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Relations with France.
United States, unconnected with the French that they are to be regarded by other Powers. repeal.
lo repealing the Orders in Council on the preThe French decree of the 28th of April, 1811, text of the French decree of the 28th of April, was transmitted to the United States by the Wasp, | 1811, the British Government has conceded ihat a public vessel, which had been long awaiting, it ought to have repealed them on the declaration at the ports of Great Britain and France, de- of the 5th of August, 1810. It is impossible to spatches from our Ministers relating to these very discriminate between the two acts, or to separate important concerns with both Governments. It them from each other, so as to justify, on sound and was received at the Department of State on the consistent principles, the repeal of the Orders in 13th of July, 1812, nearly a month after the dec- Council on the ground of one act, and the refusal laration of war against Great Britain. Intelli- to repeal them on that of the other. The second gence of the repeal of the Orders in Council was act makes the repeal definitive; but for what reanot received until about the middle of the follow- son ? Because the non-importation act had been ing month. It was impossible, therefore, that put in force against Great Britain, in compliance either of these acts, in whatever light they might with the condition subsequently attached to the be viewed, should have been taken into consider former repeal, and her refusal to repeal her Oration, or have had any influence in deciding on ders in Council. That act being still in force, that important event.
and the decree of the 28th of April, 1811, being Had the British Goveroment been disposed to expressly founded on it, Great Britain repeals her repeal its Orders in Council, in conformity with Orders in Council on the basis of this latter dethe principle on which it professed to have is cree. The conclusion is therefore irresistible, sued them, and on the condition which it had that by this repeal, under all the circumstances itself prescribed, there was no reason to delay the attending it, the British Government has acrepeal until such a decree as that of the 28th of knowledged the justice of the claim of the UniApril, 1811, should be produced. The declara- ted States to a repeal on the former occasion. tion of the French Government of August 5, 1810, By acceptiog the latter repeal, it has sanctioned had fully satisfied every claim of the British Gov- the preceding one. It has sanctioned also the ernment, according to its own principles on that conduct of this Government in carrying into point. By it the decrees of Berlin and Milan effect the non-importation act against Greai Britwere declared to be repealed, the repeal to take ain, founded on the preceding repeal. effect on the 1st of November following; on which Other important consequences result from this day it did take effect. The only condition at- repeal of the British Government. By fair and tached to it was, either that Great Britain should obvious construction, the acceptance of the decree follow the example, and repeal her Orders in of the 28th of April, 1811, as the ground of the Council, or that the United States should carry into repeal of the Orders in Council, ought to be coneffect agaiost her their non-importation act. This strued to extend back to the 1st of November, condition was, in its nature, subsequent, not pre- 1810, the day on which the preceding repeal took cedent; reserving a right in France to revive her effect. The Secretary of State has full confidecrees, in case neither alternative was performed. dence that, if this question could be submitted to By this declaration it was put completely in the the judgment of an impartial judicial tribunal, power of Great Britain to terminate this contro- such would be its decision. He has equal confi. versy in a manner the most honorable to herself. dence that such will be the judgment pronounced France had yielded to her the ground on a con- on it by the enlightened and impartial world. If, dition with which she had declared her willing- however, these iwo acts could be separated from ness to comply. Had she complied, the non- each other, so as that the latter might be made importation act would not have been carried into the basis of the repeal of the Orders in Council
, effect, nor could the French decrees have been distinct from the former, it follows that, bearing revived. By refusing to comply, she has made date on the 28th of April, 1811, the repeal ought herself responsible for all
that has since followed. to bave relation to that date. In legal construcBy the decree of the 28th of April, 1811, the tion, between nations as well as individuals, acts decrees of Berlin and Milan were said to bé de- are to be respected from the time they begin to finitively repealed, and the execution of the non- operate; and where they impose a moral or poimportation act against Great Britain was de- litical obligation on another party, that obligaclared to be the ground of that repeal. The re- tion commences with the commencement of the peal, announced by the declaration of the 5th of act. But it has been urged that the French deAugust, 1810, was absolute and final, except as cree was not promulgated or made known to the to the condition subsequently attached to it. This British Government until a year after its date. latter decree acknowledges that that condition This objection has no force. By accepting an had been performed, and disclaims the right to act bearing date a year before it was promulgated, revive it in consequence of that performance; it is admitted that, in the interval, nothing was and, extending back to the 1st of November, con- done repugnant to it. It cannot be presumed that firms, in every circumstance, the preceding repeal. any Government would accept from another, as The latter act, therefore, as to the repeal, is no- the basis on which it was to found an important thing more than a confirmation of the former. measure, an act of anterior and remote date, It is in this sense that those two acts are to be pledging itself to a certain course of conduct, understood in France. It is in the same sepse I which that Government had, in the interval, de
Relations with France.
