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Report of the Embargo Committee. AFTER a period of 15 years of peace hardly interrupted by transient hostilities, and of prosperity unparalleled in the history of nations; the United States are, for the first time since the treaty which terminated the revolutionary war, placed in a situation equally difficult, critical and dangerous.— Those principles recognized by the civili

subject of mandamus, I will only observe that, in the only instance which has taken place, the court, supposing they had jurisdiction, could not, from the manner in which the question was brought before them, having decided otherwise than they did, but that it is desirable that the question of jurisdiction, as it relates either to the courts in whom the power ought to be vested, or to the courts to which it should|zed world under the name of Law of Naextend, should be precisely defined by tions, which heretofore controuled belligelaw. I have not in this communication rent powers, regulated the duties of neutaken into consideration the technical de- trals, and protected their rights, are now a fects of the existing embargo laws, because vowedly disregarded or forgotten by Great prosecutions do not fall within my imme- Britain and France. Each of those two na❤ diate cognizance, and I do not feel com- tions captures and condemns all American petent to the task of pointing out the ne- vessels trading with her enemies or her cessary alterations. Measures have how- enemy's allies, and every European power ever been taken to procure on that subject having become a party in the contest, the and from the proper sources, information whole of our commerce with Europe and which will hereafter be laid before the European colonies, becomes liable to capcommittee. To the remaining enquiry of ture by either one or the other. If there be the committee, whether the inconveniences any nominal exception, it is made on a of the present system may not in some de- condition of tribute, which only adds ingree be removed, I can only answer, gene- sult to the injury.-The only plea urged in rally, that a law which lays such extensive justification of those hostilities, is that of restrictions as the embargo, cannot be car- retaliation, grounded on a presumed acquiried into effect without imposing serious escence of the United States in previous inconveniencies even on the domestic in- aggressions by the other party. Waving tercourse of the United States; and that a discussion of the correctness of the printhese must necessarily be increased in ciple of retaliation, a principle doubtful in proportion to the opposition and efforts to itself and altogether inadmisisble to the evade or violate the law. It has already extent to which it has been carried, and been stated that provisions which will when operating on the neutral rather than render the bond given by coasting vessels on the enemy: it is altogether untrue that a complete security against violations of the United States have voluntarily acquiesthem, will diminish the necessity and ex- ced in the unlawful aggressions of either natent of more arbitrary restrictions. An tion; omitted or delayed any measures calauthority to permit on proper security culated to obtain redress, or in any respect being given such vessels when they arrive deviated from that impartiality to which in port, to keep their cargoes on board, they were bound by their neutrality. would afford some relief. And I think France has alluded to the violations of the that the credit on duties accruing on the national flag, and of the sovereignty of importation of some articles which was the United States, in the instances of allowed by the act of 10th March last, Pierce's murder, of the outrage on the Cheshould be extended to all importations of sapeake, and of the destruction of the Imthe same articles made after the passing of petuous. The measures taken to obtain rethe act, those made in vessels which sailed dress in those cases are of public notoriety, under special permission only excepted. and it may be added, that with the excepWith respect to this last class of importa- tion of the last, those aggressions on the tions, as they were permitted by special sovereignty of the United States did not indulgence, as it is understood that it has affect their neutrality, and gave no right to been impossible in many cases to prevent France either of complaint or interference, its being abused, and as in almost all the Setting aside irregularities of less impor parties having a species of exclusive privi-tance, and equally chargeable to both nalege, have made sufficiently profitable tions, such as the British order of June voyages, the propriety, particularly in the 1803, and the decree of the French geneexisting situation of the revenue, of allow-ral Ferrand; the principal violations by ing them also the advantages of an extend- England of the neutral rights of America, ed credit on duties, is not perceived. prior to the Berlin decree of November

jesty might probably be compelled, however reluctantly, to retaliate in his just defence, &c." The two requisites necessary in the opinion of Great Britain to justify retaliation, are stated to be the execution of the decree, and the acquiescence of neutral nations. Yet, within eight days after, and in the face of that Declaration, without waiting for ascertaining either of those facts, the retaliating British order of January 7, 1807, was issued, which, contrary to the acknowledged law of nations, subjected to capture, vessels of the United States sailing from the port of one belligerent to a

