Page images
PDF
EPUB

north as the river Ems, inclusively, under the government styling itself the kingdom of Holland, and all ports and places under the government of France, together with the colonies, plantations and settlements in the possession of those governments respectively, and all ports and places in the northern parts of Italy, to be reckoned from the ports of Orbitello and Pesaro inclusively, shall continue and be subject to the same restrictions in point of trade and navigation without any exception, as if the same were actually blockaded by his majesty's naval forces in the most strict and rigorous manner, and that every vessel trading from and to the said countries or colonies, plantations or settlements, together with all goods and merchandise on board, shall be condemned as prize to the captors.

And his majesty is further pleased to order, and it is hereby ordered, that this order shall have effect from the day of the date thereof with respect to any ship, together with its cargo, which may be captured subsequent to such day on any voyage which is, and shall be rendered legal by this order, although such voyage at the time of the commencement of the same was unlawful and prohibited under the said former orders, and such ships upon being brought in shall be released accordingly; and with respect to all ships, together with their cargoes, which may be captured in any voyage which was permitted under the exceptions of the orders above mentioned, but which is not permitted according to the provisions of this order, his majesty is pleased to order, and it is hereby ordered, that such ships and their cargoes shall not be liable to condemnation unless they shall have received actual notice of the present order before such capture, or in default of such notice, until after the expiration of the like intervals from the date of this order as were allowed for constructive notice in the orders of the 25th of November, 1307, and the 18th of May, 1808, at the several places and latitudes therein specified.

And the right honourable the lords commissioners of his majesty's treasury, his majesty's principal secretaries of state, the lords commissioners of the admiralty, and the judge of the high court of admirally and judges of the courts of vice admiralty are to give the necessary direcLions herein as to them may respectively appertain.

STEPHEN COTTRELL.

[ocr errors]

Washington, June 15, 1809. Sir,--I have the honour to enclose a copy of an order of his majesty in council, issued on the 26th of April last.

In consequence of official communications sent to me from his majesty's government since the adoption of that measure, I am cnabled to assure you that it has no connection whatever with the overtures which I have been authorized to make to the government of the United States, and that I am persuaded that the terms of the agreement, so happily concluded by the recent negotiation, will be strictly fulfilled on the part of his majesty.

The internal evidence of the order itself, would fully justify the foregoing construction, and moreover it will not have escaped your notice that the repeal has not thereby been made of the orders of the 7th January, 1807, which, according to the engagement I have entered into, on the part of his majesty, is to be abrogated with the other orders, in consequence of the adjustment of differences between the two countries and the confidence entertained of a further conciliatory understanding. I have the honour to be, &c.

D. M. ERSKINE. The Hon. Robert Smith, &c. &c. &c.

Department of State, June 15, 1809. Sir, I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your note of this day, communicating the order in council, issued by his Britannick majesty on the 26th of April

last.

However well persuaded the President may at all times have been, that the arrangement so happily effected by the late negotiation would be strictly fulfilled on the part of his Britannick majesty, he has nevertheless received with satisfaction your renewed assurances to that effect, with the further assurance, founded on official communications to you from your goverment since the adoption of the order in council of the 26th of April, that that order was not intended to have any connection whatever with the overVOL. VII,

29

[ocr errors]

tures which you had been authorized to make to the government of the United States. I have the honour to be, &c.

R. SMITH The Hon. D. M. Erskine, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of his Britannick Majesty.

MESSAGE

FROM THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, TO BOTH

HOUSES OF CONGRESS. NOV. 29, 1809.

Fellow Citizens of the Senate, and

of the House of Representatives,

At the period of our last meeting, I had the satisfaction of communicating an adjustment with one of the principal belligerent nations, highly important in itself, and still more so as presaging a more extended accommodation. It is with decp concern, I am now to inform you, that the favourable prospect has been overclouded, by a refusal of the British government to abide by the act of its minister plenipotentiary, and by its ensuing policy towards the United States, as seen through the communications of the minister sent to replace him.

