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ding the executing of those instructions in consequence of my not having perceived that any steps whatever were taken by the American government to clear up the circumstance of an event which threatened so materially to interrupt the harmony subsisting between our two countries, as that which occurred in the month of last May, between the U. States' ship President and his majesty's ship Little Belt, when every evidence before his majesty's government seemed to shew that a most evident and wanton outrage had been committed on a British ship of war by an American Commodore.
A Court of Enquiry, however, as you informed me in your letter of the 11th inst. has since been held by order of the President of the U. States on the conduct of Commodore Rodgers, and this preliminary to further discussion on the subject being all that I asked in the first instance as due to the friendship subsisting between the two States, I have now the honor to acquaint you that I am ready to proceed in the truest spirit of conciliation to lay before you the terms of reparation which his royal highess has commanded me to propose to the U. States' government, and only wait to know when it will suit your convenience to enter upon the discussion. I have the honor to be, &c.
AUG. J. FOSTER.
Mr. Monroe to Mr. Foster.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Oct. 31, 1811.
SIR-I have just had the honor to receive your letter of the 30th of this month.
I am glad to find that the communication which I had the honor to make to you on the 11th inst. relative to the Court of Enpuiry, which was the subject of it, is viewed by you in the favorable light which you have stated.
Although I regret that the proposition which you now make in consequence of that communication, has been delayed to the present moment, I am ready to receive the terms of it whenever you may think proper to communicate them. Permit me to add, that the pleasure of finding them satisfactory, w .ii be duly augmented, if they should be introductory to the removal of ALL the differences depending between our two countries, the hope of which is so little encouraged by your past correspondence. A prospect of
suce a result, will be embraced, on my part, with a spirit of conciliation, equal to that which has been expressed by you, I have the honor to be, &c.
Mr. Foster to Mr. Monroe.
WASHINGTON, Nov. 1st, 1811. SIR-In pursuance of the orders which I have received from his royal highness, the prince regent, in the name and on the behalf of his majesty, for the purpose of proceeding to a final adjustment of the differences which have arisen between G. Britain and the U. States, in the affair of the Chesapeake frigate, I have the honor to acquaint you→→→ First, that I am instructed to repeat to the American government the prompt disavowal made by his majesty, (and recited in Mr. Erskine's note of April 17, 1809, to Mr. Smith,) on being apprised of the unauthorized act of the officer in command of his naval forces on the coast of America, whose recall from an highly important and honorable command, immediately ensued, as a mark of his majesty's disapprobation.
Secondly, that I am authorised to offer, in addition to that disavowal, on the part of his royal highness, the immediate restoration, as far as circumstances will admit, of the men who in consequence of admiral Berkley's orders, were forcibly taken out of the Chesapeake, to the vessel from which they were taken; or if that ship should be no longer in commission, to such sea-port of the U. States as the American government may name for the puspose.
Thirdly, that I am also authorised to offer to the American government a suitable pecuniary provision for the sufferers in consequence of the attack on the Chesapeake, including the families of those seamen who unfortunately fell in action, and of the wounded survivors.
These honorable propositions, I can assure you, sir, are made with the sincere desire that they may prove satisfactory to the government of the U. States, and I trust they will meet with that amicable reception which their conciliatory nature entitles them to. I need scarcely add how cordially I join with you in the wish that they might prove introductory to a removal of all the differences depending be tween our two countries. I have the honor to be, &c.
AUGUSTUS J. FOSTER.
Mr. Monroe to Mr. Foster.
WASHINGTON Nov. 12, 1811. SIR-I have had the honor to receive your letter of the 1st November, and to lay it before the President.
It is much to be regretted that the reparation due for such an aggression as that committed on the U. States Frigate, the Chesapeake, should have been so long delayed; nor could the translation of the offending officer from one command to another, be regarded as constituting a part of a reparation otherwise satisfactory; considering, however, the existing circumstances of the case, and the early and amicable attention paid to it by his royal highness the prince regent, the President accedes to the proposition contained in your letter, and in so doing, your government will, I am persuaded, see a proof of the conciliatory disposition by which the President has been actuated.
The officer commanding the Chesapeake, now lying in the harbor of Boston, will be instructed to receive the men who are to be restored to that ship.
