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denies to himself. This would be at once to defeat his system and oppress his subjects, by demanding from them great and useless sacrifices; for if the system be not strictly observed every where, it cannot any where produce the effects expected from it. Still, he said, the property is only sequestered, and becomes a subject of the present negotiation. As our remonstrances have been suficiently frequent and free; as this was a meeting merely of conciliation, and as the closing remark of the minister indicated rather the policy of looking forward to our rights than backward on our wrongs, I thought it most prudent to suppress the obvious answers which might have been given to his observations, and which, under other circumstances, should not have been omitted. I accordingly contented myself with expressing a hope, that our future intercourse should be a competition only of good offices."
“In conformity to the suggestions contained in your letter of the 1st of December, 1809, I demanded whether, if Great Britain revoked her blockades of a date anterior to the decree commonly called the Berlin decree, his majesty the emperor would consent to revoke the said decree? to which the minister answered, that “the only condition required for the revocation by his majesty of the decree of Berlin, will be a previous revocation by the British government of her blockade of France, or part of France (such as that from the Elbe to Brest) of a date anterior to that of the aforesaid decree, and that if the British government would then recall the orders in council which had occasioned the decree of Milan, that decree should also be annulled. Our intervicw closed here, and we have bad no meeting, either accidental or by rendezvous since.
Extracts of a Letter from General Armstrong to Mr. Smith.
Paris, February 17, 1310. “ The note from M. Champagny, a copy of which is enclosed, was received yesterday.
“ This goes by the way of England, and may not be much later in reaching you than my despatch of the 28th ult. which took the same road."
The undersigned has rendered an account to his majesty the emperor and king, of the conversation he has had with Mr. Armstrong, minister plenipotentiary of the United States of America. His majesty authorizes him to give the following answer:
His majesty should consider his decrees of Berlin and Milan as violating the principles of eternal justice, if they were not the compelled consequence of the British orders in council, and above all, of those of November, 1807, When England has proclaimed her sovereignty universal, by the pretension of subjecting the universe to a tax on navigation, and by extending the jurisdiction of her parliament over the industry of the world, his majesty thought that it was the duty of all independent nations to defend their sovereignty, and to declare as denationalized (denationalises) those vessels which should range themselves under the domination of England, by recognising the sovereignty which she arrogated over them.
His majesty distinguishes the search (la visite) from the recognition (reconnaissance) of the vessel. The recog; nition has no other end than to ascertain the reality of the flag. The search is an interior inquest held, although the verity of the flag be ascertained, and of which the result is either the impressment of individuals, or the confiscation of merchandise, or the application of arbitrary laws or regulations.
His majesty could place no reliance on the proceedings of the United States, who having no ground of complaint against France comprised her in their acts of exclusion, and since the month of May have forbidden the entrance of their ports to French vessels, under the penalty of confiscation. As soon as his majesty was informed of this measure, he considered himself bound to order reprisals on American vessels not only in his territory, but likewise in the countries which are under his influence. In the ports of Holland, of Spain, of Italy and of Naples, American vessels have been seized, because the Americans have scized French vessels. The Americans cannot hesitate as to the part which they are to take. They ought either to lear to pieces the act of their independence, and to become
again, as before the revolution, the subjects of England, or to take such measures as that their commerce and industry should not be tariffed (tarifes) by the English, which renders them more dependent than Jamaica, which at least has its assembly of representatives and its privileges. Men without just political views, (sans politique) without honour, without energy, may allege that payment of the tribute imposed by England may be submitted to, because it is light; but why will they not perceive that the English will no sooner have obtained the admission of the principle, than they will raise the tariff in such way, that the burden at first light, becoming insupportable, it will then be necessary to fight for interest after having refused to fight for honour.
The undersigned avows with frankness, that France has every thing to gain from receiving well the Americans in her ports. Her commercial relations with neutrals are advantageous to her. She is in no way jealous of their prosperity; great, powerful and rich, she is satisfied when, by her own commerce, or by that of neutrals, her exportations give to her agriculture and her fabricks the proper development..
It is now thirty years since the United States of America founded, in the bosom of the new world, an independent country, at the price of the blood of so many immorial men, who perished on the field of battle to throw off the leaden yoke of the English monarch. These generous men were far from supposing, when they thus sacriuced their blood for the independence of America, that there would so soon be a question whether there should he imposed upon it a yoke more heavy than that which they had thrown off, by subjecting its industry to a tariff of British legislation, and to the orders in council of 1807.
If then the minister of America can enter into an engagement, that the American vessels will not submit to the orders in council of England of November, 1807, nor to any decree of blockade, unless this blockade should be real, the undersigned is authorized to conclude every species of convention tending to renew the treaty of commerce with America, and in which all the measures proper to consolidate the commerce and the prosperity of the Americans shall be provided for.
The undersigned has considered it his duty to answer the verbal overtures of the American minister by a written note, that the President of the United States may the better know the friendly intentions of France towards the United States, and her favourable disposition to American commerce.
The undersigned prays Mr. Armstrong to accept the assurance of his high consideration.
Duc de Cadore. Paris, Feb. 14, 1810. His Excellency the Minister Plenipoten
tiary of the United States.
General Armstrong to Mr. Smith. Paris, February 18,
1810. SIR, I wrote a few lines to you yesterday announcing the receipt and transmission of a copy of the duke of Cadore's note to me of the 14th instant.
After much serious reflection I have thought it best to forbear all notice at present of the errours, as well of fact as of argument, which may he found in the introductory part of this note ; to take the minister at his word; to enier at once upon the proposed negotiation, and for this purpose to offer to him a projét for renewing the convention of 1800.
This mode will have the advantage of trying the sincerity of the overtures made by him, and perhaps of drawing from him the precise terms on whicho his master will accommodate. If these be such as we ought to accept, we shall have a treaty in which neither our rights nor our wrongs will be forgotten; if otherwise, there will be enough, both of time and occasion, to do justice to their policy and our own by a free examination of each. With very great respect, &c. &c.
JOHN ARMSTRONG. . The Hon. Mr. Smith, &c. &c. &c.
Extract of a Letter from General Armstrong to Mr. Smith.
March 10, 1810. “I have at length received a verbal message in answer to my note of the 21st ult. It was from the minister of foreign relations and in the following words: His majesty has decided to sell the American property seized in Spain, but the money arising therefrom shall remain in depot.' This message has given occasion to a letter from me (marked No. 2) in a temper somewhat different from that of the 18th of February."
General Armstrong to the Duke of Cadore. Paris, March
10, 1810. Sir, I had yesterday the honour of receiving a verbal message from your excellency, stating, that his majesty had decided, that “ the American property seized in the ports of Spain should be sold, but that the money arising therefrom should remain in depot."
On receiving this information, two questions suggested themselves :
1. Whether this decision was or was not extended to ships as well as to cargoes? and
2. Whether the money arising from the sales which might be made under it, would or would not be subject to - the issue of the pending negotiation ?
The gentleman charged with the delivery of your message not having been instructed to answer these questions, it becomes my duty to present them to your excellency, and to request a solution of them: Nor is it less a duty on my part to examine the ground on which his majesty has been pleased to take this decision, which I understand to be that of reprisal, suggested for the first time in the note you did me the honour to write to me on the 14th ultimo. In the 4th paragraph of this note it is said, that “ his majesty could not have calculated on the measures taken by the United States, who, having no ground of complaint against France, have comprised her in their acts of exclusion, and since the month of May last, have prohibited the entry into their ports of French vessels by subjecting them to confiscation.” It is true that the United States