« PreviousContinue »
BOOK XI. as may be required for the services to which it may at least, as belong to our defence and our primary
be best adapted. I submit to congress the season- wants, we should not be left in unnecessary deCHAP. I.
ableness, also, of an authority to augment the stock pendence on external supplies. And whilst fo
of such materials as are imperishable in their na- reign governments adhere to the existing discri1811. ture, or may not at once be attainable.
minations in their ports against our navigation, In contemplating the scenes which distinguish and an equality or lesser discrimination is enjoyed this momentous epoch, and estimating their claims by their navigation in our ports, the effect cannot to our attention, it is impossible to overlook those be mistaken, because it has been seriously felt developing themselves among the great commu- by our shipping-interests; and in proportion as nities which occupy the southern portion of our this takes place, the advantages of an independent own hemisphere, and extend into our neighbour- conveyance of our products to foreign markets, hood. An enlarged philanthropy, and an enlight- and of a growing body of mariners, trained by ened forecast, concur in imposing on the national their occupations for the service of their country councils an obligation to take a deep interest in in times of danger, must be diminished. their destinies ; to cherish reciprocal sentiments of “ The receipts into the treasury, during the year good-will; to regard the progress of events; and ending on the 30th of September last, have exnot to be unprepared for whatever order of things ceeded thirteen millions and a half of dollars; and may be ultimately established.
have enabled us to defray the current expences, • Under another aspect of our situation, the including the interest on the public debt, and to early attention of congress will be due to the expe- reimburse more than five millions of dollars of the diency of farther guards against evasions and in principal, without recurring to the loan authorised fractions of our commercial laws. The practice by the act of the last session. The temporary of smuggling, which is odious every where, and loan obtained in the latter end of the year 1810, particularly criminal in free governments, where, has also been reimbursed, and is not included in the laws being made by all for the good of all, a
that amount. fraud is committed on every individual as well as
* The decrease of revenue, arising from the on the state, attains its utmost guilt, when it blends, situation of our commerce, and the extraordinary with a pursuit of ignominious gain, a treacherous expences which have and
expences which have and may become necessary, subserviency, in the transgressors, to a foreign must be taken into view, in making commensurate policy adverse to that of their own country. It is provisions for the ensuing year. And I recomthen that the virtuous indignation of the public mend to your consideration the propriety of enshould be enabled to manifest itself, through the suring a sufficiency of annual revenue, at least to regular animadversions of the most competent defray the ordinary expenses of government, and laws.
to pay the interest on the public debt, including “ To secure greater respect to our mercantile that on new loans which may be authorised. flag, and to the honest interest which it covers, it “I cannot close this communication without is expedient, also, that it be made punishable in expressing my deep sense of the crisis in which our citizens to accept licences from foreign govern- you are assembled, my confidence in a wise and ments, for a trade unlawfully interdicted by them honorable result to your deliberations, and assurto other American citizens; or to trade under false ances of the faithful zeal with which my co-opercolours or papers of any sort.
ating duties will be discharged; invoking, at the “ A prohibition is equally called for against the same time, the blessing of heaven on our beloved acceptance, by our citizens, of special licences, to country, and on all the means that may be employbe used in a trade with the United States; and ed in vindicating its rights and advancing its against the admission into particular ports of the
welfare." United States, of vessels from foreign countries,
(Signed) " JAMES MADISON. authorised to trade with particular ports only.
