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versal commerce, as all Europe can witness. This conduct, as well as the principles . of impartiality that (lie has displayed during the present war, justly in-, spires her with the fullest confidence, that her subjects would peaceably enjoy the fruits of their industry and the advantages belonging to a neutral nation. Experience has nevertheless proved the contrary. Neither the abovementioned considerations, nor the regard to the rights of nations, have prevented the subjects of her Imperial Majesty from being often molested in their navigation, and stopped in their operations, by those of the belligerent powers.
These hindrances to the liberty of trade in general, and to that of lUillia in particular, are of a nature to excite the attention of all neutral nations. The empress finds herself obliged therefore to free it by all the means compatible with her dignity and the well-being of her subjects; but, before the puts this into execution, and with a sincere intention to prevent any future infringements, she thought it but just to publish to all Europe the principles she means to follow, which are the properest to prevent any misunderstanding, or any occurrences that may occasion it. Her Imperial Majesty does it with the more confidence, as flie finds these principles coincident with the primitive right of nations which every people may reclaim, and which the belligerent powers cannot invalidate without violating the laws of neutrality, and without disavowing the maxims they have adopted iu the diflr.retit treaties and public engagements.
They are reducible to the following points:
First, That all neutral ships may freely navigate from port to port, and on the coasts of nations at war.
Secondly, That the effects belonging to the subjects of the said warring powers shall be free in all neutral vessels, except contraband merchandise.
Thirdly, That the empress, as to the specification of the abovementioned merchandise, holds to what is mentioned in the loth and nth articles of her treaty of commerce with Great Britain, extending her obligations to all the powers at war.
Fourthly, That, to determine what is meant by a blocked-up port, this is only to be understood of one which is so well kept in by the ships of the power that attacks it, and which keep their places, that it is dangerous to enter into it.
Fifthly, That these principles serve as a rule for proceedings and judgments upon the legality of prizes.
Her Imperial Majesty, in making these points public, does not hesitate to declare, that to maintain them, and to protect the honour of. her flag, the security ot the trade and navigation of her subjects, flie has prepared the greatest part of her maritime forces. This measure will not, bowerrr, influence the strict neutrality sne does .observe, and will observe, W long as the is not provoked and forced to break the bounds of moderation and perfect impartiality. It will be only in this extremity that her fleet have orders to go wherever wherever honour, interest, and need may require.
In giving this solemn assurance with the usual openness of her character, the empress cannot do other than promise herself that the belligerent powers, convinced of the sentiments of justice and equity which animate her, will contribute towards the accomplishment of these salutary purposes, which manifestly tend to the good of all nations, and to the: advantage even of those at war. Iu consequence of which, her Imperial Majesty will furnisli her commanding officers with instructions conformable to the above-mentioned principles, founded upon the primitive laws of people, and lo often adopted in their conventions.
Answer from the Court of Great Britain, to the Declaration of the Empress of Russia; sent to the Britisli Envoy at Peteriburgh, April 23, 1780.
DURING the course of the war, wherein his Britannick Majesty finds himself engaged through the , unprovoked aggression of France and Spain, he hath conHandy manifested his sentiments of justice, equity, and moderation, in every part of his conduct. His majesty hath acted towards friendly and neutral powers according to their own procedure respecting Great Britain, and conformable to the clearest principles, generally acknowledged as the law of nations, being the only law between powers where no treaties subsist,' and agreeable to the tenour of his different engagements with other powers > thole
engagements have altered this primitive law, by mutual stipulations, proportioned to the will and convenience of the contracting parlies.
Strongly attached to her Majesty of all the Russias, by the ties of reciprocal friendship, and common interest, the king, from the commencement of thole troubles, gave the most precise orders respecting the flag of her Imperial Majesty, and the commerce of her subjects, agreeable to the law of nations, and the tenour of the engagements stipulated by his treaty of commerce with her, and to which he shall adhere with the most scrupulous exactness.
