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fact in the case, and has long been known to your government, the Orders in Council, from the date of that knowledge, ought to have ceased, according to its own principles and pledges.
But the question whether and when the repeal of the Berlin and Milan Decrees took effect in relation to the neutral commerce of the U. States, is superceded by the novel and extraordinary claim of G. Britain to a trade in British articles, with her enemy; for supposing the repeal to have taken place, in the fullest extent claimed by the U. States, it could, according to that claim, have no effect in removing the Orders in Council.
On a full view of the conduct of the British government in these transactions, it is impossible to see in it any thing short of a spirit of determined hostility to the rights and interests of the U. States.-It issued the Orders in Council, on a principle of retaliation on France, at a time when it admitted the French Decrees to be ineffectual; it has sustained those Orders in full force since, notwithstanding the pretext for them has been removed, and latterly it has added a new condition of their repeal, to be performed by France, to which the U. States in their neutral character, have no claim, and could not demand, without departing from their neutrality, a condition which, in respect to the commerce of other nations with G. Britain, is repugnant to her own policy, and prohibited by her own laws, and which can never be enforced on any nation without a subversion of its sovreignty and independence.
I have the honor to be, &c.
To the Senate and House of Representatives of the U. States. I communicate to Congress certain documents, being a continution of those heretofore laid before them, on the subject, of our affairs with G. Britain.
Without going back beyond the renewal in 1803, of the war in which G. Britain is engaged, and omitting unrepaired
wrongs of inferior magnitude, the conduct of her government presents a series of acts hostile to the U. States as an independant and neutral nation.
British cruizers have been in the continued practice of violating the American flag, on the great highway of nations, and of seizing and carrying off persons sailing under it: not in the exercise of a belligerent right, founded on the law of nations against an enemy, but of a municipal prerogative over British subjects. British jurisdiction is thus extended to neutral vessels in a situation where no laws can operate, but the law of nations and the laws of the country to which the vessels belong; and a self-redress is assumed, which, if British subjects were wrongfully detained and alone concerned, is that substitution of force for a resort to the responsible sovereign, which falls within the definition of war. Could the seizure of British subjects, in such cases be regarded, as within the exercise of a belligerent right, the acknowledged laws of war, which forbid an article of captured property to be adjudged, without a regular inves tigation before a competent tribunal, would imperiously demand the fairest trial where the sacred rights of persons were at issue. In place of such a trial, these rights are subjected to the will of every petty commander.
The practice, hence, is so far from affecting British subjects alone, that under the pretext of searching for these, thousands of American citizens, under the safe-guard of public law, and of their national flag, have been torn from their country, and from every thing dear to them; have been dragged on board ships of war of a foreign nation, and exposed under the severities of their discipline, to be exiled to the most distant and deadly climes, to risk their lives in the battles of their oppressors, and to be the melancholy instruments of taking away those of their own brethren.
Against this crying enormity, which G. Britain would be so prompt to avenge if committed against herself, the U. States have in vain exhausted remonstrances and expostulations. And that no proof might be wanting of their conciliatory dispositions, and no pretext left for the continuance of the practice, the British government was formally assured of the readiness of the United States to enter into arrangements, such as could not be rejected, if the recovery of British subjects were the real and the sole object. The communication passed without effect.
British cruizers have been in the practice also of violating the rights and the peace of our coasts. They hover over and harrass our entering and departing commerce. the most insulting pretensions they have added the most lawless proceedings in our very harbors; and have wantonly spilt American blood within the sanctuary of our territorial jurisdiction. The principles and rules enforced by that nation, when a neutral nation, against armed vessels of belligerents, hovering near her coasts, and disturbing her commerce, are well known. When called on nevertheless, by the U. States, to punish the greater offences committed by her own vessels, her government has bestowed on their commanders additional marks of honor and confidence.
Under pretended blockades, without the presence of an adequate force, and sometimes without the practicability of applying one, our commerce has been plundered in every sea: the great staples of our country have been cut off from their legitimate markets; and a destructive blow aimed at our agricultural and maritime interests. In aggravation of these predatory measures, they have been considered as in force from the dates of their notification; a retrospective effect being thus added, as has been done in other important cases, to the unlawfulness of the course pursued. And to render the outrage the more signal, these mock blockades have been reiterated and enforced in the face of official communications from the British government, declaring as the true definition of a legal blockade, that particuiar ports must be actually invested, and previous warning given to vessels bound to them, not to enter.'
