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LIST OF AMERICAN VESSELS
Taken by French Privateers, since the lsf of November, 1810, and carried into the fiorts of France.
Mr. Russel to the Duke of Bassano.
I feel it my duty to represent to your excellency, that the American brig Good Intent, from Marblehead, with a cargo of oil, fish, cocoa and staves, bound to Bilboa, was captured in December last by an armed launch in the service of the French government, and carried into Santander. Mr. J. P. Rattier, the consul of his majesty the emperor at that place, has taken possession of the cargo, and sold that part which was perishable, retaining in his hands the proceeds, and placing in depot the articles unsold, until he shall receive the superior orders of his government.
The present flattering appearance that the relations between France and the United States will be preserved on the most amicable footing, encourages me to hope, that the case of the Good Intent, after the long detention that has occurred, will attract the early attention of the French government, and that the property will be restored to the American owner.
I pray your excellency to accept the assurances of my high consideration.
(Signed) JONA. RUSSELL.
His excellency the duke of Bassano,
The object of the letter you have done me the honour to address to me on the 7th of this month, was to remonstrate against the sequestration of the American ship the "Good Intent," which had been carried into St. Andero by a French vessel.
The minister of marine to whom I hastened to write on this subject, has just answered me, that the case is carried before the council of prizes, which is alone competent to decide on the validity of the capture. He adds that it is before that tribunal, that the owners of the Good Intent ought to be prepared to establish their rights, and that he will have no other agency in this affair than to cause to be executed the decision which shall be made. Accept, sir, the assurance of my high consideration.
(Signed) LE DUC DE BASSANO.
Mr. Russell, charge des affaires of the United States.
Mr. Russell to the duke of Bassano.
By the letter which your excellency did me the honour to address to me on the 25th ultimo, I perceive that the minister of marine declines interfering in the case of the American brig the Good Intent, except to enforce the decision which the council of prizes may render.
As the Good Intent was captured bound to a port in the possession of the French armies, by a launch in the service of the French government, 1 had persuaded myself that she would not be treated as a prize, but that she would be restored like the John and the Hare, at Civita Vecchia, without the delay of a formal trial. It was in this expectation, that I omitted to place her on the list of American vessels captured since the 1st of November last, which I had the honour to address to your excellency, in my note of the 11th ultimo. If his majesty the emperor should find it improper, upon being made acquainted with the circumstances of this case, to distinguish it from cases of ordinary capture, I presume there will be no objection to extending to it the benefit of any general decision which may be taken in regard to those mentioned in the list aforesaid.
I pray your excellency to accept the assurance of my high consideration.
(Signed) JONA. RUSSELL.
His excellency the duke of Bassano.
Mr. Russell to the Duke of Bassano.
On examining the list of vessels whose cargoes have been admitted, and which your excellency did me the honour to inclose to me in a note dated the 4th of this month, I have discovered that the schooner Friendship has been omitted.
This vessel, as I am informed, arrived at Bourdeaux on the 6th of December last, with a cargo of coffee, which from long detention has suffered considerable 'damage. As there is no circumstance, within my knowledge, to distinguish the cargo of this vessel from those which have been admitted, I doubt not that her case will be inquired after, and that she will be placed upon the same footing as the others.
I pray your excellency to accept the assurance of my highest consideration.
(Signed) JONA. RUSSELL.
His excellency the Duke of Bassano,
Mr. Russell to the Duke of Bassano.
I conceive it to be my duty to represent to your excellency, that the condition, attached to the admission of American property in France, to export two thirds of the amount in silks, is attended with great inconvenience and loss to the American merchant. Vol. III. Arp. t L
A general requisition to export the neat proceeds of imported cargoes in the produce and manufactures of the French empire! would have been so obviously intended to favour its industry and to prevent any indirect advantage resulting to its enemy by the remittance of exchange, that the right and policy of the measure would have been universally acknowledged. The American merchant, in this case, permitted to select from the various and abundant productions of the arts and agriculture of France, those articles which the habits and tastes of the American people demanded, might freely and advantageously have exercised his commercial skill for the advancement of his interests, and hoped, from the profit on his investments here, to obtain an indemnity for the losses on his outward voyage.
The condition, however, imposed on him to receive two thirds of these investments in a particular article, takes from him the faculty of profiting of his experience and information, cither in bargaining for his purchases or in adapting them to the wants of the market for which they are intended. The holder of this article becomes, by this requisition, the master not only of the price, but of the kind and quality of his merchandise, and his interest will strongly incite him to abuse the power which he feels. He knows full well that the purchaser cannot dispense with this merchandise, and that sooner or later he must accede to the terms on which it is offered. Should, indeed, the American merchant, from his repugnance to invest his funds in an article forced upon him, loaded with the arbitrary exactions of the seller, refuse for a while to receive it, yet, beholding these funds inactive and wasting on his hands, and his vessel perishing in a foreign port, he must eventually yield to-the duress which he suffers.
Such are some of the evils, to which the condition in question will expose the American merchant in this country. In the United States, it will be by him still more severely felt.
The overstock of the article forced by this condition on the market there, exceeding the consumption, must necessarily become a drug; and the American merchant, after having taken it here against his will, and paid for it more than its ordinary value, will be compelled in the United States to keep it on hand, or to sacrifice it for the most it will bring. Thus, alternately obliged to purchase and to sell under unfavourable circumstances, he will have to add to the losses of the outward voyage, the losses on the returns, and the sum of them both may amount to his ruin.
These disasters of the merchant must inevitably impair, if not extinguish the commercial intercourse between the two countries. This intercourse, exposed to unusual perils, and oppressed with unprecedented burdens, has already nothing in the voyage hither to tempt the enterprise of mercantile men; and should it be embarrassed with the restrictions of this condition, rendering the homeward voyage also unprofitable, it must undoubtedly cease. It is in vain to expect the continuance of any branch of trade, which in all its relations, is attended with loss to those who are engaged in it
I have taken the liberty respectfully to submit these observations to your excellency, not without a hope, that a consideration of them may lead to a remedy of the evils which they suggest. I pray your excellency to permit me to renew the assurance, Sec. (Signed) JONA. RUSSELL.
His excellency the Duke of Bassano.
No. 9. [translation.] The minister of foreign relations has the honour to inform Mr. Russell, charge des affaires of the United States, that he will be happy to receive him at any time to day before two o'clock, if it should be convenient to him.
He begs him to accept the assurance of his perfect consideration. Paris, 13/A July, 18U.
Mr. Erving to the Secretary of State.
Having had my audience of his Danish majesty on the 5th instant, on the 6th I addressed to Mr. de Rosenkrantz, minister of state For foreign affairs, a note upon the subject of the American cases generally, then under adjudication, by appeal before the high court of admiralty, and on the 7th, a separate note respecting the cases of capture under British convoy. Copy of those two notes, I A. & B.] and the lists to which they refer, I have the honour herewith to submit. In an interview which I had with the minister on the 8th instant, in the course of conversation he told me, that, as the matter of both those notes was very important, and the latter particularly required a great deal of consideration, he must have them perfectly translated into the Danish language, to be laid before the king; therefore I must not expect very prompt replies; but in the mean time that he was sincerely desirous of doing, and would do every thing in his power to forward our business towards a favourable termination. I suppose that the convoy question may be referred to his majesty's chancery, which is the highest tribunal, and that by which the king is accustomed to declare his will in matters which he does not submit to, or chuses to take out of, the ordinary course of proceedings.
Having now fully informed myself of the business intrusted to me, it is with very great satisfaction that I find myself authorized to state to you, that the evils which our commerce has suffered