The orders to this intent have been renewed, and the utmost care will be taken for their strictest execution.
It may be presumed, not the least irregularity will happen; but in case any infringements, contrary to these repeated orders, take place, the Courts of Admiralty, which in this, like all other countries, are established to take cognizance of such matters, and in all cases do judge solely by the law of nations, and by tlie specitick stipulations of different treaties, will redress every hardship in so equitable a manner, that her Imperial Majesty shall be perfectly satisfied, and acknowledge a like spirit of justice which she herself possesses.
Anfiver from the' King of France to the Declaration of the Empress t/Rulfia.
THE war in which the king is engaged having no other object than the attachment of his majelly jesty to the freedom of the seas, he could not but with the truest satisfaction fee the Empress of Russia adopt the fame principle, and resolve to maintain it. That which her Imperial Majesty claims from the belligerent powers is no other than the rules already prescribed to the French marine, the execution of which is maintained with an exactitude known and applauded by all Europe.
The liberty of neutral vessels, restrained only in a few cafes, is the direct consequence of neutral right, the sasegard of all nations, and the relief even of those at war. The king has been desirous, not only to procure a freedom of navigation to the subjects of the Empress of Russia, but to those of j(H the states who hold their neutrality, and that upon the fame conditions as are announced in the treaty to which his majesty this day answers.
Hisr majesty thought he had taken a great step for the general good, and prepared a glorious epocha for his reign, by fixing, by his ^example, the rights which every belligerent power may, and ought to acknowledge to be due so neutral vessels. His hopes have not been deceived, as the empress, in avowing the strictest neutrality, has declared in favour of a system which the king is supporting at the price of his people's blood, and that her majesty adopts the fame rights as he would wish to make the basis of the maritime code.
If fresii orders were necessary to prevent the vessels of her. Imperial Majesty from being disturbed in their navigniion by the subjects of the king, his majesty would immediately give them 3 but the
empress will no doubt be satisfied with the dispositions made by his majesty in the regulations he has publistied. They do not hold by circumstances only, but they are founded on the right of nations, and quite suitable to a prince who finds the happiness of bm own kingdom in that of general prosperity. The king wishes her Imperial Majesty would add to the means she has fixed to determine what merchandizes are reckoned contraband in time of war, precise rules in the form of the sea-papers with which the Russian ships will be furnished.
With this precaution, his majesty is afl'ured nothing will hippen to make him regret the having put the Russian navigators on as advantageous a footing as effl be in time of war. Happy circumstances have more than once occurred to prove to the courts how important it is for them to explain themselves freely relative to their respective interests.
His majesty is very happy to have explained his way of thinking to her Imperial Majesty upon so interesting a poiut for Ruifia, and the trading powers of Europe He the more, sincerely applaods the principles and views 0/ tie empress, as his majesty partakes of the fame sentiments which hnve brought her majesty to sdopt thole measures*, which must be w the advantage of her own lubjeclfi and all other nations.
Versailles, April 25, 17S0,
Answer from the Klr,g of Pp"*IH, to the Declaration of the E.isfTcsl of Russia;
THE king, being informed of the empress'-, sentiments with re
spec) spcct to 'the belligerent and neutral powers, by a memorial remitted to the Compte de Florida Blnnca, on the 15th inst, by Mr. Etienne de Zinowief, Minister to her Imperial Majesty: the king considers this as the effect or' a just confidence which his majesty has on his part merited; and it is yet more agreeable that the principles adopted by this sovereign should be the lame as have always guided the king, and which his majesty has for a long time, but without success, endeavoured to cause England to observe, while Spain remained neuter. These principles are founded in justice, equity, and moderation; and these same principles Rust'ra and all the other powers have experienced in the resolutions formed by his majesty; and it has been entirely owjng to the conduct of the Englilh navy, both in the last and the present war (a conduct wholly subversive of the received rules »mong neutral powers) that his majesty has been obliged to follow their example; since the English paying no respect to a neutral ilacr, is die lame be laden with effects belonging to the enemy, even if the articles stioukl not be contraband, and that flag not using nny means of defending itself, there could not be any just cause why Spain should not make reprisals, to indemnify herself for the great disadvantages the mutt otherwise labour under. The neutral powers have also laid themselves open to the inconveniences they have suffered, by furnilhing themselves with double papers, and other Mtinua, to prevent the capture as their velsels; from which have
followed captures and detention* innumerable, and other disagreeable consequences, though in reality not so prejudicial as pretended; on the contrary, some of these detentions have turned to the advantage of the proprietors, as the goods, being sold in the port where they were condemned, have frequently gone off at a higher price than they would have done at the-place of their destination.
