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VOL. XXIII. No. 3.] LONDON, SATURDAY, JANUARY 16, 1813. [Price 1s.
before our eyes; we know well what we
SUMMARY OF POLITICS. AMERICAN STATES.-My two last Numbers were devoted principally to the task of endeavouring to convince the Prince Regent and the public, that it was neither dangerous nor dishonourable to yield to the terms upon which we might rave rad, and may yet have, peace with America; and, to my great mortification, though, I must confess," not much to my surprise, I now see, from the contents of the last Gazette, wherein is His Royal Highness's "Declaration," that all my endeavours have been of no avail, and that war, long, expensive and sanguinary war, will now take place with an enemy, who, above all others, is capable of inflicting deep wounds upon this alreadycrippled, or, at least, exhausted nation.
DECLARATION," which will be found below, inserted at full length, does not contain any new matter: it is a summary of what our ministers have before alleged and asserted in their correspondence with the American Government and its divers agents. But, there are some few passages of it which require to be particularly noticed.The question relating to the Orders in Council has been before so amply discussed, in my several Letters and articles upon the subject, that I will not encumber my present remarks with any thing relating thereunto; but, will confine myself to what relates to the impressment of persons out of American ships on the high seas.
From the first publication of the Letters which passed between Lord Wellesley and Mr. Pinckney, soon after the French had announced their intention to repeal the Berlin and Milan Decrees; from the very day of that publication, which took place soon after I was imprisoned in Newgate for -Upon this point the "DECLARATION" two years (with a fine to THE KING, says: "His Royal Highness can never adwhich I have since paid, of a thousand "mit, that in the exercise of the undoubted pounds) for having written and published" and hitherto undisputed right of searchupon the subject of flogging certain Englishing neutral merchant vessels in time of militia-men, at the town of Ely, in Eng- war, the impressment of British seamen, land, who had been first reduced to sub- "when found therein, can be deemed any mission by German Troops; from the very "violation of a neutral flag. Neither can day of that publication I began to fear the" he admit, that the taking such seamen present sad result of the dispute which had " from on board such vessels, can be conthen assumed a new and more serious cha- "sidered by any neutral State as a hostile racter than it had ever before worn. With "measure, or a justifiable cause of war.that fear in my mind, I bent all my feeble" There is no right more clearly establishpowers towards preventing such result. I "ed, than the right which a Sovereign has have failed: opinions and counsels the di-" to the allegiance of his subjects, more rect opposite of mine have prevailed; and especially in time of war. Their allegitime will show who was right and who "ance is no optional duty, which they can wrong.- Upon former occasions the real" decline, and resume at pleasure. It is a grounds of war have, but too often, been "call which they are bound to obey: it Jost sight of in the multitude and confusion" began with their birth, and can only terof subsequent events; the Government has "minate with their existence.-If a simihad the address to inlist the passions of "larity of language and manners may men on its side, and the voice of reason has " make the exercise of this right more liabeen stifled.- -But, here, as I was from "ble to partial mistakes, and occasional the first resolved it should be, there is a "abuse, when practised towards the vessels clear, a distinct, an undisguisable ground" of the United States, the same circum
"stances make it also a right, with the ex- | may judge to be British seamen,"ercise of which, in regard to such vessels, is not even plausible, in my opinion; for, "it is more difficult to dispense."- -The what right can we have to impress, if we doctrine of allegiance, as here laid down, I have no right to stop for the purpose of imadmit, with some exceptions; but, as to pressing? I may enter another's house to the right of impressing British seamen, on search for a stolen coat, and, if I find there the high seas, out of neutral ships, I deny my hat, I may seize it as well as my coat, it to be founded on any principle or maxim, having due authority for the first; but, be laid down by any writer on public law. it observed, that to steal the hat was as criIndeed, the "DECLARATION" does not say minal as to steal the coat; and, if I had that it is it says, that the right of known, or suspected, that the hat was SEARCHING neutral vessels in time of there, I might