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TRANSLATION. The Duke of Cadore to General Armstrong. Paris, Sep
tember 12, 1810. Sir, I have received your letter of the 7th September. That which I wrote to you the same day answered the first of the questions you put to me. I will add to what I have had the honour to write to you, that the decree of the 23d March, 1810, which ordered reprisals in consequence of the act of Congress of the 1st March, 1809, was repealed as soon as we were informed of the repeal of the act of non-intercourse passed against France,
On your second question I hasten to declare to you, that American vessels loaded with merchandise, the growth of the American provinces, will be received without difficulty in the ports of France, provided they have not suffered their flag to lose its national character, by submitting to the acts of the British council; they may in like manner depart from the ports of France. The emperor has given licenses to American vessels. It is the only flag which has obtained them. In this his majesty has intended to give a proof of the respect he loves to show to the Americans. If he is somewhat dissatisfied (peu satisfaite) that they have not as yet been able to succeed in causing their flag to be respected, at least he sees with pleasure that they are far from a&knowledging the tyrannical principles of Eng. lish legislation.
The American vessels which may be loaded on account of Frenchmen or on account of Americans, will be admitted into the ports of France. As to the merchandise confiscated, it having been confiscated as a measure of reprisal, the principles of reprisal must be the law in that affair.
I have the honour to renew to you, sir, the assurance of my high consideration.
Duc de Cadore. His Excellency Gen. Armstrong, &c. &c. &c.
General Armstrong to Mr. Pinkney. Bordeaux, Septem
ber 29, 1810. SIR, --Your letter of the third instant found me at this place, and on the point of embarking for the United States. 1 hasten, therefore, to give to it an immediate answer.
There was no crrour in my representation to you, nor in your representation to lord Wellesley, of the words, or of the meaning, as I understand it, of the duke of Cadore's note to me; nor indeed do either of these appear to be readily susceptible of mistake. The former, no doubt, retract, in the most positive terms, the Berlin and Milan decrees, and, of course, the principles on which these decrees were founded; and in doing so, assuredly gives us a fair claim on his Britannick majesty for a fulfilment of the promise made by his minister plenipotentiary to our government, on the 23d day of February, 1803. It would however appear by lord Wellesley's letter to you, of the 31st ultimo, that the British cabinet has given a new version to this promise of his majesty, and that, as a preliminary to its execution, it is now required, not merely that the principles, which had rendered necessary the British system, should be retracted, but that the repeal of the French decrees should have actually began to operate, and that the commerce of neutral nalions (generally) should hate been restored to the condition in which it stood previously to the promulgation of these decrees. It would also appear from different passages in your letter, that this deviation from the original promise of his majesty grew out of a supposition, that the recall of the French decrees implied a contemporaneous cessation of the British orders in council of November, 1807, and a repeal before the first day of November next, of all proclamation blockades of France, fc. fc. Than this construction nothing can, in my opinion, be more erroneous. Were the repeal of the French decrees dependent alone on what Great Britain may do, the supposition would have in it some colour of reasonableness; but as the conditions of it present an alternative, one side of which depends, not on the will of his Britannick majesty at all, but altogether on that of the United States, and which cannot be adopted by them until after the first of November next, it necessarily follows that the conditions are not precedent, as has been supposed, but subsequent, as I represent them. This reasoning will receive illustration from a plain and unsophisticated statement of the duke of Cadore's declaration, viz. That the Berlin and Milan decrees will cease to operate after the first day of November next, on one of two conditions ; cither that Great Britain shall revoke her orders in council, so far as they violate the maritime rights of the United States, or that, refusing to do so, the United States shall revive towards her certain sections of their late non-intercourse law, conformably to an act of Congress of the first of May last. In this we find nothing of a contemporaneous cessation of the French decrees and British orders in council, nor that the blockades of France must be recalled before the first day of November next: indeed the very reverse is to be found there ; for it contains an express engagement, that the decrees shall cease, if the United States do a certain act which all the world knows they cannot do till after that day. These remarks may derive some additional force from the contents of my letter, by Mr. Masson, which will, I hope, show, that the concessions made by France to the United States, are at least sufficiently substantial to invite from Great Britain some measures of a character equally conciliatory, and that “ earnestly desiring to see the commerce of the world restored to that freedom which is necessary to its prosperity," and no more hesitating to follow the good, than she has done to follow the bad example of her neighbour and rival, she will go on to declare, that her orders in council, &c. shall cease after the first day of November next, on condition, either that France shall have actually withdrawn her offensive decrees on that day, or, that if she refuse to do so, the United States shall proceed to enforce against her their late non-intercourse ια.
