Page images

of Martinique and Guadaloupe, of which a Copy was inclosed in a Letter of the 12th of April, 1804, from Mr. Merry to Mr. Madison*, of both of which Letters Copies are herewith transmitted.

The Citizens of The United States complain that they have suffered severely by Captures, in violation of the Rules laid down. with so much fairness and precision in this Communication, and that, where Condemnations have not followed, compensation equivalent to the actual loss has not been and cannot be procured in the ordinary course by any exertions on their part. The pretext for some of these Captures has been the breach of an alleged Blockade of Martinique or Guadaloupe; for others, the breach of an imaginary Blockade of Curaçoa; and for others, the breach of an equally imaginary Blockade of other Ports and Places. In all of these Cases, either the actual investment of the particular Port was wanting, or the Vessel seized for an imputed criminal destination to it had not been warned as required. The just extent of these claims the Undersigned are not able to state, but they presume it cannot be considerable.

modore Hood not to consider any Blockade of those Islands as existing, unless in respect of particular Ports which may be actually invested, and then not to capture Vessels bound to such Ports, unless they shall previously have been warned not to enter them; and that they have also sent the necessary directions on the subject to the Judges of the Vice-Admiralty Courts in the West Indies and America.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

Washington, 12th April, 1804.

MR. THORNTON not having failed to transmit to His Majesty's Government an account of the Representation which you were pleased to address to him under date of 27th October last year, respecting the Blockade of the Islands of Martinique and Guadaloupe, it is with great satisfaction, that I have just received His Majesty's commands, signified to me by his Principal Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, under date of the 6th January last, to communicate to you the Instructions which have, in consequence of your representation, been sent to Commodore Hood, and to the Judges of the Vice-Admiralty Courts in the West Indies.

I have accordingly the honour to transmit to you, Sir, the enclosed Copy of a Letter from Sir Evan Nepean, Secretary to the Board of Admiralty, to Mr. Hammond, His Majesty's Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, specifying the nature of the Instructions which have been given.

His Majesty's Government doubt not that the promptitude which has been manifested in redressing the grievance complained of by the Government of The United States, will be considered by the latter as an additional evidence of His Majesty's constant and sincere desire to remove any ground of misunderstanding that could have a tendency to interrupt the harmony which so happily subsists

between his Government and that of The United States.

I have the honour to be, &c.,

The Secretary of State of The United States.


The only remaining Claims which are reducible to any precise class, are those which relate to Captures within the Territorial jurisdiction of The United States. Of these, as well as of some others of a miscellaneous nature, which the Undersigned have not at present the means of describing distinctly to Lord Holland and Lord Auckland, Lists shall hereafter be prepared and laid before their Lordships, accompanied by suitable explanations.

The Undersigned request, &c.


The Right Hon. Lord Holland and Lord Auckland.

(Enclosure C.)-Lords Holland and Auckland to Messrs. Monroe and


Holland House, 8th November, 1806.

His Majesty's Commissioners and Plenipotentiaries have the honour to represent to the Commissioners and Plenipotentiaries of The United States;

That the Project of an Article on the subject of impressing Seamen, together with the reasonings by which the Commissioners of The United States have urged the expediency of an engagement on that subject, has been considered with the same friendly and conciliatory disposition, which has marked every step of the Negotiation :

That His Majesty's Government has not felt itself prepared to disclaim or derogate from a right which has been uniformly and generally maintained, and in the exercise of which the security of the British Navy may be essentially involved; more especially in a conjuncture when His Majesty is engaged in Wars which enforce the necessity of the most vigilant attention to the preservation and supply of the Naval Force of his Kingdom:

That His Majesty's Government, actuated by an earnest desire to remove every cause of dissatisfaction, has directed His Majesty's Commissioners to give to Mr. Monroe and Mr. Pinkney the most positive assurances that Instructions have been given, and shall be repeated and enforced, for the observance of the greatest caution in the impressing of British Seamen; and that the strictest care shall be taken to preserve Citizens of The United States from any molestation or injury; and that immediate and prompt redress shall be afforded upon any representation of injury sustained by them.

That the Commissioners of The United States well know that no recent cases of complaint have occurred, and that no probable inconvenience can result from the postponement of an Article subjected to so many difficulties. Still, that His Majesty's Commissioners are instructed to entertain the discussion of any plan that can be devised

to secure the interests of both States, without any injury to rights to which they are respectively attached:

That in the mean time the desire of promoting a right conclusion of the proposed Treaty, and of drawing closer the ties of connexion between the 2 Countries, induces His Majesty's Commissioners to express their readiness to proceed to the completion of the other Articles; in the confident hope, that the result cannot fail to cultivate and confirm the good understanding happily subsisting between the High Contracting Parties, and still further to augment the mutual prosperity of His Majesty's Subjects, and of the Citizens of The United States.


James Monroe, Esq., and William Pinkney, Esq.

(Enclosure D.)-Lords Holland and Auckland to Messrs. Monroe and Pinkney.

London, 31st December, 1806.

THE Undersigned, Henry Richard Vassall, Lord Holland, and William, Lord Auckland, Plenipotentiaries of His Britannic Majesty, have the honour to inform James Monroe and William Pinkney, Commissioners Extraordinary and Plenipotentiaries of The United States of America, that they are now ready to proceed to the signature of the Treaty of Amity, Commerce, and Navigation, on the Articles of which they have mutually agreed.

