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with a spirit of amity, forbearance, and circumstances of unparalleled provocation, conciliation ; and to demonstrate the inad- His Majesty had abstained from any meamissible nature of those pretensions, which sure, which the ordinary rules of the law have at length unhappily involved the two of nations did not fully warrant. Never countries in war. It is well known to was the maritime superiority of a Belligethe world, that it has been the invariable rent over his enemy more complete and deobject of the Ruler of France, to destroy cided. Never was the opposite Belligerent the power and independence of the British so formidably dangerous in his power, and Empire, as the chief obstacle to the accom- in his policy to the liberties of all other naplishment of his ambitious designs. He tions. France had already trampled so first contemplated the possibility of assem- openly and systematically on the most sabling such a naval force in the Channel as, cred rights of neutral powers, as might combined with a numerous fotilla, should well have justified the placing her out of the enable him to disembark in England au pale of civilized nations. Yet in this exarmy sufficient, in his conception, to sub-treme case Great Britain had so used her jugate this country; and through the con- naval ascendency, that her enemy could quest of Great Britain he hoped to realize find no just cause of complaint: and in orhis project of universal empire. By the der to give to these lawless decrees the apadoption of au enlarged and provident sys- pearance of retaliation, the Ruler of France tem of internal defence, and by the valour was obliged to advance principles of mariof His Majesty's fleets and armies, this de- time law unsanctioned by any other authorisign was entirely frustrated; and the naval ty than his own arbitrary will. The force of France, after the most signal de- pretexts for these decrees were, first, that feats, was compelled to retire from the Great Britain had exercised the rights of ocean.--An attempt was then made to war against private persons, their ships and effectuate the same purpose by other means; goods, as if the only object of legitimate a system was brought forward, by which hostility on the ocean were the public prothe Ruler of France hoped to annihilate the perty of State, or as if the edicts, and commerce of Great Britain, to shake her the Courts of France itself had not at all public credit, and to destroy her revenue; times enforced this right with peculiar rito render useless her maritime superiority, gour. Secondly, that the British orders of and so to avail himself of his continental blockade, instead of being confined to forascendency, as to constitute himself, in a tified towns, had, as France asserted, been great measure, the arbiter of the ocean, unlawfully extended to commercial towns notwithstanding the destruction of his fleets. and ports, and to the mouths of rivers; - With this

view, by the Decree of Ber- and thirdly, that they had been applied to lin, followed by that of Milan, he declared places, and to coasts, which neither were, the British territories to be in a state of nor could be actually blockaded. The last blockade; and that all commerce, or even of these charges is not founded on fact, correspondence with Great Britain was pro- whilst the others, even by the admission of hibited. He decreed that every vessel and the American Government, are utterly cargo which had entered, or was found pro- groundless in point of law. ceeding to a British port, or which, under Against these Decrees, His Majesty proany circumstances, had been visited by a tested and appealed; he called upon the British ship of war, should be lawful prize: United States to assert their own rights, he declared all British goods and produce and to vindicate their independence, thus wherever found, and however acquired, menaced and attacked ; and as France had whether coming from the Mother Country, declared, that she would confiscate every or from her colonies, subject to confiscation: vessel which should touch in Great Brihe further declared to be denationalized the tain, or be visited by British ships of war, flag of all neutral ships that should be His Majesty having previously issued the found offending against these his decrees : Order of January 1807, as an act of mitiand he gave to this project of universal ty- gated retaliation, was at length compelled, ranny the name of the Continental System. by the persevering violence of the enemy,

- For these attempts to ruin the com- and the continued acquiescence of neutral merce of Great Britain, by means subver-powers, to revisit, upon France, in a sive of the clearest rights of neutral na more effectual inanner, the measure of her tions, France endeavoured in vain to rest own injustice; by declaring, in an Order her justification upon the previous conduct in Council, bearing date the 11th of Noof His Majesty's Government. Under vember 1807, that no neutral vessel should

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proceed to France, or to any of the coun. security was demanded, that the Berlin tries from which, in obedience to the dic- and Milan Decrees, even if revoked, tates of France, British commerce was ex- should not under some other form be recluded, without first touching at a port

