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sally admitted law of nations, we shall find no sanction to it, in that venerable code. The sovereignty of every state is co-extensive with its dominions, and cannot be abrogated, or curtailed in its rights, as to any part, except by conquest. Neutral nations have a right to trade to every port of either belligerent, which is not legally blockaded--and in all ar ticles which are not contraband of war. Such is the absurdity of this pretension, that your committee are aware, especially after the able manner in which it has been heretofore refuted, and exposed, that they would offer an insult to the understanding of the House, if they enlarged on it, and if any thing could add to the high sense of the injustice of the British government in the transaction, it would be the contrast which her conduct exhibits in regard to this trade, and in regard to a similar trade by neutrals with her own. colonies. It is known to the world, that G. Britain regulates her own trade, in war and in peace, at home and in her colonies, as she finds for her interest-that in war she relaxes the restraints of her colonial system in favor of the colonies, and that it never was suggested that she had not a right to do it-or that a neutral in taking advantage of the relaxation violated a belligerent right of her enemyBut with G. Britain every thing is lawful. It is only in a trade with her enemies that the U. States can do wrong. With them all trade is unlawful.

In the year 1798, an attack was made by the British government on the same branch of our neutral trade, which had nearly involved the two countries in war. That difference, however, was amicably accommodated. The pretension was withdrawn, and reparation made to the U. States, for the losses which they had suffered by it. It was fair to infer from that arrangement, that the commerce was. deemed by the British government lawful, and that it would not be again disturbed.

Had the British government been resolved to contest this trade with neutrals, it was due to the character of the British nation that the decision should be made known to the government of the U. States. The existence of a negociation which had been invited by our government, for the purpose of preventing differences by an amicable arrangement of their respective pretensions, gave a strong claim to the notification, while it afforded the fairest opportunity for it.

But a very different policy animated the then cabinet of England. The liberal confidence and friendly overtures of the U. States, were taken advantage of to ensnare them. Steady to its purpose, and inflexibly hostile to this country, the British government calmly looked forward to the moment, when it might give the most deadly wound to our interests. A trade, just in itself, which was secured by so many strong and sacred pledges, was considered safe.-Our citizens with their usual industry and enterprise had embarked in it a vast proportion of their shipping, and of their capital, which were at sea, under no other protection than the law of nations, and the confidence which they reposed in the justice and friendship of the British nation. At this period the unexpected blow was given. Many of our vessels were seized, carried into port, and condemned by a tribunal, which, while it professes to respect the law of nations, obeys the mandates of its own government. Hundreds of other vessels were driven from the ocean, and trade itself in a great measure suppressed. The effect produced. by this attack on the lawful commerce of the U. States, was such, as might have been expected from a virtuous, independent, and highly injured people. But one sentiment pervaded the whole American nation. No local interestswere regarded-no sordid motives felt. Without looking to the parts which suffered most, the invasion of our rightswas considered a common cause, and from one extremity of our Union to the other, was heard, the voice of an united people, calling on their government to avenge their wrongs, and vindicate the rights and honor of the country.

From this period the British government has gone on in a continued encroachment on the rights and interest of the ·U. States, disregarding in its course, in many instances, obligations which have heretofore been held sacred by civilized nations.

In May, 1806, the whole coast of the continent, from the Elbe to Brest, inclusive, was declared to be in a state of blockade. By this act, the well established principles of the law of nations, principles which have served for ages as guides, and fixed the boundary between the rights of helLigerents and neutrals, were violated; by the law of nations, as recognized by G. Britain herself, no blockade is lawful, unless it be sustained by the application of an adequate

force, and that an adequate force was applied to this block, ade, in its full extent, ought not to be pretended. Whether G. Britain was able to maintain, legally, so extensive a blockade, considering the war in which she is engaged, requiring such extensive naval operations, is a question which is not necessary at this time to examine. It is sufficient to be known, that such force was not applied, and this is evident from the terms of the blockade itself, by which, comparatively, an inconsiderable portion of the coast only was declared to be in a state of strict and rigorous blockade. The objection to the measure is not diminished by that circumstance. If the force was not applied, the blockade was unlawful, from whatever cause the failure might proceed. The belligerent who institutes the blockade, cannot absolve itself from the obligation to apply the force under any pretext whatever. For a belligerent to relax a blockade, which it could not maintain, it would be a refinement in injustice, not less insulting to the understanding, than repugnant to the law of nations. To claim merit for the mitigation of an evil, which the party either had not the power, or found it inconvenient to inflict, would be a new mode of encroaching on neutral rights. Your committee think it just to remark, that this act of the British government does not appear to have been adopted in the sense in which it has been since construed. On consideration of all the circumstances attending the measure, and particularly the character of the distinguished statesman who announced it, we are persuaded that it was conceived in a spirit of conciliation, and intended to lead to an accommodation of all differences between the U. States and G. Britain. His death disappointed that hope, and the act has since become subservient to other purposes. It has been made by his successors, a pretext for that vast system of usurpation, which has so long oppressed and harrassed