Washington, Nov.5, 1811.” Although other subjects will press more immediately on your deliberations, a portion of them In taking a review of this speech, we find it. cannot but be well bestowed on the just and sound labours with its own weight in order to throw a policy of securing to our manufactures the success load of blame upon the British government. It they have attained, and are still attaining, in some begins with a complaint of the unfriendly conduct degree, under the impulse of causes not perma- of Great Britain in refusing what the president nent; and to our navigation, the fair extent of was pleased to term their neutral rights. During which it is at present abridged, by the unequal the discussions of the plenipotentiaries of the two regulations of foreign governments.
powers upon this point, the governments of Eng" Besides the reasonableness of saving our land and the United States could not agree, as manufacturers from sacrifices which a change of they referred in their respective arguments and circumstances might bring on them, the national appeals to different principles and different codes. interest requires, that, with respect to such articles, The speech next alludes to the affair of the
Little Belt, and, according to the result of the one of his decrees in that declaration, which, on BOOK XL trial, inculpates the British commander. It must
the contrary, was a confirmation of them all) and be confessed, that America, in this respect, bad concluded by declaring the determination of his
Chap. I. offered all the satisfaction which could be ex jure government to continue the non-intercourse act, required of her. She had given Captain Rodgers unless the British-orders were revoked.
1811. a trial in one of her admiralty-courts, and it is the Mr. Foster, in a letter of the 24th July, asked peculiar nature of these courts, that being admi- whether it was the determination of the president nistered in every country alike, that is, on the law to rest satisfied with the partial repeal of the Berof nations and the public law of Europe, they have lin and Milan decrees, which Mr. Monroe believed every where an acknowledged name, and even to have taken place. To this no reply seemed to some portion of authority; and their judgments have been given. In a letter from Mr. Foster, are deemed satisfactory and conclusive, till set dated 26th July, he shewed that Mr. Monroe aside in the same form and manner, and for their had not, in his letter of the 230 July, adduced manifest and gross injustice, in some other adınin any satisfactory proof of the repeal of the obnoxralty-court. The president, therefore, as presi- ious decree of France, and he urged afresh the dent of America, committed no injury in assigning injustice of the American government in persethe wrong-doing to the party designated by his vering in their union with the French system to own admiralty-courts, though, as before intimated, crush the commerce of Great Britain. the evidence had all the appearance of corruption. In a reply to this letter by Mr. Monroe, on the
The president next congratulates his country- Ist. Oct. he did not bring forward any fresh evimen on the friendly footing of America with the dence to shew that the Berlin and Milan decrees nortbern powers, and then, recurring to the con- were repealed, and he seemed to evade the disduct of Great Britain, taxed with the daily com- .cussion. mission of many hostile acts, calls upon America In a note, dated 17th of Oct. from Mr. Monroe, to put herself into the armour and attitude demand. he enclosed two letters from Mr. Russel, the ed by her circumstances.-The measures pro- American chargé d'affaires at Paris, stating, that posed are the four following :-1. That the army the Berlin and Milan decrees had ceased to be be recruited up to its war establishment.–2. 'That executed, and a note from the Marquis Wellesley, the enlistment of the regular troops be prolonged. dated on the 14th of August, to Mr. Smith, ac-3. That an auxiliary force (i. e. an army of re- knowledging the receipt of a letter to Mr. Foster, serve) be raised for a limited term.-4. A supple- stating, that he had commenced his negociations mental militia.-5. That corps of volunteers be with Mr. Monroe, relative to the orders in council. accepted.-6. Such a preparation of the great Mr. Foster, in a letter, dated on the 22d of Oct. body of the American people as will render its alluded to Mr. Russel's letters, announcing the utility in some degree proportionate to what it liberation of four or five American vessels, capought to be from its natural intrinsic capacity tured and brought into French ports since the (i.e. the instruction of the peasantry in the use and Ist of Nov.; and he added to Mr. Monroe, " I exercise of arms.)
hope you will not think it extraordinary if I should Of the voluminous documents which accompa- contend, that the seizure of American ships by nied the president's speech to congress, we shall France since Nov. Ist, and the positive and confine ourselves to a description of them. unqualified declarations of the French govern
Relative to the orders in council, Mr. Foster, in ment, are stronger proofs of the continued existhis letters of the 3d, 11th, 14th, and 16th July, 1810, ence of the French decrees, and the bad faith of to Mr. Monroe, the American minister, insisted that the ruler of France, than the restoration of five or the Berlin and Milan decrees had not been effec- six vessels, too palpably given up for fallacious tually repealed, and that the regent could not purposes, or in testimony of his satisfaction at the therefore forego the just measures of retaliation attitude taken by Ainerica, is a proof of their which his majesty, in his defence, had found it revocation, or of his return to the principles of necessary to have recourse to.
