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the annulment of the belligerent edicts against our lawful commerce, by cancelling the spurious blockade of May, 1806, (the first in the series) it became a duty, particularly incumbent upon us, to press the other expesiment held out in the late act of congress, another copy of which is herewith sent. You will accordingly make that act, and the disposition of the President to give it effect, the subject of a formal communication.
The British goverament ought not to be insensible of the tendency of superadding, to a refusal of the course proposed by France, for mutually abolishing the predatory edicts, a refusal of the invitation held out by congress, and it ought to find in that consideration a sufficient induce, ment to a prompt and cordial concurrence. The British government must be conscious also of its having repeatedly stated, that the acquiescence by the United States in the decrees of France, was the only justification of its orders against our neutral commerce. The sincerity and consistency of Great Britain being now brought to the test, an opportunity is afforded to evince the existence of both. It may be added, that the form in which it is prescribed is as conciliatory as the proposal is itself unex. ceptionable.
As the act of congress, repealing the late restrictions on the commerce of the United States with the two belligerents, must be unequal in its operation, in case Great Britain should continue to interrupt it with France, inasmuch as France is unable to interrupt it materially with her, the British government may feel a temptation to decline a course which might put an. end to this advantage. But if the unworthiness and unfriendliness of such a purpose should not divert her from it, she ought not to overlook either the opportunity afforded her enemy of retorting the inequality, by a previous compliance with the act of congress, or the necessity to which the United States may be driven, by such an abuse of their amicable advances, to resume, under new impressions, the subject of their foreign relations.
If the British government should be disposed to meet in a favourable manner the arrangement tendered, and should ask for explanations, as to the extent of the repeal of the French decrees which will be required, your answer will be as obvious as it must be satisfactory. The repeal muts embrace every part of the French decrees which violate the neutral righes guaranteed to us by the law of nations. Whatever parts of the decree. may not have this effect, as we have no right, as a neutral nation, to demand a recal of them, Great Britain can have no pretext, as a belligerent nation, to urge the demand. If there be part of the decrees liable to objections of another kind, it lies with the United States alone to decide on the mode of proceeding with respect to them. .
In explaining the extent of the repeal, which, on the British side, is required, you will be guided by the saine principle. You will accordingly, let it be distinctly understood, that it must necessarily include an annulment of the blockade of May, 1806, which has been avowed to be coinprehended in, and identified with the orders in council, and which is palpably at variance with the law of nations. This is the explanation which will be given to the French government on this point by our minister at Paris, in case it should there be required.
But there are plain and powerful reasons why the British government ought to revoke every other blockade, resting on proclamations or diplo. matic notifications, and not on the actual application of a naval force adequate to a real blockade.
ist. This comprehensive redress is equally due from the British government to its professed respect for the law of nations, and to the just claiins of a friendly power.
2d. Without 2d. Without this enlightened precaution, it is probable, and may indeed be inferred from the letter of the Duke of Cadore to General Armstiong, that the French government will draw Great Britain and the United States to issue on the legality of such blockades, by acceding to the act of congress, with a condition, that a repeal of the blockades shall accompany a repeal of the orders in council, alleging, that the orders and blockades, differing little, if at all, otherwise than in name, a repeal of the former, leaving in operation the latter, would be a mere illusjon.
3d. If it were even to happen, that a mutual repeal of the orders and decrees could be brought about witbout involving the subject of blockades, and with a continuance of the blockades in operation, how could the United States be expected to forbear an immediate call for their annulment? or how long would it probably be before an appeal by France to the neutral law of inpartiality would bring up the same question between the United States and Great Britain and from whatever circumstances the issue on it may arise, the impossibility of maintaining the British side, with even a colour of right or consistency, may be seen in the view taken of the subject, in the correspondence with Mr. Thornton and Mr. Merry, already in your hands.
If the British government should accede to the overture, contained in the act of congress, by repealing or so modifying its edicts as that they will cease to violate our neutral rights, you will transmit the repeal, properly authenticated, to General Armstrong, and if necessary by a special mes senger, and you will hasten to transmit it also to this department.
With great respect, &c. &c. (Signed)
Mr. Pinkney to Lord Wellesley.
Great Cumberland Place, July 7, 1810. In pursuance of the conversation which I had the honour to bold with your Lordship on the 6th instant, I take the liberty to request information, which I am sure will be readily given, concerning the intention of his majesty's government to send a minister plenipotentiary to the United States, as the suceessor of Mr. Jackson.