parted from and violated. If any Government Had a similar declaration been made by the had violated an act, the injunctions of which it Minister of France in the United States to this was bound to observe, by an anterior one in rela- Government, by the order of his own, would it tion to a third party, and which it professed to not have been entitled to respect, and been rehave observed before its acceptance by the other, spected ? By the usage of nations such respect it could not be presumed that it would cease to could not have been withheld. The arrangement violate it after the acceptance. The conclusion made with Mr. Erskine is a full proof of the good is irresistible, that, if the other Government did faith of this Government, and of its impartiality accept such act, with a knowledge of its antece- in its transactions with both the belligerents. It dent violation, as the foundation of any measure was made with that Minister on the ground of on its own part, such act must have been the os- his public character, and the confidence due to it; tensible only, and not the real, motive to such on which basis the non-intercourse was removed measure.
as to England, and left in full force agaiost The declaration of the Prince Regent of the France. The failure of that arrangement was 21st of April, 1812, is in full confirmation of these imputable to the British Government alone, who, remarks. By this act of the British Goveroment, in rejecting it, took on itself a high responsiit is formally announced, on the authority of a bility, pot simply in regard to the consequences report of the Secretary of Foreign Affairs to the attending it, but in disavowing and annulling the Conservative Senate of France, that the French act of its Minister, without showing that he bad decrees were still in force and that the Orders in exceeded bis authority. In accepting the declarCouncil should not be repealed. It cannot fail to ation of the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, excite considerable surprise that the British Gov. in proof of the French repeal, the United States erament should immediately afterwards, that is, gave no proof of improper credence to the Govon the 23d of June, repeal its Orders in Coun- ernment of France. On a comparison of both cil, on the ground of the French decree of the transactions it will appear, that if a marked con28th of April, 1811. By this proceeding the Brit-fidence and respect was shown to either Governish Government has involved itself in a manifest ment, it was to that of Great Britain. In acceptinconsistency. It has maintained by one act that ing the declaration of the Government of France, the French decrees were in full force, and by in the presence of the Emperor, the United States another that they were repealed during ihe same stood on more secure ground than in accepting space of time. It'admits, also, that by no act of the that of a British Minister in this country. French Government, or of its cruisers, had any vio- To the demand made by the United States of lation of the repeal, announced by the declaration the repeal of the British Orders in Council, of the French Government of the 5th of August, founded on the basis of the French repeal of 1810, been committed, or, at least, that such vio- August 5, 1810, the British Government replied, lation had not bad sufficient weight to prevent by demanding a copy of the orders issued by the the repeal of the Orders in Council.
French Government for carrying into effect that It was objected that the declaration of the repeal; a demand without example in the interFrench Government of the_5th August, 1810, course between nations. By this demand it was not such an act as the British Governmeni ceased to be a question whether the French reought to have regarded. The Secretary of State peal was of sufficient extent, or was founded on is thoroughly satisfied that this objection is alto justifiable conditions. The pledge of the French gether unfounded. It was communicated by the Government was doubted ; a scrutiny was to be Emperor through his highest official organ, the instituted as to the manner in which it was to be Secretary of Foreign Affairs, to the Minister discharged, and its faith preserved, not by the Plenipotentiary of the United States at Paris. subsequent conduct of its cruisers towards the It is impossible to conceive an act more formal, vessels of the United States, but by a copy of the authentic, or obligatory on the French Govern- orders given to its cruisers. Where would this ment than that alluded to. Does one Govern- end? If the French Government intended a ment ever ask or expect from another to secure fraud by its declaration of repeal, announced to the performance of any duty, however important, the Minister of the United States, and afterwards more than its official pledge, fairly and fully ex- to this Government, might it not likewise compressed? Can better security be given for its mit a fraud in any other communication which performance? Had there been any doubt on this it might make ? 'If credit was refused by the subject, the conduct of Great Britain herself, in British Government to the act of the French similar cases, would have completely removed it. Government, thus formally announced, is it probThe whole history of her diplomatic intercourse able that it would have been given by it to any with other Powers, on the subject of blockade, is document of inferior character, directed to its in accord with this proceeding of the French own people ? Although it was the policy, and Government. We know that when her Govern- mighi be the interest of the British Government ment institutes a blockade, the Secretary of For- to engage the United States in such a controeign Affairs announces it to the Ministers of versy with the French Government, it was far other Powers at London, and that the same form from comporting, with their interests to do it. is observed when they are revoked. Nor was the They considered it their duty to accept the repeal authenticity of either act, thus announced, ever already made by the French Government of its questioned.
