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is infinitely less in this respect between the two, than between the British press and that of the other nations of Europe.
The second note seems to be essentially intended as a justification of the conduct of Mr. Jackson, in that part of his correspondence which had given umbrage. If he intended it as a conciliatory advance, he ought not to have preceded it by a demand of passports, nor by the spirit or The manner in which that demand was made. He ought in fact, if such was his object, to have substituted an explanation in the place of his reply to my premonitory letter. But whether he had one or other, or both of these objects in view, it was necessary for him to have done more than is attempted in this paper.
It was never objected to him, that he had stated it as a fact, that the three propositions in question had been submitted to me by Mr. Erskine, nor that he stated it, as made known to him by the instructions of Mr. Canning; that the instruction to Mr. Erskine, containing those three conditions, was the only one from which his authority was derived to conclude an arrangement on the matter to which it related. The objection was, that a knowledge of this restriction of the authority of Mr. Erskine was imputed to this government, and the repetition of the imputation even after it had been peremptorily disclaimed. This was so gross an attack on the honour and veracity of this government as to forbid all further communications from him. Care was nevertheless taken, at the same time, to leave the door open for such as might be made through any other channel, however little the probability that any satisfactory communications would be received through any channel here.
To the other enclosures I add a printed copy of a paper purporting to be a circular letter from Mr. Jackson to the British consuls in the United States. The paper speaks for itself. As its contents entirely correspond with the paper last referred to, as they were unnecessary for the ostensible object of the letter, which was to make known Mr. Jackson's change of residence, and as the paper was at once put into publick circulation, it can only be regarded as a virtual address to the American people of a representation previously addressed to their government; a procedure which cannot fail to be seen in its true light by his sovereign.
The observations, to which so much extent has been given in this letter, with those contained in the correspondence with Mr. Jackson will make you fully acquainted with the conduct and the character he has developed ; with the necessity of the step taken in refusing further communications with him, and with the grounds on which the President instructs you to request that he may be immediately recalled. You are particularly instructed, at the same time, in making those communications, to do it in a manner that will leave no doubt of the undiminished desire of the United States to unite in all the means the best calculated to establish the relations of the two countries on the solid foundation of justice, of friendship, and of mutual interest. I have the honour to be, &c.
General Armstrong to Mr. Smith, Secretary of State. Pa
ris, Sept. 4, 1809. Sir,--The letter of which I send you a copy, was received during my absence, and detained in Paris till my return. The note promised in it has not yet been receiv. ed. Mr. Warden informs me, that the council of prizes have been ordered to suspend their proceedings with regard to our vessels. I have the honour to be, &c.
JOHN ARMSTRONG. The Hon. Robert Smith,
Secretary of State.
Count Champagny to General Armstrong. Vienna, Au
gust 8, 1809. SIR,You have desired that one of the American vessels, which are in the ports of France, might be authorized to de part for the United States with your despatches. I have taken the orders of his majesty on the subject of this
demand, and his majesty, always disposed to facilitate your communications with your government, has permitted the departure of the vessel which you shall designate. I informed the ministers of the marine and of the finances of this disposition, requesting them to ensure the execution of it so soon as you shall have made known to thein the name of the vessel and the port from which she is to depart.
I have the honour, sir, to apprize you, that I shall forthwith address to you a note by order of his majesty, on the actual situation of our relations with the United States. Please to profit by the departure of the vessel to make this known to the federal government, and permit me also to send by that conveyance, some despatches to the minister plenipotentiary of his majesty to the United States. Accept, sir, the assurances, &c. &c.
Extracts of a Letter from Gen. Armstrong to Mr. Smith,
Secretary of State. Paris, Sept. 16, 1809. "I RECEIVED on the 6th instant, on my return from Hol. land, two notes from count Champagny, copies of which I have the honour to enclose. In one of these you will find an exposition of the principles which have governed, and which will continue to govern the conduct of his majesty with regard to neutral commerce. To this, which was offered as a definitive answer to our propositions, I have believed that any reply, before I had received the farther instructions of the President, would have been premature." .
"Mr. Laurence arrived at L'Orient, on the 9th, and Mr. Hazewell at Paris, with your despatch of the 12th of August last, on the 13th instant. I immediately communicated to count Champagny the President's proclamation interdicting anew all commercial intercourse between the United States and Great Britain, and gave such other ex. planations as the case appeared to require.”
Extract of a Leiter from Count Champagny to General
Armstrong. Altenburg, August 22, 1809. “I have the honour to address to you the subjoined note, which his majesty has ordered me to send to you, and which I have announced in my last despatch. If France does not do at this time all that the United States of America can desire, your government will be able to see, that neither prejudice nor animosity influences its conduct; that it is the effect of its attachment to principles which the Americans, more than any other people, are interested in supporting, and of the necessity of reprisals which circumstances impose. The einperor will consider as an happy event, that which shall enable him to contribute to the prosperity of America, in leaving to its commerce all the liberty and all the extension which can render it flourishing."
Official Note from Count Champagny to General Armstrong.
Altenburg, Aug. 22, 1809. Sir,--His majesty, the emperor, apprized that you are to send a vessel to America, has ordered me to make known to you the invariable principles which have regulated, and which will regulate his conduct on the great question of neutrals.
France admits the principle that the flag covers the merchandise.
A merchant vessel, sailing with all the necessary papers (avec les expeditions) from its government, is a floating colony. To do violence to such a vessel, by visits, by searches and by other acts of an arbitrary authority, is to violate the territory of a colony: this is to infringe on the independence of its government. The seas do not belong to any nation; they are the common property of mankind, and the domain of all.
Enemy merchant vessels belonging to individuals ought to be respected. Inilividuals who do not fight, ought not
to be made prisoners of war. In all her conquests, France has respected private property. The warehouses and the shops have remained with their proprietors. They have been free to dispose of their merchandise as they pleased, and at this moment a great number (convois) of waggons loaded principally with cotton, pass through the French armies, through Austria and Germany, on their way to such places as commerce has directed.
If France had adopted the usages of maritime war, all the merchandise of the continent of Europe would have been accumulated in France, and would have become a source of immense wealth. Such would have been, without doubt, the pretensions of the English, if they had had on the land that superiority which they have obtained at sea. We should have seen, as in the times of barbarism, the vanquished sold as slaves, and their lands parcelled out. Mercantile avidity would have usurped every thing; and the return to barbarous usages would have been the work of the government of a nation that has improved che arts and civilization. That government is not ignorant of the injustice of its maritime code. But what signifies to it, what is just? It only considers what is useful to itself.
Such are the principles of the emperor on the usages and the rights of maritime war. When France shall have acquired a marine proportioned to the extent of her coasts and her population, the emperor will put more and more in practice these maxims, and will use his endeavours to render the adoption of them general.
The right, or rather the pretension of blockading, by a proclamation, rivers and coasts, is as monstrous (revoltante) as it is absurd. A right cannot be derived from ihe will or the caprice of one of the interested parties, but ought to be derived from the nature of things themselves.' A place is not truly blockaded until it is invested by land and by sea; it is blockaded to prevent it from receiving the succours which might retard its surrender. It is only then that the right of preventing neutral vessels from entering it exists: for the place so attached, is in danger of being taken, and the dominion of it is doubtful, and contested by the master of the town and him who blockades or besciges it. Hence the right of preventing even neutrals from having access to it.