Not content with these occasional expedients for laying waste our neutral trade, the cabinet of G. Britain resorted, at length, to the sweeping system of biockades, under the name of the Orders in Council, which has been moulded and managed, as might best suut its political views, its commercial jealousies, or the avidity of British cruizers.
To our remonstrances against the complicated and transcendant injustice of this innovation, the first reply was, that the Orders were reluctantly adopted by G. Britain as a necessary retaliation on Decrees of her enemy, proclaiming a general blockade of the British isies, at a time when the naval force of that enemy dared not to issue from his own ports. She was reminded, without effect, that her own
prior blockade, unsupported by an adequate naval force actually applied and continued, were a bar to this plea :: that executed Edicts against millions of our property could not be retaliation on Edicts confessedly impossible to be executed that retaliation, to be just, should fall on the party setting the guilty example, not on an innocent party, which was not even chargeable with an acquiescence in it.
When deprived of this flimsey veil for a prohibition of our trade with her enemy, by the repeal of his prohibition of our trade with G. Britain, her cabinet, instead of a cor-responding repeal, or a practical discontinuance of its Orders, formally avowed a determination to persist in them against the U. States, antil the markets of her enemy should be laid open to British products; thus asserting an obligation on a neutral power to require one belligerent to encourage, by its internal regulations, the trade of another belligerent; contradicting her own practice towards all nations in peace, as well as in war; and betraying the insincerity of those professions which inculcated a belief that, having resorted to her Orders with regret, she was anxious to find an occasion for putting an end to them.
Abandoning still more, all respect for the neutral rights of the U. States, and for its own consisteucy, the British government now demands as pre-requisites to a repeal of its Orders, as they relate to the United States, that a formality should be observed in the repeal of the French Decrees nowise necessary to their termination, nor exemplified by British usage; and that the French repeal, besides including that portion of the Decrees which operates within a territorial jurisdiction, as well as that which operates on: the high seas against the commerce of the U. States, should not be a single special repeal in relation to the U. States, but should be extended to whatever neutral nations unconnected with them, that may be affected by those Decrees. And as an additional insult; they are called on for a formal disavowal of the condition and pretensions advanced by the French government, for which the U. States are so far from having made themselves responsible, that, in official explanations, which have been published to the world, and in a correspondence of the American minister at London, with the British minister for foreign affairs, such a responsibility was explicitly and emphatically disclaimed.
It has become indeed sufficiently certain that the com-merce of the U. States is to be sacrificed, not as interfering -with the belligerent rights of G. Britain, not as supplying the wants of her enemies, which she herself supplies, but as interfering with the monopoly which she coverts for her own commerce and navigation. She carries on a war against the lawful commerce of a friend, that she may the better carry on a commerce with an enemy, a commerce, polluted by the forgeries and perjuries which are for the most part the only passports by which it can succeed.
Anxious to make every experiment short of the last resort of injured nations, the U. States have withheld from G. Britain, under successive modifications, the benefits of a free intercourse with their market, the loss of which could not but outweigh the profits accruing from her restrictions of our commerce with other nations. And to entitle these experiments to the more favorable consideration, they were so framed as to enable her to place her adversary under the exclusive operation of them. To these appeals, her government has been equally inflexible, as if willing to make sacrifices of every sort, rather than yield to the claims of justice, or renounce the errors of a false pride. Nay, so far were the attempts carried, to overcome the attachment of the British cabinet to its unjust Edicts, that it received every encouragement, within the competency of the Executive branch of our government, to expect that a repeal of them would be followed by a war between the U. States and France, unless the French Edicts should also be -repealed. Even this communication, although silencing for ever the plea of a disposition in the U. States to acquiesce in those Edicts, originally the sole plea for them, received no attention.
If no other proof existed of a predetermination of the British government against a repeal of its Orders, it might be found in the correspondence of the minister Pienipotentiary of the U. States at London, and the British Secretary for Foreign Affairs in 1810, on the question whether the blockade of May, 1806, was considered as in force, or as not in force. It had been ascertained that the French government, which urged this blockade as the ground of its Berlin Decree, was willing, in the event of its removal, to repeal that Decree; which being followed by alternate re