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No. 22. Extract of a Letter from Mr. Erving to Mr. Monroe,
Secretary of State. Copenhagen, May 9, 1812. “I HAVE the honour herewith to transmit to you duplicate of my letter No. 20, (by Mr. Lewis) dated April 18th. The note of the same date to which it refers, with the few alterations which will be found in this duplicate, was sent to Mr. de Rosenkrantz on the 21st, and was laid by him before the king on the 1st instant. In the meantime I had several conversations with that minister upon the subject of it, in which I did not fail to urge whatever might contribute to a favourable answer on the part of his majesty. Finally, on the 8th instant, (yesterday) he sent to me the note of which the enclosed is a copy. You will observe, sir, the new position which our claims assume under this communication, and the reasonable expectation which it affords of a settlement hereafter. I have endeavoured to have this point placed in a more formal and explicit shape.”
Mr. de Rosenkrantz to Mr. Erving. The undersigned, 'minister of state and of foreign affairs, has had to explain to Mr. Erving, special minister of the United States of America, in his note of the 9th of last month, the motives which have influenced the king his master not to grant the revision of the sentences of his supreme tribunal of admiralty definitively, terminating the causes brought before this tribunal, arising from the captures made by Danish cruisers, of vessels sailing under the flag of the United States, and that for this reason he could not persuade himself that the ulterior representations which the special minister had thought proper still to address him could produce any change in the determination of his majesty. The minister of foreign relations has however prevailed on the king his master to be pleased to examine the note which Mr. Erving addressed to him under date of the 18th of last month, reiterating VOL. IX,
the claim to redress for the wrongs previously recited, and satisfaction for which he considers it his duty still to
The undersigned hastens to have the honour to inform the special minister that it has been enjoined on him by his sovereign to answer the above mentioned note of the special minister by referring to the contents of his preceding note of the 9th, as to the friendly dispositions of his majesty towards the government of the United States, to add the expressions of his extreme regret that he cannot agree to the opinion expressed by Mr. Erving as being that of his government, in regard to the conduct observed towards vessels under American flags, brought into the ports of his dominion by his armed vessels or by those provided with letters of marque,
The war in which the Danish nation is engaged with . Great Britain, who employs every means to conceal from observation the enterprises of its merchants, in making use of foreign flags ; and merchants have caused those measures, the object of which is to preclude English commerce from the advantage growing out of the disposition it has always found in the merchants of other nations, to become the agents of prohibited trade ; it is too well known to Mr. Erving, and it ought to be to his go; vernment, that American merchants and mariners have frequently lent themselves to enterprises of this nature, for the Danish government to consider it necessary to multiply the proofs which it has on this subject.
It is known to the Danish government that the United States do not pretend either to approve or defend the conduct of American citizens, who, from the thirst of gain, are engaged in enterprises which expose them to loss, if the fraud is discovered: proofs are not wanting to show that they have frequently succeeded in imposing both on the officers empowered to examine captured vessels, and on the tribunals of prizes. The subterfuges to which they resort to prevent the discovery of the enemy character of the expedition have necessarily induced those intrusted by the king with the examination, as well as the tribunal, to redouble their activity, in order to fulfil the views of his majesty; but it never has been conformable with these
to suffer that any injury should be sustained by the mari. ners and merchants of friendly nations who carry on a licit and unsuspicious commerce.
The persevering struggle of the Danish government in favour of the principles upon which repose the liberty of the commerce and navigation of neutral nations, forbids the supposition that it would wish to derogate from them; but it has a complete right to tear the mask from the commerce of its enemy who recognises no law in regard to navigation, as soon as neutral powers are in question. The king will not renounce the exercise of this right. If his majesty could be persuaded that in particular cases it should happen that appearances might have prevailed in the examination of some causes to the detriment of some American citizens, who might not have been able to demonstrate sufficiently that their enterprises of commerce were legitimate, he would assuredly be led to redress just complaints, as he has on several particular occasions given proofs of his favourable dispositions towards the American vessels which circumstances have conducted to the ports of his kingdom.
The king wishes, therefore, to give, himself, proofs to the government of the United States of the sentiments of justice with which he is animated.
The undersigned flatters himself that the President of the United States will be easily persuaded that during so hard a contest as that which Denmark now sustains against the government who so evidently disavows the rights of nations engaged in navigation, the moment is not favourable to bring anew under consideration the reclamations which the government of the United States may find it convenient to make at that period in relation to the objects in discussion.
The undersigned has the honour to renew to the special minister the assurance of his high consideration.
ROSENKRANTZ. Copenhagen, May 8, 1812.
EROM TÁE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, TO COX
NOV. 12, 1812. For the further information of Congress relative to the pacifick advances made on the part of this government, to that of Great Britain, and the manner in which they have been met by the latter, I transmit the sequel of the communications on that subject, received from the late charge d'affaires at London.
Mr. Russell to Mr. Monroe. London, Sepl. 19, 1812.
Sir,-On the 12th instant I received your letter of July last, and the copies of my note to lord Castlereagh and of his lordship's reply, enclosed herein, will inform you that the propositions made in consequence of it have been rejected.
As I have but this moment heard of the immediate departure of the Friends, I have time only to add that I have received the communications of Mr. Graham of the 9th and 10th of August, by the Gleaner, and that I leave London this evening to embark on board the Lark, at Plymouth, for New York.
I am, sir, &c.
An interesting interview took place between lord Castlereagh and myself on the 16th instant; the account of which I must, for want of time, reserve until I have the honour to see you.
Mr. Russell to Lord Castlereagh. 18, Bentinck Street,
September 12, 1812. (Private.)
MY LORD, -In consequence of additional instructions which I received from my government this morning, I called about noon at the foreign office and found with regret that your lordship was out of town. My object was to communicate to your lordship the powers under which I act, that you might perceive their validity and extent. I have, however, sought to state them substantially, in the official letter which I have herewith the honour to transmit to your lordship; but should you find any thing that stands in need of explanation, previous to being submitted to his royal highness, I shall remain at 18, Bentinck Street, to receive the commands of your lordship. If your lordship could, in courtesy, find any motive in my personal convenience to hasten a decision upon the propositions which I have submitted, the season of the year, my anxiety to depart (all my arrangements being made, all my luggage having left town) and the detention of the Lark at much expense, will plead pow. erfully in my favour. I have the honour, &c.
Ur. Russell to Lord Castlereagh. 18, Bentinck Street,
September 12, 1812. MY LORD,-1 hasten, authorized by instruction, recently received from the government of the United States, and urged by an unfeigned anxiety to arrest the calamities of war, to propose to your lordship a convention for the suspension of hostilities, to take effect at such time as may be mutually agreed upon; and stipulating that each party shall forthwith appoint commissioners with full power to form a treaty, which shall provide, by reciprocal arrangements, for the security of their seamen from being taken or employed in the service of the other power, for the regulation of their commerce and all other interesting questions now depending between them, and that the armistice shall not cease without such previous notice by one to the other party, as may be agreed upon, and shall not be understood as having any other effect than merely to suspend military operations by land and by sea.
In proposing to your lordship these terms for a suspen. sion of hostilities, i am instructed to come to a clear and