Page images
PDF
EPUB

BOOK XI. agent, yet if you could contrive to obtain an inti or twelve shillings, and a great number of work

macy with any of the leading party, it may not be men are dismissed. Every manufacturer is overChap. II. improper that you should insinuate, though with loaded with stock, and be cannot sell it at what

great caution, that if they should wish to enter it cost him. The principal trade of Birmingham 1812.

into any communication with our government is to America, but for the last twelve months there through me, you are authorised to receive any have been po exports to America. The value of such, and will safely transmit it to me."

the annual exports to America 800,0001. or No. 6. contained Mr. Henry's memorial to Lord 1,000,0001. During the last twelve months there Liverpool, enclosed in a letter to Mr. Peel, dated has been a trifling export to Portugal, Spain, June 13, 1811: In this memorial he alluded to Malta, and South America, amounting to about the object of his mission, which

200,0001. or 300,0001. There has been recently “ Was to promote and encourage the federal at Birmingbam a considerable extra employment party to resist the measures of the general govern in the manufacture of cast-iron pipes. This must ment: to offer assurances of aid and support from have, during the last twelve months, amounted to his majesty's government of Canada: and to open Dearly 100,0001. and had it not been for that rea communication between the leading men en source, the situation of the trade must bave been gaged in that opposition and the governor-gene- considerably worse. I am informed, that the ral, upon such a footing as circumstances might Americans have erected steel furpaces, and are suggest; and, finally, to render the plans then in not likely to want any more steel from England. contemplation subservient to the views of his ma The manufacturers have, with great reluctance, jesty's government.

dismissed many of their men. They have been The undersigned undertook the mission accumulating stock for the last twelve months. which lasted from the month of January to the They have thus exhausted the whole of their month of June inclusive, during which period capital, partly from motives of interest, looking those public acts and legislative resolutions of forward to markets opening to the trade, but printhe assemblies of Massachusetts and Connecticut cipally from motives of honorable humanity. I have were passed, which kept the general government heard, that many orders have been received from of the United States in check, and deterred it America conditionally, on the repeal of the orders from carrying into execution the measures of hos- in council; but nails, and some other articles, tility with which Great Britain was menaced.” have been omitted, on the ground of their being

The memorial concluded with saying, that “the now manufactured in America.” The witness appointment of judge-advocate-general of the ascribed the decay of trade chiefly to the cessation province of Lower Canada, with a salary of 5001. of intercourse with the Uoited States, and though a-year, or a consulate in the United States, sine he had heard that machinery had made consicuria, would be considered by him as a liberal derable progress in America, he was of opinion, discharge of any obligation that bis majesty's go- that their manufactures could not maintain a vernment may entertain in relation to his ser competition with the British if the markets were vices."

open.

“ Some manufactures which America used Then followed some letters from Mr. Ryland, to be supplied with from England, are now sent secretary to Sir James Craig, to Mr. Henry, dated from the continent. The transmission of our maQuebec, May, 1809, requesting him to return to nufactures through the northern colonies has Quebec, Mr. Erskine's arrangement baving ren failed; and British manufactured goods can dered his mission no longer necessary;

now be bought in Canada at less than prime Several petitions from Birmingham having been cost." The whole manufactures of Birmingham presented to the house of commons, against the the witness estimated at about one million, orders in council, a committee of the whole house and one half he supposed used to be exported was appointed to take them into consideration. to America. In answer to the question, what The evidence was printed, of which the following has been the conduct of the labouring mais the substance.

nufacturers during the last twelve months ? He Mr. Thomas Attwood, High-bailiff of Birming- answered, “ the labouring mechanics of Birmingbam, was first examined. He stated," I am ham, and I believe of the whole district, have a banker in Birmingham, and counected with the been looking for the opening of the American iron trade. The population of Birmingham and intercourse, and have relied upon it, under the the neighbouring manufacturing districts amounts hope, that upon the expiration of the restrictions, to 400,000, of whom 50,000, at least, are employ- the difficulties with the United States of America ed in manufacturing iron, besides those who work would be made up." If the non-intercourse act in brass-founderies, buttons, jewellery, &c. With- continued to be enforced, the witness was of opiin these two years, trade has been in a deplorable nion, that it would create manufactures in Amestate. Labourers, who twelve months ago could rica to such an extent, that it would, at last, become obtain twenty shillings a week, get now only ten a part of the policy of the government of the

United States to protect them, by preventing the value of the export from Birmingham, previous BOOK XI. importation of British manufactures. He believed to the distresses, was about a million : did not very little of the Birmingham hardwares go to know whether it fell in 1809. Men had emi. Chap. II. the West Indies, perhaps not above 100,0001. grated from Birmingham to America. annually.

