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when unopposed, as it is, by any conflicting circumstance, to be considered as conclusive of the revocation of the French edicts, to which, if continued in force, these cases would have been liable. In addition, however, to this evidence, I have now the satisfaction to communicate to you the liberation of the Two Brothers, the Good Intent, and the Star, three American vessels captured since the 1st of November, and brought into this empire, or into ports under its controul. I should have no doubt been able to have announced the release, by one general decision, of every American vessel captured since that period, if the only inquiry were whether or not they had violated the Berlin and Milan decrees. Unfortunately, however, the practices of late years render the question of property extremely difficult to be satisfactorily decided amidst false papers and false oaths. After the most minute and tedious investigation, it often remains doubtful whether this property belongs to a neutral or an enemy. The time employed in this investigation has surely no connexion with the Berlin and Milan decrees, and cannot be considered as evidence of their continuance.
It is possible that these decrees may be kept in force in their municipal character, and be applied to the confiscation of English merchandise on the continent; and to prevent their performing this function does not appear to be a concern of the United States, nor can the measure adopted in retaliation of it, on the part of England, be justly extended beyond its limit, and made to reach an unoffending neutral power, which the act of her enemy does not affect.
It is sufficient for us, that the Berlin and Milan decrees have ceased to be executed on the high seas, and if the orders in council still continue to operate there, they surely are not supported by any principle of the law of retaliation, but must be considered as a simple and unqualified violation of our neutral and national rights.
The proof now before you of the revocation of the Berlin and Milan decrees, consists in the precise and formal declarations of this government..........in its discontinuance to execute them to our prejudice in a single instance......in its having exempted from their operation every vessel arriving spontaneously since the 1st of November, to which they could be applied, and every vessel forcibly brought in since that time, on which there has been a decision. After such evidence, to pretend to doubt of their revocation with regard to us, would seem to be the result of something more than mere incredulity. With much respect, I am, sir, &c. &c. (Signed)
Mr. J. S. Smith to the Marquis Wellesley.
Bentick Street, July 23d, 1811. The letter which I have the honor to present to your lordship, has just been received by me from Mr. Russell
. So full and complete is this document, that I conceive it quite unnecessary to add any comments or remarks of my own. I shall, however, have much pleasure in furnishing any other explanations in my power, cither verbal or written, that your lordship may desire.
Any doubts that may have existed here of the effectual repeal of the decrees of Berlin and Milan will now, I feel assured, be completely removed; and I feel equally confident that this revocation of the French edicts will be immediately followed by that of the orders in council, which affect the neutral commerce of the United States. I need not assure your lordship of the great satisfaction I shall haye in communicating this event to my government.
As the “orders in council” have been ever declared by his majesty's government to be only of a retaliating character, and that they would cease to have any effect when the causes upon which they were founded had ceased to exist, I trust that no argument is necessary to shew (if your lordship shall feel the force with which the accompanying document unequivocally demonstrates the abandonment, on the part of France, of her decrees) that the “orders in council" should be so revoked as to embrace the American vessels that have been captured by British cruizers since the 1st of November, the period at which the French edicts were revoked.
I have the honor to subjoin to this the circumstances of the two vessels to which Mr. Russell alludes in his letter.
The Grace Ann Greene had been captured by an English cruizer ; was re-taken by her own crew, and arrived at Marseilles, where vessel and cargo were, notwithstanding, admitted.
The New Orleans Packet had been boarded by two English cruizersg, and had been also at an English port, thus doubly transgressing against the French edicts. She arrived at Bordeaux, was seized by the director of the customs for these very transgressions, but, on the remonstrance of Mr. Russell, was immediately released, and has been admitted, vessel and cargo. I have the honor, &c.
J. S. SMITH.
Marquis Wellesley to Mr. Smith. SIR,
Foreign Office, August 8, 1811. Your letter of the 23d ultimo has been under the confideration of his royal highness, the prince regent, and has received all the attention to which it is entitled.
I am commanded by his royal highness to acquaint you, that he has thought fit to postpone the answer to your letter until aci. vices, which are hourly expected, from Mr. Foster, shall have been received.
I have the honor to be, with great respect and consideration,
Lord Wellesley to Mr. Smith, SIR,
Foreign Office, August 14, 1811. Since the date of my last letter, I have the honor to inform you, that I have received a letter from Mr. Fofter, his majesty's minifter in America, by which it appears that he had actually com: menced a negociation with the government of the United States, refpecting the British "orders in council.” His dispatches con taining the particulars of the negociation, have not yet reached me. Under these circumstances, I have transinitted a copy of your letter, together with its enclosure, to Mr. Foster, in order that thofe documents may receive full consideration in the progrefs of the difcuffions now depending in America. I have the honor to be, &c. (Signed)
Mr. Foster to Mr. Monroe. Sir,
Washington, Oct. 22, 1811. I had the honor to receive your letter of 17th instant, together with its three inclofires, on the road between Baltimore and this city ; I had that of receiving, at the same time, your letter dated O&ober 1, in answer to mine of the 26th of last July.
Not having had any dispatches from his majesty's governmentlately, I have not as yet received the copy of the recent communication from Paris, in regard to the supposed repeal of the French decrees, which the charge d'affaires of the United States at London has intimated to you that he understood the marquis Wellesley intended to tranfmit to me, and which I conclude is the same as that contained in the letter of Mr. Ruffell, the Ameriacn charge d'af. faires in France. I am, however, in daily expectation of the arrival of his majesty's packet boat, when it will, in all probability, reach me, and when, if I should receive any fresh instructions in confequence, I will not fait immediately to acquaint you. In the mean while, however, I beg you will permit me to make some remarks in reply to your letter of October 1, being extremely anxious to do away the impreffion which you seem to have received relative to the demand I had made for the repeal of the non-im. portation act of the present year.