In my view of the subject, nothing short of this can be considered a sufficient pledge, on the part of the British government, which, unlike that of France, presents no alternative in the conditions on which her orders in council shall be repealed, and which, of course, in no way, makes VOL. VII.
that repeal to depend on an act, which would be altogether that of the United States.. I have the honour to be, &c.
JOHN ARMSTRONG. His Excellency Wm. Pinkney, &c. &c. &c.
PAPERS IN RELATION TO WEST FLORIDA, ACCOMPANYING THE PRE
SIDENT'S NESSAGE OF Dec. 5, 1310.
Mr. Smith to Governour Claiborne. Department of State,
Ocl. 27, 1810. Sir,-From the enclosed proclamation of the President of the United States, you will perceive his determination to take possession of the territory therein specified, in the name and in behalf of the United States; the considerations which have constrained him to resort to this necessary measure, and his direction that you, as governour of the Orleans territory, shall execute the same. Of this proclamation, upon your arrival at Natchez, you will, without delay, cause to be printed as many copies in the English, French, and Spanish languages, as may be deemed necessary, and you will cause the same to be extensively circulated throughout the said territory.
You will immediately proceed by the nearest and best route to the town of Washington, in the Mississippi territory. From the secretary at war, you will receive an order to the officers commanding the several frontier posts, to afford you such assistance in passing the wilderness and in descending the western waters as you may require. And as despatch is very desirable, you are authorized, in case your horses should fail, to procure others at the publick expense. After having made at Washington the necessary arrangements with governour Holmes, and with the commanding officer of the regular troops, you will without delay proceed into the said territory, and in virtue of the President's proclamation, take possession of the same in the name and in behalf of the United States.
As the district, the possession of which you are directed to take, is to be considered as making a part of the
territory of Orleans, you will, after taking possession, lose no time in proceeding to organize the militia, to prescribe the bounds of parishes, to establish parish courts, and finally to do whatever your legal powers applicable to the case will warrant, and may be calculated to maintain or. der, to secure to the inhabitants the peaceable enjoyment of their liberty, property, and religion, and to place them as far as may be on the same footing with the inhabitants of the other districts under your authority. As far as your powers may be inadequate to these and other requisite objects, the legislature of Orleans, which it is understood will soon be in session, will have an opportunity of making further provisions for them, more especially for giving, by law, to the inhabitants of the said territory, a just share in the representation in the general assembly; it being desirable that the interval of this privation should not be prolonged beyond the unavoidable necessity of the case.
If, contrary to expectation, the occupation of this territory, on the part of the United States, should be opposed by force, the commanding officer of the regular troops on the Mississippi will have orders from the secretary at war to afford you, upon your application, the requisite aid, and should an additional force be deemed necessary, you will draw from the Orleans territory, as will governour Holmes from the Mississippi territory, militia in such numbers, and in such proportions from your respective territories, as you and governour Holmes may deem proper. Should, however, any particular place, however small, remain in possession of a Spanish force, you will not proceed to employ force against it; but you will make immediate report thereof to this department.
You will avail yourself of the first favourable opportunities that may occur to transmit to the several governours of the Spanish provinces in the neighbourhood, copies of the President's proclamation, with accompanying letters of a conciliatory tendency.
To defray any reasonable expenditures which may necessarily attend the execution of these instructions, the President authorizes you, having due regard to economy, to draw for a sum not exceeding, in any event, twenty thousand dollars.