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taken of it, with the law of nations. It is also easy to show that, as now expounded, it is equally inconsistent with the sense of your government when the order was issued, and this change is a sufficient reply to the remarks which you have applied to roe personally.
If you will examine the order, you will find that it is strictly little more than a blockade of the coast from the Seine to Ostend. There is an express reservation in it, in favour of neutrals to ;vny part of the coast between Brest and the Seine, and between Ostend and the Elbe. Neutral powers are permitted by it to take from their own ports every kind of produce without distinction, as to its origin, and to carry it to the continent, under that limitation, and with the exception only of contraband of war and enemy's property, and to bring thence to their own ports in return whatever articles they think fit. Why were contraband of war and enemy's property excepted, if a commerce even in those articles would not otherwise have been permitted under the reservation? No order was necessary to subject them to seizure; they were liable to it by the law of nations, as asserted by Great Britain.
Why then did the British government institute a blockade which, with respect to neutrals, was not vigorous as to the greater part of the coast comprised in it? If you will look to the state of things which then existed between the United States and Great Britain, you will find the answer—a controversy had taken place between our governments on a different topic, which was still depending. The British government had interfered with the trade between France and her allies, in the produce of their colonies. The just claim of the United States was then a subject of negotiation, and your government, professing its willingness to make a satisfactory arrangement of it, issued the order which allowed the trade, without making any concession as to the principle, reserving that for adjustment by treaty. It was in this light that I viewed,and in this sense that I represented that order to my government, and in no other did I make any comment on it.
When you reflect that this order, by allowing the trade of neutrals in colonial productions to all that portion of the coast which was not rigorously blockaded, afforded to the United States an accommodation in a principal point then at issue between our governments, and of which their citizens extensively availed themselves; that that trade, and the question of blockade, and every other question in which the United States and Great Britain were interested, were then in a train of amicable negotiation; you will, I think, see the cause why the minister, who then represented the United Stales with the British government, did not make a formal complaint against it. You have appealed to me, who happened to be that minister, and urged my silence as an evidence of my approbation of, or at least acquiescence in the blockade: an explanation of the cause of that supposed silence, is not less due to myself than to the true character of the transaction. With the minister with whom I had the honour to treat, I may add, that an official formal complaint was not likely to be resorted to, because friendly communications were invited and preferred. The want of such a document is no proof that the measure was approved by me, or that no complaint was made.
In recalling to my mind, as this incident naturally does, the manly character of that distinguished and illustrious statesman, and the confidence with which he inspired all those with whom he had to treat, I shall be permitted to express, as a slight tribute of respect to his memory, the very high consideration in which I have always held his great talents and virtues.
The United States have not, nor can they approve the blockade of an extensive coast. Nothing certainly can be inferred from any thing that has passed relative to the blockade of May, 1806, to countenance such an inference.
It is seen with satisfaction that you still admit that the application of an adequate force is necessary to give a blockade a legal character, and that it will lose that character, whenever that adequate force ceases to be applied. As it cannot be alleged that the application of any such adequate force has been continued and actually exists, in the case of the blockade of May, 1806, it would seem to be a fair inference that the repeal of the orders in council will leave no insuperable difficulty with respect to it. To suppose the contrary would be to suppose that the orders in council, said to include that blockade, resting themselves on a principle of retaliation only, and not sustained by the application of an adequate force, would have the effect of sustaining a blockade admitted to require the application of an adequate force, until such adequate force should actually take the place of the orders in council. Whenever any blockade is instituted, it will be a subject for consideration, and if the blockade be in conformity to the law of nations, there will be no disposition in this government to contest it. I have the honour to be, &c.
(Signed) JAS. MONROE.
Aug. J. Foster, Esq. Sec
Mr. Monroe to Mr. Foster.
I have the honour to communicate to you a copy of two letters from the charge d'affaires of the United States at Paris, to their charge d'affaires at London, and a copy of a correspondence of the latter with the marquis of Wellesley on the subject. By this it will be seen that Mr. Smith was informed by the marquis of Wellesley, that he should transmit to you a copy of the communication from Paris, that it might have full consideration in the discussions depending here.
Although an immediate repeal was to have been expected from your government, on the receipt of this communication, if the new proof which it affords of the French repeal was satisfactory; yet it will be very agreeable to learn that you are now authorized t# concur in an arrangement that will terminate both the orders in council and the non-importation act. I have the honour to be, &e. (Signed) JAS. MONROE.
Augustus J. Foster, Esq. &c. &c. &c.
P. S. Hearing that you will not be in town for several days, this letter, and one bearing date on the 1st of this month, which I had prepared, and intended to deliver to you on my return here, are forwarded by a special messenger.
Mr. Russel to Mr. J. S. Smith.
I observe by your letter of the 7th ultimo, your solicitude to obtain evidence of the revocation of the Berlin and Milan decrees.
On the 5th of August last the duke of Cadore announced to general Armstrong, that these decrees were revoked, and that they would cease to operate on the 1st of November. Since the 1st of November these decrees have not, to ray knowledge, in any instance been executed to the prejudice of American property arriving since that time; on the contrary, the Grace Ann Greene, coming clearly within the penal terms of those decrees, had they continued in force, was liberated in December last, and her cargo admitted in April. This vessel had, indeed, been taken by the English, and retaken from them; but as this circumstance is not assigned here as the cause of the liberation of this property, it ought not to be presumed to have operated alone as such.