I have no doubt that it is intended to send such a successor without delay, as one of the means of restoring and maintaining the friendly relations of the two countries; but I shall, nevertheless, be glad to be authorized by your Lordship to make a communication to that effect to my government.
I have the honour to be, &c. &c. (Signed)
WM. PINKNEY. The most Noble the Marquis Wellesley, &c. &c. &c. i
Apsley House, July 22, 1810. I think it may be difficult to enter upon the subject of your last note (respecting the diplomatic rank of our minister in America) in any official form.
But I have no difficulty in assuring you that it is my intention immediately to recommend the appointment of an envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary from the King to the United States,
I have the honour to be, with great respect and esteem, Sir, your most obedient humble servant, Wm. Pinkney, Esq. &c. &c.
Mr. Pinkney to Mr. Smith.
London, August 14th, 1810. As Lord Wellesley still withholds his long expected answer to my note of the 30th of April, respecting the British blockades anterior to the Berlin decree, and his written overture in the case of the Chesapeake, I sent him on the 8th instant a letter of which a copy is inclosed. No opportunity bad before been spared which it became me to use.
I need not trouble you with comments on the obvious unwillingness of this government to touch the first mentioned subject, or any thing connected with its principles and practice respecting blockades, or with the system of the orders in conncil. Justice and policy both invite it to give the declaration which I have required; and certainly nothing has been omitted on my part to induce it to take that course. I fear, however, that the declaration will be declined, unless indeed Lord Wellesley should continue to evade my application by returning po answer to it; a new practice, I think, which, little to be commended as it is, must, I presume, if persisted in here, be reciprocated in America.
It is truly surprising that in the case of the Chesapeake there should be some backwardness. I can conjecture no motive for this hesitation to propose, in writing, terms arranged in conference between Lord Wellesley and myself in an affair which it is the manifest interest of England to settle as soon as possible. It is now almost six weeks since Lord Wellesley last assured me (as he had before more than once assured me) that he would put me in possession of his formal overture in this case immediately. He knows that you have been made officially acquainted with that assurance ; for I thought it advisable to submit to his perusal, before it was transmitted (for the purpose principally of avoiding misunderstandings) my short letter to you of the 6th of last month, which states that in the business of the Chesapeake he will write to me in a few days,' and further, teat in that business • I do not expect any difficulty.'
There can be no misconception as to the terms to be offered : for, besides that they were stated with great precision in the conference alluded to in my letter to you of the 6th ultimo, as well as in several antecedent interviews, I wrote Lord Wellesley the day after that conference a private note, of which a copy is now transmitted, inclosing a memorandum in pencil of the terms (exclusive of any further mark of displeasure to Admiral Berkeley, very decidedly encouraged by Lord Wellesley) had been spoken of in our different conversations as fit to be proposed. I do not find that I retained any copy of the memorandum in pencil; but the terms (agreeing in substance with those to which I ivformed you in my letter of the 13th of June last, Lord Wellesley had no objection) were to this effect. * 1. The overture to contain such a recital or statement, as is found in Mr. Erskine's letter to you of the 17th of April, 1809, of the prompt disavowal by his Britannic majesty of the unauthorized act of his naval officers, whose recal, as a mark of the King's displeasure, from a highly important and honourable command, immediately ensued.
2. To offer, without any reservation, the restoration of the men to the ship from which they were forcibly taken. 3. To offer, without any reservation, and as a part of the terms of the
international adjustment, a suitable pecuniary provision for the families of the persons slain in the attack, and for the wounded survivors.
It was moreover understood, that the paper proffering these terms would not contain the allusions which have heretofore occasioned embarrassinent; that the whole affair would be made to take the most friendly character, and that I should be at liberty to express in my reply to the overture, if I thought fit, the expectation of my government as to the farther pupishment of Admiral Berkeley.
I ought to add that, in all my conversations with Lord Wellesley on the case of the Chesapeake, he has shown not only a disposition but a wish to accommodate, and that I am therefore the more astonished at the delay which has taken place.
In a few davs I intend to renew my efforts to bring this matter to a conclusion, and to obtain an answer of some sort to my letter of the 30th of April. I am sufficiently inclined to present a strong paper upon both subjects, but in the actual posture of affairs, and in the absence of such instructions from you as would countenance such a step, I think it my duty to forbear a little longer.