direct engagement was in Great Britain, or her dependencies. At offered, that upon such revocation, the the same time His Majesty intimated his American Government would take part in readiness to repeat the Orders in Council, the war against Great Britain, if Great whenever France should rescind her De- Britain did not immediately rescind her crees, and return to the accustomed prin Orders.-Whereas no corresponding enciples of maritime warfare; and at a sub- gagement was offered to Great Britain, of sequent period, as a proof of His Majesty's whom it was required, not only that the sincere desire to accommodate, as far as Orders in Council should be repealed, but possible, his defensive measures to the that no others of a similar nature should be convenience of neutral powers, the opera- issued, and that the blockade of May, 1806, tion of the Orders in Council was, by an should be also abandoned. This blockorder issued in April 1809, limited to a ade, established and enforced according to blockade of France, and of the countries accustomed practice, had not been objected subjected to her immediate dominion. to by the United States at the time it was Systems of violence, oppression, and ty- issued. Its provisions were on the conranny, can never be suppressed, or even trary represented by the American Minister checked, if the power against which such resident in London at the time, to have injustice is exercised, be debarred from been so framed, as to afford, in his judgthe right of full and adequate retaliation : ment, a proof of the friendly disposition or, if the measures of the retaliating pow of the British Cabinet towards the United er, are to be considered as matters of just States.--Great Britain was thus called offence to neutral nations, whilst the mea- upon to abandon one of her most important sures of original aggression and violence, maritime rights, by acknowledging the are to be tolerated with indifference, sub. Order of blockade in question, to be one mission, or complacency. -The Govern of the edicts which violated the commerce ment of the United States did not fail to of the United States, although it had never remonstrate against the Orders in Council | been so considered in the previous negociaof Great Britain. Although they knew tions ;-and although the President of the that these Orders would be revoked, if the United States had recently consented to Decrees of France, which had occasioned abrogate the Non-Intercourse Act, on the them, were repealed, they resolved at the sole condition of the Orders in Council same moment to resist the conduct of both being revoked ; thereby distinctly admitBelligerents, instead of requiring France, ting these orders to be the only edicts in the first instance, to rescind her Decrees, which fell within the contemplation of the Applying most unjustly the same measure law, under which he acted. -A propoof resentment to the aggressor, and to the sition so hostile to Great Britain could not party aggrieved, they adopted measures of but be proportionably encouraging to the cominercial resistance against both—a sys- pretensions of the enemy; as by thus altem of resistance which, however varied leging that the blockade of May 1806, in the successive acts of embargo, non-in- was illegal, the American Government tercourse, or non-importation, was evi- virtually justified, so far as depended on dently unequal in its operation, and prin- them, the French Decrees. After this cipally levelled against the superior com- proposition had been made, the French merce, and maritime power of Great Bri- Minister for Foreign Affairs, if not in contain. The same partiality towards cert with that Government, at least in France was observable, in their negocia- conformity with its views, in a dispatch, tions, as in their measures of alleged re- dated the 5th of August, 1810, and adsistance. -Application was made to both dressed to the American Minister resident Belligerents for a revocation of their re- at Paris, stated that the Berlin and Milan specrive edicts; but the terms in which Decrees were revoked, and that their opethey were made were widely different. ration would cease from the Ist day of Noof France was required a revocation only vember following, provided His Majesty of the Berlin and Milan Decrees, although would revoke his Orders in Council, and many other edicts, grossly violating the renounce the new principles of blockade; neutral commerce of the United States, or that the United States would cause their had been promulgated by that Power. Nó rights to be respected; meaning thereby,

established ; and

that they would resist the retaliatory mea- | repealed by the American Government : sares of Great Britain. Although the that they were not repealed in conformity repeal of the French Decrees thus announc- with a proposition simultaneously wade to ed was evidently contingent, either on con- both Belligerents, but that in consequence cession's to be made by Great Britain, (con- of a previous Act on the part of the Amecessions tó which it was obvious Great rican Government, they were repealed in Britain could not submit,) or on measures favour of one Belligerent, to the prejudice to be adopted by the United States of Ame- of the other : that the American Governrica; the American President at once con- ment having adopted measures restrictive sidered the repeal as absolute. Under upon the commerce of both Belligerents, that pretence, the Non-Importation Act in consequence of Edicts issued by both, was strictly enforced against Great Britain, rescinded these measures, as they effected whilst the ships of war, and merchant that power, which was the aggressor, ships of the enemy were received into the whilst they put thein in full operation against harbours of America. - The American the party aggrieved; although the Edicts Government, assuming the repeal of the of both powers continued in force; and French Decrees to be absolute, and effec- lastly, that they excluded the ships of war, tual, most unjustly required Great Britain, belonging to one Belligerent, whilst they in conformity to her declarations, to revoke admitted into their ports and harbours the her Orders in Council. The British Go-ships of war belonging to the other, in vernment denied that the repeal, which violation of one of the plainest and most was announced in the letter of the French essential duties of a neutral nation. AlMinister for Foreign Affairs, was such as though the instrument thus produced was ought to satisfy Great Britain ; and in by no means that general and unqualified order to ascertain the true character of the revocation of the Berlin and Milan Decrees, measures adopted by France, the Govern. which Great Britain had continually de.. ment of the United States was called upon manded, and had a full right to claim ; to produce the instrument, by which the and although this instrument, under all alleged repeal of the French Decrees had the circumstances of its appearance at that been effected. If these Decrees were moment, for the first time, was open to really revoked, such an instrument must the strongest suspicions of its authenticity; exist, and no satisfactory reason could be yet, as the Minister of the United States given for withholding it.At length, produced it, as purporting to be a copy of on the 21st of May 1812, and not before, the instrument of revocation, the Governthe American Minister in London did pro- ment of Great Britain, desirous of reverting, duce a copy, or at least what purported to if possible, to the ancient and accustomed be a copy, of such an instrument. - It principles of maritime war, determined prosessed to bear date the 28th of April upon revoking conditionally the Orders in 1911, long subsequent to the dispatch of Council. Accordingly, in the month, of the French Minister of Foreign Affairs of June last, his Royal Highness the Prince the 5th of August 1810, or even the day Regent was pleased to declare in Council, nained therein, viz. the 1st of November in the name and on the behalf of His Ma. following, when the operation of the French jesty, that the Orders in Council should Decrees was to cease. This instrument be revoked, as far as respected the ships expressly declared that these French De- and property of the United States, from the crées were repealed in consequence of the 1st of August following. This revocation American Legislature having, by their was to continue in force, provided the GoAct of the 1st of March 1811, provided, vernment of the Uuited States should, within that British ships and merchandize should a time to be limited, repeal their restrictive be excluded from the ports and harbours laws against British commerce. His Maof the United States.