1812. Joseph Sbaw, chairman of the chamber of William Whitehouse, nail-monger, of West Foreigu commerce of Birmingham, stated, that Bromwich, in Staffordshire, about six miles from the hardware export trade to Europe, Turkey, Birmingham, stated, that the depression in trade and South America, had decreased since 1807. commenced about August, 1810, and that it had The trade to the continent had decreased since the been growing continually worse since that date. orders in council, and was now almost at an end. The nail mapufactory in his district, when in a James Ryland, a plater of coach-harness, &c. flourishing state, employed from 25 to 30,000 stated, that his business had greatly declined by persons. The reduction of wages since August, the American markets being closed. 1810, has been from seven and a half to ten per Richard Spooner, banker, of Birmingham, corcent." Since February, 1811, the witness had ex roborated the preceding statements respecting the ported only one lot of goods to America. In falling off of the trade, and the distresses of the the manufactory with which the witness was con workmen. The increase on their poor-rates in nected, the hands had been reduced from 1,200 eight years, amounted to 4,5001. pair to 500 pair. There are considerable orders William Blakeway, a lamp maker, employed in the country, to be executed immediately on the sixty pair of hands at Birmingham. He stated intercourse with America being opened. The that the trade of his article had fallen off, and the witness considered the exports to South America greater part of his stock remained on his hands, increasing trade. About one-fourth of the nails the American market being shut-should be manufactured, he supposed, are exported to North obliged to turn off his hands if confined to the America.

home trade of this country. T. Potts, a merchant, residing at Birmingham, Several other witnesses from Manchester, Spibeing examined, stated, that he had been in busi- talfields, &c. deposed to the same effect. ness sixteen or eighteen years. Had some know The following was the prince-regent's declaledge of the nail trade in Birmingham. The ration respecting the Berlin and Milan decrees, wages in this business are so low, that a man and the orders in council, which was not founded can scarcely exist. A rise bad taken place, in on any document officially communicated from the expectation of opening the trade with Ame- the French government, but on a message which rica, but that expectation had been disappointed. Bonaparte sent to the conservative senate. Men in the button and plated lines, who would The government of France, having by an formerly earn from forty io fifty shillings a week, official report, communicated by its minister for do not now get half those wages. In the town of foreign affairs to the conservative senate, on the Birmingham there were from 20 to 25,000 labour th day of March last, removed all doubts as to ing men out of employ: The whole town is dif- the perseverance of that governinent in the asserferent from what it used to be, there is a deficiency tion of principles, and in the maintenance of a in every trade. Distresses are universal. " I think, system, not more hostile to the maritime rights in the course of two months, that necessity will and commercial interests of the British empire, oblige the merchants to dismiss at least two parts than inconsistent with the rights and independof their men out of three.” Witness exported ence of neutral nations; and having thereby Birmingham manufactures to America: the export plainly developed the inordinate pretensions which was worse than ever. Their goods cannot be that system as promulgated in the decrees of shipped from Liverpool:

they will not be received Berlin and Milan, was from the first designed to in the United States. The shipments began to enforce; his royal bighness the prince-regent, fall off in 1808: there was no falling off in 1807. acting in the name and on the behalf of his ma“ The trade had been uniformly increasing, and we jesty, deems it proper, upon this formal and aucould always anticipate what would suit the mar thentic republication of the principles of those ket before the orders came, and that enabled us decrees, thus publicly to declare his royat highto keep the lower orders in the vicinity of the ness's determination still firmly to resist the intown constantly employed. The Americans were troduction and establishment of this arbitrary once considered bad payers, but they have im- code, which the government of France openly proved progressively every year.'

