페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

here, though very considerable, yet have not been quite so extensive as has been generally believed; and you will learn also with very particular pleasure that the depredations of the Danish privateers, have been discontinued since my arrival. I have prepared lists and statements with a view to place the whole matter before you, in the most particular, and at the same time most distinct and simple form. These will be completed when I have received returns from Norway and from Holstein, respecting the fate of some few of the cases which occurred in the year 1809. In the mean

time I can state the results to be nearly thus:

Captures in 1809, 38

Condemnations in 1809, ..... 12

Captures in Norway in the year 1810, - - 36 Of which are pending in the high court 8, and not one has been finally condemned.

Captures in Holstein, Sleswick and the Danish islands in 1810, - - - - - - - 68

Condemned, - - - - - - - - 22

Pending, 6

Convoy cases, year IS 10, - - - - 18

Condemned, ------ 8

Pending, - 10

Total amount of captures in 1809 and 1810, - - - 160 Total condemnations, 42, of which 16 were vessels which had broken the embargo or non-intercourse, or are otherwise not genuine American cases.

Pending cases, including 10 convoy cases, - - . 24

Tn this year, the only two vessels which reached these seas from the United States previous to my arrival, were taken (in the beginning of April) and condemned in Norway; two others just about the time of my arrival were carried in and are now under trial there; but since the 11th instant, upwards of forty vessels from the United States have passed through the Sound, and gone up the Baltic, and more or less are every day passing without interruption. The papc-* of some few have been slightly examined in the subordinate courttof Elsineur. There have been tried in the lower prize court of this place, and acquitted without delay, two or three, and one of them with damages against the captors, being the first case in which damages have been given at Copenhagen. Pinally, of the 14 cases (not convoy cases) which were pending before the high court on my arrival, four have been acquitted; and though the privateersmen and all concerned with them (and the ramifications of their business are immense) have made every effort to bring on condemnations, yet the tribunal, otherwise perhaps well disposed to proceed, has been steadily held back by the government; and I see the best reason to hope that at least eight of the remaining ten cases will be acquitted. As to the convoy cases my confidence is not so strong, yet even of them I do not despair; the ground on which they stand I am aware is not perfectly solid, yet I did not feel myself authorized to abandon them, and therefore have taken up an argument, which may be difficult, but which I shall go as far as possible in maintaining.

I have had several interviews with Mr. de Rosenkrantz subsequent to that last mentioned, and have acquired additional reasons to hope for the king's perseverance in the change of system which has so happily taken place, but he discourages any expectation of indemnification for the injuries sustained by our commerce under that which now appears to be relinquished. Yesterday he told me very explicitly that against the definitive decisions of the high court I must not hope for any redress; he trusted that for the future we should not have any cause to complain, but for the past there was no remedy. I thought it not opportune to enter much into the matter at that time, and therefore contented myself with some general protestations against his doctrines.

I cannot close this letter without acknowledging the very great services of Mr. Isaachson, our consul at Christiansand; you will observe, sir, in the lists which I shall send to you, that of thirty- six vessels carried into the ports of Norway in the year 1810, only four were condemned in the inferior courts of that district; this has been wholly owing to the unwearied exertions of Mr. Isaachson. He found our people in the most distressed situation; entirely friendless, in the hands of, surrounded by, and ready to be sacrificed to the rapacity of, the privateersmen and their connections; he volunteered in their service, he boldly opposed himself to the host of their oppressors; he made each man's cause his own; he provided for every man's wants; in short, his intrepidity and independence, and disinterestedness of character, his constant zeal and industry, saved them from ruin, and with gratitude very honorable * to themselves, they never cease to praise him.

With the most perfect respect and consideration, I have the honour to be, sir, your most obedient servant,

GEORGE W. ERVING.

To the honorable Secretary of State.

A.

Mr. Erving to Mr. de Rosenkrantz..
SIR, Copenhagen, June 6th, 1811.

It was under the fullest conviction and the strongest sense of the injustice which has prevailed in the sentences of the Danish tribunals on cases of American capture, as well as an anxiety immediately to arrest the course of those excesses on the part of the privateers too much countenanced by such decisions, which are laying waste the property of American citizens, that I ventured on the 31st ult. and on the 2d instant, to request that the proceedings ot the tribunals should be suspended, until having had the honour of presenting my credentials to his majesty, I should be enabled to enter into regular communication with your excellency.

In this first formal address to you upon the subject of the re

clamations with which I am charged, it is incumbent upon me to express the extreme surprise and concern with which my government has seen the property of its innocent citizens, whilst employed in fair and legal commerce, ravaged by the cruizers of a nation between which and the United States the most perfect harmony has always hitherto subsisted, against which they have never heretofore found any cause of dispute or any ground of offence, and to which they felt themselves attached not merely by the ordinary ties of reciprocal good offices, but by a common interest in the defence and preservation of those neutral rights, which have so much contributed to the political importance of Denmark, by which her prosperity has been so greatly promoted, and which formerly foremost amongst nations she has so magnanimously and successfully contended for. But at the same time that I make this reflection so necessary and so obvious, I must also say, that the President retains an entire confidence in the personal good dispositions of his majesty, in his steady adherence to those great and liberal principles and to those just political views which so eminently distinguish his character, and the President assures himself that it is only necessary that his majesty should be made acquainted with the nature and extent of the injuries which the rights of the United States, as a neutral nation, and the property of their citizens, have suffered and are still exposed to, to induce him to apply an immediate and an adequate remedy to the evils complained of. His majesty on his part cannot fail to feel that confidence in the correct views and honorable intentions of the U. States, which their uniform conduct in all their negotiations and transactions with other powers has so justly entitled them to; nor can he be indifferent when the friendly relations and mutual good dispositions which have hitherto so invariably subsisted between the two countries, and which it is so much the interest of each to maintain, are in question.