have had my search-warrant war is "undoubted and has hitherto been for the former as well as for the latter."undisputed." This is not correct; for, The law of nations calls the high seas the not only has even this right been doubted, common right of nations. A ship there is not only are there two opinions about it in a parcel of the State to which she belongs, the books on public law, but the writers on and the sovereign rights of that State travel public law are, for the most part, against with her. The sole exception is, as has the said right as we practise it, and they been before stated, that belligerents have a contend, that we have no right to seize right to search neutrals for goods of the enemy's goods on board of merchant ships enemy, and for warlike stores and troops, which are neutral. Nay, the contest has carrying for the enemy's use; because, as given rise to military resistance on the part far as neutrals are engaged in such a serof our now-ally, Russia, Denmark, and vice, they are deemed to be in the service Sweden; and, what is still more, Great of the enemy. In all other respects a Britain ceased, upon their threats, to exer- neutral ship carries with her, on the high cise this, even this, right of seizing enemy's seas, the rights of sovereignty appertaining goods on board of neutral ships of war. to the State to which she belongs.Now, But, this right; this right of SEARCH- it is well known, that no nation has a right ING neutral ships; what has it to do with to enter the territory of another to exercise the impressment of persons on board of such any authority whatever, much less that of ships? That is what the Americans object seizing persons and carrying them away by to, and are at war against. They are not force; and, indeed, is it not fresh in every at war against our right of search, even in one's memory, what complaints were made our own interpretation of that right. What against the French for entering the territory they object to is, the stopping of their ves- of the Elector of Baden, and seizing the sels on the high seas, and taking people Duke of Enghein?If we have a right out of them by force; a practice which, I to enter American ships on the high seas, repeat it, is sanctioned by no principle or and take out of them, by force of arms, maxim of any writer on public law, nor British seamen, what should hinder us by any usage heretofore known in the world. from having the same right as to any of the -The "DECLARATION" does not assert, sea-ports of America? Nay, why should as Lord Castlereagh did, in his letter to we not go and seize our numerous manuMr. Russell, that this practice is sanctioned facturers, who have been (contrary to our by any former usage; but, it declares the laws) carried to America, and who are right from the right of search. It says, filling America with cloths and cutlery? that, in exercising "the right of search," Their alleging, that they went thither to that is to say, the right to search for arti- avoid the effect of prosecutions for libel, or cles contraband of war, and for enemy's for some other of our state crimes, would goods, we have a right to impress British be no bar to our claim upon them; and, seamen, if we find them. So that, this is in short, they could never be safe to the last the new shape of the defence of the prac-moment of their lives.It is said, that tice: we do not now assert that we have a right to stop American vessels upon the high seas for the purpose of impressing our seamen; but, having stopped them for the purpose of exercising our old "right of sedont have a right to avail ouré opportunity to take out persons cur policers, at their discretion,
the seamen on board of American ships are deserters. Be it so. We may be sorry that they do desert; but it is no crime in the Americans that our sailors go into America. Is it not well known, that numerous deserters from the Austrian and Prussian armies have, at all times, deserted into the neighbouring States; and is it not equally
on board of ship; they must not act; they must do no seaman's duty; or, they must, according to our own doctrine, lately exemplified at Horsemonger Lane, be TRAITORS, worthy of being hanged, ripped up, and cut in quarters. His Royal Highness's Declaration says, that allegiance to his father and his successors begins with a man's birth and ends but with his death. And, is it not the same with American citizens? Do they not owe similar allegiance to their country? Or is it about to be pretended, that none but kings can claim this sort of allegiance?—I do not think that any one, even of the writers in the Times and Courier, will have the impudence to set up this doctrine; but, this they must do before they can make out any good ground of charge against the Americans for having demanded, as a preliminary, the surrender of the impressed American seamen.
