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order was taken, and another relating to our business in Naples, and am, with very high consideration, your most obedient and very humble servant.
JOHN ARMSTRONG. The Hon. Mr. Smith, &c. &c.
Extracts of a Letter from General Armstrong to Mr. Smith.
Paris, May 3, 1810. “MR. LEE arrived here some days ago with two letters from Mr. Pinkney, copies of which, with my answer, are enclosed."
os I need scarcely observe how impossible it is for me to make this, or any similar statement the ground work of a new demand for a repeal of the Berlin decree."
Mr. Pinkney to General Armstrong. London, March 27,
1810. SIR, I had the honour to receive by Mr. Powell your letter of the 25th of January. In pursuance of my instructions, I have addressed a letter to the marquis Wellesley, his Britannick majesty's principal secretary of state for foreign affairs, inquiring whether any, and if any, what blockades of France, instituted by Great Britain during the present war, before the 1st of January, 1807, are understood by this government to be in force ? Lord Wellesley's reply to that letter not being so explicit as I wished, I have written a second letter, requesting explanation. In his lordship's answer to my second letter, I am informed, that " the blockade notified by Great Britain in May, 1806, (from the Elbe to Brest) has never been formally withdrawn," but that the restrictions which that blockade established are comprehended under the more extensive restrictions of the order in council of the 7th of January, 1807, and that no other blockade of the ports of France, was instituted by Great Britain between the 16th of May, 1806, and the 7th of January, 1807, excepting the blockade of Venice, instituted on the 27th of July, 1806, which is still in force. I have the honour, &c. &c.
WM. PINKNEY. His Excellency Gen. Armstrong, &c. &c. &c.
Mr. Pinkney to General Armstrong, London, April 6,
1810. SIR, I do not know whether the statement contained in my letter of the 27th of last month will enable you to obtain a recall of the Berlin decree. Certainly the inference from that statement is, that the blockade of 1806, is virtually at an end, being merged and comprehended in an order in council issued after the date of the edict of Berlin. Jam, however, about to try to obtain a formal revocation of that blockade (and of that of Venice) or at least a precise declaration, that they are not in force. As it will not be possible to obtain either the one or the other very soon, (if, indeed, they can be obtained at all) I will not detain Mr. Lee, but I will send you another messenger (Mr. Craig, of Philadelphia) in the course of three or four weeks, with the result of my endeavours. In the mean time such use can be made of my communication of the 27th ultimo, as you may deem advisable. I have the honour, &c. &c.
WM. PINKNEY. His Excellency Gen. Armstrong, &c. &c. &c.
Extract of a Letter from General Armstrong to Mr. Pinkney:
Paris, May 2, 1810. . “ I have received your three letters of the 3d and 27th
of March and 6th of April. Accept my thanks for your friendly attention with regard to the passport, and express to lord Wellesley the sense I have of his lordship's politeness and the pleasure it would give me to make this acknowJedgment in person. The doubt with which you begin your letter of the 6th instant is well founded. The explanation you have received is not such as will enable me to demand the performance of the emperor's promise, (communicated to you in my letter of the 25th of January last) since it (the explanation) not only admits that the British order of blockade of May, 1806, is not formally withdrawn, but that that of the 27th of July of the same year, is still in force. An argument in the face of these admissions, and founded merely on the operation of an order of ulterior
date and more extensive restriction, must not be hazarded, as it would be not merely useless, but productive of mischief.”
Extract of a Letter from General Armstrong to Mr. Smith.
Paris, May 24, 1810. “ Some circumstances have occurred, since the date of my despatch to Mr. Ronaldson, which from their importance make a speedy conveyance necessary. These I shall detail as briefly as possible.
1st. On the 14th instant was published here in the official and other journals, a decree of the emperor, dated at Rambouillet on the 23d of March last, directing the seizure and sale of all American vessels which had entered the ports of the empire, or of its dependencies, since the 20th of May last, &c. &c. &c.