It is, I assure you, sir, with very great regret that I find you consider that demand as involving in any degree propofitions tend-, ing to degrade your nation. Such an idea certainly never existed with his majesty's government, nor would it be compatible with the friendly sentiments entertained by them for the United States; neither could I have suffered myself to be the channel of conveying a demand which I thought had such a tendency. However you may view the demand made on the part of Great Britain, I can safely say it was made in consequence of its appearing to his majesty's government on strong evidence that the chief of the French nation had really deceived America as to the repeal of his
decrees, and in the hopes that the United States' government, would therefore see the justice of replacing this country on its for mer footing of amicable relations with England; nothing appearing to be more natural than fuch an expectation, which seemed a neceffary consequence of the disposition expressed by America to maintain her neutrality, and desirable in every other point of view. I cannot, indeed, bring myself to think, fir, that your candor would allow you, on a re-confideration, to put any other construction on the matter, and had my arguments had fufficient weight with you in thewing that the French decrees were still in force, I cannot doubt but you would bave agreed with me in the conclusion I drew. It would seem therefore only owing to your not viewing the deceitful conduct of the French government in the same light that it appears to his majesty's government, that a difference of opinion exists between us as to the proposal I made, which, under the conviction entertained by them, was surely a very just and natural one.
From the earneft defire of vindicating myself and my government from the charge of making any degrading or unjust demands on that of America, ! have taken the liberty to trouble you so far, and I will now proceed to thew why I thought you had misunderstood the passage of my letter which related to the extent in which the repeal of the French decrees was required by Great Britain. In the explanation which you desired on this point, I gave you that which the marquis Wellesley gave to Mr. Pinkney, in answer to bis letter of August 25, 1810, and I beg to refer you to the mesage of the president of the United States on the opening of Congress in December, 1810, for a proof that the demand of Great Britain, in the extent in which I have stated it, was known to your government several months ago; how was I, therefore, to suppose, in the term innovations as applied to the explanation given by me, that you could mean otherwise than some really new pretension on the part of Great Britain, such as that France should suffer British property to be carried into her ports for the purposes of trade. If the warmth I was betrayed into, in endeavoring to refute a supposedimputation of this fort,gave any offence, I fincerely regret it, and I will beg permission here to say, fir, that if unconsciously I have, by any remarks, led you to fuppofi
: they conveyed any improper infinuations, as one paragraph of your letter would appear to imply, I am most unfeigned. ly forry for it, as I entertain the highest respect for you personally and for your government, and could only have meant what I wrote in the way of argument, or for the purpose of contrasting the proceedings of France in her conduct towards the United States with that of Great Britain.
In reverting to the extraordinary and unprecedented situation of things that have arisen out of the war in Europe, it would seem needless to repeat the evidence there is that the lawless and unbounded ambition of the ruler of France has been the origin of it, and it cannot be a secret to the United States government, that
his plan has been, and avowedly continues to be, not to scruple at the violation of any law, provided he can thereby overthrow the maritime power of England. Is it not, therefore, reasonable i Great Britain to distrust an ambiguous declaration of his having fuddenly given up any part of a system which he thought calcu. lated to produce such an effect? You say, however, that the de. crees of Berlin and Milan are revoked. America, as not being at war, and therefore not feeing so nearly into the views of France, may be less scrupulous as to the evidence necessary to prove the fact; but, fir, it cannot be expected that Great Britain, who is contending for every thing that is dear to her, should not require more proof on a point fo material to her. It is undoubtedly a very desirable thing for the United States to have a free and unrestrict. ed trade with both belligerents; but the effential security and molt important interests of America are not involved in the ques. tion, as are those of Great Britain. France has levelled a blow which she hopes will prove deadly to the resources of Great Bri. tain : and before the British government can, with safety, give up the measures of defence in consequence adopted by them, very strong proof must exist of the cessation, by France, of her novel and unprecedented measures.
I confefs, fir, with the finceres disposition to discover on the part of the ruler of France, a return to the long established prac. tice of warfare as exercised in civilized Europe, I have been unable to succeed; and if the French government had really meant to withdraw their obnoxious decrees, it is inconceivable why, instead of allowing their intention to be gueffed at, or inferred, they should not openly and in plain language have declared fo: the decrees themselves having been clearly enough announced on their enactment, why should not their revocation be equally explicit ?
While, however, numerous declarations have been made on the part of France, of the continued existence of the decrees, and captures made under them of neutral ships have occurred, a few of the American vessels seized since November 1, have been reftored, and the foregoing, a very small part of his plunder, is defired by Bonaparte to be considered as a proof of the fincerity of his revocation, by America ; but it must be recollected; that be. fiches the object of ruining the British resources, by his own un. authorized regulations, he has also that of endeavoring to obtain the aid of the United States for the same purpose ; and herein you will, as I had the honor to remark in a former letter, be able to observe the cause of the apparently contradictory language held both by himself and his minifters.
I fhould be extremely happy to receive from you, sir, the information, that, in a frank and unambiguous manner, the chief of the French government had revoked his decrees. Why he Should not do so is inexplicable, if he means to revert to the ordinary rules of war ; but while he exercises such despotic fway wherever his influence extends, to ruin the resources of England,