well known, that the neighbouring State
-Captain Dacres, in accounting for the loss of his Frigate, expressly states, that he had many Americans on board, whom he permitted to be spectators, from a reluctance to compel them to fight against their country. Aud, can the reader believe, that this was the only instance in which native Americans were unwillingly serving on board of British ships of war? What, then, again I ask, must be the state of those Americans? And, what are we to think of those writers, who abuse Mr. Russell for proposing to us their surrender as a step preliminary to any further arrangement?The Declaration complains, that America demanded the abandonment of the practice of impressment as a preliminary to her passing a law to prevent British seamen from being received on board her ships.The hireling writers have treated this demand. as something too insolent to be for a moment listened to. The "DECLARATION" does not treat it in this lofty style; but it speaks of it in pretty strong terms, as thus:
"cluded: but Great Britain was required against the injuries she has received from "previously to agree, without any know- France, the "DECLARATION," this " me"ledge of the adequacy of the system which "morable document," "morable document," as the Courier "could be substituted, to negociate upon calls it, concludes thus:-"This disposithe basis of accepting the legislative regu❝tion of the Government of the United lalions of a foreign State, as the sole States-this complete subserviency to the equivalent for the exercise of a right," Ruler of France--this hostile temper "which she has fell to be essential to the "towards Great Britain-are evident in "support of her maritime power.' "almost every page of the official corresWell, and what then? "A right" it is "pondence of the American with the called again; but, if America denied it to "French Government.Against this be a right, as she has uniformly done, what" course of conduct, the real cause of the wonder was there that she made the propo- present war, the Prince Regent solemnsition? Great Britain might "feel," though "ly protests. Whilst contending against I should have chosen the word "deem," as "France, in defence not only of the libersmacking less of the boarding-school Miss's "ties of Great Britain, BÚT OF THE style; Great Britain might feel," if feel" WORLD, His Royal Highness was enshe must, that the practice complained of " titled to look for a far different result. was essential to the support of her mari-"From their common origin—from their time power; but, did it hence follow, that" common interest-from their professed America, and that impressed Americans," principles of freedom and independence, should like the practice the better for that?" the United States were the last power, We have so long called ourselves the deli-" in which Great Britain could have exverers of the world, that we, at last, have "pected to find a willing instrument, and fallen into the habit of squaring up all our "abellor of French tyranny.Disapideas to that appellation; and seem sur- "pointed in this just expectation, the prised that there should be any nation in the "Prince Regent will still pursue the poworld inclined to wish for the diminution "licy which the British Government has of our power.The Americans, however," so long, and invariably maintained, in clearly appear to see the thing in a different light. They, in their home-spun way, call us any thing but deliverers; and, it must be confessed, that, whatever may be our general propensity, we do not seem to have been in haste to deliver impressed AmeriThat one nation ought not to yield a right, depending for compensation" solely upon the legislative provisions of a foreign State, is very true; but, if the right be doubtful; if it be unsupported by any law, principle, maxim, or custom, then the case is different; and then, indeed, the offer of a legislative provision is à proof of a sincere desire to accommodate.If my view of the matter be right, and I verily believe it is, this is the light in which that offer ought to be viewed; and I most deeply lament that it was not thus viewed by the ministers. — These lamentations, however, are now useless. The sound of war is gone forth: statement and reasoning are exhausted: the sword is to decide whether England is, or is not, to impress, at the discretion of her naval officers, persons on board American merchant ships on the high seas.There is one passage more in the "DECLARATION," upon which I cannot refrain from submitting a remark or two. After stating, that America has made only feeble remonstrances
repelling injustice, and in supporting "the general rights of nations; and, un"der the favour of PROVIDENCE, relying on the justice of his cause, and the tried loyalty and firmness of the British Nation, His Royal Highness confidently looks forward to a successful issue to the contest, in which he has thus been com"pelled most reluctantly to engage.' The last paragraph is in the old style, and will hardly fail to remind Mr. Madison of the documents of this kind, issued about six-and-thirty years ago. However, the style is none the worse for being old; though one cannot but recollect the occasion upon which it was formerly used.—— I regret, however, to find, in this solemn document, a distinct charge against the American Government of "subserviency to "the Ruler of France;" because, after a very attentive perusal of all the correspondence between the American and French Governments, I do not find any thing, which, in my opinion, justifies the charge. The truth is, that "the Ruler of France' gave way in the most material point to the remonstrances of America; and, I have never yet read a Message of Mr. Madison, at the opening of a Session of Congress, in which he did not complain of the conduct of France. The Americans abhor an al