justice." Mr. Monroe, in a reply to Mr. Foster, dated Mr. Monroe, in his reply, dated Oct. 29, to this 230 July, considered that his government was letter, adverted to Mr. Russel's letters, and stated, bound to respect the solemn declaration of the that it might have been fairly presumed, that the French government, August 5th, 1810, that the new evidence afforded of the complete revocation decrees were repealed; argued, that they were of the French decrees, as far as they interfered repealed from the release of the New Orleans pac- with the commerce of the United States with the ket, the Grace, Anne, and other vessels ; endea- British dominions, would bave been followed by voured to avoid the meaning Mr. Foster gave to an immediate repeal of the orders in council. the declaration made to the deputation from the Mr. Foster, in his reply, dated Oct. 31, insisted Hanse Towns by Bonaparte (viz. that he, Bona- again, that, “ where proof can be obtained of the
BOOK XI. in the ports of France, in which vessels have been 6. Resolved, That so much of the president's
avowedly seized under their operation since No- message as relates to the Spanish American coloChap. I. vember 1.”
nies, be referred to a select committee.
ject of the President and Little Belt, demanded braced too much. He wished to know whether
military and naval defence before one committee.
Mr. Monroe subsequently transmitted the lutionary war.
to, and the committee rose and reported them.
Mr. D. R. Williams moved to amend the 2d
resolution, which was adopted :
a select committee.
had been made upon the Chesapeake, an Ameri1. Resolved, That so much of the president's can frigate, in order to recover some British seamessage as relates to our foreign relations, be men illegally
detained. (See Book VII. Chap. IX. referred to a select committee.
page 561.) This affair was settled by a very just 2. Resolved, That so much of the president's and noble submission on the part of Great Britain, message as relates to the measures of public de- which detracted nothing from her honor, whilst it fence demanded by the present crisis, be referred added infinitely to the credit of her honesty; and to a select committee.
the following was a consequent message to the se3. Resolved, That so much of the president's nate and house of representatives of the United message as relates to the revenue, and to the States, Nov. 16. provisions necessary for the ensuing year, be “ I communicate to congress copies of a correferred to the committee of ways and means. respondence between the envoy-extraordinary and
4. Resolved, That so much of the president's minister-plenipotentiary of Great Britain and the message as relates to evasions and infractions of secretary of state relative to the aggression comthe non-intercourse law, be referred to the com- mitted by a British ship of war on the United mittee of commerce and manufactures.
States frigate Chesapeake; by which it will be 5. Resolved, That so much of the president's seen, that that subject of difference between the message as relates to foreign licences, and to the two countries is terminated by an offer of reparaprotection of manufactures and navigation, be tion, wbich has been acceded to. referred to the committee of commerce and manu
" JAMES MADISON. factures.
" Washington, Nov. 13, 1811.”
The following was the correspondence al- should be introductory to a removal of all the BOOK XI. luded to.
differences depending between our two countries, Mr. Foster to Mr. Monroe.
the hope of which is so little encouraged by your Char. I.
