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stances, sailed before an examination was made in consequence of my applications.
“ It is certain that some of those who have applied to me are not American citizens, but the exceptions are, in my opinion, few, and the evidence, exclusive of certificates, has been such as, in most cases, to satisfy me, that the applicants were real Americans, who have been forced into the British service, and who, with singular constancy, have generally persevered in refusing pay and bounty, though in some instances they have been in service more than two years. As the applications for my aid seemed to increase, after the suspension of the consular power to grant protections (owing to the exposed situation of our seamen in consequence of the denial of this power,) I judged it advisable, though I saw little prospect of any permanent agreement, to attempt to obtain the consent of this government, that, under certain regulations, our consuls should again be authorized to grant certificates of citizenship to our seamen. My letter to lord Grenville and his answer you have enclosed.
“I likewise send you the copy of another letter, to which I have received no answer, that I wrote to lord Grenville in order to expose the inconsistency with the laws and principles of British allegiance of a rule by which acknowledged Americans are detained in the British service."
Extract of a Letter
from Rufus King, Esquire, Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States, lo the Secretary of State. London, March 15, 1799.
IMPRESSING OF SEAMEN. "I THEN mentioned our dissatisfaction with the continuation of the practice of taking out of our ships, met on the main ocean, such of their crews as did not possess certificates of American citizenship; denying, as I had often done in former conferences upon the same subject, any right on the part of Great Britain upon which the practice could be founded ; and suggesting that our ships of war, by permission of our government, might with
equal right pursue the same practice towards their merchantmen.
“ That not only seamen who spoke the English language, and who were evidently English or American subjects, but also all Danish, Swedish, and other foreign seamen, who could not receive American protections, were indiscriminately taken from their voluntary service in our neutral employ and forced into the war in the naval service of Great Britain.
" That on this subject we had again and again offered to concur in a convention, which we thought practicable to be formed, and which should settle these questions in a manner that would be safe for England, and satisfactory to us.
66 That to decline such convention, and to persist in a practice which we were persuaded could not be vindicated, especially to the extent to which it was carried, seemed less equitable and moderate than we thought we had a right to expect.
“ Lord Grenville stated no precise principle upon which he supposed this practice could be justified, and the conversation upon this point, like many others upon the same subject, ended without a prospect of satisfaction. The French and Spaniards, and every other nation, might pursue the same conduct as rightfully as Great Britain does. With respect to foreign seamen in our employ, this government has, if I recollect, yielded the point, though their officers continue the practice. We are assured that all Americans shall be discharged on application for that purpose, and that orders to this effect have been given to their naval commanders; but this is far short of satisfactionindeed, to acquiesce in it, is to give up the right.”
Extract of a Letter from Mr. King to the Secretary of
State. London, February 25, 1801. “ The progress which had been made in our negotiation with this government, was such as must have brought it to a speedy conclusion, had not a change taken place in the department of foreign affairs : that the result would, in the main, have been satisfactory, is more than I am authorized to say, though I flattered myself with the hope that it would be so. Lord Hawkesbury assures me that he will give to the several subjects, which have been pretty fully discussed, an early and impartial consideration; and I am in hopes that lord St. Vincent will likewise be inclined to attend to our reiterated remonstrances against the impressment of our seamen, and the vexations of our trade."
Extract of a Letter from Rufus King, Esq. to the Secre
tary of State. New York, July 1803. “Sir,- 1 take the liberty to add a few miscellaneous articles, by way of supplement to my last despatch.
AMERICAN SEAMEN. “ As soon as the war appeared to me unavoidable, I thought it advisable to renew the attempt to form an arrangement with the British government for the protection of our seamen: with this view I had several conferences, both with lord Hawkesbury and Mr. Addington, who avowed a sincere disposition to do whatever might be in their power to prevent the dissatisfaction on this subject, that had so frequently manifested itself during the late war: with very candid professions, I however found several objections, in discussing the project with the first lord of the admiralty. Lord Hawkesbury having promised to sign any agreement upon the subject that I should conclude with lord St. Vincent, I endeavoured to qualify and remove the objections he offered to our project, and finally, the day before I left London, lord St. Vincent consented to the following regulations :
“1. No seaman nor seafaring person shall, upon the high seas, and without the jurisdiction of either party, be demanded or taken out of any ship or vessel belonging to the citizens or subjects of one of the parties, by the publick or private armed ships or men of war belonging to or in the service of the other party : and strict orders shall be given for the due observance of this engagement.
* 2. Each party will prohibit its citizens or subjects from clandestinely concealing or carrying away from the territories or colonial possessions of the other, any seaman belonging to such other party,
“ 3. These regulations shall be in force for five years, and no longer.
“ On parting with his lordship, I engaged to draw up, in the form of a convention, and send him these articles in the course of the evening, who promised to forward them, with his approbation, to lord Hawkesbury : I accordingly prepared and sent the draft to his lordship, who sent me a letter in the course of the night, stating that on further reflection he was of opinion, that the narrow seas should be expressly excepted, they having been, as his lordship remarked, immemorially considered to be within the dominion of Great Britain ; that with this correction he had sent the proposed convention to lord Hawkesbury, who, his lordship presumed, would not sign it before he should have consulted the judge of the high court of admiralty, sir William Scott.
“As I had supposed, from the tenour of my conferences with lord St. Vincent, that the doctrine of the mare clausum would not be revived against us on this occasion, but that England would be content with the limited jurisdiction or dominion over the seas adjacent to her territories, which is assigned by the law of nations to other states ; I was not a little disappointed on receiving this communication ; and after weighing well the nature of the principle and the disadvantages of its admission, I concluded to abandon the negotiation rather than to acquiesce in the doctrine it proposed to establish.
“ I regret not to have been able to put this business on a satisfactory footing, knowing, as I do, its very great importance to both parties ; but I flatter myself that I have not misjudged the interest of our own country, in refusing to sanction a principle that might be productive of more extensive evils than those it was our aim to prevent.”
FROM THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES TO THE
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. JULY 6, 1812.
I TRANSMIT to the House of Representatives a report from the Secretary of State of this date, complying with their resolution of the 30th of January last.
The Secretary of State, in pursuance of a resolution of the House of Representatives of the 30th of January last, has the honour to report to the President of the United States, six several lists of captures, seizures and condemnations, of the ships and merchandise of the citizens of the United States, under the authority of the governments of Europe ; to wit:
No. 1. British captures prior to the orders in council of November 11, 1807.
No. 2. British captures subsequent to the date of the orders in council of November 11, 1807.
No. 1. French captures, seizures and condemnation prior to the Berlin and Milan decrees.
No. 2. French captures, seizures and condemnations, during the existence of the decrees of Berlin and Milan.
No. 3. French seizures, captures, and condemnations since the revocation of the Berlin and Milan decrees.
No. 4. Captures, seizures, and condemnations under the authority of the government of Naples. And, in addition
A statement Danish captures, condemnations, &c.
The documents from which these lists have been compiled, being of a miscellaneous nature, the detail is unavoidably imperfect. The sums stated as the amount of loss, are, in many cases, doubtful. The chief fact from which the cause of capture can be inferred, is the date of capture ; which, on referring to the regulations, orders, or decrees, existing at the time, may serve to elucidate that point of the inquiry. The successive orders, decrees, &c.