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Extract of « Letter from Mr. Russell to Mr. Monroe.
London, June 13, 1812. “ The difficulty which has been encountered in forming a new cabinet, has appeared to render it necessary to support the old one ; and upon this ground the house of commons appear to have acted last evening, in giving to ministers, on the second motion of Mr. Wortley, a majority of 125.
“ Notwithstanding these inauspicious circumstances and all the prejudice of the men now in place, respecting the United States, yet I know not how the orders in council can be maintained without the most serious consequences both to this government and country. It is impossible, in the face of the evidence now before parliament, to deny the vital importance of our intercourse to this nation, and obstinate as the ministry is, I do not entirely despair that it will be forced from its system, or from power. I have some slender hope that this evidence may, even on the motion of Mr. Brougham on Tuesday next, produce some change, although it hardly seems probable that the ministers will allow the question to come on without the certainly of a triumph."
Mr. Russell to Mr. Monroe. London, June 18, 1812.
Sir,-) hand you herein the Times of yesterday, containing the debate in the house of commons on the preceding evening, relative to the orders in council. From this debate it appears that these measures are to be abandoned, but as yet no official extinction of them has been announced. The time already elapsed since the declaration of lord Castlereagh, excites a suspicion that either the promised revocation will not take place, or what is more probable, some other measure, equally unjust, is now under consideration, to replace those which are to be revoked.
I hope, until the doings here are ascertained with certainty and precision, there will be no relaxation on With great respect, your very obedient servant,
Extracts of a Letter from Mr. Russell to Mr. Monroe.
London, June 30, 1812. “ I HAVE, at length, had the satisfaction to announce to you, in my letters of the 26th instant, the revocation of the orders in council.
* You will, without doubt, be somewhat surprised that this revocation is founded on the French decree of the 28th of April, 1811.
“ The real cause of the revocation is the measures of our government. These measures have produced a degree of distress among the manufacturers of this country that was becoming intolerable; and an apprehension of still greater misery, from the calamities of war, drove them to speak a language which could not be misunderstood or disregarded.
“ Many members of the house of commons, who had been the advocates of the orders in council, particularly Mr. Wilberforce, and others from the northern counties, were forced now to make a stand against them, or to meet the indignation of their constituents at the approaching election. It is, therefore, the country, and not the opposition, which has driven the ministers to yield on this occasion, and the eloquence of Mr. Brougham would have been in vain had it been destitute of this support.
6 What has now been done, has been most reluctantly done, and yielded to coercion instead of being dictated by a spirit of justice and conciliation. The ministers were resolved to concede nothing until the last extremity. Lord Castlereagh undoubtedly went down to the house of commons on the 16th instant, determined to preserve the orders in council in their full force, and when he perceived that he should be in the minority, he endeavoured to compromise by giving up as little as possible.
" It was decided by the cabinet, in consequence of the vague declarations of his lordship on that night, to suspend the orders in council, and to make this suspension to depend upon conditions to be previously proposed to the United States. Driven from this ground by the motion of Mr. Brougham for the call of the house, for Thursday the 25th of this month, the ministers at length issued the or. VOL. IX.
der of the 23d, and even this order was carried in the cabinet by a small majority only, five members voting against it. With these facts before me, I feel myself constrained to chasten my exultation on what has taken place, with some fear of a return of the old injustice in a new form."
(H.) Mr. Graham to Mr. Russell. Department of State, Au
gust 9, 1812.
Mr. Graham to Mr. Russell. Department of State, Au
gust 10, 1812,
[See page 63.]
Memorandum referred to in the above Letter.
(See page 64.]
(1.) Mr. Monroe to Mr. Barlow. Department of State, June
16, 1812. Sir,--An act declaring war against Great Britain will probably pass both houses of Congress on this day or to
It has already passed the House of Representatives, and, from what is known of the disposition of the Senate, its assent is expected without delay.
This result has grown out of the continued aggressions of that power on our commerce. Propositions were made in both houses of Congress to comprise France in the same declaration, and in the Senate the vote was 15 for, to 17 against it. In the other House the majority against it was proportionably greater. Its defeat in both houses has been doubtless, in a great measure, owing to a passage in your last letter, which intimated the intention of the French government to make some proposition in favour of indemnities, to be comprised in the treaty you were negotiating, whereby an expectation was excited that that interest would be provided for, and satisfaction given on the other grounds of complaint against France. The sentiment in both houses, as it is with the nation generally, produced by so many acts of injustice, for which reparation has not been made, is strong against France. The arrival of the Wasp, which you promised to despatch in two or three weeks from the date of your last letter, with the result of your labours, and which may be now daily expected, was another motive for delaying ulterior measures with respect to her. In advising the war against England, as was distinctly implied by the late message, which brought that subject under consideration, the President stated to Congress his strong dissatisfaction with the conduct of the French government on every
former ground of complaint, and to which others of more recent date have been added, with the single exception of the repeal of the decrees. He promised also to bring our affairs with that power fully before Congress, as soon as he should receive the communications which
had promised to forward by the Wasp. I communicate these facts, which are of a character too marked to require any comment, that you may be enabled to turn them to the best account in promoting an amicable accommodation with the French government of every wrong received from it, which is sincerely desired.
You were informed by my letter of the 6th of May, of such outrages committed by a squadron which was reported to have sailed from Nantz in January last, as were at that time known here. It appears that several vessels sailing from American ports to Lisbon and Cadiz, laden with the productions of the United States, were seized and burnt at sea. The crews of these vessels were taken on board one of the French vessels, and afterwards transferred to another of our vessels engaged in the same trade, which was also seized, in which they made their
These men forwarded here the evidence of these acts, copies of which have already been transmitted to you. I forward to you by this conveyance, the evidence of other aggressions, which will claim, in like manner, your particular attention. Most of these documents
have been laid before Congress, and referred by it to this department.
You will analyze all these cases of recent spoliations, and place them in the class of aggressions to which they severally belong, on principle. In demanding of Great Britain the repeal of her orders in council, on the ground of the repeal of the French decrees, this government has, from a regard to justice, given to France all the credit to which she had any claim, believing that the notification alone of the French minister of foreign affairs, to the minister plenipotentiary of the United States at Paris, of their repeal, was sufficient to justify the demand of the repeal of the orders in council of Great Britain, on her own principles. But it was never the intention of this government to concede to France any thing on that subject, to which she was not fairly entitled. On the contrary, it has been its intention, as is sufficiently evident by your first instructions, to exact from her a most strict and rigorous compliance with her pledge, in regard to the repeal. If any act in violation of that pledge has been committed, you will not fail to point it out, in the most distinct manner, to the French government, and to communicate to this department, without delay, any answer which you may receive from it. I have to add, admitting that the repeal of the decrees is observed with perfect good faith, that if the French government has given other orders, or permits acts of another character, which violate our rights, the wrong will not be less sensibly felt or less resented by this government.
Your despatches by the Hornet were received on the 220 May. They are the last which have come to hand. I have the honour, &c.
JAMES MONROE. Joel Barlow, Esq. &c. &c.
Mr. Monroe to Mr. Barlow. Department of State, July 14,
1812. Sir,-Your letters by the Wasp were received on the 13th instant.