« PreviousContinue »
from their legitimate markets; and a destructive blow aimed at our agricultural and mari. time interests. In aggravation of these predatory measures, they have been considered as in force from the dates of their notification ; a retrospective effect being thus added, as has been done in other important cases, to the unlawfulness of the course pursued. And to render the outrage the more signal, these mock blockades have been reiterated and enforced in the face of official communications from the British government, declaring, as the true definition of a legal blockade, that particular ports must be actually invested, and previous warning given to vessels' bound to them, not to enter.' " Not content with these occasional
expedients for laying waste our neutral trade, the cabinet of Great Britain resorted, at length, to the sweeping system of blockades, under the name of orders in council, which has been moulded and managed as might best suit its political views, its commercial jealousies, or the avidity of British cruisers. ; “. To our remonstrances against the compli cated and transcendent injustice of this innova, tion, the first reply was, that the orders were reluctantly adopted by Great Britain, as a necessary retaliation on the decrees of her enemy, proclaiming a general blockade of the British isles, at a time when the naval force of that ene
my dared not to issue from his own ports. She
"Abandoning still more all respect for the
neutral rights of the United States, and for its own consistency, the British government now demands, as pre-requisites to a repeal of its orders, as they relate to the United States, that a formality should be observed in the repeal of the French decrees, nowise necessary to their termination, nor exemplified by British usage ; and that the French repeal, besides including that portion of the decrees which operates within a territorial jurisdiction, as well as that which operates on the bigh seas, against the commeree of the United States, should not be a single special repeal, in relation to the United States, but should be extended to whatever other neutral nations, unconnected with them, may be affected by those decrees.
“ And, as an additional insult, they are called on for a formal disavowal of conditions and pretensions advanced by the French government, for which the United States are so far from having made themselves responsible, that, in official explanations, which have been published to the world, and in a correspondence of the American minister at London with the British minis. ter for foreign affairs, such a responsibility was explicitly and emphatically disclaimed.
“ It has become, indeed, sufficiently certain, that the commerce of the United States is to be sacrificed, not as interfering with the belligerent rights of Great Britain, not as supplying the wants of their enemies, which she herself supplies, but , as interfering with the monopoly which she covets for her own commerce and navigation. She carries on a war against the law. ful commerce of a friend, that she may the better carry on a commerce with an enemy; a com: merce polluted by the forgeries and perjuries which are, for the most part, the only passports by which it can succeed...
" Anxious to make every experiment, short of the last resort of injured nations, the United States have;withheld from Great Britain, under successive modifications, the benefits of a free intercourse with their market, the loss of which could not but outweigh the profits aceruing from her restrictions of our commerce with other nations. And to entitle these experiments to the more favourable consideration, they were so frained as to enable her to place her adversary under the exclusive operation of them. To these appeals her government has been equally inflexible, as if willing to make sacrifices of eyery sort, rather than yield to the claims of justice, or renounce the errors of a false pride. Nay, so far were the attempts carried to overcome the attachment of the British cabinet to its unjust edicts, that it received every encouragement within the competency of the executive branch of our government, to expece that a repeal of them would be followed by a war between the United States and France, unless the French edicts should also be repealed. Even this communication, although silencing for ever the plea of a disposition in the United States to acquiesce in those edicts, originally the sole plea for them, received no attention.
" If no other proof existed of a predetermination of the British government against a repeal of its orders, it might be found in the correspondence of the minister .plenipotentiary of the United States at London, and the British secretary for foreign affairs, in 1810, on the question, whether the blockade of May 1806 was consi. dered as in force or as not in force. It had been ascertained that the French governinent, which urged this blockade as the ground of its Berlin decree, was willing, in the event of its removal, to repeal that decree; which, being followed by alternaté repeals of the other offensive edicts, might abolish the whole system on both sides. This inviting opportunity for accomplishing an object so important to the United States, and professed so often to be the desire of both the belligerents, was made, known to the British government. As that government admits that an actual application of an adequate force is necessary to the existence of a legal blockade; and it was notorious, that if such a force had ever been applied, its long discontinuance had annulled the block. ade in question, there could be no sufficient