I have the honor to be, &c.
To the Senate and House of Representatives of the U. States. I communicate to Congress a letter from the Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of G. Britain, to the Secretary of State, with the answer of the latter.
The continued evidence, afforded in this correspondence, of the hostile policy of the British government against our national rights, strengthens the considerations recommending and urging the preparation of adequate means for maintaining them.
Washington, Jan. 16, 1812.
Mr. Foster to Mr. Monroe.
WASHINGTON, Dec. 17, 1811. SIR-I did not mean to have written to you at this moment on the subject of our late correspondence, but that I have had the mortification to perceive statements, circulated from highly respectable sources, which give a view of the pretensions of G. Britain relative to the U. States not war
ranted by any of the letters which I had the honor to address to you, and which, at a time when discussions are continuing so important to the two countries, might, if left unrectified, produce an effect highly to be lamented by both the American and British governments, in as much as by creating unnecessary irritation, they might throw obstacles in the way of a restoration of a friendly understanding between them.
I find it asserted, in the statement referred to, that I have, in the name of my government, demanded that the U. States' government should pass a law for the introduction of British goods into the American ports, and also that the U. States should undertake to force France to receive into her harbors British manufactures.
I beg permission, sir, to declare that neither of these demands have been made by me, and that my meaning must not have been understood, if such was conceived to have been its import. I could not have demanded the passage of such a law as above stated, because my government does not pretend to interfere with the internal government of a friendly power, nor did I mean to demand that America should force France to receive our manufactures.
All I meant to say, was, that the admission of French commerce, while that of England has been excluded from the U. States' ports, was regarded by G. Britain as highly unfriendly in America, and that a continuation of such policy would be retaliated upon by G. Britain with similar restrictions on her part, which was so far merely an offering of like for like. But while the American non-importation act excludes British trade from the U. States' ports, it must be recollected that it goes still further and excludes also British armed ships from American ports, while it admits those of the enemies of G. Britain. A neutral nation is responsible for the equality of its rules of conduct towards the belligerent powers ;' (to use the words of an American Secretary of State in the year 1796,) and therefore that part of the law which establishes an inequality was justly an object of more serious complaint on the part of G. Britain. You are aware, sir, of the advantage which his majesty's enemies have derived from this state of inequality, which enables them, though possessing no port in this hemisphere, continually to prey on the trade of his majesty's subjects, secure of a refuge for their cruizers and their prizes.
The prohibition of entry to his majesty's ships under these circumstances might perhaps justify G. Britain in asserting, that whatever reason she may have for repealing or modifying her Orders in Council, so as to lessen, or entirely remove the pressure now unavoidably laid on the trade of America, as a neutral nation, she might yet refuse to enter into any discussion on that subject with the U. States, until either by the revocation of the prohibition above stated, or the placing all the belligerents under the same prohibition, America should cease to violate the duties of a neutral nation.
With respect, however, to the supposed demand that America should force the entry of British manufactures into France, it is most particularly necessary that I should explain myself, as a total misconception appears to have taken place upon this point. The question of retaliation on the French Decrees, is directly one between England and France. In consequence of the extraordinary blockade of England, we have in our defence been obliged to blockade France, and prohibit all trade in French articles, in return for the prohibition by France of all trade in English articles. This measure of retaliation, it is wished, should operate on France alone, but from the trade carried on with France by America, it unavoidably operates also on her; it is a measure to destroy the French trade in return for the similar measure of France on which it is retaliatory, and its acting on neutrals is an incidental effect of it, consequent upon the submission of neutrals to the original measures of the enemy against G. Britain. It is indeed melancholy that the unnatural situation of Europe should produce such a result, but I cannot see how this can be considered .. as war on American commerce, when all other American trade but that which is carried on with our enemy's ports in defiance of a blockade authorized by the laws of retaliation is unaffected by it. We complain that America does not resist the regulations of the Berlin and Milan Decrees, and object to permitting the French to trade with her during their continuance against the commerce of England; but this is not exacting, as has been represented, that America should force British manufactures into France; it is pursuing only a just course of retaliation on our enemy. if America wishes to trade with France, if French com