« PreviousContinue »
I shall be happy to have the honour of seeing you at the foreign office at 2 o'clock to-morrow; and beg to apprize you that one of his majesty's vessels will sail for America with the despatches of the government in the course of the present week. I have the honour to be, &c.
Mr. Russell to Lord Castlereagh. 18, Bentinck street,
June 26, 1812. MY LORD,--I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of the two notes addressed to me by your lordship on the 23d of this month, enclosing an order in council, issued that day by his royal highness the prince regent, acting in the name and on the behalf of his Britannick majesty, for the revocation (on the conditions therein specified) of the orders in council of the 7th of January, 1807, and of the 26th of April, 1809, so far as may regard Ame rican vessels and their cargoes, being American property, from the first of August next.
In communicating this document to my government, I shall, with much satisfaction, accompany it with the hopes which you state to be entertained by his royal highness the prince regent, that it may accelerate a good understanding on all points of difference between the two states. I am the more encouraged to believe that these hopes will not be disappointed, from the assurance wbich your lordship was pleased to give me, in the conversation of this morning, that, in the opinion of your lordship, the blockade of the 16th of May, 1806, had been merged in the orders in council, now revoked, and extinguished with them; and that no condition contained in the order of the 23d instant, is to be interpreted to restrain the government of the United States from the exercise of its right to exclude British armed vessels from the harbours and waters of the United States, whenever there shall be special and sufficient cause for so doing, or whenever such exclusion shall, from a general policy, be extended to the armed vessels of the enemies of Great Britain. This assurance I am happy to consider as evidence of a conciliatory spirit, which will afford on every other point of difference an explanation equally frank and satisfactory.
I am, &c.
Mr. Russell to the Secretary of State. London, July 2,
1812. Sir,-1 avail myself of the opportunity afforded by the British packet, to transmit to you a copy of a note from lord Castlereagh, of the 29th ultimo, which I trust will put at rest the blockade of 1806.
I acknowledge the receipt of this note, as you will observe by the enclosed copy of my reply, without a comment.
I did not think it useful to enter into a discussion at this moment concerning the legality of that blockade, which, as no new doctrine appears to be assumed, is made to depend on the fact, the application of an adequate force.
In like manner I have forborne to notice his lordship’s observations concerning the exclusion, from our ports, of British vessels of war. As such exclusion is required to accord with the obligations of strict neutrality only, the conduct and character of the government of the United States furnish security against any question arising on that subject. I have the honour to be, &c.
Lord Castlereagh'lo Mr. Russell. Foreign Office, June
Lord CASTLEREAGH has the honour to acknowledge the receipt of Mr. Russell's communication of the 26th inst.
That no mistake may prevail upon the explanation given in conversation by lord Castlereagh to Mr. Russell, on the two points referred to in Mr. Russell's letter, lord Castlereagh begs leave to re-state to Mr. Russell, with respect to the blockade of May, 1806, that, in point of fact, this particular blockade has been discontinued for a length of time'; the general retaliatory blockade of the cnemy's
ports, established under the orders in council, of November, 1807, having rendered the enforcement of it by his majesty's ships of war no longer necessary; and that his majesty's government have no intention of recurring to this or to any other blockades of the enemy's ports, founded upon the ordinary and accustomed principles of maritime law, which were in force previous to the order in council, without a new notice to neutral powers in the usual forms.
With respect to the provision of the order of the 23d instant, which refers to the admission of British ships of war into the harbours and waters of the United States, lord Castlereagh informs Mr. Russell, that this claim is made in consequence of his majesty's ships being now excluded, whilst those of the enemy are admitted. It is the partial admission of one of the belligerents of which Great Britain feels herself entitled to complain, as a preference in favour of the enemy, incompatible with the obligations of strict neutrality. Were the exclusion general, the British government would consider such a measure, on the part of America, as matter of discussion between the two states, but not as an act of partiality of which they had in the first instance a right to complain.
Lord Castlereagh avails himself of this opportunity to renew to Mr. Russell the assurances of his high considesation.
Mr. Russell to Lord Castlereagh. 18, Bentinck Street;
July 1, 1812. MR. Russell has the honour to acknowledge the receipt of the note of lord Castlereagh, dated the 29th ultimo, containing explanations relative to the two points referred to in Mr. Russell's note of the 26th of that month, and will take the earliest opportunity of communicating it to his government.
Mr. Russell begs leave to avail himself of this occasion to repeat to lord Castlereagh the assurances of his high consideration.
hagen, April 12, 1812.
In my despatch No. 10, I mentioned that of the cases which were pending on my arrival in Copenhagen, the “ Minerva Smith,” Mann, only remained to be adjudged, and that I had sought to delay it for the purpose of procuring, and in the hope of introducing before the tribunal some further evidence. A part of the evidence to which I referred was soon afterwards received from England, and laid before the minister of state in a note of December 13th ; a copy (No. 6) is enclosed, as it serves to explain the peculiar difficulties under which this, a property of very great value, was placed. No change having been produced by this representation in the opinion of the high court, I obtained that the case should be laid before the Danish chancery; and the report of that body not being sufficiently full and satisfactory, the case was transferred to the Sleswic Holstein chancery, (on the king's own suggestion) as Kiel, where the vessel was taken, being with
in the jurisdiction of that chancery, the affair was not properly cognizable by the Danish chancery. These various operations consumed a great deal of time ; but finally towards the latter end of February the Sleswic Holstein chancery produced a very laborious and voluminous report in favour of the case, pursuant to which his majesty ordered the high court to pass sentence of acquittal.
With my aforementioned despatch, No. 10, was transmitted copy of a note to Mr. de Rosenkrantz, (of Sept. 28) respecting the then pending cases generally. Still further to promote the object of it I again addressed him on Nov. 3d, and in the progress of the business perceiving that the high court had lost nothing of its disposition to condemn, and had actually determined to sacrifice one of the clear. est cases in the whole list, (the “ Brutus”) on the 13th De cember, I thought it necessary to require that its proceedings should be arrested, and its opinions submitted to the king through his chancery; (those two notes are Nos. 7 and 8 of the enclosed ;) the necessary order was immediately given, and thus two or three cases were saved from condemnation. But though the report of the chancery on the case of the “ Brutus" was favourable, that vessel was finally condemned; the particular circumstances of her case will be seen in my note to Mr. de Rosenkrantz of April 10th, and the sentence of the tribunal (Nos. 7 B and 8 B) of the enclosed
papers. At the date of said despatch No. 10, there were ten cases depending, exclusive of French captures, and inclusive of the “ Hannah” and “Two Generals," double cap. tures, as appears by the list which was therewith transmitted. In despatch No. 11, I mentioned the release of the “ Horace” and “ Augustus,” iwo of the list, so that there were at that time only six cases of simple capture depending. I have now the satisfaction of informing you that the whole of tbese have been acquitted, the “ Brutus” as above mentioned only excepted. The “ Hannah” and “ Two Generals," must, I fear, be determined in Paris. The French government has proposed to the Danish, that without reference to these questions of jurisdiction which have always been found so difficult to arrange to the satisfaction of all parties, the simple rule shall be adopted of determining the question of prize in the tribunals of the