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The sovereignty and the independence of the flag, are, like the sovereignty and the independence of the territory, the property of all neutrals. A state may give itself to another, may destroy the act of its independence, may change its sovereign; but the rights of sovereignty are indivisible and unalienable, none can give up any part of them.
England has placed France in a state of blockade. The emperor, by his decree of Berlin, has declared the Britannick isles in a state of blockade. The first measure kept neutral vessels at a distance from France, the second has interdicted to them England.
By her orders in council of the 11th November, 1807, England has laid a toll on neutral vessels, and has obliged them to pass through her ports before they should go to the places of their destination. By a decree of the 17th of December, of the same year, the emperor has declared vessels, whose flag shall have been violated, degraded, trodden under foot, as no longer belonging to their nation, (denationalize.)
To screen itself from the acts of violence, with which this state of things threatened its commerce, America laid an embargo in her ports; and although France, who had done nothing more than resort to reprisals, saw her interests and the interests of her colonies wounded by this measure, nevertheless the emperor applauded this generous determination of renouncing all commerce, rather than acknowledge the dominion (domination) of the ty. rants of the seas. The embargo has been raised; a system of exclusion has been substituted for it. The continental powers leagued against England, make a common cause ; they aim at the same object; they will reap the same advantages ; they ought also to run the same risks, The ports of Holland, of the Elbe, of the Weser, of Ita. ly and of Spain, will not enjoy (ne jouiront) any advantages of which those of France may be deprived. They will both, (les uns et les autres) be either open or shot at the same time, to the commerce of which they may be the object.
Thus, sir, France acknowledges in principle the liberty of the commerce of neutrals and the independence of ma ritime powers. She has respected them until the moment when the maritime tyranny of England (which respected nothing) and the arbitrary acts of its government, have forced her to mcasures of reprisal, which she hås adopted, but with reluctance.
Let England revoke her declarations of blockade against France ;-France will revoke her decree of blockade against England. Let England revoke her orders in council of the 11th November, 1907;—the decree of Milan will fall of itself. American commerce will then have regained all its liberty, and it will be sure of finding favour and protection in the ports of France. But it is for the United States by their firmness to bring on these happy results. Can a nation that wishes to remain free and sovereign, even balance between some temporary interests, and the great interests of its independence, and the maintenance of its honour, of its sovereignty, and of its dignity ?
Please to acccpt, sir, the assurances of my high consideration.
FROM THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, TO THE HOUSE
OF REPRESENTATIVES. DEC. 12, 1809. ACCORDING to the request of the House of Representatives, expressed in their resolution of the 11 th inst. I now lay before them a printed copy of a paper purporting to be a circular letter from Mr. Jackson to the British consuls in the United States, as received in a gazette at the department of state; and also, a printed paper, received in a letter from our minister in London, purporting to be a copy of a despatch from Mr. Canning to Mr. Erskine of zhe twenty-third of January last.
Washington, November 13, 1909. Sir, I have to inform you, with much regret, that the facts which it has been my duty to state in my official correspondence with Mr. Smith, have been deemed by the President of the United States to afford a sufficient motive for breaking off an important negotiation, and for putting an end to all communication whatever with me, as the minister charged with that negotiation, so interesting to both nations, and on one most material point of which an answer has not even been relurned to an official and written overture.
One of the facts alluded to has been admitted by the Secretary of State himself, in his letter to me of the 19th October, viz. That the three conditions, forming the substance of Mr. Erskine's original instruction, were submitted to him by that gentleman. The other, viz. That that instruction is the only one in which the conditions were prescribed to Mr. Erskine for the conclusion of an arrangement on the matter to which it related, is known to me by the instructions which I have myself received.
In stating these facts and in adhering to them, as my duty imperiously enjoined me to do, in order to repel the frequent charges of ill faith which have been made against his majesty's government, I could not imagine that offence would be taken at it by the American government, as most certainly none could be intended on my part; and this view of the subject has been made known to Mr. Smith. But as I am informed by him that no further communication will be received from me, I conceive that I have no alternative left which is consistent with the king's dignity, but to withdraw altogether from this city, and await elsewhere the arrival of his majesty's commands upon the unlooked for turn which has thus becn given to his affairs in this country.
I mean in the interval to make New York the place of my residence, where you will henceforward please direct your communications to me, as I shall be accompanied by every member of his majesty's mission.
I am, &c.
Copy of a Despatch from Mr. Secretary Canning to the Hon.
D. M. Erskine. Foreign Office, January 23, 1809. Sir,- If there really exist in those individuals who are to have a leading share in the new administration of the United States, that disposition to come to a complete and cordial understanding with Great Britain, of which you have received from them such positive assurances, in meeting that disposition, it would be useless and unprofitable to recur to a recapitulation of the causes from which the differences between the two governments have arisen, or of the arguments already so often repeated in support of that system of retaliation to which his majesty has unwillingly had recourse.
That system his majesty must unquestionably continue to maintain, unless the object of it can be otherwise accomplished.
But after the profession on the part of so many of the leading members of the government of the United States, of a sincere desire to contribute to that object in a manner which should render the continuance of the system adopted by the British government unnecessary, it is thought right that a fair opportunity should be afforded to the American government to explain its meaning, and to give proof of its sincerity.
The extension of the interdiction of the American harbours to the ships of war of France as well as of Great Britain, is, as stated in my former despatch, an acceptable symptom of a system of impartiality towards both bellige. rents, the first that has been publickly manifested by the American government.
The like extension of the non-importation act to other belligerents is equally proper in this view. These measures remove those preliminary objections, which must otherwise have precluded any useful or amicable discussion.
In this state of things, it is possible for Great Britain to entertain propositions, which while such manifest partiality was shown to her enemies, were not consistent either with her dignity or her interest.
From the report of your conversations with Mr. Madi. son, Mr. Gallatin and Mr. Smith, it appears :
1. That the American government is prepared, in the event of his majesty's consenting to withdraw the orders in council of January and November, 1807, to withdraw contemporaneously on its part the interdiction of its harbours to ships of war, and all non-intercourse and non-importation acts, so far as respects Great Britain ; leaving them in force with respect to France, and the powers which adopt or act under her decrees.
2. (What is of the utmost importance, as precluding a new source of misunderstanding, which might arise aller the adjustment of the other questions.) That America is willing to renounce, during the present war, the pretension of carrying on in time of war all trade with the enemy's colonies, from which she was excluded during peace.
3. Great Britain, for the purpose of securing the operation of the embargo, and of the bona fide intention of America to prevent her citizens from trading with France, and the powers adopting and acting under the French decrees, is to be considered as being at liberty to capture all such American vessels as may be found attempting to trade with the ports of any of these powers; without which security for the observance of the embargo, the raising of it nominally with respect to Great Britain alone, would, in fact, raise it with respect to all the world.
On these conditions his majesty would consent to withdraw the orders in council of January and November, 1807, so far as respects America.
As the first and second of these conditions are the suggestions of the persons in authority in America to you, and as Mr. Pinkney has recently (but for the first time) expressed to me. his opinion, that there will be no indisposition on the part of his government, to the enforcement by the naval power of Great Britain of the regulations of America with respect to France, and the countries to which these regulations continue to apply, but that his government was itself aware, that without such enforcement those regulations must be altogether nugatory; I flatter myself that there will be no difficulty in obtaining a distinct and official recognition of these conditions from the American government.
For this purpose, you are at liberty to communicate this despatch in extenso to the American government,