« ZurückWeiter »
quillity at Carthagena, that, with a view to accelerate this important object, he is about to establish the most rigorous Blockade of the Ports of the Vice-Royalty of Santa Fé, including Carthagena, and that in consequence, every Neutral Vessel which shall be found, not only in those Ports, but on those Coasts, shall be made prize of, in order to prevent those who have revolted from His Majesty's Authority receiving succours of any kind.
I have thought it proper to communicate this to you, for the information of the President, that the injuries may be avoided which would result to the Citizens of this Republic, if they continue, as heretofore, to trade with the Rebels against the Authority of my Sovereign.
I renew to you, &c. The Hon. James Monroe.
LUIS DE ONIS.
(2.)-Don Luis de Onis to the Secretary of State.—(Translation.) Sir,
Philadelphia, 2nd March, 1816. Don Pablo Morillo, Commander-in-Chief of the Forces destined by the King my Master for the pacification of the Vice-Royalty of Santa-Fé, says to me, under date of the 19th of December last, that, after having compelled Carthagena to surrender at discretion, he had found it expedient, for the complete re-establishment of the tranquillity of the Vice-Royally, to continue the Blockade from Santa Martha to the River Atrato inclusive, and to give orders, that if any Vessel be met with further South than the mouths of the Magdalena, or further North than the parallel of Cape Tiburon on the Mosquito Shore, and between the meridians of these points, she would be declared a good Prize, whatever documents or destination she might bave. But that he had left open to the commerce of Neutrals the 2 Ports of Santa Martha and Porto-Bello.
I have the honor to give you this notice, as it may be interesting to the Merchants of The United States, and to renew, &c. The Hon. James Monroe.
LUIS DE ONIS.
(3.)— The Secretary of State to Don Luis de Onis. SIR,
Department of State, 20th March, 1816. I have had the honor to receive your Letter of 2nd March, announcing the continuance of a Blockade of the Spanish Coast in South America, from Santa Martha to the River Atrato, inclusive of the latter, by the Commander-in-Chief of His Catholic Majesty's Forces, and that if any Vessel is met South of the mouths of the Magdalena, or North of the parallel of Cape Tiburon, on the Mosquito Coast, and between the meridian of those Points, she shall be seized and condemned as Prize, whatever may be her documents or destination. You state, also, that the Ports of Santa Martha and Porto-Bello are left open to Neutrals.
I have to state, that this Proclamation of General Morillo is evidently repugnant to the Law of Nations, for several reasons, particularly the following,- that it declares a Coast of several hundred miles to be in a state of Blockade, and because it authorizes the seizure of Neutral Vessels at an unjustifiable distance from the Coast. No maxim of the Law of Nations is better established, than that a Block. ade shall be confined to particular Ports, and that an adequate Force shall be stationed at each to support it. The Force should be stationary, and not a cruizing Squadron, and placed so near the entrance of the Harbor or Mouth of the River, as to make it evidently dangerous for a Vessel to enter. I have to add, that a Vessel entering the Port ought not to be seized, except in returning to it, after being warned off by the Blockading Squadron stationed near it.
I am instructed by the President to state to you these objections to the Blockade, which has been announced in your Letter, that you may communicate them to your Government, and in confidence that you will, in the mean time, interpose your good offices, and prevail on General Morillo to alter his Proclamation, and practise under it in such a manner, as to conform in hoth respects to the Law of Nations.
Iu stating to you these well-founded objections to the Blockade of General Morillo, I have the honor to observe, that your motive for communicating it is duly appreciated. I have the honor, &c. Don Luis de Onis.
(4.)-Don Luis de Onis to the Secretary of State -(Translation.) SIR,
Philadelphia, 251h March, 1816. I have received your Official Letter of the 20th of this month, in which you state that the Proclamation of General Morillo is repugnant to the Laws of Nations, as well because it declares a Coast of several hundred miles in a state of Blockade, authorizing the capture of every Neutral Vessel at an unlimited distance from the Coast, as that it is an established maxim among Nations, that a Blockade should be limited to the Ports where there may be a stationary, and not a cruizing Force, sufficient to make the entrance of the harbor or river where it may be placed dangerous; and finally, even in this case, a Vessel ought not to be captured when she is about to enter a Pórt, save only when, after having received notice of the Blockade, she atteinpts to infringe it. You are pleased to state to me, that the President desires that I will communicate these observations to my Government, and that I would use my good offices confidentially with General Morillo, so to modify his Blockade, as to make it conform to the Laws of Nations.
