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the list of admitted vessels, I caused inquiry to be made at the customhouse concerning the cause of this omission. It was stated that her papers had been mislaid, but that search was making for them, and that, when found, a report would immediately be made. I waited for this report until the 18th of May, but finding it had not been made, I conceived it might be useful, in order to accelerate it, and to render complete the admission of the entire class to which this case belonged, to attract towards the Friendship the attention of the minister of foreign relations. With this view, I presented to him my note [No. 7 J of that date.
Having reflected much on the condition, attached to the admission of the American cargoes, to export two thirds of the proceeds in silks, and being persuaded that the tendency of this restriction, added to the dangers of a vigilant blockade, and to the exactions of an excessive tariff, was to annihiliate all commercial intercourse between the two countries. I believed it would not be improper for me to offer to this government a few remarks on the subject. This I was the more inclined to do, as it was to be apprehended that this condition was not imposed as an expedient, for temporary purposes only, but that it was intended to be continued as the essential part of a permanent system. In a note, therefore, of the 10th of June, [No. 8] I suggested to the duke of Bassano the evils which might be expected naturally to result from the operation of this restriction on exports. It is indeed apparent, that a trade that has to run the gauntlet of a British blockade, and is crushed with extravagant duties inwards, and shackled with this singular restriction outwards, cannot continue.
On the 15th of June, Mr. Hamilton, of the John Adams, reached Paris, and informed me that this vessel had arrived at Cherbourg. Unwilling to close my despatches by her, without being able to communicate something of a more definite and satisfactory character, than any thing which had hitherto transpired, I immediately called at the office of foreign relations, but the minister being at St. Cloud, I was obliged to postpone the interview which I sought, until the Tuesday following. At this interview I stated to him the arrival of the frigate, and my solicitude to transmit by her to the United States, some act of his government, justifying the expectation with which the important law which she had brought hither, had undoubtedly been passed. I urged particularly a reply to my note of the 11th of May, relative to the captured vessels, and observed, that although the mere pecuniary value of this property might not be great, yet in a political point of view, its immediate liberation was of the utmost consequence. I intimated to him at the same time, that my anxiety was such to communicate by the John Adams, a decision on these captures to the American government, that I should detain this vessel until I had received it. He replied that his sentiments accorded perfectly with mine in this matter; and ascribed the delay which had taken place to the same causes as I hare assigned. He assured mc, however, that he would immediately occupy himself again with this business, and unless a council of commerce should be holden within a few days, he would make a special report to the emperor, and endeavour to obtain a decision from him in person. He approved my intention of detaining the frigate, and engaged to do whatever might depend on him, to enable me to despatch her with satisfaction. He added that he had already made inquiries of the competent authorities, concerning the Good Intent and the Friendship, and that when their reports should be received, he would do whatever the circumstances of the cases might warrant.
I now suggested to him the evils which resulted to our commercial intercourse with France, from the great uncertainty which attended it, owing to the total want on their part of clear and general regulations. After making a few observations in explanation of this remark, I requested to know if he would have any communication to make to me on the subject previous to the sailing of the John Adams. I was lead to make this inquiry from information which I had indirectly obtained, that several resolutions for the regulation of our trade, had been definitively decreed. He replied that no such communication would be made here, but that Mr. Serrurier would be fully instructed on this head. The resolutions just mentioned, as far as I have learnt, are, to admit the produce of the United States (except sugar) without special permits or licenses; to admit coffee, sugar and other colonial produce, with such permits or licenses, and to prohibit every thing arriving from Great Britain, or places under her control.
He again mentioned the discovery of the regulation of the year twelve, authorizing the certificates of origin for French ports only, or for ports in possession of the French armies, but declared that after the most thorough examination of the archives of his department, no document or record had been found permitting these certificates to be granted for the ports of neutral or allied powers. He again, however, professed a favourable disposition towards our negotiations in Denmark, and said, "le succes de la mission de Mons. Erving s'accorderait parfaitement avec nos sentimens, et ne contrairerait nullement notre politique."
With the view above stated, I detained the John Adams until the 9th instant. I had from lime to time, in the mean while, informed myself of the proceeding with regard to the captured vessels, and ascertained that in fact, the duke of Bassano had made a report in relation to them. The emperor it appears, however, still wished for the decision of his council of commerce, and the report was laid before them on the 1 st of this month, being the first time they had assembled since the date of my letter of the 1 Hh May. I waited in daily expectation of hearing the result of their deliberations, until the 9th instant, when, conceiving sufficient time had been allowed for receiving it, and not feeling perfectly at my ease under the responsibility I was incurring for the unauthorized detention of the John Adams, I determined to learn from the duke of Bassano, in person, what I might reasonably expect in the matter. I accordingly procured an interview with him on the day last mentioned. I reminded him of what had passed at our conference on the 18th ultimo, and told him that in consequence thereof, 1 had kept the ship, but that I could not with propriety detain her longer, without the evident prospect of obtaining from the French government the release of the captured vessels. He expressed a conviction of the justice of my observations, and assured me that he was in hourly expectation of receiving a decision on the captured cases, and hoped that the John Adams might not be permitted to return without it. I thereupon consented to keep my despatches open until the 13th, assuring him that I could not take upon myself to protract the detention of the John Adams beyond that period.
