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G. Britain has been throughout to endeavor, while forced,
AUGUSTUS J. FOSTER.
I communicate to Congress copies of a letter to the Secretary of State, from the charge d'affairs of the U. States at London, and of a note to him from the British Secretary for foreign affairs.
JAMES MADISON. June 22, 1812.
Mr. Russell to the Secretary of Stale.
LONDON, May 2, 1812. SIR-After closing the duplicate of my letter to you of the 26th ult. I discovered the copy of the note of lord Castlereagh to me of the 21st ult. had been left out by mistake. I take the liberty of now handing it to you.
(Enclosed in the above.] The undersigned, his majesty's principal Secretary of State for foreign affairs, is commanded by his royal highness, the prince regent, to transmit to Mr. Russell, charge d'affairs of the government of the U. States of America, the enclosed copy of a Declaration accompanying an Order in Council which has been this day passed by his royal highness, the prince regent in Council.
The undersigned is commanded by the prince regent to request that Mr. Russell, in making this communication to his government, will represent this measure as conceived in the true spirit of conciliation, and with a due regard, on the part of his royal highness, to the honor and interest of the U. States; and the undersigned ventures to express his confident hope, that this decisive proof of the amicable
sentiments which animate the councils of his royal highness towards America, may accelerate the return of amity . and mutual confidence between Great Britain and the United States.
The undersigned avails himself of this opportunity to repeat to Mr. Russell the assurances of his high consideration.
CASTLEREAGH. Foreign Office, April 21, 1812.
ORDER IN COUNCIL. At the Court at Carlton-House, the 21st day of April, 1812, present his royal highness the prince regent in Council.
Whereas the government of France has, by an official report, communicated by its minister of foreign affairs to the conservative Senate, on the 10th of March last, removed all doubts as to the perseverence of that government in the assertion of principles, and in the maintainance of a system, not more hostile to the maritime rights and commercial interest of the British empire, than inconsistent with the rights and independence of neutral nations, and has thereby plainly developed the inordinate pretensions which that system, as promulgated in the Decrees of Berlin and Milan, was from the first designed to enforce.
And whereas his majesty has invariably professed his readiness to revoke the Orders in Council adopted thereupon, as soon as the said Decrees of the enemy should be formally and unconditionally repealed, and the commerce of neutral nations restored to its accustomed course :
His royal highness the prince regent (anxious to give the most decisive proof of his royal highness' disposition to, perform the engagements of his majesty's government) is pleased, in the name and on the behalf of his majesty, and hy and with the advice of his majesty's privy Council, to order and declare, and it is hereby ordered and declared, that if, at any time hereafter, the Berlin and Milan Decrees shall by some authentic act of the French government, publicly promulgated, be absolutely and unconditionally repealed, then, and from thenceforth, the Order in Council of the 7th day of January, 1807, and the Order in Council of the 26th day of April, 1809, shall, without any further order, be, and the same are hereby declared from thencefortlı In he wholly and absolntely revoked ; and further, that the
full benefit of this order shall be extended to any ship or cargo captured subsequent to such authentic act of repeal of the French Decrees, although antecedent to such repeal such ship or vessel shall have commenced and shall have been in the prosecution of a voyage, wbich, under the said Orders in Council, or one of them, would have subjected. her to capture and condemnation ; and the claimant of any ship or cargo which shall be captured or brought to adjudication, on account of any alleged breach of either of the said Orders in Council, at any time subsequent to such authentic act of repeal by the French government, shall without any further Order or Declaration on the part of his majesty's government on this subject, be at liberty to give in evidence in the high Courts of Admiralty, or any Court of Vice-Admiralty, before which such ship or cargo shall be brought for adjudication, that such repeal by the French government had been, by such authentic act, promulgated prior to such capture; and upon proof thereof, the voyage shall be deemed and taken to have been as lawful as if the said Orders in Council had never been made : saving, nevertheless, to the captors, such protection and indemnity as they may be equitably entitled to in the judgment of the said Court, by reason of their ignorance, of uncertainty as to the repeal of the French Decrees, or of the recognition of such repeal by his majesty's government at the time of such capture.