decrees, and to look to its conduct, and to that of
Relations with France.
its cruisers, sanctioned by the Government, for they have not submitted to privations in vain. the faithful performance or violation of it. The The discussion of other wrongs, particularly United States having been injured by both Pow. that relating to impressment, had been closed ers, were uowilling, in their exertions to obtain some time before the period álluded to. It was justice of either, to become the instrument of the unworthy the character of the United States to other. They were the less inclined to it in the pursue the discussion on that difference, when it present instance, from the consideration that the was evident that no advantage could be derived party making the pressure on them maintained from it. The right was reserved to be brought in full force its unlawful edicts against the Ameri- forward and urged again when it might be done can commerce, while it could not deny that a with effect. In the meantime, the practice of considerable advance at least had been made by impressment was persevered in with rigor. the other towards a complete accommodation; it At the time when war was declared against being manifest to the world, not only that the Great Britain, no satisfactory arrangement was faith of the French Government stood pledged offered, or likely to be obtained, respecting imfor the repeal of its decrees, but that the repeal pressment; and nothing was more remote from did take effect on the 1st of November, 1810, in the expectation of this Government than the reregard to the United States; that several Ameri. peal of the Orders in Council. Every circumcan vessels taken under them had been delivered stance which had occurred tending to illustrate up; and judicial decisions suspended on all, by the policy and views of the British Government its order; and that it also continued to give the rendered such an event altogether improbable. most positive assurances that the repeal should From the commencement of that system of hos. be faithfully observed.
tility which Great Britain had adopted against It has also been urged that the French repeal the United States, her pretensions had gradually was conditional, and for that reason could not be increased, or at least become more fully unfolded, accepted. This objection has already been fully according to circumstances, until, at the moment answered. It merits attention, however, that the when war was declared, they had assumed a characts of the British Government relating to this acter which dispelled all prospect of accommodasubject, particularly the declaration of the 21st tion. The Orders in Council were said to have April, 1812, and the repeal of that of the 23d been adopted on a principle of retaliation on June of the same year, are equally and in like France, although at the time when the order of manner conditional. It is not a little surprising May, 1806, was issued, no measure of France that the British Government should have ob- had occurred on which it could be retaliatory; jected to a measure in another Government to and at the date of the next order, (January, 1807,) wbich it has itself given a sanction by its own it was hardly possible that this Government acts. It is proper, however, to remark, that this should have even heard of the decree of Berlin objection has been completely waived and given to which it related. It was stated at the time of up by the acceptance of the decree of the 28th of their adoption, and for some time afterwards, that April, 1811.
they should be revoked as soon as France revoked The British Government has urged, also, that her decrees, and that the British Government it could not contide in the faithful performance would proceed with the Government of France by the French Government of any engagement pari passu in the revocation. After the declarait might enter into relative to the repeal of its de- iion, however, of the French Government of the
This objection would be equally applica- 5th August, 1810, by which the Berlin and Milan ble to any other compact to be entered into with decrees were declared to be repealed, the British France. While maintained, it would be a bar to Government changed its tone, and continued to any treaty, even to a treaty of peace, between rise in its demands to the moment that war was them. But it also has been admitted to be un- declared. It objected, first, that the French refounded by the acceptance of the decree of the peal was conditional and not absolute: although 28th April, 1811.
the only condition attached to it was, that Great The Secretary of State presumes that these Britain should follow the example, or the United facts and explanations, supported as they are by States fulfil their pledge, by executing the nonauthentic documents, prove: First, thai the re- importation act against her. It was then depeal of the British Orders in Council was not to manded that France should repeal her internal be ascribed to the French decree bearing date on regulations, as a condition of the repeal of the the 28th April, 1811; and, secondly, that in mak- British Orders in Council; next, that ihe French ing that decree the basis of their repeal, the Brilrepeal should be extended to all neutral nations ish Government has conceded that it ought to as well as to the United States; and, lastly, that have repealed them on the ground of the declar- the ports of her enemies, and all ports from which ation of the French Government of the 5th the British flag was excluded, should be opened August, 1810, so as to take effect on the 1st No- to British manufactures in American vessels; vember following. To what cause the repeal of conditions so extravagant as to satisfy all dispasthe British Orders in Council was justly attrib- sionate minds that they were demanded, not in utable cannot now remain a doubt with any who the expectation that they would or could be comhave marked, with a just discernment, the course plied with, but to terminate the discussion. of events. It must afford great consolation to On full consideration of all circumstances, it the good people of these States to know that I appeared that the period had arrived when it
Relations with France.