I will communicate to His Majesty, in compliance with the wishes of the President, what you have stated to me in your Note, and I will with pleasure avail myself of the departure of Mr. Hughes to write to General Morillo, inviting him, in the execution of his Blockade, to
avoid the injurious effects resulting therefrom to the Citizens of this Republic, so far as may be compatible with the security and tranquillity of His Majesty's Dominions under his command.
I must, however, observe to you, Sir, that General Morillo bas a Naval Force disposable and competent, as I conceive, to the object in view That the 3rd of February, there sailed from Cadiz, a Squaelron of I Ship of the Line, 2 Frigates, and several smaller Vessels, as a reinforcement: that on the Coast intended to be blockaded by the said General, there are no other Ports of entry for Merchant Vessels than thoseof Carthagena, Santa Martha, and Porto Bello; and, finally, that the measure taken by him not being directed agaivst an Enemy's Country, is not, as stated in your esteemed Note, contrary to the Laws or public rights. The object of the General's Proclamation is to notify the Traders of Foreign Nations, that he will maintain the Laws for the regulation of the Indies in their full force, the observance of which had been relaxed in the latter times, by the effect of circumstances,—though modified, however, in favor of Neutrals, by leaving 2 Ports open to their commerce. You are aware that, agreeably to those Laws, no Foreign Vessel was allowed to trade with the Doninions of His Majesty, on that Continent, without a special license, and that Vessels found near, or evidently shaping a course towards theni, were liable to coufiscation as Interlopers. Not only that part of the Coast lying between Santa Martha and the River Atrato, but the whole Coast Eastward and Southward of those Points, from the Orinoco to the Territory of this Republic, belongs to the Spanish Monarchy, and, consequently, any Vessel whatever found near it, or standing towards it, can have no other object than to carry on smuggling, or stir up a Civil War in the King's Dominions: in either case, the Laws of Na. tions recommend the seizure of the Vessels so employed.
Actuated by a constant desire to prevent the misfortunes which such injuries might occasion to the Citizens of this Republic, I have, on other occasions, suggested a very simple mode of putting an end to them, namely, that the President would be pleased to issue orders, that no Vessel should be cleared at the Custom-houses, save for a specified Port, according to the general practice of Nations : the practice of clearing many Vessels for the West Indies generally, carries with it a suspicion of a design to carry on a contraband trade, or to disturb the public tranquillity in the Dominions of the King my Master, and, therefore, the Owner who clears ont bis Vessel in this way, and without the Certificate of the Spanish Consul, cannot complain if it be detained as suspicious. In fact, what difficulty can a Merchant, acting fairly, have, to specify the Port of Havana, Kingston, Santa Martha, Guayra, Porto Bello, Rio Janeiro, or any other of an independent Nation? None, unquestionably; since, in case of not finding a good market at one place, he proceeds to another, with a Declaration, inade at the [1816–17.]
Port he touched at, of the motives which obliged him to alter his destination. The wisdom and humanity which eminently distinguish the President and the Administration, cannot fail to perceive the solidity of these observations, nor to approve the policy of His Majesty in taking the most suitable and effectual ineasures to secure his Subjects from the Civil War, which a number of Adventurers are endeavoring to kindle in his Dominions; and I therefore fatter myself that he will be pleased to take into consideration, the expediency of adopting the measure I have bad the honor to suggest 10 you, by preventing the Collectors of the Customs from clearing out Vessels, except for specified Ports, and notifying Merchants, trading with the Possessions of the King, to conform to the established rules and orders, regulating not only Neutrals, but Spanish Vessels also, that they may avoid the consequences of their non-observance, notwithstanding His Majesty's desire to afford them, within bis Dominions, all the benefits and advantages compatible with the public safety and his royal interests.
