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Although other subjects will press more immediately on you deliberations, a portion of them cannot but be well bestowed on the just and sound policy of securing to our manufactures the success they have attained, and are still attaining, in some degree, under the impulse of causes not permanent; and to our navigation, the fair extent of which it is at present abridged by the unequal regulations of foreign governments.
Besides the reasonableness of saving our manufacturers from sacrifices which a change of circumstances might bring on them, the national interest requires, that, with respect to such articles at least as belong to our defence, and our primary wants, we should not be left in unnecessary dependance on external supplies. And whilst foreign governments adhere to the existing discriminations in their ports against our navigation, and an equality or lesser discrimination is enjoyed by their navigation in our ports, the effect cannot be mistaken, because it has been seriously felt by our shipping interests ; and in proportion as this takes place, the advantages of an independent conveyance of our products to foreign markets, and of a growing body of marines, trained by their occupations for the service of their country in times of danger, must be diminished.
The receipts into the treasury, during the year ending on the 30th of September last, have exceeded thirteen millions and a half of dollars, and have enabled us to defray the current expenses, including the interest on the public debt, and to reimburse more than five millions of dollars of the principal, without recurring to the loan authorized by the act of the last session. The temporary loan obtained in the latter end of the year 1810, has also been reimbursed, and is not included in that amount.
The decrease of revenue arising from the situation of our commerce, and the extraordinary expenses which have and may become necessary, must be taken into view, in making commensurate provisions for the ensuing year.
And I recommend to your consideration, the propriety of ensuring a sufficiency of annual revenue, at least, to defray the ordinary expenses of government, and to pay
the interest on the public debt, including that on new loans which may be authorized.
I cannot close this communication without expressing my deep sense of the crisis in which you are assembled, my confidence in a wise and honorable result to your deliberations, and assurances of the faithful zeal with which my co-operating duties will be discharged; invoking at the same time the blessing of Heaven on our belove ed couatry, and on all the means that may be employed, in vindicating its rights, and advancing its welfare.
JAMES MADISON. Washington, November 5th, 1811.
Correspondence between Mr. Monroe and Mr. Foster, in
relation to the Orders in Council.
Mr. Foster to Mr. Monroe.
Washington, July 2, 1811, I have the honor to inform you that I have received the special commands of his royal Highness, the prince regent, acting in the name and on the behalf of his majesty, to make an early communication to you of the fentiments which bis royal highness was pleased, on the part of his majesty, to express to Mr. Pinkney, upon the occasion of his audience of leave,
His royal highness fignified to Mr.Pinkney, the deep regret with which he learnt that Mr. Pinkney conceived himself to be bound by the instructions of his government to take his departure from England. His royal highness informed Mr. Pinkney that one of the earliest acts of his government, in the name and on the behalf of his majesty, was to appoint an envoy extraordinary and minifter plenipotentiary to the government of the United States ; and added, that this appointment had been made in the spirit of amity, and with a view of maintaining the subsisting relations of friendship between the Evo countries.
His royal highness further declared to Mr. Pinkney that he was most sincerely and anxiously desirous, on the part of his majesty, to cultivate a good understanding with the United States by every means consistent with the prefervation of the maritime rights and intercits of the British empire.
His royal highness particularly desired that Mr. Pinkney would communicate these declarations to the United States in the manner which might appear belt calculated to satisfy the president of his royal highness folicitude to facilitate an amicable discussion with the government of the United States upon every point of difference which had arisen between the two governments, I have the honor to be, &c. &c. &c.
(Signed) AUG. J. FOSTER. The Hon. James Monroe, &c.
Mr. Foster to Mr. Monroe. SIR,
Washington, July 3, 1811. I have had the honor of stating to you verbally the system of de. fence to which his majesty has been compelled to resort for the purpose of protecting the maritime rights and interests of bis dlo. minions, against the new description of warfare that has been
a Japted by his enemies. I have presented to you the grounds upon which bis majifty finds himself ftill obliged to continue that fyltem, and I conceive that I Thall beft meet your wishes as ex. preffed to me this morning, if, in a more formal shape, I should lay before you the whole extent of the question as it appears to his majesty's government to exist between Grcat-Britain and America.
I beg leave to call your attention, fir, to the principles on which his niajesty's orders in council were originally founded, The decree of Berlin was directly and expressly an act of war, by which France prohibited all nations from trade or intercourse with Great Britain, under perii cf confiscation of their abips and merchandize; although France had not the means of imposing an actual blockade in any degree adequate to such a purpose. The immediate and professed object of this hostile decree was the destruction of all British commerce, through means entirely un. fanclioned by the law of nations, and unauthoriz.d by any res ceived doctrine of k gitimate blockade.
This violation of the established law of civilized nations in war would have justified Great Britain in retaliating upon the enemy, by a similar interdiction of all commerce with France, and with such other countries as might co-operate with France in her system of commercial hoftility against Great Britain.