Our commerce.

The next act of the British government which claims our attention is the Orders in Council of Jan. 7, 1807, by which neutral powers are prohibited trading from one port to anoth er of France or her allies, or any other country with which G. Britain might not freely trade. By this order the pretension of England, heretofore claimed by every other power, to prohibit neutrals disposing of parts of their cargoes at

different ports of the same enemy, is revived and with vast accumulation of injury. Every enemy, however great the number or distance from each other, is considered one, and the like trade even with powers at peace with England who, from motives of policy had excluded or restrained her commerce, was also prohibited. In this act the British government evidently disclaimed all regard for neutral rights. Aware that the measures authorised by it could find no pretext in any belligerent right, none was urged. To prohibit the sale of our produce, consisting of innocent articles at any port of a belligerent, not blockaded, to consider every belligerent as one, and subject neutrals to the same restraint with all, as if there was but one, were held encroachments. But to restrain or in any manner interfere with our commerce with neutral nations with whom G. Britain was at peace, and against whom she had no justifiable cause of war, for the sole reason, that they restrained or excluded from their ports her commerce, was utterly incompatible with the pacific relations subsisting between the two countries.

We proceed to bring into view the British Order in Council of November 11th, 1807, which superceded every other order, and consummated that system of hostility on the commerce of the U. States which has been since so steadily pursued. By this Order, all France and her allies and every other country at war with G. Britain, or with which she was not at war, from which the British flag was excluded, and all the colonies of her enemies were subjected to the same restrictions as if they were actually blockaded in the most strict and rigorous manner; and all trade in articles the produce and manufacture of the said countries and colonies, and the vessels engaged in it were subjected to capture and condemnation as lawful prize. To this order certain exceptions were made which we forbear to notice because they were not adopted from a regard to neutral rights, but were dictated by policy to promote the commerce of England, and so far as they related to neutral powers, were said to emanate from the clemency of the British govern


It would be superfluous in your committee to state, that by this order the British government declared direct and positive war against the U. States. The dominion of the

ocean was completely usurped by it, all commerce forbiden, and every flag driven from it, or subjected to capture and condemnation, which did not subserve the policy of the British government by paying it a tribute and sailing under its sanction. From this period the U. States have incurred the heaviest losses, and most mortifying humiliations. They have born the calamities of war without retorting them on its authors.

So far your committee has presented to the view of the House the aggressions which have been committed under the authority of the British government on the commerce of the U. States. We will now proceed to other wrongs which have been still more severely feit. Among these, is the impressment of our seamen, a practice which has been unceasingly maintained by G. Britain in the wars to which she has been a party since our revolution. Your committee cannot convey in adequate terms the deep sense which they entertain of the injustice and oppression of this proceeding. Under the pretext of impressing British seamen, our fellow citizens are seized in British ports, on the high seas, and in every other quarter to which the British power extends, are taken on board British men of war, and compelled to serve there as British subjects. In this mode our citizens are wantonly snatched from their country and their families, deprived of their liberty, and doomed to an ignominious and slavish bondage, compelled to fight the battles of a foreign country, and often to perish in them. Our flag has given them no protection; it has been unceasingly violated, and our vessels exposed to danger by the loss of men taken from them. Your committee need not remark that while the practice is continued, it is impossible for the U. States to consider themselves an independent nation. Every new case is a new proof of their degradation. Its continuance is the more unjustifiable, because the U. States have repeatedly proposed to the British government an arrangement which would secure to it the control of its own people. An exemption of the citizens of the U. States from this degrading oppression, and their flag from violation, is all that they have sought.

This lawless waste of our trade, and equally unlawful impressment of our seamen, have been much aggravated by the insults and indignities attending them. Under the pre

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