Witness had avows its purpose to impose by force upon the done no business with America since 1811. The world as the law of nations. attempt to smuggle goods to the United States “ From the time that the progressive injustice had been attended by painful results. Goods at and violence of the French government made it Quebec, from Manchester and Birmingham, were impossible for his majesty any longer to restrain cheaper than at the manufacturing towns. The the exercise of the rights of war within their ordi

BOOK XI, nary limits, without submitting to consequences under the flag of an enemy, shall be treated as

not less ruinous to the commerce of his dominions, hostile;—that arms and warlike stores alone (to Crap. II. than derogatory to the rights of his crown, bis the exclusion of ship timber and other artieles of

majesty has endeavoured, by a restricted and paval equipment) shall be regarded as contraband 1812.

moderate use of those rights of retaliation, which of war;-—and that no ports shall be considered as
the Berlin and Milan decrees necessarily called lawfully blockaded, exeept such as are invested
into action, to reconcile neutral states to those and besieged, in the presumptiou of their being
measures which the conduct of the enemy had taken, (en prevention a'etre pris), and into which
rendered unavoidable; and which his majesty has a merchant ship cannot enter without danger.
at all times professed his readiness to revoke, so By these and other demands; the enemy in
soon as the decrees of the enemy, which

gave oc

fact requires, that Great Britain, and all civilized casion to them, should be formally and uncondi nations, shall renounce, at his arbitrary pleasure, tionally repealed, and the commerce of neutral the ordinary and indisputable rights of maritime nations be restored to its accustomed course. war: that Great Britain, in particular, shall forego

At a subsequent period of the war, his ma the advantages of her naval superiority, and allow jesty, availing himself of the then situation of the commercial property, as well as the produce Europe, without abandoning the prineiple and and manufactures of France, and ber confederates, object of the orders in council of November, 1807, to pass the ocean in security, whilst the subjects was induced so to limit their operation, as materi of Great Britain are to be in effect proscribed ally to alleviate the restrictions thereby imposed from all commercial intercourse with other nations; upon neutral coinmerce. The order in council and the produce and manufactures of these realms of April, 1809, was substituted in the room of are to be excluded from every country in the those of November, 1807, and the retaliatory sys- world, to which the arms or the influence of the tem of Great Britain acted no longer on every enemy can extend. country in which the aggressive measures of the Such are the demands to which the British enemy' were in force, but was confined in its ope- government is summoned to submit,-to the abanration to France, and to the countries upon

which donment of its most ancient, essential, and unthe French yoke was most strictly imposed; and doubted maritime rights. Such is the code by which bad become virtually a part of the domi which France hopes, under the cover of a neutral nions of France.

flag, to render her commerce unassailable by sea; “ The United States of America remained ne whilst she proceeds to invade or to incorporate vertheless dissatisfied; and their dissatisfaction with her own dominions all states that hesitate to has been greatly increased by an artifice too suc sacrifice their national interests at her command, cessfully employed on the part of the enemy, who and, in abdication of their just rights, to adopt a has pretended, that the decrees of Berlin and code, by which they are required to exclude, under Milan were repealed, although the decree effect the mask of municipal regulation, whatever is ing such repeal has never been promulgated; al- British from their dominions. though the notification of such prefended repeal “ The pretext for these extravagant demands distinctly described it to be dependent on condi- is, that some of these principles were adopted by tions, in which the enemy knew Great Britain voluntary compact in the treaty of Utrecht; as if could never acquiesce; and although abundant a treaty once existing between two particular evidence has since appeared of their subsequent countries, founded on special and reciprocal conexecution.

siderations, binding only on the contracting parBut the enemy has at length laid aside all ties, and which in the last treaty of peace between dissimulation; he now publicly and solemnly the same powers bad not been revived, were to declares, not only that those decrees still continue be regarded as declaratory of the public law of

in force, but that they shall be rigidly executed nations. · until Great Britain shall comply with additional “ It is needless for his royal highness to de

conditions, equally extravagant; and he further monstrate the injustice of such pretensions. He announces the penalties of those decrees to be in might otherwise appeal to the practice of France full force against all nations which shall suffer herself, in this and in former wars; and to her own their flag to be, as it is termed in this new.code, established codes of maritime law: it is sufficient • depationalized.'