His royal highness, however deems it proper to declare, that should the repeat or the French Decrees, thus anticipated and provided for, prove afterwards to have been illusory on the part of the enemy; and should the restrictions thereot be still practically enforced, or revived by the enemy; G. Britain will be compelled, however reluctantly, after reasonable notice, to have recourse to such measures of retaliation as may then appear to be just and necessary.
And the Right Honorable the lords commissioners of his Majesty's treasury, his Majesty's principal Secretaries of state, the lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, and the Judges of the high Court of Admiralty, and the Judges of the Courts of Vice-Admiralty, are to take the necessary measures therein as to them shall respectively appertain.
Mr. Russell 10 Lord Castlereagh. My Lord I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the note which yonr lordship addressed to me on the 21st of this month, enclosing, by command of his royal highness, the prince regent, a copy of a declaration accompanying an Order in Council which had this day been passed.
It would afford me the highest satisfaction, in communicating that declaration and order to my government, to have represented them, as conceived in the true spirit of conciliation and with a due regard to the honor and interests of the U. Stales. I regret, however, that so far from perceiving in them any evidence of the amicable sentiments which are professed to animate the councils of his royal bighness, I am compelled to consider them as an unequivocal proof of the determination of his Bijannic majesty's government to adhere to a system, which, both as to principle and fact, originated, and has been continued in error and against which, the government of the U. States, so long as it respects itself and the essential rights of the nation over which it is placed, cannot cease to contend.
The U. States have never considered it their duty to enquire, nor do they pretend to decide, whether England or France was guilty, in relation to the other, of the first violation of the public law of nations; but they do consider it their most imperious duty to protect themselves from the unjust operation of the unprecedented measure of retaliation professed by both powers to be founded on such violation. In this operation, by whichever party directed, the U.States have never, for a moment, acquiesced, nor by the slightest indication of such acquiescence, afforded a pretext, for extending to them the evils, by which England and France affect to retaliate on each other. They have ta no instance departed from the observance of that strict impartiality which their peaceful position required, and which ought to have secured to them the unmolested enjoyment of their neutrality. To their astonishment, however, they perceived that both these belligerent powers, under the pretence of annoying each other, adopted and put in practice new principles of retaliation, involving the destruction of those commercial and maritime rights which the U. States l'egard as essential and inseperable attributes of their idependence. Althongh alive to all the injury and injustice of
this system, the American government resorted to no mens. ures to oppose it, which were not of the most pacifica su ime partial character in relation to both the aggressors. Its remonstrances, its restrictions of commercial intercourse, and its overtures for accommodation, were equally addressed to England and France : and if there is now an inequality in the relations of the U. States with these countries, it can only be ascribed to England herself, who rejected the terms proffered to both, wh:le France acce: ted them, and who continues to execute her retaliatory Edicts on the high stas, while those of France have here ceased to operate.
If G. Britain could not be persuaded by co siderations of universal equality, to retrain fronı adopting any time of conduct, however unjusi, for which she might discover a precedent in the conduct of her enemy, or to abandon an attempt of remotely and uncertainly annoying that enemy throngh the impiediate and sure destruction of the vital interest of a neutral and unoffending state, yet it was confidently expected that she would be willing to follow that enemy also in his return towards justice, and, from a respect to her own declarations to proceed pari pussu with him in the revocation of the offending Edicts. This just expectation has, bowever, been disappointed, and an exemption of the flag of the U. States from the operation of the Berlin and Milan Decrees, has produced no corresponding modification of the British Orders in Council. On the contrary,
he fact of such exemption on the part of France, appears, by the declaration and Order in Council of the British government on the 21st of this nionth, to be denied, and the engagements of the latter, to proceed, step by step, with its enemy, in the work of repeal and relaxation, to be disowned or di-regarded.
That France has repealed her Decrees so far as they respected the U.States, has been established by declarat ons and facts, satisfactory to them, and which it was presumed should have been equally satisfactory to the British government. A formal and authentic declaration of the French government communicated to the minister plenipotentiary of the U. States at Paris, on the 5th of August, 1810, announced that the Decrees of Berlin and Milin were revoked, and should cease to operate on the Ist of the succeeding November, provided that a condition presented to Enga