The object of Great Britain was not, however, the destruction of trade, but its preservation under such regulations as might be compatible with her own security, at the fame time that she ex. tended an indulgence to foreign commerce, which strict principles would have entitled her to withhold. The retaliation of Great Britain was pol, therefore, urged to the full extent of her right; our prohibition of French trade was not absolute, but modified, and in return for the absolute prohibition of all trade with Great Britain, we prohibited not all commerce with France, but all such commerce with France as should not be carried on through Great Britain
It was evident, that this system must prove prejudicial to neu. tral nations : this calamity was forefeen, and deeply regretted.But the injury to the neutral nation arose from the aggression of France, which had compelled Great Britain in her
own defence to resort to adequate retaliatory measures of war. The operation on the American commerce of those precautions which the conduct of France had rendered indispensable to our security, is there. fore to be ascribed to the unwarrantable
aggression of France, and not to those proceedings on the part of Great Britain which that aggression had rendered necessary and just.
The object of our system was merely to counteract an attempt to crush the British trade. Great Britain endeavored to permit the continent to receive as large a portion of commerce as might be practicable through Great Britain ; and all her subsequent regulations, and every modification of her system by new orders
or modes of granting or withholding licerces, have been calculat. ed for the purpose of encouraging the trade of neutrals thro’ Great Britain, whenever such encouragement might appear advantageous to the general interests of commerce, and consistent with the public safety of the nation.
The justification of his majesty's orders in council, and the con. tinuance of that defence, have always been refted upon the exiftence of the decrees of Berlin and Milan, and on the perseverance of the enemy in the lystem of hostility which has fubverted the rights of neutral commerce on the continent; and it has always been declared on the part of his majesty's government, that when. ever France should have effectually repealed the decrees of Berlin and Milan, and should have restored neutral commerce to the condition in which it stood previously to the promulgation of those decrees, we should immediately repeal our orders in council.
France has aflerted that the decree of Berlin was a measure of just retaliation on her part, occasioned by our previous aggression; and the French government has insisted that our system of block ade, as it exifted previously to the decree of Berlin, was a mani. fest violation of the received law of nations : we must, therefore, fir, refer to the articles of the Berlin decree to find the principles of our fystem of blockade which France considers to be new, and contrary to the law of nations.
By the 4th and 8th articles it is stated as a justification of the French decree, that Great Britain "extends to unfortified towns and commercial ports, to harbors, and to the mouths of rivers, those rights of blockade which, by reafon and the ufage of nations, are applicable only to fortified places; and that the rights of block ade ought to be limited to fortrefles really invested by a fufficient force."
It is added in the same articles, that Great Britain "has declarcd places to be in a state of blockade before which she has not a single ship of war, and even places which the whole British force would be insufficient to blockade, entire coafts and a whole empire.
Neither the practice of Great Britain nor the law of nations has ever fanctioned the rule now laid down by France, that no places, excepting fortreffes in a complete state of investiture, can be deemed lawfully blockaded by fea.
If such a rule were to be admitted, it would become nearly impracticable for Great Britain to attempt the blockade of any port of the continent; and our submission to this perversion of the law of nations, while it would destroy one of the principal advantages of our naval fuperiority, would facrifice the common rights and interests of all maritime ftates.
It was evident that the blockade of May, 1806, was the prin. cipal pretended justification of the decree of Berlin, though neither the principles on which that blockade was founded, nor its práctical operation, afforded any color for the proceedings of France.
In point of date the blockade of May, 1806, preceded the Berlin decree : but it was a just and legal blockade according to the established law of nations, because it was intended to be maintained, and was actually maintained in an adequate force appointed to guard the whole coast described in the notification, and consequently to enforce the blockade.
Great Britain has never attempted to dispute that, in the ordinary course of the law of nations, no blockade can be justifiable or valid unless it be supported by an adequate force destined to maintain it, and to expose to hazard all vellels attempting to evade its operation. The blockade of May, 1806, was notified by Mr. Secretary Fox, on this clear principle ; nor was that blockade announced until he had fatisfied himlelf, by a communication with his majesty's board of admiralty, that the admiralty possessed the means and would employ them, of watching the whole coast from Brest to the Elbe, and of effectually enforcing the blockade.
The blockade of May, 1806, was therefore (according to the doctrine of Grtat-Britain,) just and lawful in its origin, because it was supported both in intention and fact by an adequate nayal force. This was the justification of that blockade, until the period of time when the orders in council were iflued.
The orders in council were founded on a distinct principle; that of defensive retaliation. France had declared a blockade of all the ports and coasts of Great Britain and her dependencies, without assigning, or being able to assign, any force to support that blockade. Such act of the enemy would have justified a de. claration of the blockade of the whole coast of France, even without the application of any particular force to that service. Since the promulgation of the orders in council, the blockade of May, 1806, has been sustained and extended, by the more comprehenfive system of defensive retaliation, on which those regulations are founded. But if the orders in council should be abrogated, the blockade of May, 1806, could not continue under our construction of the law of nations, unless that blockade should be maintained by a due application of an adequate naval force.
America appears to concur with France, in asserting that Great. Britain was the original aggressor in the attack on neutral rights, and has particularly objected to the blockade of May, 1806, as an obvious instance of that aggression on the part of Great.
Although the doctrines of the Berlin decree, respecting the rights of blockade, are not directly asserted by the American government, Mr. Pinkney's corespondence would appear to countenance the principles on which those do&trines are founded. The objection directly stated by America against the blockade of May, 1806, rests on a supposition that no naval force which Great-Britain possessed, or could have employed for such a purpose, could have rendered that blockade effc Stual, and that therefore it was nécessarily irregular, and could not poslibly be maintained in con