became the duty of the United States to take ance of the mediation of the Emperor of Russia. that altitude with Great Britain which was due It was anticipated by some that a declaration to their violated rights, to the security of their of war against Great Britain would force the most important interesis, and to their character United States into a close connexion with her as an independent nation. To have shrunk from adversary, much to their disadvantage. The Secthe crisis would have been to abandon everything retary of State thinks it proper to remark, that valuable to a free people. The surrender of our nothing is more remote from the fact. The disseamen to British impressment, with the destruc- crimination in favor of France, according to tion of our navigation and commerce, would not law, in consequence of her acceptance of the have been its only evils. The desolation of prop- proposition made equally to both Powers, proerty, however great and widely spread, affects an duced a difference between them in that special interest which admits of repair. The wound is case, but in that only. The war with England incurable only which fixes a stigma on the na- was declared without any concert or communitional honor. While the spirit of the people is cation with the French Government; it has prounsubdued, there will always be found in their duced no connexion between the United States virtue a resource equal to the greatest dangers and France, or any understanding as to its proseand most trying emergencies. It is in the nature cution, continuance, or termination. The ostenof free Government to inspire in the body of the , sible relation between the two countries is the people generous and poble sentiments; and it is true and only one. The United States have just ihe duty of the constituted authorities to cherish claims on France for spoliations on their comand to appeal to those sentiments and to rely on merce on the high seas, and in the ports of the patriotic support of their constituents. Had France; and their late Minister was, and their they proved themselves unequal to the crisis, the present Minister is, instructed to demand reparamost fatal consequences would have resulted from tion for these injuries, and to press it with the it. The proof of their weakness would have energy due to the justice of their claims, and to been recorded; but not on them alone would its the character of the United States. The result baneful effect have been visited. It would have of the negotiation will be communicated to Conshaken the foundation of the Government itself, gress in due time. The papers marked I contain and even of the sacred principles of the Revolu- copies of iwo letters, addressed from this Departtion, on which all our political institutions de- ment to Mr. Barlow; one of the 16th June, 1812, pend. Yielding to the pretensions of a foreign just before the declaration of war; the other, of Power, without making a manly effort in defence the 14th July following, which show distinctly of our rights; without appealing to the virtue of the relation existing between the United States the people or to the strength of our Union, it and France at that interesting period. No change would have been charged, and believed, that' in has since occurred in it. these sources lay the hidden defects. Where All which is respectfully submitted. would the good people of these States have been
JAMES MONROE. able to make another stand ? Where would have
The PRÉSIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. been their rallying point? The Government of their choice having been dishonored, its weakness, and that of their institutions demonstrated, Copy of a letter from the Minister of Finance to the the triumph of the enemy would have been com- Count of Sussy, Counsellor of State, Director Genplete. It would also have been durable.
eral of the Customs. The constituted authorities of the United
DECEMBER 15, 1810. States neither dreaded nor anticipated these evils. On the 5th of last August the Minister of ForThey had full confidence in the strength of the eign Relations wrote to Mr. Armstrong, Minister Union, in the firmness and virtue of the people, Plenipotentiary of the United States of America, and were satisfied, when the appeal should be that the Berlin and Milan decrees were revoked, made, that ample proof would be afforded that and that, after the 1st of November, they would their confidence had not been misplaced. For- cease to have effect; it being well understood eign pressure, it was not doubted, would soon dis- that, in consequence of this declaration, the Engs sipate foreign partinlities and prejudices, if such lish would revoke their Orders in Council, and existed, and unite us more closely together as one renounce the new principles of blockade which people.
they wished to establish, or that the United States, lo declaring, war against Great Britain, the in conformity to the act communicated, should United States bave placed themselves in a situa- cause their rights to be respected by the English. tion to retort the hostility which they had so On the communication of this note, the Presilong suffered from the British Government. The dent of the United States issued, on the 2d of Nomaintenance of their rights was the object of the vember, a proclamation, which announces the war. Of the desire of this Government to ter-revocation of the Berlin and Milan decrees after minate the war on honorable conditions, ample the 1st of November; and which declares that, proof has been afforded by the proposition made in consequence thereof, all the restrictions imio the British Government, immediately after ed by the act of the 1st of May, 1809, should the declaration of war, through the Chargé d'A- cease with respect to France and her dependencies. faires of the United States at London, and The same day the Treasury Department adby the promptitude and manner of the accept- dressed to the collector of the customs a circular,
Relations with France.
