but the following, viz:
1st. An act prohibiting commercial intercourse between the United States and St. Domingo.
2d. An act laying an embargo on the ships or other vessels of the United States.
3d. An act prohibiting all commercial intercourse between the United States and France.
4th. An arrangement made between the Secretary of State of the United States, and the minister of his Britannick majesty at Washington; and
5th. The late act of the 1st May. Now of these, all have been presented officially; and, making a proper allowance for the remoteness of the United States from France, with sufficient promptitude, excepting the last which (from causes unknown to me) did not reach Paris until yesterday. Your excellency can at any time ascertain the correctness of this statement by referring to the archives of your own department. I have the honour, &c. &c.
JOHN ARMSTRONG. His Excellency the Duke de Cadore.
Extracts of a Letter from General Armstrong to Mr. Smith.
Sept. 10, 1810. “ Since the date of my last despatch (by Mr. Jarvis) nothing has occurred worth communicating, until yesterday, when I received the letter from the duke of Cadore, of which No. 1. (enclosed) is a copy. By this it will be seen that the decree of Rambouillet is not in operation, and that American ships entering the ports of France before the 1st of November next, will be judged under the decrees of Berlin and of Milan."
* Translation. “ His majesty could have wished, that this act and all the other acts of the government of the United States, which interest France, had always been officially made known to him. In general he has only had a knowledge of them indirectly, and after a long interval of time. There has resulted from this delay serious inconveniences, which would not have existed, if these acts had been promptly and officially communicated."
“ No 2. is the copy of a note written to M. Champagny, with a view of drawing from him something explicit, on the points of which it treats. The first of these may appear to have been useless, after the declaration of that minister, that American ships, which will hereafter arrive in the ports of France, shall not be subject to confiscation; but understanding from the council of prizes, that antil some act be taken which had the effect of recalling by name the decree of the 23d of March last, they must continue to consider it both as existing and operative, and of course binding upon them, I hastened to present the subject again, and in a form which leaves no room for misunderstanding."
“ 12th Sept. I have the honour to enclose copies of two other letters from the duke of Cadore, one of which is an answer to my note of the 8th instant. To the question, whether we had any thing to expect in reparation for past wrongs? they reply, that their act being of reprisal, the law of reprisal must govern; in other words, that if you confiscate French property under the law of nonintercourse, they will confiscate your property under their decree of Rambouillet. The words underscored is the verbal explanation which accompanied the letter."
is I set out this day for Bordeaux, (on my way to the United States,) and hope to begin my voyage from that port on the 1st of October next."
The Duke of Cadore to General Armstrong. Paris, Sept. 7.
1810. SIR,—You have done me the honour to ask of me, by your letter of the 20th of August, what will be the lot of the American vessels which may arrive in France before the 1st of November.
His majesty has always wished to favour the commerce of the United States. It was not without reluctance that he used reprisal towards the Americans while he saw that Congress had ordered the confiscation of all French vessels which might arrive in the United States.
It appears that Congress might have spared to his majesty and his subjects this mortification, (ce désagrément) if in place of that harsh and decisive measure, which left 10 France no choice, they had used some palliative, such as that of not receiving French vessels, or of sending them away, after a delay of so many days.
As soon as his majesty was informed of this hostile act, he felt that the honour of France, involved in this point, could not be cleansed (ne pouvait être lave) but by a declaration of war, (which) could not take place but by tedious explanations.
The emperor contented himself with making reprisals ; and in consequence, he applied to American vessels which came to France, or to the countries occupied by the French armies, word for word, the regulations of the act of Congress.
Since the last measures by which that hostile act is repealed, his majesty hastens to cause it to be made known to you, that he anticipates that which may re-establish harmony with the United States, and that he repeals his decrees of Berlin and Milan, under the conditions pointed out in my letter to you, of the 5th of August.
During this interval, the American vessels which shall arrive in France, will not be subjected to confiscation; because the act of Congress, which had served as a motive to our reprisals, is repealed; but these vessels will be subjected to all the effects of the Berlin and Milan decrees; that is to say, they will be treated amicably, if they can be considered as Americans, and hostilely, if they have lost their national character, (s'ils se sont laissé dénationalisé) by submitting to the orders in council of the British government.
I have the honour to renew to you, sir, the assurance of my high consideration.
Duc de Cadore. His Excellency General Armstrong, &c. &c. &c.
General Armstrong to the Duke of Cadore. Paris, Sept.
7, 1810. SIR, Your excellency will not think me importunate if I should employ the last moments of my stay in Paris, in seeking an explicit declaration on the following points:
1. Has the decree of his majesty of the 23d of March last, enjoining acts of reprisal against the commerce of the United States on account of their late law of non-intercourse, been recalled ?
2d. What will be the operation (on the vessels of the United States) of his majesty's decree of July last, forbidding the departure of neutral ships from ports of France, unless provided with imperial licenses? Are these licenses merely substitutes for clearances? or do they prescribe regulations to be observed by the holders of them within the jurisdiction of the United States ?
Do they confine the permitted intercourse to two ports only of the said States, and do they enjoin that all shipments be made on French account exclusively?
Is it his majesty's will, that the seizures made in the ports of Spain and other places, on the principle of reprisal, shall become a subject of present or future negotiation between the two governments ? or, are the acts already taken by his majesty to be regarded as conclusive against remuneration ?
I need not suggest to your excellency the interést that both governments have in the answers that may be given to these questions, and how nearly connected they are with the good understanding which ought to exist between them. After the great step lately taken by his majesty towards an accommodation of differences, we are not at liberty to suppose that any new consideration will arise, which shall either retard or prevent the adoption of measures necessary to 'a full restoration of the commercial intercourse and friendly relation of the two powers.
I cannot omit expressing, on this occasion, the sense I shall carry with me of the many obligations I am personally under to your excellency, and of the very high consideration with which I have the honour to be, &c.
JOHN ARMSTRONG. Ilis Excellency the Duke of Cadore, &c. &c.dic.