« PreviousContinue »
should be made, that ample proof would be afforded that their confidence had not been misplaced. Foreign pressure, it was not doubted, would soon dissipate foreign partialities and prejudices, if such existed, and unite us more closely together as one people.
In declaring war against Great Britain, the United States have placed themselves in a situation to retort the hostility which they had so long suffered froin the British government. The maintenance of their rights was the object of the war. Of the desire of this government to terminate the war on honourable conditions, ample proof has been afforded by the proposition made to the British government, immediately after the declaration of war, through the charge des affaires of the United States at London, and by the promptitude and manner of the acceptance of the mediation of the emperor of Russia.
It was anticipated by some, that a declaration of war against Great Britain would force the United States into a close connection with her adversary, much to their disadvantage. The Secretary of State thinks it proper to remark, that nothing is more remote from the fact. The discrimination in favour of France, according to law, in consequence of her 'acceptance of the proposition made equally to both powers, produced a difference between them in that special case, but in that only. The war with England was declared without any concert or communication with the French government; it has produced no connection between the United States and France, or any understanding as to its prosecution, continuance or termination. The ostensible relation between the two countries, is the true and only one. The United States have just claims on France for spoliations on their commerce on the high seas, and in the ports of France, and their late minister was, and their present minister is, instructed to demand reparation for these injuries, and to press it with the energy due to the justice of their claims, and to the character of the United States. The result of the negotiation will be communicated to Congress in due time. The papers marked (I) contain copies of two letters, addressed from this department to Mr. Barlow, one of the 16th June, 1812, just before the declaration of war, the other of the 14th July following, which show distinctly
the relation existing between the United States and France at that interesting period. No change has since occurred in it. All which is respectfully submitted.
JAMES MONROE. The President of the United States.
Department of State, July 12, 1813.
(A.) Extract of a Letter from Mr. Barlow to Mr. Monroe:
Paris, May 12, 1812.
[See page 214.]
(B.) The Duke of Bassano to Mr. Barlow. Paris, May 10,
Copy of a Letter from the Minister of Finance to the Count
of Sussy, Counsellor of State, Director General of the Customs. December 25, 1810.
[See preceding vol. page 22.]
PARIS, DEC. 26, 1810. Copy of a Letter from His Excellency the Grand Judge,
Minister of Justice, to the Counsellor of State, President of the Council of Prizes.
[See preceding vol. page 21.]
Palace of St. Cloud, April 28, 1811. NAPOLEON, emperor of the French, &c. &c.
[See page 82.)
(C.) Extract of a Letter from Mr. Barlow to Mr. Russell.
Paris, May 11, 1812. “I HAVE concluded to despatch the Wasp to England, expressly to carry to you the documents herewith enclosed.
" I was not a little surprised to learn by the declaration of the prince regent in council, of the 21st of April, that it was still believed by the British government that the French decrees of Berlin and Milan yet remained in force, as applicable to the United States. On reading that declaration, I, therefore, addressed to the duke of Bassano a note bearing date the 1st of May, of which I enclose you a copy.
66 This drew from him the answer of which I likewise hand you a copy with the three documents that accompanied it. The most remarkable of these is the decree of the 28th April, 1811. This piece I had never before seen; it appears that it had not been published at the time of its date, and not finding it among the archives of this legation, I suspect, that by some omission or neglect, it was not communicated to you as it ought to have been. The duke, however, assures me that it was so communicated. Be this as it may, I am convinced it has not been made known to the British government."
(D.) Extract of a Letter from Mr. Russell to Mr. Barlow.
London, May 29, 1812. “ Your letter of the 11th of this month, with its enclosures, was handed me on the 20th, and I immediately communicated copies of the letters from the French minister's of the 21st of December, 1810, and also of the decree of the 28th of April, 1811, to this government. The letters were already known, but the decree, from the cause undoubtedly which you so justly assign, namely, "an omission or neglect in not having communicated it to me," was entirely new.
“ The duke of Bassano has unquestionably full faith in what he assures you, but the date of the decree is so very remote, that it is not surprising that our memories should not accord on the subject."
London, May 30, 1812.
[See page 81.)
Mr. Russell to Lord Castlereagh. 18, Bentinck Street,
May 20, 1312.
(See page 81.]
Lord Castlereagh to Mr. Russell. Foreign Office, May
23, 1812. [See page 83.]
(G.) Mr. Russell to Mr. Monroe. London, May 25, 1812.
SIR,- The assassination of Mr. Percival has led to a dissolution of his ministry, and I hope may lead to an abandonment of his system as far as we are concerned.
The vote, on the motion of Mr. Stewart Wortley, on the 21st, for an address to the prince regent, to form a more efficient administration, has driven the old ministers to offer their resignation. The new arrangements are entrusted to lord Wellesley, but nothing is yet effected.
Mr. Canning appears to be associated with his lordship in this business, which I cannot consider as a circumstance very auspicious to us.
There will, undoubtedly, be much difficulty in forming the new cabinet; none of the old ministers will act under lord Wellesley, he having so recently refused to act under them. Besides there is considerable difference on essential points of policy. The members of opposition have a repugnance to act under any leader not taken from their own ranks, and they certainly will not constitute a part
of any administration that does not adopt their system.
The probability therefore is, that either lord Wellesley and Mr. Canning will not succeed in performing the task imposed upon them, or that they will perform it so imperfectly as to expose their work to early destruction.
Whatever may be the ingredients of which the new cabinet may be composed, I am not altogether without hope that the orders in council will be modified if not removed. The effects of our embargo, the evidence before parliament of the distresses occasioned by those orders, and the change of ministers itself, afford both cause and colour for this proceeding,
I say nothing of the French decree, of which I this day send you a copy, as without the circumstances just mentioned, it would, I am persuaded, have been disregarded.
I shall dismiss the Wasp as soon as the new ministry is formed, or before, unless that event happens in a few days. She will return to Cherbourg. With great respect, I am, &c.