1806, and which if acquiesced in might ing stated that" they could not believe have given grounds of complaint to France, that the enemy would ever seriously atare the capture of American vessels laden tempt to enforce such a system," the folwith colonial produce, founded on a renew-lowing declaration is expressly made, "If, al of that pretended principle generally however, the enemy should carry these called the Rule of 1756," the impress- threats into execution, and if neutral nament of American seamen, compelled tions, contrary to all expectation, should thereby to become the auxiliaries of Eng-acquiesce in such usurpations, his Maland against France, and proclamation of nominal blockades, particularly that of the coast from the river Elbe to Brest notified in May 1806.-It will not be asserted that the United States have ever tamely acquiesced in either of those pretensions. It will not be denied, that with respect to the two first, the most strenuous efforts were incessantly made to procure an alteration of the British system. It is true that to the nominal proclamation blockades of England, the United States had opposed only spirited and repeated remonstrances, and that these had not always been successful. But the measures which a neutral nation may be suppos-port of another belligerent.-The United ed bound to take against the infractions of its neutrality, must always bear a certain proportion to the extent and nature of the injury received, and to the means of opposition. It cannot certainly be pretended that a hasty resort to war, should in every such instance have become the duty of America. Nor can the irregularities of England, in declaring in a state of blockade, a certain extent of coast, part of which was not and the whole of which could not, even by her powerful navy, be actually invested and blockaded, be pleaded in justification of that decree, by which France, without an efficient fleet, pretends to announce the blockade of the dominions of a power which has the incontestible command of the sea, and before no port of which she can station a single vessel.-The Milan decree of 1807 can still less rest for its defence on the supposed acquiescence of the United States in the British orders of the preceding month, since those orders which have not certainly been acquiesced in, were not even known in America at the date of the decree. And it is proper here to add, that the French have, particularly by the sequestration of certain vessels in their ports, and by burning our ships on the high seas, gone even beyond the tenor of their own extraordinary edicts.-The allegation of an acquiescence in the Berlin decree of November 1806, by which alone the British government pretends to justify the orders in council, is equally unfounded. In the note on that subject addressed on the 31st Dec. 1806, by the British government to the American ministers, after hav

States in the mean while and without delay,
had taken the necessary steps to ascertain
the manner in which the French govern-
ment intended to execute their decree.--
That decree might be construed merely
as a municipal law forbidding the introduc-
tion of British merchandize, and the ad-
mission of vessels coming from England.
Under that aspect, and if confined to that
object, the neutral rights of America were
not affected by its operation. A belli-
gerent may, without any infraction of neu-
tral rights, forbid the admission into his
ports of any vessel coming from the ports
of his enemy. And France had undoubt-
edly the same right to exclude from her
dominions every species of British mer-
chandize, which the United States have
exercised in forbidding the importation of
certain species. Great Britain might be
injured by such regulations: but America
had no more right to complain of that part
of the decree, than France had to object
to the American Non-importation Act. So
far indeed as respects the United States,
they were placed by the municipal part of
the decree in the same situation, in relation
to France, in which they are placed in
their intercourse with Great Britain by the
permanent laws of that country.
French decree forbids American vessels to
import British merchandize into France.
The British Navigation Act forbids Ameri-
can vessels to import French merchandize
into England. But that broad cla
the Berlin decree which declared the Bri-
tish islands in a state of blockade, though
not followed by regulations to that ef


merchandize of English growth or manufacture.-An immediate explanation having been asked from the French minister of foreign relations, he confirmed, in his answer of the 7th of October, 1807, the determination of his government to adopt that construction. Its first application took place on the 10th of the same month, in the case of the Horizon, of which the

of De

formed until the month of November; and
on the 12th of that month, he presented a
spirited remonstrance against that infrac-
tion of the neutral rights of the United
States. He had, in the meanwhile, trans-
mitted to America the instruction to the
council of prizes of the 18th of September.
This was received on the
cember: and a copy of the decision in the
case of the Horizon, having at the same
time reached government, the president, a-
ware of the consequences which would fol-
low that new state of things, communicated
immediately to Congress the alteration of
the French decrees, and recommended
the embargo, which was accordingly laid
on the 22d of December, 1807; at which