It is not impossible that Lord Wellesley's backwardness to close the case of the Chesapeake with me, may arise from a desire that it should be adjusted in America through the new minister. If this were so, however, he could have no inducement to conceal it from me, since he is aware that I have always entertained the same desire. When I see him I will advert to this. I am not yet able to say positively who the new minister will be. Lord
and some others are spoken of. Lord Wellesley has given me no other written information on the subject than is contained in his letter of the 22d ultimo, already communicated to you. His verbal information has been to the same effect, with this addition, that he retained his opinion (mentioned in my unofficial letter to you of the 4th of January last) that the minister to America ought to be a man of rank. As far as may be prudent I shall not fail to do all in my power to expedite the appointment.
The letter from General Armstrong, to which my letter of the 8th instant to Lord Wellesley alludes, is dated the 24th of July; and expresses his high wish that the declaration of the British government concerning the blockades may be obtained and forwarded without delay.
I have the honour to be, &c. &c. (Signed)
* WM. PINKNEY. · The Hon. Rob. Smith, &c. &c. &c.
Mr. Pinkney to Mr. Smith.
London, August 29, 1810. I dined yesterday with Lord Wellesley, and found that he had only returned to town in the morning. He still complained of indisposition; but it certainly could not be considered as unfitting him for business. In a short conversation before dinner, he told me that my note respecting the Berlin and Milan decrees should be mentioned to his colleagues to-day, and that I should have an immediate answer; that the affair of the Chesapeake' would be settled to my satisfaction, that he believed he should recommend to the king the appointment of a minister plenipotentiary to the United States, either this week or the next: that he had two persons in his eye, (both men of high rank) but that he could not with propriety name them to me at present. As far as the opportunity permitted, I urged promptitude on all these
subjects as indispensable, and expressed my confidence that they would be disposed of in season for the approaching meeting of congress.
"You perceive that notwithstanding past promises nothing has yet been done; and that there is no security that we shall have any thing but promises. I am truly disgusted with this, and would, if I followed my own inclination, put a speedy end to it. It is better, however, to do nothing of an irritating nature until this government has had full time for acting upon my note of the 25th. Even if it should decline to repeal the orders in council (which I am told is quite possible) a moderate course on my part will have the recommendation of putting it more clearly in the wrong. If it should decline to repeal, the President may be assured that I will not fail to present such a paper as conduct so extraordinary will demand, and, if further delays are effected, that I will remonstrate in very decided terms.
I have the honour to be, &c. &c. (Signed)
WM. PINKNEY. ,
Mr. Pinkney to Lord Wellesley. MY LORD,
Great Cunaberland Place, August 25, 1810. I have the honour to state to your Lordship, that I have received from General Armstrong, minister plenipotentiary of the United States at Paris, á letter bearing date the 6th instant, in which he informs ine that the government of France has revoked the decrees of Berlin and Milan, and that he has received a written and official notice of that fact in the following words: « Je suis autorisé à vous déclarer, monsieur, que les décrets de Berlin et de Milan sont révoqués, et, qu' a dater du 1er Novembre, ils cesseront d'avoir leur effet.'
I take for granted that the revocation of the British orders in council of January and November, 1807, and April, 1809, and of all other orders, dependant upon, analogous to, or in execution of them, will follow of course; and I shall hope to be enabled by your Lordship, with as little delay as possible, to announce to my government that such revocation has taken place. I have the honour to be, &c. &c. (Signed)
WM. PINKNEY. The most Noble the Marquis Wellesley, &c. &c. &c.
Lord Wellesley to Mr. Pinkney, in reply to the foregoing.
Foreign Office, August 31st, 1810. I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your letter under date of the 25th instant.
On the 23d of February, 1808, his majesty's minister in America, de. • clared to the government of the United States—' his majesty's earnest desire to see the commerce of the world restored to that freedom which is necessary for its prosperity, and his readiness to abandon the system which has been forced upon him, whenever the enemy should retract the principles which had rendered it necessary.'
I am commanded by his majesty to repeat that declaration, and to assure you that whenever the repeal of the French decrees shall have actually taken effect, and the commerce of neutral nations shall have been restored to the condition in which it stood previously to the promulgation of those decrees, his majesty will feel the highest satisfaction in relinquishing a system which the conduct of the enemy compelled him to adopt.