The king, nevertheless, not contented with these proofs of hi* justification, which have been manifest to all Europe, will this day have the glory of being the first to give the example of respecting the neutral flag of all the courts that have consented, or sliall consent, to defend it, till his majesty finds what part the English navy takes, and whether they will, together with their privateers, keep within proper bounds. And to sliew to all the neutral powers how much Spain-is desirous of observing the some rules in time of war as the was directed by whilst neuter, his majesty conforms to the other points contained in the declaration of Russia. To be understood, nevertheless, that, with regard to the blockade of Gibraltar, the danger of entering subsists, as determined by the fourth article of the said declaration. These dangers may, however, be avoided by the neutral powers if they conform to those rules of precaution established by his majesty's declaration of the rjth of last March, which has been communicated to the Court of Petersburg by his minister.
At Aranjucz, 18 Apil, 1*780.
Declaration of the King of Denmark ami Norway, to the Courts of London, Versailles, and Madrid.
IF the most exact and perfect neutrality, with the most regular navigation, and the most inviolable respect to treaties, could have kept tree the commerce of the subjects of the King of Denmark and Norway from the inroads of the powers with whom be is at peace, free and independent, it would not be necessary to take measures to insure to his subjects that liberty to which they have the most incontrovertible right. The King of Denmark has always founded his glory, and his grandeur, upon the esteem and confidence of other people. It has been his rule, from the beginning of his reign, to testify to all the powers, his friends, a conduct the most capable of convincing them of his pacific intentions, and of his desire to contribute to the general happiness of Europe. His proceedings have always been conformable to these principles, against which nothing can be alledged; he has not, till now, addrelled himself, but to the powers at war, to obtain a redress of his griefs; and he has never wanted moderation in his demands, nor acknowledgments when they have received the success they deserved: but the neutral navigation has been too often molested, and the most innocent commerce of his subjects too frequently troubled; so that the king finds himself obliged to take proper measures to allure to himself and his allies the safety of commerce and navigation, and
the maintenance of the inseparable rights of liberty and independence. If the duties of neutrality are sacred, the law of nations has also its rights avowed by all impartial powers, established by custom, and founded upon equity and reason. A nation independent and neuter, does not lose by the war of other* the rights which (he had before the war, because peace exists between her and all the belligerent powers. Without receiving or being obliged to follow the laws of either of them, she is allowed to follow, in all places (contraband excepted) the traffic which the would have a right to do, it" peace existed with all Europe, as it exists with her. The king pretends to nothing beyond what the neutrality allows him. This is his rule, and that of his people; and the king cannot accord to the principle, that a power at war has a right to interrupt the commerce of his subjects. He thinks it due to himself, and his subjects, faithful observers of these rules, and to the powers at war themselves, to declare to them the following principles, which .he has always held., and which he will always avow and maintain, in concert with the Empress of ajl the Russiis, whose sentiments he finds entirely conformable with his own.
I. That neutral vessels hart a right to navigate freely from port to port, even ou the coasts of the powers at war.
II. That the effects of the subjects of the powers at war shall be free in neutral vessels, except such as ave deemed contraband.
III. That nothing is to be understood under the denominations of contraband, that is not expressly