fect, still threatened an intended operation on the high seas. This if carried into effect, would be a flagrant violation of the neutral rights of the United States, and as such they would be bound to oppose it. The minister of the United States at Paris immediately applied for explanation on that subject; and the French minister of marine, on the 24th Dec. 1806, seven days before the date of the above-minister of the United States was not inmentioned note of the British government, stated in answer, that the decree made no alteration in the regulations then observed in France with regard to neutral navigation, or to the commercial convention of the United States with France. That the declaration of the British islands being in a state of blockade, did not change the existing French laws concerning maritime captures, and that American vessels could not be taken at sea for the mere reason of their being going to or returning from an English port. The execution of the decree comported for several months with those explanations; several vessels were arrested for having introduced articles of English growth or manufacture, and among them some which being actually from Eng-time it was well understood, in this counland, and laden with English colonial pro- try, that the British orders in council of duce, had entered with forged papers as if November preceding had issued, although coming from the United States. But no they were not officially communicated to alteration of the first construction given by our government.-On the 11th of that the French government took place until the month, those orders did actually issue, demonth of September, 1807. The first con- claring that all the ports of France, of her demnation on the principle that the decree Allies, and of any other country at war subjected neutral vessels to capture on the with England, and all other ports of Europe, high seas, was that of the Horizon, on the from which, although not at war with Eng10th of October following.-Prior to that land, the British flag was excluded, should time there could have been no acquiescence thenceforth be considered as if the same in a decree infringing the neutral rights of were actually blockaded—that all trade in the United States, because till that time it articles of the produce or manufacture of was explained, and what was more impor- the said countries should be deemed untant, executed in such a manner as not to lawful; and that every vessel trading from infringe those rights, because until then or to the said countries, together with all no such infraction had taken place. The goods and merchandize on board, and ministers of the United States at London, also all articles of the produce or manuat the request of the British minister, com- facture of the said countries, should be municated to him on the 18th of October, liable to capture and condemnation— 1807, the substance of the explanations reThese orders cannot be defended on the ceived, and of the manner in which the de- ground of their being intended as retalicree was executed. For they were at that ating on account of the Berlin decree, time ignorant of the change which had ta- as construed, and uniformly executed ken place. It was on the 18th of Septem- from its date to the 18th of September ber, 1807, that a new construction of the 1807, its construction and execution having decree took place; an instruction having till then infringed no neutral rights. For on that day been transmitted to the coun- certainly, the monstrous doctrine will not cil of prizes by the minister of justice, by be asserted, even by the British governwhich that court was informed, that Frenchment, that neutral nations are bound to armed vessels were authorized, under that decree, to seize, without exception, in neutral vessels, either English property or

resist not only the acts of belligerent powers which violate their rights, but also those municipal regulations, which, how

ever they may injure the enemy, are lawful and do not affect the legitimate rights of the neutral. The only retaliation to be used in such cases, must be such as will operate on the enemy without infringing the rights of the neutral. If solely intended as a retaliation on the Berlin decree, as executed prior to the month of September, the British orders in council should have been confined to forbidding the introduction into Great Britain, of French or enemy's merchandize, and the admission into British ports of neutral vessels, coming from a French or other enemy's port. Indeed, the ground of retaliation on account of any culpable acquiescence of neutrals in decrees, violating their rights, is abandoned by the very tenor of the orders; their operation being extended to those countries from which the British flag was excluded, such as Austria, although such countries were neither at war with Great Britain, nor had passed any decree in any way affecting or connected with neutral rights. Nor are the orders justifiable on the pretence of an acquiescence on the part of the United States, in the French decree as construed and executed subsequent to the 18th Sept. 1807, when it became an evident infraction of their rights, and such as they were bound to oppose. For their minister at Paris immediately made the necessary remonstrances, and the orders were issued not only without having ascertained whether the United States would acquiesce in the injurious alteration of the French decree, but more than one month before that alteration was known in America. It may even be asserted that the alteration was not known in England when the orders in council were issued; the instruction of the 18th September, 1807,which gave the new and injurious construction, not having been promulgated in France, and its first publication having been made in December, 1807, and by the American government itself. The British orders in council are, therefore, unjustifiable on the principle of retaliation, even giving to that principle all the latitude which has ever been avowedly contended for.-They are in open violation of the solemn declaration made by the British ministers in December, 1806; that retaliation on the part of Great Britain would depend on the execution of an unlawful decree, and on the acquiescence of neutral nations in such infraction of their rights. And they were also issued, notwithstanding the official communication made by the ministers of the United States,

that the French decree was construed and executed so as not to infringe their neutral rights, and without any previous notice or intimation, denying the correctness of that statement.-The Berlin Decree as expounded and executed subsequent to the 18th September, 1807, and the British orders in council of the 11th November ensuing, are, therefore, as they affect the United States, cotemporaneous aggressions of the belligerent powers, equally unprovoked and equally indefensible on the presumed ground of acquiescence. These, together with the Milan decree of December, 1807, which filled the measure, would on the principle of self-defence have justified immediate hostilities against both nations on the part of the United States. They thought it more eligible in the first instance by withdrawing their vessels from the ocean, to avoid war, at least, for a season, and at the same time, to snatch their immense and defenceless commerce from impending destruction.-Another appeal has in the mean time been made, under the authority vested in the President for that purpose, to the justice and true interests of France and England. The propositions made by the United States and the arguments urged by their ministers are before Congress. By these, the very pretext of the illegal edicts was removed, and it is evident that a revocation by either nation on the ground on which it was asked, either must have produced, what both pretended to have in view, a restoration of the freedom of commerce, and of the acknowledged principles of the law of nations; or in case of refusal by the other belligerent, would have carried into effect, in the most efficient manner, the ostensible object of the edicts, and made the United States a party in the war against him. The effort has been ineffectual. The propositions have been actually rejected by one of the Belligerent powers, and remain unanswered by the other. In that state of things, what course ought the United States to pursue? Your committee can perceive no other alternative, but abject and degrading submission; war with both nations; or a continuance and enforcement of the present suspension of commerce. The first cannot require any discussion. But the pressure of the embargo, so sensibly felt, and the calamities inseparable from a state of war, naturally create a wish that some middle course might be discovered, which should avoid the evils of both, and not be inconsistent with national honour and independance. That illusion must be dissipated; and it is