jesty's Minister in America was expressly By this instrument, the only document ordered to declare to the Government of produced by América, as a repeal of the the United States, that “ this measure had French Decrees, it appears beyond a pos- been adopted by the Prince Regent in sibility of doubt or cavil, that the alleged the earnest wish and hope, either that the repeal of the French Decrees was condi- “ Government of France, by further relax. tional, as Great Britain had asserted; and “sations of its system, might render persenot absolute or final, as had been maintain- verance on the part of Great Britain in ed by America : that they were not re- “ retaliatory measures unnecessary, or if pealed at the time they were stated to be " this hope should prove delusive, that His


“ Majesty's Government might be enabled, ( Treaty of Utrecht, and were therefore " in the absence of all irritating and re- binding upon all States. From the penalstrictive regulations on either side, to enter ties of this Code no nation was to be " with the Government of the United States exempt, which did not accept it, not only " into amicable explanations, for the pur- as the rule of its own conduct, but as a law,

of ascertaining whether, if the ne- the observance of which it was also recessity of retaliatory measures should un- quired to enforce upon Great Britain.“ fortunately continue to operate, the parti- In a Manifesto, accompanying their De“ cular measures to be acted upon by Great claration of hostilities, in addition to the 66 Britain, could be rendered more accept- former complaints against the Orders in " able to the American Government, than Council, a long list of grievances was brought " those hitherto pursued.". In order to forward; some trivial in themselves, others provide for the contingency of a Declara- which had been mutually adjusted, but none tion of War on the part of the United States, of them such as were ever before alleged previous to the arrival in America of the by the American Government to be grounds said Order of Revocation, instructions were for war.--As if to throw adčitional sent to His Majesty's Minister Plenipoten- obstacles in the way of peace, the Ametiary accredited to the United States (the rican Congress at the same time passed a execution of which instructions, in conse- law, prohibiting all intercourse with Great quence of the discontinuance of Mr. Foster's Britain, of such a tenor, as deprived the functions, were at a subsequent period in-Executive Government, according to the trusted to Admiral Sir John Borlase President's own construction of that Act, Warren), directing him to propose a ces- of all power of restoring the relations of sation of hostilities, should they have com- friendly intercourse between the two States,, menced; and further to offer a simulta- so far at least as concerned their commercial neous repeal of the Orders in Council on Intercourse, until Congress should re-asthe one side, and of the Restrictive Laws on semble. - The President of the United the British ships and conimerce on the other. States, has, it is true, since proposed to

-They were also respectively empowered Great Britain an Armistice; not, however, to acquaint the American Government, in on the admission, that the cause of war reply to any inquiries with respect to the hitherto relied on was removed: but on blockade of May, 1806, whilst the British condition that Great Britain, as a prelimiGoverninent must continue to maintain its nary step, should do away a cause of war, legality," That in point of fact this now brought forward as such for the first “ particular Blockade had been discontinued time; namely, that she should abandon " for a length of time, having been merged the exercise of her undoubted right of is in the general retaliatory blockade of search, to take from American merchant

the enemy's ports under the Orders in vessels British seamen, the natural-born • Council, and inat His Majesty's Govern- subjects of His Majesty; and this conces6o ment had no intention of recurring to sion was required upon a mere assurance " this, or to any other of the blockades of that laws would be enacted by the Legislacó the enemy's ports,