that these new demands of the enemy form a wide “ In addition to the disavowal of the blockade departure from those conditions on which the alof May, 1806, and of the principles on which that leged repeal of the French decrees was accepted blockade was established, and in addition to the by America; and upon which alone, erroneously repeal of the British orders in council-he de- assuming that repeal to be complete, America mands an admission of the principles, that the has claimed a revocation of the British orders in goods of an enemy, carried under a neutral flag, council. shall be treated as neutral;--that neutral property, “ His royal highness, upon a review of all

these circumstances, feels persuaded, that so soon court, by reason of their ignorance or uncertainty BOOK XI. as this formal declaration, by the government of as to the repeal of the French decrees, or of the France, of its unabated adherence to the princi- recognition of such repeal by his majesty's go

CHAP. II. ples and provisions of the Berlin and Milan de veroment, at the time of such capture.

1812. erees, shall be made known in America, the

go “ His royal highness, however, deems it provernment of the United States, actuated not less by per to declare, that, should the repeal of the French a sense of justice to Great Britain, than by what is decrees, thus anticipated and provided for, afterdue to its own dignity, will be disposed to recal wards prove to have been illusory on the part of those measures of hostile exclusion, which, un the enemy; and should the restrictions thereof der a misconception of the real views and conduct be still practically enforced, or revived by the of the French goverument, America has exclu- enemy, Great Britain will be obliged, however sively applied to the commerce and ships of war reluctantly, after reasonable notice to neutral of Great Britain.

powers, to have recourse to such measures of re“ To accelerate a result so advantageous to the taliation as may then appear to be just and netrue interests of both countries, and so conducive cessary. to the re-establishment of perfect friendship be “Westminster, April 21, 1812." tween them; and to give a decisive proof of his royal bighness's disposition to perform the en Mr. Madison's complaint of Capt. Henry's misgagements of his majesty's government, by revok- siou to the United States became a subject of mg the orders in council whenever the French consideration in the house of lords, May 5, when decrees shall be actually and unconditionally Lord Holland, after some preliminary observarepealed; his royal highness the prince-regent tions, moved for the communications from Sir has been this day pleased, in the name and on James Craig, relative to the employment of Henry the behalf of his majesty, and by and with the in a mission to the United States, and by reading advice of his majesty's privy council, to order and two other motions, the one for the communicadeclare:

tions from the secretary of state to Sir George • That if at any time hereafter the Berlin and Prevost, respecting the claims for compensation Milan decrees shall, by some authentic act of the made by Henry, and the other for the instructions French government, publicly promulgated, be ex sent by the secretary of state to Sir James Craig, pressly and unconditionally repealed; then, and relative to the employment of any person on a from thenceforth, the order in council of the 7th mission to the United States. day of January, 1807, and the order in council The Earl of Liverpool said, the government here of the 26th day of April, 1809, shall, without any never authorised the employment of Henry, nor further order, be, and the same bereby are declared did they know of his being employed on the misfrom thenceforth to be wholly and absolutely re sion alluded to, till long after the transaction was voked; and further, that the full benefit of this past. His lordship then entered into a detail of order shall be extended to any ship or vessel cap the circumstances attending the transaction. Henry, tured subsequent to such authentic act of repeal he stated, who had for some years resided in Caof the French decrees, although antecedent to nada, but who was, in 1808, in the United States, such repeal such ship or vessel shall have com had of his own accord, in that year, opened a cormenced, and shall be in the prosecution of a voy- respondence with the government of Canada, age, which, under the said orders in council, or giving information of the state of parties and other one of them, would bave subjected her to capture matters, which was found useful-he subsequently and condemnation; and the claimant of any ship returned to Canada. Towards the latter end of or cargo which shall be captured at any time suh- that year the commander-in-chief at Boston issued sequent to such authentic act of repeal by the orders to the troops to be in readiness to march French government, shall, without any further at an hour's notice. Congress also, in December, order or declaration on the part of bis majesty's voted the raising of 50,000 volunteers. There government on this subject, be at liberty to give was no doubt that the object of these hostile pre-in evidence in the high court of admiralty, or any parations was the attack of the British North Amecourt of vice-admiralty, before wbich such ship or rica possessions, and when Mr. Erskine, either in vessel, or its cargo, shall be brought for adjudica- the last day of December, 1808, or the lst of tion, that such repeal by the French government January, 1809, very properly required an explahad been by such authentic act promulgated prior nation of these hostile preparations, he was into such capture; and upon proof thereof, the formed by Mr. Madison, that from the treatment voyage shall be deemed and taken to have been experienced from both the belligerents, the as lawful, as if the said orders in council had ne vernment of the United States might consider ver been made; saving, nevertheless, to the captors, itself as justified in commencing hostilities withsuch protection and indemnity as they may be out further notice.. Mr. Erskine, in consequence, equitably entitled to, in the judgement of the said very properly sent an express to Sir James Craig,