Whatever special reasons may be supposed for the release of the Grace Ann Greene, that of the New Orleans Packet must have resulted from the revocation of the French edicts.
The New Orleans Packet had been boarded by two English vessels of war, and hud been some time at an English port, and thus doubly transgressed against the decrees of Milan. On arriving at Bourdeaux, she was in fact seized by the director of the customs, and these very transgressions expressly assigned as the cause of seizure. When I was informed of this precipitate act of the officer at Bourdeaux, I remonstrated against it on the sole ground that the decrees under which it was made, had been revoked. This remonstrance was heard. All further proceedings against the New Orleans Packet were arrested, and on the 9th of January, both the vessel and cargo were ordered to be placed at the disposition of the owners, on giving bond. This bond has since been cancelled by an order of the government; and thus the liberation of the property perfected. The New Orleans Packet has been some time waiting in the Garonne, with her return cargo on board, for an opportunity «nly of escaping the English orders in council.
I know of no other American vessel arrived voluntarily in the empire of France or the kingdom of Italy, since 1st of November, to which the decrees of Berlin and Milan could be applied. I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
(Signed) JONA. RUSSEL.
J. S. Smith, Esquire, Charge d'affaires, London.
- . Mr. Russet to Mr. J. S. Smith. SIR, Paris, July 14, 1811.
I had the honor to address to you, on the 5th instant, a brief account of the Grace Ann Greene and of the New Orleans Packet. The proofs which these cases furnish, especially the latter, ought, when unopposed, as it is, by any conflicting circumstance, to be considered as conclusive of the revocation of the French edicts, to which, if continued in force, these cases would have been liable. In addition, however, to this evidence, I have now the satisfaction to communicate to you the liberation of the Two Brothers, the Good Intent, and the Star, three American vessels captured since the 1 st of November, and brought into this empire, or into ports under its control. I should have no doubt been able to have announced the release, by one general decision, of every American vessel captured since that period, if the only inquiry were whether or not they had violated the Berlin and Milan decrees. Unfortunately,however, the practices of late years render the question of property extremely difficult to be satisfactorily decided amidst false papers and false oaths. After the most minute and tedious investigation, it often remains doubtful whether this property belongs to a neutral or an enemy. The time employed in this investigation has surely no connexion with the Berlin and Milan decrees, and cannot be considered as evidence of their continuance.
It is possible that these decrees may be kept in force in their municipal character, and be applied for the confiscation of English merchandise on the continent; and to prevent their performing this function does not appear to be a concern of the United States, nor can the measure adopted in retaliation of it, on the part of England, be justly extended beyond its limits, and made to reach an unoffending neutral power, which the act of her enemy does not affect.
It is sufficient for us, that the Berlin and Milan decrees have ceased to be executed on the high seas, and if the orders in council still continue to operate there, they surely are not supported by any principle of the law of retaliation, but must be considered as a simple and unqualified violation of our neutral and national rights.
The proof now before you of the revocation of the Berlin and Milan decrees, consists in the precise and formal declarations of this government-—in its discontinuance to execute them to our prejudice in a single instance—in its having exempted from their operation every vessel arriving spontaneously since the 1st November, to which they could be applied, and every vessel forcibly brought in since that time, on which there has been a decision. After such evidence to pretend to doubt of their revocation with regard to us, would seem to be the result of something more than mere incredulity. With much respect, I am, sir, &c. &c.
(Signed) JONA. RUSSEL.
J. S. Smith, Esquire, Charge d'affaires, London.
Mr. J. S. Smith to the Marquis Wellesley.
The letter which I have the honour to present to your lordship, has been just received by me from Mr. Russel. So full and complete is this document, that I conceive it quite unnecessary to add any comments or remarks of my own. 1 shall, however, have much pleasure in furnishing any other explanations in my power, either verbal or written, that your lordship may desire.
Any doubts that may have existed here of the effectual repeal of the decrees of Berlin and Milan will now, I feel assured, be completely removed; and I feel equally confident that this revocation of the French edicts will be immediately followed by that of the orders in council, which affect the neutral commerce of the United States. I need not assure your lordship of the great satisfaction I shall have in communicating this event to my government.
As the "orders in council" have been ever declared by his majesty's government to be only of a retaliating character, and that they would cease to have any effect when the causes upon which they were founded had ceased to exist, 1 trust that no argument is necessary to show (if your lordship shall feel the force with which the accompanying document unequivocally demonstrates the abandonment, on the part of France, of her decrees) that the " orders in council" should be so revoked as to embrace the American vessels that have been captured by British cruizers since the first of November, the period at which the French edicts were revoked.
I have the honour to subjoin to this the circumstances of the two vessels to which Mr. Russell alludes in his letter.
The Grace Ann Greene had been captured by an English cruizer, was retaken by her own crew, and arrived at Marseilles, where vessel and cargo were, notwithstanding, admitted.
The New Orleans Packet had been boarded by two English cruizers, and had been also at an English port, thus doubly transgressing against the French edicts. She arrived at Bourdeaux, was seized by the director of the customs for these very transgressions, but, on the remonstrance of Mr. Russel, was immediately released,and has been admitted, vessel and cargo. I have the honour, &c.
(Signed) J. S. SMITH.
The most noble, the marquis Wellesley.