Whatever pleas may be urged for a disavowal of engagements formed by diplomatic functionaries, in cases where by the terms of the engagements a mutual ratifica. tion is reserved; or where notice at the time may have been given, of a departure from instructions; or in extraordinary cases, essentially violating the principles of equity; a disavowal could not have been apprehended in a case, where no such notice or violation existed; where no such ratification was reserved; and more especially, where, as is now in proof, an engagement, to be executed without any such ratification was contemplated by the instructions given, and where it had, with good faith, been carried into immediate execution on the part of the United States.

These considerations not having restrained the British government from disavowing the arrangement, by virtue of which its orders in council were to be revoked, and the event authorizing the renewal of commercial intercourse, having thus not taken place; it necessarily became a question of equal urgency and importance, whether the act prohibiting that intercourse was not to be considered as remaining in legal force. This question being, after due deliberation, determined in the affirmative, a proclamation to that effect was issued. It could not but happen, however, that a return to this state of things, from that which had followed an execution of the arrangement by the United States, would involve difficulties. With a view 10 diminish these as much as possible, the instructions from the Secretary of the Treasury, now laid before you, were transmitted to the collectors of the several ports. If in permitting British vessels to depart, without giving bonds not to proceed to their own ports, it should appear that the tenour of legal authority has not been strictly pursued, it is to be ascribed to the anxious desire which was felt, that no individuals should be injured by so unforeseen an occurrence : and I rely on the regard of Congress for the equitable interests of our own citizens, to adopt whatever further provisions may be found requisite, for a general remission of penalties involuntarily incurred.

The recall of the disavowed minister having been fol. lowed by the appointment of a successor, hopes were indulged that the new mission would contribute to alleviate the disappointment which had been produced, and to remore the causes which had so long embarrassed the good understanding of the two nations. It could not be doubt. ed, that it would at least be charged with conciliatory explanations of the step which had been taken, and with proposals to be substituted for the rejected arrangement. Reasonable and universal as this expectation was, it also has not been fulfilled. From the first official disclosures of the new minister, it was found that he had received no authority to enter into explanations relative to either branch of the arrangement disavowed; nor any authority to substitute proposals, as to that branch, which concerned the British orders in council. And finally, that his proposals with respect to the other branch, the attack on the frigate Chesapeake, were founded on a presumption, repeatedly declared to be inadmissible by the United States, that the first step towards adjustment was due from them; the proposals at the same time, omitting even a reference to the officer answerable for the murderous aggression, and asserting a claim not less contrary to the British laws, and British practice, than to the principles and obligations of the United States.

. The correspondence between the department of state and this minister will show, how unessentially the features presented in its commencement have been varied in its progress. It will show also, that forgetting the respect due to all governments, he did not refrain from imputations on this, which required that no further communications should be received from him. The necessity of this step will be made known to his Britannick majesty through the minister plenipotentiary of the United States in London. And it would indicate a want of confidence due to a government which so well understands and exacts what becomes foreign ministers near it, not to infer that the misconduct of its own representative will be viewed in the same light, in which it has been regarded here. The British government will learn, at the same time, that a ready attention will be given to communications, through any channel which may be substituted. It will be happy, if the change in this respect should be accompanied by a favourable revision of the unfriendly policy, which has been so long pursued towards the United States.

With France, the other belligerent, whose trespasses on our commercial rights have long been the subject of our just remonstrances, the posture of our relations does not correspond with the measures, taken on the part of the United States, to effect a favourable change. The result of the several communications made to her government, in pursuance of the authorities vested by Congress in the Executive, is contained in the correspondence of our minister at Paris, now laid before you.. .

By some of the other belligerents, although professing just and amicable dispositions, injuries materially affecting our commerce have not been duly controlled or repressed. In these cases, the interpositions deemed proper on our part have not been omitted. But it well deserves the consideration of the legislature, how far both the safety and

« PreviousContinue »