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sole cause that a treaty was not then formed, and the territory added.
The United States have considered the government of Spain indebted to them a greater sum for the injuries above stated, than the province of East Florida can, by any fair standard between the parties, be estimated at. They have looked to this province for their indemnity, and with the greater reason, because the government of Spain itself has countenanced it. That they have suffered their just claims to remain so long unsatisfied, is a new and strong proof of their moderation, as it is of their respect for the disordered condition of that power. There is, however, a period beyond which those claims ought not to be neglected. It would be highly improper for the United States, in their respect for Spain, to forget what they owe to their character and to the rights of their injured citizens.
Under these circumstances it would be equally unjust and dishonorable in the United States to suffer East Florida to pass into the possession of any other po:ver. Unjust, because they would thereby lose the only indemnity within their reach, fur injuries which ought long since to have been redressed. Dishonorable, because in permitting another power to wrest from them that indemnity, their inactivity and acquiescence could only be imputed to unworthy motives. Situated as East Florida is, cut off from the other possessions of Spain, and surrounded in a great measure by the territory of the United States; and having also an important bearing on their commerce, no other power could think of taking possession of it, with other than hostile views to them. Nor could any other power take possession of it without endangering their prosperity and best interests.
The United States have not been ignorant or inattentive to what has been agitated in Europe at different periods since the commencement of of the present war, in regard to the Spanish provinces in this hemisphere; nor have they been unmindful of the consequences into which the disorder of Spain might lead in regard to the province in question, without due care to prevent it. They have been persuad, ed, that remissness on their part might invite the danger, if it had not already done it, which it is so much their interest and desire to prevent. Deeply impressed with these considerations, and anxious, while they acquitted themselves to the just claim of their constituents, to preserve friendship with other powers, the subject was brought before the Congress at its last session, when an act was passed, authorizing the executive to accept possession of East Florida from the local authorities, or to take it against the attempt of a foreign power to occupy it, holding it in either case subject to future and friendly negociation. This act therefore evinces the just and amicable views by which the United States have been governed towards Spain, in the measure authorized by it. Our ministers at London and Paris were immediately apprized of the act, and instruced to communicate the purport of it to both governments, and to ex. plain at the same time, in the most friendly manner, the motives
which led to it. The President could not doubt that such an explanation would give all the satisfaction that was intended by it. By a late letter from the American charge des affaires at London, I observe that this explanation was made to your government in the month of last. That it was not sooner made, was owing to the departure of the minister plenipotentiary of the United States before the instruction was received.
I am pursuaded, sir, that you will see, in this view of the subject, very strong proof of the just and amicable disposition of the United States towards Spain, of which I treated in the conference to which you have alluded. The same disposition still exists; but it must be understood that it cannot be indulged longer than may comport with the safety, as well as with the rights and honor of the nation. I have the honor to be, &c. (Signed)
JAS. MONROE. Correspondence between Mr. Pinkney and Lord Wellesley.
Mr. Pinkney to Mr. Smith. Sir,
London, January 17, 1811. I had the honor to receive on the 5th instant, while I was confined by a severe illness, your letter of the 15th of November, and as soon as I was able, prepared a note to lord Wellesley in conformity with it.
On the 3d instant I had received a letter from lord Wellesley, bear. ing date the 29th ultimo, on the subjects of the orders in councl and the British blockades, to which I was anxious to reply at the same time that I obeyed the orders of the President signified in your letter above mentioned. I prepared an answer accordingly, and sent it in with the other note, and a note of the 15th, respecting two American schooners lately captured on their way to Bordeaux, for a breach of the orders in council. Copies of all these papers are inclosed.
My answer to lord Wellesley's letter was written under the pressure of indisposition, and the influence of more indignation than could well be suppressed. His letter proves, what scarcely required proof, that if the present government continues, we cannot be friends with England. I need not analyse it to you. .
I am still so weak as to find it convenient to make this letter a short one, and will therefore only add, that I have derived great satisfac. tion from your instructions of the 15th of November, and have de. termined to return to the United States in the Essex. She will go to L'Orient for Mr. Grayson, and then come to Cowes, for me and my family. I calculate on sailing about the last of February.
The despatches by the Essex were delivered to me by lieutenant
I have the honor to be, &c. &c.
No. 11.] TWELFTH CONGRESS.... First Session.
[Documents---Continued from No. 10.]
Lord Wellesley to Mr. Pinkney.* SIR,
Foreign Office, December 29, 1810. In acknowledging the receipt of your letter of the 10th instant, I must express my regret that you should have thought it necessary to introduce into that letter any topics, which might tend to interrupt the conciliatory spirit, in which it is the sincere disposition of his majesty's government to conduct every negociation with the govern. ment of the United States.
From an anxious desire to avoid all discussions of that tendency, I shall proceed without any further observations to communicate to you the view, which his majesty's government has taken of the principal question which formed the object of my inquiry, during our conference of the 5th instant. The letter of the French minister for foreign affairs to the American minister at Paris, on the 9th of August, 1810, did not appear to his majesty's government, to contain such a notification of the repeal of the French decrees of Berlin and Milan, as could justify his majesty's government in repealing the ore ders in council. That letter states " that the decrees of Berlin and Milan are revoked, and that from the 1st of November, 1810, they will cease to be in force, it being understood that in consequence of this declaration, the English shall revoke their orders in council and renounce the new principles of blockade which they have attempted to establish.” The purport of this declaration appeared to be that, the repeal of the decrees of Berlin and Milan would take effect from the 1st of November, provided that Great Britain antecedently to that day, and in consequence of this declaration, should revoke the orders in council, and should renounce those principles of blockade, which the French government alledged to be new. A separate condition relating to America, seemed also to be contained in this dec laration, by which America might understand, that the decrees of Berlin and Milan would be actually repealed on the 1st of Novembet, 1810, provided that America should resent any refusal of the British government to renounce the new principles of blockade, and to revoke the orders in council.