past correspondence. A prospect of such a reWashington, Oct. 30. sult will be embraced, on my part, with a spirit
1811. "Sir, I had already the honor to mention to of conciliation equal to that which has been exyou, that I came to this country furnished with pressed by you. instructions from his royal highness the prince
(Signed) 6 JAMES MONROE regent, in the name and on the behalf of his
" A. J. Foster Esq. &c.” majesty, for the purpose of proceeding to a final adjustment of the differences which have arisen
Mr. Foster to Mr. Monroe. between Great Britain and the United States of
Washington, Nov. 1, 1811. America in the affair of the Chesapeake frigate; “Sir, Iu pursuance of the orders which I and I had also that of acquainting you with the have received from bis royal highness the princenecessity under which I found myself of suspend- regent, in the name and on the behalf of his maing the execution of those instructions, in conse- jesty, for the purpose of proceeding to a final adquence of not having perceived that any steps justment of the differences which have arisen bewhatever were taken by the American government tween Great Britain and the United States in the to clear up the circumstances of an event which affair of the Chesapeake frigate, I have the honor threatened so materially to interrupt the harmony to acquaint you-First, that I am instructed to subsisting between our two countries, as that repeat to the American governinent the prompt which occurred in the month of last May, between disavowal made by bis majesty (and recited in the United States ship. President, and his majes. Mr. Erskine's note of April 17, 1809, to Mr. ty's ship Little Belt, when every evidence before Smith,) on being apprised of the unauthorised his majesty's government seemed to shew that a act of the officer in command of his naval forces most evident and wanton outrage had been com- on the coast of America, whose recal from an mitted on a British sloop of war by an American highly important and honorable command inncommodore.
mediately ensued as a mark of his majesty's dis“ A court of inquiry, however, as you informed approbation. me in your letter of the Ilth instant, bas since * Secondly, that I am authorised to offer, in been held by order of the president of the United addition to that disavowal, on the part of his royal States, on the conduct of Commodore Rodgers; highness, the immediate restoration, as far as cir. and this preliminary to farther discussion on the cumstances will admit, of the men who, in consubject being all that I asked in the first instance, sequence of Admiral Berkeley's orders, were foras due to the friendship between the two states, I cibly taken out of the Chesapeake, to the vessel have now the honor to acquaint you that I am from wbich they were taken; or, if that ship ready to proceed, in the truest spirit of conciliation, should be no longer in commission, to such seato lay before you the terms of reparation which port of the United States as the American gohis royal highness has commanded me to propose vernment may pame for the purpose. to the United States' governinent, and only wait Thirdly, that I am also authorised to offer to to know when it will suit your convenience to enter the American government a suitable pecuniary upon the discussion.
“ Aug. J. FOSTER. provision for the sufferers in consequence of the “ The Hon. James Monroe, S.S."
atiаck on the Chesapeake, including the families
of those seamen who unfortunately fell in the Mr. Monroe to Mr. Foster.
action, and of the wounded survivors. “ Department of State, Oct. 31, 1811. “ These bonorable propositions, I can assure « Sir, I have just had the honor to receive you, Sir, are made with the sincere desire that your letter of the 30th of this month.
they may prove satisfactory to the United States ; “ I am glad to find that the communication and I trust they will meet with the amicable rewhich I had the honor to make to you on the 11th ception which their conciliatory nature entitles instant, relative to the court of inquiry, which them to.
them to. I need scarcely add how cordially I was the subject of it, is viewed by you in the fa- join with you in the wish that they might prove vorable light which you have stated.
introductory to a removal of all the differences Although I regret that the proposition which depending between our two countries. you now make in consequence of that communi
“ Aug. J. FOSTER cation, has been delayed to the present moment,
“ To the Hon. James Monroe, &c." I am ready to receive the terms of it whenever
Mr. Monroe to Mr. Foster. you may think proper to communicate them. Permit me to add, that the pleasure of finding them
Washington, Nov. 12, 1811. satisfactory will be duly augmented, if ibey
“Sir, I have had the honor to receive your 61,
BOOK XI. letter of the list Nov. and to lay it before the pre- our citizens (says he was seized under a misapsident.
plication of the principles of reprisal, combined CRAP. I.