Animated by the most just and friendly dispositions, the American government, whilst it resists all aggressions on its neutral rights, and will never cease to oppose all violations of the public law which may offend them, solicitously avoids any interference with the rights of others, nor will it admit, under cover of its name and authority, any practices which may have that tendency; it has therefore seen with the most indignant sensibility various instances of the prostitution of its flag by unprincipled adventurers in Europe, and I have it in express command to assure his majesty of its determination to discountenance by all practicable means such proceedings, and of its sincere disposition to co-operate with his majesty in detecting and punishing all similar frauds and impostures.

Your excellency will perceive in the frankness of these observations, and in the loyalty of this declaration, the true character of the American government; they will also I trust strengthen my title to that confidence on the part of his majesty which it is at once my duty and by desire to merit.

i

To carry into effect this twofold purpose of my government; to protect the property of its citizens, and to cast off from any reliance on its protection, those spurious and fraudulent cases, (if any such actually exist) which have injured the character of the American trade and jeopardized the interests of American citizens, I will enter into candid explanations with your excellency upon all the questions which may arise on the cases now pending; so as to establish the bona fide character of the vessels under adjudication, and thus remove from before his majesty every obstacle to that course of justice which he is always desirous to observe, and to a manifestation of the amicable and conciliatory feelings towards the United States which it is confided prevail in his mind.

I have the honour herewith to transmit to your excellency two lists, containing together 28 cases of American capture, being those now actually pending before the supreme court of Admiralty on appeal, or waiting for his majesty's decision. The list No. 1, comprising 12 of the whole number, are "convoy cases," that is, cases in which no question has been raised as to the genuine character of the vessels, but wherein the decision rests upon the clause Md,"ofthe 11th article of the royal instructions of March 10th, 1810, declaring as a cause of condemnation—."the making use of English convoy." I stated to your excellency in conversation, as well as in the note which I took the liberty of addressing to you on the 2d instant, that it would be my duty to object to the principle assumed in that declaration. I trust that I shall be able to show you that it is entirely novel, that it has not any foundation in public law, and that it has not even such sanction as might be supposed derivable from the practice of other nations. Certainly much effort will not be necessary to prove that it is entirely repugnant to the broad ground of neutral right, formerly occupied and firmly maintained by Denmark herself; but upon this point I propose forthwith to address to your excellency a separate note; in the present, I will confine myself to observations on the cases (16 in number) mentioned in the list No. 2.

With respect to the "Egeria," captain Law, I send to your excellency a separate note in reply to that with which you honoured me on the 2d instant. That case must now stand so perfectly clear, that I am sure I need not trouble you with any additional remark on it.

In the two cases, viz. "Nimrod" and "Richmond," the sole objection made is to the French certificates of origin which they had on board; these are presumed to be forgeries, upon a supposition that at the time they bear date, the French consuls in the United States had ceased to issue such certificates. Now the cases must be relieved from that objection, and the question which has been raised upon French certificates of origin be put at rest for ever, by the facts which appear in the correspondence between the secretary of state of the United States and general Turreau the French minister,a copy of which I have herewith the honour toinclose [No,3]. Your excellency will observe that in general Turreau's letter of December 12th, replying to the secretary's letter of November 28th, it is expressly and unequivocally stated that the French consuls in America "had always delivered certificates of origin to American vessels for the ports of France," and had also 44 delivered them to vessels destined to neutral or allied ports" by the authority of the French government; and that it was only by the United States ship " Hornet," which arrived in America on the Wh of November, 1810, that the French consuls received orders to discontinue .the granting of such certificates to vessels bound to other ports than those of France. Your excellency will also perceive in the secretary of state's reply of December 18th how important this explanation was deemed by the president in its application to the vessels of the United States taken by Danish cruizers upon the ground of their having on board such certificates.

Of the thirteen remaining cases in the list No. 2, eight have been acquitted in the subordinate courts of Norway and at Flensburg, and are now depending in the high court on the appeals of the captors; and five have been condemned in the subordinate courts and are now depending in the high court on the appeals of the American masters.

I annex to this note a summary of each class (A and B,) showing the nature of the questions and objections which have arisen upon the several cases, and I do confide, that if your excellency will be pleased to lay it before the king, that his majesty will become immediately sensible to the undue proceedings of his tribunals, and will readily apply his royal authority to administer prompt and efficacious redress for the injuries and vexations which the commerce of the United States and its .citizens are suffering.

I can only add, that in all cases where |any doubt shall arise respecting the authenticity of American documents, I have it fully in my power to establish the truth: and I beg leave to re-assure your excellency that on this point, as on every other, you shall not experience any proceedings on my part, which will not conform to the strict honour and good faith, to the just and liberal sentiments that characterize, and to the friendly and conciliatory dispositions towards his majesty which influence the government which I have the honour to represent. I offer to your excellency, assurances of the very distinguished respect and consideration with which I am always, &c.

G. W. ERVING.

To Mr. de Rosenkrantz.

B.

Mr. Erving to M. de Rosenkrantz.
.SIR, Copenhagen, June 7th, 1811.

With my note of yesterday, I transmitted to your excellency a list [No. l.j of the " convoy cases," twelve in number: the two last in that list are not depending on appeal before the high court, as

« 이전계속 »