But at the same time, they have it in command from His Majesty to call the attention of the Commissioners of The United States to some extraordinary proceedings which have lately taken place on the Continent of Europe, and to communicate to them officially the sentiments of His Majesty's Government thereupon.

The proceedings alluded to, are certain Declarations and Orders of the French Government, issued at Berlin on the 21st of November last.

In these Orders the French Government seeks to justify or palliate its own unjust pretensions, by imputing to Great Britain principles which she never professed, and practices which never existed.

His Majesty is accused of a systematic and general disregard of the Law of Nations, recognized by civilized States, and more particularly of an unwarrantable extension of the right of Blockade; whereas His Majesty may confidently appeal to the World on his uniform respect for Neutral rights, and his general and scrupulous adherence to the Law of Nations, without condescending to contrast his conduct in these particulars with that of his Enemy; and with regard to the -only specific charge, it is notorious that he has never declared any orts to be in a state of Blonde without allotting to that object

a Force sufficient to make the entrance into them manifestly dangerous.

By such allegations, unfounded as they are, the Enemy attempts to justify his pretensions of confiscating, as lawful Prize, all produce of English industry or manufacture, though it be the property of Neutrals; of excluding from his Harbours every Neutral Vessel which has touched at any Port of His Majesty's Dominions, though employed in an innocent commerce; and of declaring Great Britain to be in a state of Blockade, though his own Ports and Arsenals are actually blockaded, and he is unable to station any Naval Force whatever before any Ports of the United Kingdom.

Such principles are in themselves extravagant and repugnant to the Law of Nations; and the pretensions founded on them, though professedly directed solely against Great Britain, tend to alter the practice of War among civilized Nations, and utterly to subvert the right and independence of Neutral Powers.

The Undersigned cannot, therefore, believe, that the Enemy will ever seriously attempt to enforce such a system. If he should, they are confident that the good sense of the American Government will perceive the fatal consequences of such pretensions to Neutral commerce, and that its spirit and regard to national honour will prevent its acquiescence in such palpable violations of its rights, and injurious encroachments of its interests.

If, however, the Enemy should carry these threats into execution, and if Neutral Nations should, contrary to all expectation, acquiesce in such usurpations, His Majesty might probably be compelled, however reluctantly, to retaliate in his just defence, and to adopt, in regard to the commerce of Neutral Nations with his Enemies, the same measures which those Nations shall have permitted to be enforced against their commerce with his Subjects. The Commissioners of The United States will therefore feel that, at a moment when His Majesty and all Neutral Nations are threatened with such an extension of the Belligerent pretensions of his Enemies, he cannot enter into the Stipulations of the present Treaty, without an explanation from The United States of their intentions, or a reservation on the part of His Majesty in the case above mentioned, if it should ever


The Undersigned, considering that the distance of the American Government renders any immediate explanation on this subject impossible, and animated by a desire of forwarding the beneficial work in which they are engaged, are authorized by His Majesty to conclude the Treaty without delay. They proceed to the signature under the full persuasion that, before the Treaty shall be returned from America with the Ratification of The United States, the Enemy will either have formally abandoned or tacitly relinquished his unjust pretensions, or

that the Government of The United States, by its conduct or assurances, will have given security to His Majesty, that it will not submit to such innovations in the established system of Maritime Law: and the Undersigned have presented this Note from an anxious wish that it should be clearly understood on both sides, that, without such abandonment of his pretensions on the part of the Enemy, or assurances of such conduct on the part of The United States, His Majesty will not consider himself bound by the present signature of his Commissioners to ratify the Treaty, or precluded from adopting such measures as may seem necessary for counteracting the designs of the Enemy.

The Undersigned cannot conclude, without expressing their satisfaction at the prospect of accomplishing an object so important to the interests and friendly connexion of both Nations, and their just sense of the conciliatory disposition manifested by the Commissioners of The United States, during the whole course of the Negotiations. VASSALL HOLLAND. AUCKLAND.

Messrs. Monroe and Pinkney.

(Enclosure E.)-Messrs. Monroe and Pinkney to Viscount Howick. MY LORD, London, 14th March, 1807.

IN conformity with the intimation which your Lordship was so good as to make to us at a late interview, relative to certain Claims and Prize Causes, which had been brought into discussion in the course of the late Negotiation between His Majesty's Commissioners and those of The United States; we have the honour to transmit to your Lordship the Copy of a Note to Lord Holland and Lord Auckland, in which those Claims and Prize Causes are fully explained. It is proper to add, that, at the time of the signature of the Treaty, it was distinctly understood between the Commissioners on both sides, that this subject was not to be affected by it, but was to remain completely open for future adjustment.

We leave it upon the statement contained in that Note, and the Documents to which it refers, in perfect confidence that it will be viewed by your Lordship with the interest which belongs to it, and that everything which is suitable to the high and honourable character of His Majesty's Government, and the just claims of The United States, will be done, with relation to it, as promptly as circumstances will permit.

We have the honour to be, &c.,

Viscount Howick.


« PreviousContinue »