which directs them to admit into the ports and ocation of the English Orders in Council, and of waters of the United States armed French vessels, all the acts violating the neutrality of the United and enjoins it on them to apply, after the 2d of States, should not be announced by the Treasury February next, the law of the 1st of May, 1809, Department. prohibiting all commercial relation to English In consequence of this engagement, entered vessels, of every description, as well as to produc- into by the Government of the United States to tions of the soil, industry, or commerce of Eng-cause their rights to be respected, His Majesty land and her dependencies.
orders that all the causes that may be pending in His Majesty having seen in these two pieces the Council of Prizes of captures of American the enunciation of the measures which the Amer- vessels made after the 1st of November, and those icans propose taking on the 2d of February next, that may in future be brought before it, shall not to cause their rights to be respected, has ordered be judged according to the principles of the deme to inform you that the Berlin and Milan de- crees of Berlin and Milan, but that they shall recrees must not be applied to any American ves- main suspended; the vessels captured or seized sels that have entered our ports since the 1st of to remain only in a state of sequestration, and the November, or may enter in future; and that those rights of the proprietors being reserved for them which have been sequestered, as being in contra- until the 2d of February next, the period at which vention of these decrees, must be the object of a the United States having fulfilled the engagements special report.
to cause their rights to be respected, the said capOn the 2d of February I shall acquaint you tures shall be declared null by the council, and with the intention of the Emperor with regard to the American vessels restored, iogether with their the definitive measures to be taken for distinguish- cargoes, to their proprietors. ing and favoring the American navigation. Receive, Mr. President, the new assurances of I have the honor 10 salute you.
my most distinguished consideration, The Minister of Finance,
THE DUKE OF MASSA. THE DUKE OF GAETE.
Extract of a letter from Mr. Barlow to Mr. Russell. Copy of a letter from his Excellency the Grand Judge, Minister of Justice, to the Counsellor of State, Pres
Paris, May 11, 1812. ident of the Council of Prizes.
I have concluded to despatch the Wasp to Eng. French Empire.
land, expressly to carry to you the documents
herewith enclosed. Paris, Dec. 26, 1810. Mr. President: The Minister of Foreign Re
I was not a little surprised to learn by the declations, by order of His Majesty the Emperor and laration of the Prince Regent in Council, of the King, addressed on the 5th of August last to the 21st of April, that it was still believed by the Plenipotentiary of the United States of America, Berlin and Milan yet remained in force, as appli
British Government that the French decrees of a note containing the following words:
“I am authorized to declare to you that the cable to the United States. On reading that dec. decrees of Berlin and Milan are revoked, and that Bassano'a note bearing date the 1st of May, of
laration, I therefore addressed to the Duke of after the 1st of November they will cease to have which I enclose you a copy. effect; it being well understood, that in conse
This drew from him the answer of which I quence of this declaration the English will re- likewise band you a copy, with the three docvoke their Orders in Council, and renounce the new principles of blockade which they wished to able of these is the decree of the 28th April, 1811.
uments that accompanied it. The most remarkestablish ; or that the United States, in conform. This piece I had never before seen; it appears ity to the act you have just communicated, will that it had not been published at the time of its cause their rights to be respected by the English." date, and, not finding it among the archives of
In consequence of the communication of this this 'Legation, I suspect that, by some omission note, the President of the United States issued, on the 2d of November, a proclamation, to an
or neglect, it was not communicated to you as it nounce the revocation of the decrees of Berlin ought to have been. The Duke, however, assures
me that it was so communicated. Be this as it and Milan, and declared that, in consequence thereof , all the restrictions imposed by the act of may, I am convinced it has not been made known
to the British Government. the 1st May must cease with respect to France and her dependencies. On the same day the Trea
D. sury Department addressed a circular to all the
Extract of a letter from Mr. Russell to Mr. Barlow. collectors of the customs of the United States, which enjoins them to admit into the ports and
LONDON, May 29, 1812. waters of the United States, armed French ves- Your letter of the 11th of this month, with its sels; prescribes to them to apply, after the 2d of enclosures, was handed me on the 20th, and I February next, to English vessels of every de- immediately communicated copies of the letters scription, and to the productions arising from the from the French Minister of the 21st of Decemsoil and industry or the commerce of England ber, 1810, and also of the decree of the 28th of and her dependencies, the law which prohibits April, 1811, to this Government. The letters all commercial relations, if at that period the rev. I were already known; but the decree, from th