On the 13th, about 1 o'clock, I received a note from the duke of Bassano, of which the inclosed (No 9) is a copy. I waited upon him immediately, and was informed that the Two Brothers, the Good Intent, and the Star, three of the captured vessels, had been liberated. He added that no unnecessary delay would be allowed in deciding upon the whole.
I shall despatch Mr. Hamilton -this day, and I shall send with him a messenger to be landed on the other side, who will carry toMr. Smith an account (No. 10*) of what has been done here, lobe used by him as he shall judge proper."
I hasten to announce to you that H. M. the emperor has ordered his minister of finance to authorize the admission of the American cargoes which had been provisionally placed in .deposit on their arrival in France.
I have the honour to send to you a list of vessels to which these cargoes belong; they will have to export the amount of them in national merchandise, of which the two thirds will be in silks.
I have not lost a moment in communicating to you a measure perfectly in accord with the sentiments of union and of friendship which exist between the two powers. Accept, sir, the assurance of my high consideration.
(Signed) DUC DE BASSANO.
Mr. Russell to the Secretary of State.
I had the honour to address to you on the 6th inst. by various ports, several copies of the note of the duke of Bassano to me on
* See the letter from Mr. Russell to Mr. Smith, charge d'affaires, &C. kcdated the 14th July, inclosed in Mr. Monroe's letter of 17th October, to Mr. Foster.
the 4th, containing a list of the vessels, the admission of whose cargoes had been authorized by the emperor.
This list comprises all the American vessels which had arrived, without capture, in the ports of France or the kingdom of Italy, since the first of November, and which had not already been admitted, excepting the schooner Friendship.
The papers of the Friendship had been mislaid at the customhouse, and no report of her case made to the emperor.
As the New Orleans Packet and her cargo had been given up on bond in' January last, there can be no longer any question with regard to their admission; but to make their liberation complete, the bond should be cancelled."
All the vessels mentioned in the list, excepting the Grace Ann Greene, had come direct from the United States, without having done or submitted to any known act, which could have subjected them to the operation of the Berlin and Milan decrees, had these decrees continued in force.
The Grace Ann Greene stopped at Gibraltar, remained many days there, and in proceeding thence to Marseilles was captured by an English vessel of war. The captain of the Grace Ann Greene with a few of his people rose upon the British prize-crew, retook his vessel from them and carried her and them into the port to which he was bound.
The captain considered this re-capture of his vessel as an act of resistance to the British orders in council and as exempting his property from the operation of French decrees professedly issued in retaliation of those orders. He likewise made a merit of delivering to this government nine of its enemies to be treated as prisoners of war.
His vessel was liberated in December, and his cargo the beginning of April last, and there is some difficulty in precisely ascertaining whether this liberation was predicated on the general revocation of the Berlin and Milan decrees, or on a special exemption from them owing to the particular circumstances of the case.
It is somewhat singular this vessel was placed on the list of the 4th inst. when she had been liberated and her cargo admitted so long before.
It may not be improper to remark that no American vessel, captured since the 1st of November, has yet been released or had a trial.
These are the explanations which belong to the measure I had the honour to communicate to you on the 6th instant, and may afford some assistance in forming a just appreciation of its extent arid character. I have the honour to be, sir, with great consideration and respect, your most faithful and assured servant.
(Signed) JONA. RUSSELL.
Mr. Jiusidl to the Duke of Bassano.
Paris, 11th May, 1811.
I have the honour to present to your excellency a list of the American vessels which, according to the information I have obtained, have been captured by French privateers since the first of November last, and brought into the ports of France. AH proceedings in relation to these vessels have been suspended in the council of prizes, with the same view, no doubt, as the proceedings in the customhouse had been deferred with regard to those which had arrived voluntarily. The friendly admission of the latter encourages me to hope that such of the former at least as were bound to French ports, or to the ports of the allies of France, or to the United States, especially those in ballast, will be immediately released, and that orders will be given to bring on the trials of the remainder, should such a course be judged indispensable, without any unnecessary delay.
The measure for which I now ask, being in perfect accord with the friendly sentiments which prevail between the two countries, I persuade myself will obtain the early assent of his majesty. I pray your excellency, to accept the assurances of my highest consideration.