By your explanation it appears that the American government une derstands the letter of the French minister as announcing an absolute repeal, on the 1st of November, 1810, of the French decrees of Berlin and Milan; which repeal, however, is not to continue in force unless the British government, within a reasonable time after the first of November, 1810, shall fulfil the two conditions, stated * This letter was not received till January 3d, 1811, at night.
distinctly in the letter of the French minister. Under this explanation, if nothing more had been required from Great Britain, for the purpose of securing the continuance of the repeal of the French decrers, than the repeal of our orders in council, I should not have hesitated to declare the perfect readiness of this government to fulfil that condition. On these terms, the British government has always been sincerely disposed to repeal the orders in council. It appears, however, not only by the letter of the French minister, but by your explanation, that the repeal of the orders in council will not satisfy either the French or American government. The British government is further required, by the letter of the French minister, to renounce those principles of blockade which the French governmeot alledges to be new. , A reference to the terms of the Berlin decree will explain the extent of this requisition. The Berlin decree states, that Great-Britain “extends the right of blockade to commercial unfortified towns, and to ports, harbors, and mouths of rivers, which, according to the principles and practice of all civilized nations, is only applicable to fortified places. On the part of the American government, I understand you to require that Great-Britain should revoke her order of blockade of May, 1806. Combining your requisition with that of the French minister, I must conclude, that Amer. ica demands the revocation of that order of blockade as a practical instance of our renunciation of those principles of blockade which are condemned by the French government. Those principles of blockade Great Britain has asserted to be ancient and established by the laws of maritime war, acknowledged by all civilized nations, and on which depend the most valuable rights and interests of this nation. If the Berlin and Milan decrees are to be considered as still in force, unless Great Britain shall renounce these established foundations of her maratime rights and interests, the period of time is not yet arrived, when the repeal of her orders in council can be claimed from her, either with reference to the promise of this government, or to the safety and honor of the nation. I trust that the justice of the American government will not consider, that France, by the repeal of her cbnoxious decrees under such a condition, has placed the question in that state which can warrant America in enforcing the non-intercourse against Great-Britain and not against France. In reviewing the actual state of this question, America cannot fail to observe the situation in which the commerce of neutral nations has been placed by many recent acts of the French government; nor can America reasonably expect that the system of violence and injustice, now pursued by France with unremitted activity (while it serves to illustrate the true spirit of her intentions) should not require some precautions of defence on the part of Great-Britain.
Having thus stated my view of the several considerations, arising from the letter of the French minister, and from that with which you have honored me; it remains only to express my solicitude that you should correct any interpretation of either which you may deem erroneous. If either by the terms of the original decree to which
the French minister's letter refers, or by any other authentic docu.! ment, you can prove that the decrees of Berlin' and Milan are absolutely repealed, and that no further condition is required of Great Britain than the repeal of her orders in council, I shall receive any such information with most sincere satisfaction ; desiring you to understand, that the Br tish government retains an anxious solicitude to revoke the orders in council, as soon as the Berlin and Milan decrees shall be effectually repealed without conditions injurious to the maritime rights and honor of the united kingdom. I have the honor to be, with great respect and consideration, Sir, Your most obedient, and humble servant, (Signed)
Mr. Pinkney to Lord Wellesley.
I have received the letter which you did me the honor to address to me on the 29th of the last month, and will not fail to transmit a copy of it to my government. In the meantime I take the liberty to trouble you with the following reply, which a severe indisposition has prevented me from preparing sooner.
The first paragraph seems to make it proper for me to begin by saying, that the topics, introduced into my letter of the 10th of December, were intimately connected with its principal subject, and fairly used to illustrate and explain it; and consequently that if they had not the good fortune to be acceptable to your lordship, the fault was not mine.
It was scarcely possible to speak with more moderation than my paper exhibits, of that portion of a long list of invasions of the rights of the United States, which it necessarily reviewed, and of the apparent reluctance of the British government to forbear those invasions in future. I do not know that I could more carefully have abstained from whatever might tend to disturb the spirit which your lordship ascribes to his majesty's government, is, instead of being utterly barren and unproductive, it had occasionally been visible in some practical result, in some concession either to friendship or to justice. It would not have been very surprising, nor very culpable perhaps, if I had wholly forgotten to address myself to a spirit of conciliation, which had met the most equitable claims with steady and unceasing repulsion; which had yielded nothing that could be denied; and had answered complaints of injury by multiplying causes. With this forgetfulness, however, I am not chargeable ; for, against all the discouragements suggested by the past, I have acted still upon a presumption that the disposition to conciliate, so often professed, would finally be proved by some better evidence than a perseverance in oppressive novelties, as obviously incompatible with such a disposition in those who enforce them, as in those whose patience they continue to exercise.