liance with France; and, if they form | remember that it was urged with great such an alliance, it will have been occa- force in favour of American submission to sioned by this war with us. -This charge be taxed by an Euglish parliament; but, of subserviency to Buonaparte has a thou- as the result showed, with as little effect sand times been preferred against Mr. Ma- as it possibly can be upon this occasion. dison, but never, that I have seen, once -There is one thing in this "calling proved. It is, indeed, the charge which cousin," as the saying is, that I do not we have been in the habit of preferring much like. The calling cousin always against all those powers, who have been at proceeds from us. The Americans never war with us Spain, Holland, Prussia, remind us, that we are of the same origin Denmark, Sweden, and, though last not with them. This is a bad sign on our least, Russia, as will be seen by a refer- side. It is we, and not they, who tell ence to Mr. Canning's answer to the pro- the world of the relationship. In short, positions from Tilsit.- "Subserviency it is well enough for a news-paper to re"to the Ruler of France!" We stop the mind them of their origin; but, I would American Merchantmen upon the high not have done it in a solemn Declaration; seas; we take out many of their own na- especially when I was accusing them of tive seamen; we force them on board of being the willing instrument and abettor our men of war; we send them away to of our enemy. "Common interest." the East Indies, the West Indies, or the That, indeed, was a point to dwell on; Mediterranean; we expose them to all the but, then, it was necessary to produce hardships of such a life and all the dangers something, at least, in support of the proof battle, in a war in which they have no position. The Americans will query the concern all this we do, for we do not fact; and, indeed, they will flatly deny deny it; and, when, after MANY it. They will say, for they have said, YEARS of remonstrances, the American that it is not for their interest, that we Government arms and sends forth its sol- should have more power than we now have diers and sailors to compel us to desist, over the sea; and, that they have much we accuse that Government of "subser- more to dread from a great naval power,. "viency to the Ruler of France," who, than from an overgrown power on the Conwhatever else he may have done, has not, tinent of Europe. They are in no fear of that I have ever heard, given the Ameri- the Emperor Napoleon, whose fleets they cans reason to complain of impressments are now a match for; but, they are in from on board their ships. Many unjust some fear of us; and, therefore, they do acts he appears to have committed towards not wish to see us stronger.- -It is in the Americans; but he has wisely abstain- vain to tell them, that we are fighting in ed from impressments, which, as I have defence of the "liberties of the world." all along said, was the only ground upon They understand this matter full as well which the people of America could have as we do, and, perhaps, a little better. I been prevailed upon to enter heartily into should like to see this proposition attempta war with any power: it is a popular ed to be proved. I should like to hear ground the war is in the cause of the my Lord Castlereagh, beginning with the people accordingly, we find the motto to Declaration against the Republicans of the war is: 66 Liberly of the seas and sea-France, continue on the history of our "men's rights."-I, therefore, regret exceedingly, that the "DECLARATION' styles America" a willing instrument and "abettor of French tyranny." It is a heavy charge; it is one that will stick close to the memory of those who support -I dare say that his Lordship could. the war; it will tend to inflame, rather make it out clearly enough. I do not than allay, the angry passions; and, of pretend to question the fact or his ability; course, it will tend to kill all hopes of a but, it would be at once instructive and enterspeedy reconciliation.- -As to what the taining to hear how he would do it. "DECLARATION" is pleased to say about" From their professed principles of freethe " common origin" of the two nations, dom," From these the "DECLARAif of any weight, it might be urged, I sup-"TION" says, that His Royal Highness pose, with full as much propriety by the expected the United States would have Americans against our impressments, as it been the last power to become a willing is now urged against their resistance. instrument of French tyranny. Very true:
hostilities to the present day, taking in those of India by way of episode, and concluding with the war for the right of impressment, make it out, how we have been and are defending the liberties of the world.