BOOK XI. informing bim of these circumstances, and that which could excite irritation. He could not find

there was no doubt of its being the intention of any farther documents respecting Henry until Chap. ll. the American government to attack the British last year, when this man applied for a compen1812.

North American possessions; and Sir J. Craig bad sation. He found, on reference to Mr. Ryland, actually sent an express to Sir G. Prevost, at that Henry had been employed as he stated, and Halifax, to suspend, in consequence, bis sailing had been promised by Sir James Craig an emon an expedition to Martinique. It was under · ployment in Canada. Several most respectable these circumstances of threatened hostility that

houses in the Canada trade also had recommendSir James Craig employed Henry. There were "ed bim in the warmest terms, and it was under several interpolations in the papers as published, these circumstances that he had recommended but he admitted the instructions of Sir J. Craig bim to Sir George Prevost, to be appointed to to be genuine. These instructions, however, had, some employment. He saw no necessity for the he contended, been misinterpreted, the object was noble lord's motion. - Surely they were entitled not to excite discontents, but to obtain inform to expect that the government of the United ation of the state of the discontents in America, States, before making such a communication to with a view to the use that might be made of congress, would have communicated with our them in the event of hostilities, which were then minister there, or with their minister here, in order expected almost immediately to commence. It to have the transactions of which they complainwas in this expectation of hostilities that the in- ed explained; and he trusted their lordships structions were issued, and that there was no in would give his majesty's ministers credit for not tention of applying them to a period of peace, delaying to put the matter in a right course in the was evident from Henry being recalled by Sir proper channel. Under these circumstances, he James Craig, when the arrangement with Mr. could not, consistently with his public duty, conErskine took place. He thought it right also to sent to the motion. state, that in April, 1809, the most positive instruc The house divided, when the numbers weretions were sent from this country not to employ contents, twenty-seven ;-non-contents, seventyany person in the United States on any mission three.

CHAPTER III.

Death and Biographical Sketch of Horne Tooke.-A Key to the Orders in Council. ABOUT this time the celebrated Horne Tooke his son to a public school, and afterwards to died: this remarkable character having com a college, it is a reasonable conclusion either that menced his political career with the first Ameri- be was richer than ordinary, or that he possessed can war, certainly demands the present attention a very superior mind to what usually belongs to of the reader; for, in the period in which he bis condition. lived, and the sphere wbich he filled, no man His father at any rate was sufficiently respectwas ever more active or conspicuous.

able to be the treasurer of a public charity. This From the commencement of the reign of his was the Middlesex Hospital, of which Horne present majesty, to the day of Horne Tooke's Tooke afterwards himself became one of the death, scarcely bad any public occurrence passed governors. in which he had not had a greater share than be Mr. Tooke was sent to Westminster School at longed to his mere private station. He had ac a very early age, and is said to have passed cordingly been the most active individual in a through all the forms of that distinguished semiperiod of general activity. He had lived in more nary. This course of itself, in such a mind as revolutions of politics and parties than any other that of Horne Tooke, was sufficient to render man of the day, and in all of them his talents or him the eminent scholar which he afterwards exhis intrigue, his good or bad intentions, and his hibited himself. It is the character of Westindefatigable spirit and exertions rendered him minster School, that it puts its pupils in the right ab actor.

way, and imbibes them with a right mind, and Mr. Tooke was born in an humble station of therefore they have only to follow in future life life; his father is said to have been a poulterer. the plan which is there traced for them. This is But as his father, who lived in some of the small all that any school can do, and it is more we bestreets about Westminster, had the spirit to send lieve than is done by the greater part of them.

« PreviousContinue »