I hope that the explanation which I have thus taken the liberty to make, until I have received the Answer of the King my Master, will quiet the anxiety of the President as to the Proclamation of General Morillo, and that it will be viewed by him as a continuation of my earnest desire to reinstate the commerce of the 2 Nations, reciprocally, on the most liberal and favorable footing. I renew, &c. The Hon. James Monroe.
LUIS DE ONIS.
(5.)– The Secretary of Stale to Mr. Erving. (Extract.)
Department of State, 20th July, 1816, You have been apprized already of a similar measure, wbich was taken in regard to the Vessels which had been seized at Carthagena, and the Citizens of The United States, who, under various pretexts, had been arrested and imprisoned there. I have the pleasure to state, that the application succeeded as to our Citizevs, though it failed as to the Vessels. You will interpose directly with the Spanish Government in favor of the latter, Documents respecting which shall be forwarded to you, either by the present or some other early opportunity. George W. Erving, Esq.
JAMES MONROE. (6.)-Mr. Erving to Don Pedro Cevallos. Sir,
Madrid, 26th September, 1816. I am ordered by my Government to apply to His Majesty, through your Excellency, for the restitution of sundry American Vessels and Cargoes, which have been seized and brought into Carthagena, or other Places within that Command or Vice-Royalty, under pretext of a pretended Blockade, issued by Don Pablo Morillo, in December, 1815.
When that Blockade was communicated to the American Government, Mr. Monroe, Secretary of State, in a Note of March 20th, 1816, addressed to His Majesty's Minister at Washington, formally protested against it; and it was hoped that, on proper representations being made by that Minister to General Morillo, he would retract his measure ; or if not, that His Majesty, being made acquainted with the remonstrance of the American Government, would immediately send out Orders which might produce the same effect, and assure, for the future, due liberty to the American commerce in those Seas.
But it wow appears that, as late as the month of June, no alteration bad taken place in the measures of Morillo,-110 attention had been paid to the interference of Don Luis de Onis, –and finally the Commissioner, Mr. Hughes, who was sent by the Government of The United States to Carthagena for the purpose, amongst others, of reclaiming the Property seized, was obliged to return to the United States, on that point altogether unsatisfied. Indeed the Vice Roy of Santa Fé, Don Francisco de Montalvo, gives this Commissioner to understand, by a Letter of the 9th of June, that he, the Vice Roy, does not pretend to be acquainted with the Law of Nations; and, at the same time that he goes on executing the arbitrary and illegal Decrees of General Morillo, dlevastating the commerce of The United States, he refers the American Government to His Majesty for redress.
It is therefore that I now find it necessary to write to your Excellency upon this disagreeable subject.
It is in vain, Sir, to hope that The United States will ever consent 10 Blockades, upon the principles of General Morillo; they will acknowledge none to be valid, which are not strictly conformable to the wellknown principles of public Law; principles most clearly defined and quite indisputable, to which The United States have always adhered in their own practice, and to the infringement of which, in any form, in any degree, or under whatever pretext, they have always opposed themselves.
The Blockade of General Morillo is repugnant to the Law, because, as it extends over several hundred miles of Coast, and to an indefinite distance from the shores, it cannot of course be enforced as a Blockade, but remains a bare pretext for spoliation. A Blockade by Sea, to be acknowledged as valid by The United States, must be confined to par. ticular Ports, each having a Force stationed before it, sufficient to intercept the entry of Vessels, and no Vessel must be seized, even in attempting to enter a Port so blockaded, till she has been previously warned away from that Port,
I may be excused from dilating on rules so perfectly established, so consonant to justice and to reason, in writing to a Person of your Excellency's knowledge and experience.
His Majesty, who does not fail, through his Minister Mr. Onis, to assure The United States of his constant disposition to cultivate relatious of friendship with them, and to that end to satisfy all their just Reclamations, will certainly be sensible to the violent proceedings of