ture of the United States, to prevent such 6 dinary and accustomed principles of Ma- seamen from entering into their service; o ritime Law, which were in force pre. but independent of the objection to an exos vious to the Orders in Council, without clusive reliance on a Foreign State, for the 6 a new notice to Neutral Powers in the conservation of so vital an interest, no ex" usual form.". -The American Go-planation was, or could be afforded by the vernment, before they received intimation Agent who was charged with this Overture, of the course adopted by the British either as to the main principles upon which Government, had in fact proceeded to the such laws were to be founded, or as to the extreme measure of declaring war, and provisions which it was proposed they issuing “ Letters of Marque," notwith- should contain. This proposition havstanding they were previously in possession ing been objected to, a second proposal of the Report of the French Minister for was made, again offering an Arinistice, Foreign Affairs, of the 12th of March, 1812, provided the British Government would promulgating anew the Berlin and Milan secretly stipulate to renounce the exercise Decrees, as fundamental laws of the French of this Right in a Treaty of Peace. An Empire, under the false and extravagant immediate and formal abandonment of its pretext, that the monstrous principles exercise, as a preliminary to a cessation (herein contained were to be found in the of hostilities, was not demanded; but his

founded upon

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Royal Highness the Prince Regent was re- Regulations of a foreign State, as the sole
quired, in the name and on the behalf of equivalent for the exercise of a right
His Majesty, secretly to abandon what the which she has fell to he essential to the
former Overture had proposed to him pub support of her maritime power,---- If
licly to concede.---This most offensive America, by demanding this preliminary
proposition was also rejected, being ac- concession, intends to deny the validity
companied, as the former had been, by of that right, in that denial Great Britain
other demands of the most exceptionable cannot acquiesce; nor will she give coun-
nature, and especially of indemnity for all tenance to such a pretension, by acceding
American vessels detained and condemned to its suspension, much less to its aban-
under the Orders in Council, or under what donment, as a basis on which to treat.
were termed illegal blockades a com- If the American Government has devised,
pliance with which demands, exclusive of or conceives it can devise, regulations,
all other objections, would have amounted which may safely be accepted by Great
to an absolute surrender of the rights on Britain, as a substitute for the exercise
which those Orders and Blockades were of the right in question, it is for them to
founded.-Had the American Government bring forward such a plan for considera-
been sincere in representing the Orders in tion. The British Goverument has never
Council, as the only subject of difference attempted to exclude this question from
beloveen Great Britain and the United amongst those on which the two Stales
States, calculated to lead to hostilities; it might have to negotiate: It has, on the con-
might have been expected, so soon as the trary, uniformly professed its readiness to
revocation of those Orders had been offi- receive and discuss any proposition on this
cially made known to them, that they would subject, coming from the American Go-
have spontaneously recalled their “ letters vernment: It has never asserted any exclu-
" of inarque," and manifested a disposition sive right as to the impressment of British
immediately to restore the relations of peace seamen from American vessels, which it
and amity between the two Powers.-- was not prepared to acknowledge as apper-
But the conduct of the Government of the taining equally to the Government of the
United States by no means corresponded United States, with respect to American
with such reasonable expectations. seamen when found on board British
The Order in Council of the 23d of June merchant ships :-But it cannot, by acceding
being officially cominunicated in America, to such a basis in the first instance, either
the Government of the United States, assume, or admit that to be practicable,
saw nothing in the repeal of the Orders in which, when attempted on former occa-

Council, which should of itself restore sions, has always been found to be attended
· Peace, unless Great Britain were pre- with great difficulties; such difficulties
pared, in the first instance, substantially to as the British Commissioners in 1806,
relinquish the right of impressing her own expressly declared, after an attentive con-
seamen when found on board American sideration of the suggestions brought for-
merchant ships. The proposal of an ward by the Commissioners on the part of
Armistice, and of a simultaneous Repeal America, they were unable to surmount.-
of the restrictive measures on both sides, Whilst this proposition, transmitted through
subsequently made by the commanding the British Admiral, was pending in Ame-
officer of His Majesty's naval forces on the rica, another communication on the subject
American coast, were received in the same of an armistice was unofficially made to the
hostile spirit by the Government of the British Government in this country. The
United States. The suspension of the Agent, from whom this proposition was
practice of impressment was insisted upon received, acknowledged that he did not
in the Correspondence which passed on consider that he had any authority himself
that occasion, as a necessary preliminary to sign an agreement on the part of his Go-
to a cessation of hostilities :-Negocia- vernment, It was obvious that any stipu-
rion, it was stated, might take place lations entered into, in consequence of this
without any suspension of the exercise of overture, would have been binding on the
this right, and also without any Armistice British Government, whilst the Govern-
being concluded; but Great Britain was ment of the United States would have been
required previously to agree, without any free to refuse or accept them, according to
knowledge of the 'adequacy of the system the circumstances of the moinent : this pro-
which could be substituted, to negociate position was therefore necessarily declined.
upon the basis of accepting the Legislative -After this exposition of the circum-

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