necessary that the people of the United States should fully understand the situation in which they are placed-There is no other alternative, but war with both nations, or a continuance of the present system. For war with one of the belligerents only would be submission to the edicts and will of the other; and a repeal in whole or in part of the embargo must necessarily be war or submission.—A general repeal without arming, would be submission to both nations. A general repeal and arming of our merchant vessels, would be war with both, and war of the worst kind, suffering the enemies to plunder us without retaliation upon them.-A partial repeal must, from the situation of Europe, necessarily be actual submission to one of the aggres-ket with the consumer. But the proposition sors, and war with the other.-The last can only be defended on the ground that position, is the only one on which there France is the only agressor, and, that can be any doubt; and it will be most having no just reason to complain of Engsatisfactorily demonstrated by selecting land, it is our duty to submit to her orders. amongst the several modifications, which On that inadmissible supposition, it would might be suggested, which that may on not only be more candid, but also more first view appear the least exceptionable; dignified, as well as a more advantageous a proposition to repeal the embargo, so far course, openly to join England, and to only as relates to those powers, which make war against France. The object have not or do not execute any decrees would be clearly understood, an Ally injurious to the neutral rights of the United would be obtained, and the meanness of States. It is said that the adoption of that submission might be better palliated.-It proposition would restore our commerce appears unnecessary to pursue any further with the native powers of Asia and Africa, the examination of propositions, which the and with Spain, Portugal, Sweden and Rus- difficult situation of the United States could sia. Let this be taken for granted, al- alone have suggested, and which will though the precise line of conduct now prove more inadmissible, or impracticapursued by most of those nations, in rela- ble, as the subject is more thoroughly lation to the United States, is not correct-investigated. The alternative is painful; ly ascertained. So far as relates to any advantages which would result from that measure, if confined to its ostensible object, it will be sufficient to observe, that the exports of articles of the domestic produce of the United States, during the year ending the 30th September 1807, amounted to 43,700,000, and that the portion exported to the countries above enumerated falls short of seven millions; an amount to inconsiderable, when compared with the bulk of our exports, to deserve attenton, even if a question affecting the indeEndence of the nation was to be decided by considerations of immediate profit. hut the true effect of the proposition would e to open an indirect trade with Great Iritain, which, through St. Bartholomew ad Havannah, Lisbon, Cadiz or Gottenurg, would receive, at prices reduced by dutted markets, and for want of competion, all the provisions, naval stores, raw raterials for her manufactures, and other

she would be satisfied with that favourable state of things, or whether, considering that boon as a pledge of unqualified. submission, she would, according to the tenor of her orders, interrupt our scanty commerce with Russia, and occasionally under some new pretext, captare rather than purchase the cargoes intended for her own use, is equally uncertain and unimportant. Nor can it be doubted that a measure which would supply, exclusively, one of the belligerents, would be war with the other. Considered merely as a question of profit, it would be much more eligible, at once to raise the embargo in relation to Great Britain, as we would then, at least, have the advantages of a direct mar

aticles which she may want. Whether

it is between a continual suspension of commerce and war with both England and France. But the choice must ultimately be made between the two; and it is inportant that we should be prepared for either the one or the other.-The aggressions of England and France, collectively affecting almost the whole of our commerce, and persisted in, notwithstanding repeated remonstrances, explanations, and propositions the most candid and unexceptionable, are to all intents and purposes, a maritime war waged by both nations against the United States. It cannot be denied, that the ultimate and only effectual mode of resisting that warfare, if persisted in, is war. A permanent suspension of commerce, after repeated and unavailing efforts to obtain peace, would not properly be resistance: it would be withdrawing from the contest, and abandoning our indisputable right freely to navigate the ocean. The present settled state of the world, the extraordina y situation in which

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