2d. Four commissioners have been sent to Amsterdam, with orders to take possession of the American property to be found there, agreeably to the 10th article of the late treaty between France and Holland; and,
3d. Several of our ships and cargoes, with regard to which compromises have been made under the sanction of the council of prizes have been scized again to satisfy the provisions of the new decrce."
Translation of a Decree issued by the Emperor of the
French at Rambouillet, March 23, 1810. NAPOLEON, &c. &c. &c. Considering that the government of the United States, by an act dated the 1st of March, 1803, which forbids the entrance of the ports, harbours, and rivers of the said States, to all French vessels, orders, 1st. That after the 20th of May following, vessels under the French flag, which shall arrive in the United States, 'shall be seized and confiscated as well as their cargoes : 2d. That after the same epoch, no merchandise or produce, the growth or manufacture of France or her colonies, can he imported into the said United States from any foreign port or place whatsoever, under penalty of seizure, confiscation, and a fine of three times the value of the merchandise : 3d. That American vessels cannot go to any port
of France, of her colonies or dependencies : We have decreed and do decree what follows :
Art. 1. All vessels navigating under the flag of the United States, or possessed, in whole or in part, by any citizen or subject of that power, which, counting from the 20th of May, 1809, have entered or shall enter into the ports of our empire, of our colonies, or of the countries occupied by our arms, shall be seized, and the product of the sales shall be deposited in the surplus fund (caisse d'amortissement.)
There shall be excepted from this regulation, the ves. scls which shall be charged with despatches, or with commissions of the government of the said States, and who shall not have either cargoes or merchandise on board.
Our grand judge, minister of justice, and our minister of finance, are charged with the execution of our present decrce.
Extracts from a Letter of General Armstrong to Mr.
Smith. Paris, August 5, 1810. “I had this morning the honour of receiving the enclosed note from the duke of Cadore, informing me that the imperial decrees of Berlin and Milan are revoked. I shall communicate this fact as promptly as possible to Mr. Pinkney."
“I shall obtain a specifick revocation of the decree of the 23d of March last; but it ought to be known to you that this decree has had no operation since my first unoffi. cial communication of the law of the 1st of May."
is 5, 1810.
His majesty could have wished that this act, and all the other acts of the government of the United States, which interest France, had always been officially made known to him. In general, he has only had a knowledge of them indirectly, and after a long interval of time. There has resulted from this delay serious inconveniences, which would not have existed if these acts had been promptly and officially communicated.
The emperor had applauded the general embargo, laid by the United States on all their vessels, because that measure, if it has been prejudicial to France, had in it at least nothing offensive to her honour. It has caused her to lose her colonies of Martinique, Guadaloupe, and Cayenne : the emperor has not complained of it. He has made this sacrifice to the principle which had determined the Americans to lay the embargo, inspiring them with the noble resolution of interdicting to themselves the ocean, rather than to submit to the laws of those who wished to make themselves the tyrants (les dominateurs) of it.
The act of the 1st of March has raised the embargo, and substituted for it a measure the most injurious to the interests of France.
This act, of which the emperor knew nothing until very lately, interdicted to American vessels the commerce of France, at the time it authorized that to Spain, Naples, and Holland, that is to say, to the countries under French influence, and denounced confiscation against all French vessels which should enter the ports of America. Reprisal was a right, and commanded by the dignity of France, a circumstance on which it was impossible to make a compromise (de transigir.) The sequester of all the American vessels in France has been the necessary consequence of the measure taken by Congress.
Now Congress retrace their steps, (revient sur sespas ;) they revoke the act of the 1st of March ; the ports of America are open to French commerce, and France is no longer interdicted to the Americans. In short, Congress engages to oppose itself to that one of the belligerent powers which should refuse to acknowledge the rights of neutrals.
In this new state of things, I am authorized to declare to you, sir, that the decrees of Berlin and Milan are revoked, POL, VII,