“ It is much to be regretted that the reparation with a misconstruction of the laws of the United - 1811.
due for such an aggression as that committed on States ! when Mr. Madison, perfectly acquainted the United States frigate the Chesapeake, should with the nature and character of the seizure, knew have been so long delayed; nor could the transla- it to be an act of sheer deliberate villainy; that tion of the offending officer from one command to the principle of reprisal had nothing to do with it; another, be regarded as constituting a part of a and that the law was so plain, as to be incapable reparation otherwise satisfactory : considering, of misconstruction in relation to this point.' Behowever, the existing circumstances of the case, sides, if the law had appeared in any respect upand the early and amicable attention paid to it certain and doubtful, there was an intelligent by his royal highness the prince-regent, the pre- American minister on the spot to explain it, if a sident accedes to the proposition contained in right understanding of it had been desired. But your letters; and in so doing, your government such an understanding, a correct construction of will, I am persuaded, see a proof of the conci- the law, was not desired. A glaringly false conliatory disposition by which ihe president bas struction alone could furnish the emperor with e en actuated.
his shameless pretence for the seizure. These “ The officer commanding the Chesapeake, now considerations, with those exbibited in the prelying in the harbour of Boston, will be instructed ceding address, shew that it was impossible for to receive the men who are to be restored to that Mr. Madison to “anticipate” or “expect” the ship. I have the honor, &c.“ JAMES Monroe.” restoration of the property. Wby, then, did
he bazard the making of such a declaration Though the non-importation act was in force in to congress ? On the foundation-principle forthe United States against the manufactures of merly mentioned, and repeated, with some illusGreat Britain, yet they still found their way to trations, in this address,-the maintenance of America, by circuitous means. Amelia Island, the prejudices of the people in favor of France, which is situated not far from the mouth of the as the essential means of maintaining in power Mississippi, was the great entrepôt for British the party of which he is, at least, the ostensible commodities; however, at this time it was so nar- head. Å full and faithful display of the nature rowly watched by the American gun-brigs, that and effects of the Rambouillet decree would natuvery little business was done. But great quan- rally and necessarily have ted him to detail the tities of British commodities were introduced into multitude of other acts of France, alike unjust, inthe United States, by the way of Canada; which sulting, and injurious to the United States, and commerce, from the extent of the frontier, it was their citizens. This, if the people continued unimpossible to prevent. Large consignments were der the delusion in which he, with his predecessor, sent out to Canada for this traffic.
and their own coadjutors, bad involved them, To the measures adopted by Mr. Madison, would have destroyed his popularity. If such a Mr. Pickering was a formidable opponent: this display by the president of the United States gentleman had addressed the people of the served to open the eyes of the people, they, thus . United States in the following manner :
made sensible of the deceptions which had been " Fellow citizens.-By cherishing and ani- practised upon them by ibe same leaders, would mating the prejudices of the people in favor of have cast them off; and the cause of democracy France, and exasperating their antipathies to might have been ruined. Such a display, thereEngland, the leaders rose to power; and by per- fore, of wholesome truths, by Mr. Madison was severing in the same means, they retain it; now not to be expected. Besides, it would have conand then faintly intimating, in a wbisper, that
wbisper, that tradieted the course, and been subversive of the some of the emperor's decrees are not just; and predileetions of his whole life, in relation to a few, the better to conceal their subserviency, France. But there was also an immediate oband gain to themselves the character of indepen- ject which forbad such a display: it would have dence, will even venture, occasionally, to call him deprived bim of all apology for accepting the dea tyrant ; with which bis imperial majesty will clarations of a conditional and future, instead of an not be offended, while they continue to serve him. actual, repeal of the Berlin and Milan decrees : For the seizure and confiscation of American ves- and thereby have deprived him of a pretence for sels under the Rambouillet decrees, -an act of reviving the non-intercourse law against Great such distinguished atrocity,--such a shameless Britain. An adjustment of our differences with violation of the most obvious rules of justice as Great Britain must not take place. The rulers of demonstrate the emperor's utter contempt for the republican France, by intrigues, by bribery, enopinion of the world, as well as for the rulers of deavoured to prevent any amicable treaty bethe American republic, Mr. Madison made the tween the United States and Great Britain: any kindest apology imaginable. The property of treaty, which, by enlarging and seeuring our own