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property of which America had been robbed, Mr. Madison sends forth his proclamation on the very next day, the 2d of November, asserting that the said edicts have been revoked,' and that the enemy ceased on the first day of that month, to violate the neutral commerce of the United States. This prophetic annunciation of the President in America of what had been transacted the preceding day in France, this intuitive anticipation, supposed by some to be the effect of sympathy between congenial souls though far separated, was deemed of sufficient authority to be incorporated in the message to Congress. But, alas ! Mr. Madison's sympathy deceived him; there was in fact no revocation of the decree. The declaration which the French minister had made to Mr. Armstrong was merely to this effect. “At present Congress retraces its steps. The act of the 1st of March is revoked*, the ports of America are open to French trade; and France is no longer shut to Americans. Congress in short engages to declare against the belligerent which shall refuse to recognize the rights of neutrals. In this new state of things,' says the French minister to Mr. Armstrong, I am authorized to declare to you that the decrees of Berlin and Milan are revoked ; and that from the 1st of November they shall cease to be executed, it being well understood, that in consequence of this declaration, the English shall revoke their orders in council, and renounce the new principles of blockade which they have attempted to establish, or that the United States shall cause their rights to be respected by the British. Mr. Madison has no occasion to be told what is here meant by the rights of neutrals, and the new principles' of blockade. He has Buonaparte's own explanation of the terms. Buonaparte has declared the Berlin decree to be the “ fundamental law of the empire, until England has acknowledged that the rights of war are the same at sea as on land,' that is to say, that merchant ships, enemies as well as neutrals, shall pass unmolested, that free ships make free goods, and that no vessel whatever shall be searched; that no place shall be considered as blockaded unless invested by land as well as by sea.' These are the invariable principles which' General Armstrong was informed 'have regulated and will regulate the conduct of his imperial Majesty in the great question of neutrals. Can then Mr. Madison be guilty of the egregious folly of supposing, can any of his advocates in this country for a moment suppose, that Great Britain would listen to such insulting and degrading terms, and thus tamely surrender to France that maritime power, which the exertion and valour of her children have established at the expense of so much blood and
* The non-intercourse as far as it regards France.
treasure? Are these the conditions on which we are to seek conciliation with America ?
We have little doubt that the tone assumed by America is encouraged by speeches and writings on this side the water. We every day hear the orders in council stigmatized as illegal, impolitic, and equally injurious to ourselves and America. We hear them represented as inconsistent with the municipal laws of the realm; as contrary to the spirit and practice of the constitution; as violating the great charter, and as infringing the wholesome provisions of the navigation act. With all deference for the wisdom of our ancestors, we conceive that cases and circumstances may arise and have arisen, of which they could entertain no fore-knowledge, and against which they could make no provision. The measures of an uncontrolled despot, who regards no laws human or divine, can only be effectually opposed by retorting on himself the evils of his own injustice.' The wisdom of our ancestors was probably as sound and practical in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, as in any period of our history; and yet, with the advice of her Privy Council, she took precautions for the security of the kingdom, quite as strong, and certainly as unconstitutional, as our orders in council ; for instance, when the Spaniards in 1589, the year after the destruction of their famous armada, were meditating a fresh descent upon England, the queen issued a proclamation, and sent monitory letters to her allies and neutrals, forbidding them to supply the enemy with grain and naval provisions, on penalty of forfeiting ships and goods. Notwithstanding this, the Hans towns fitted out sixty sail of vessels laden with corn and naval stores, which passed,' says Camden, on the north of Scotland, by the Orcades, Hebrides and Great Western Ocean, on the back side of Ireland, a long and dangerous passage, to avoid being intercepted in the channel by the queen's ships. The queen's ships however did intercept them, not before a blockaded port, but on the high seas, and they were confiscated as good and lawful prize; yet the Englishmen of that day applauded the wisdom of the measures, and acknowledged the care and vigilance of the queen.
The best answer to the charge of the impolicy of the orders in council is to look at their practical effects on the commerce of the neutral, the enemy, and on our own. We need no better criterion of the state of American commerce than the receipts of her treasury, because nine-tenths of her revenues are derivable from custom-house duties. Now it appears from the inaugural speech of Mr. Jefferson, delivered in 1805, that the receipts of the preceding year, ending September, 1804, amounted to 114 millions of dollars. In 1805 the revenues are represented in a flourishing state at 13 mil
lions. In 1806 they rose to 15 millions. In 1807 to 16, and in 1808 they were expected to mount up to 18 millions. We have not before us the receipts of 1809 and 1810, but in the latter of those two years Mr. Madison in his message of 1809, prepares Congress for a diminution; not from the pernicious effects of our orders in council, but from the suspension of exports, and the consequent decrease of importations,' that is to say, from their own embargo, their non-intercourse and non-importation laws. Yet in spite of the operations of these laws and the orders in council, the trade from England to the United States remained almost in the same state. The amount of our exports to that country in 1807, before the operation of the orders in council, was £7,921,120. In 1810, three years after the operation of the orders, they amounted to £7,813,317. Mr. Madison, after much lamentation of the ruinous effects of the system adopted by the belligerents against the American trade, states the receipts of the year 1811 at 13 millions. If the receipt of 13 millions in 1805 · fulfilled the expectations' of Mr. Jefferson, we see no ground for the querulous wailings of Mr. Madison in 1811, with half a million more.
We need not go far out of our way to see what the effects have been of the orders in council on the enemy. We have the testimony of Buonaparte's own ministers in the annual Expose of the state of France, for the privations and distress which are felt by all classes of the community on account of the almost total extinction of foreign commerce. In 1808, when the orders in council were in full operation, the Minister of the Interior is obliged to notice
the almost absolute cessation of the maritime relations, and the many privations for the French merchants, manufacturers, and consumers.' We need not be told, indeed, that the French merchant, the manufacturer, and the agriculturist, are all reduced to the most ruinous and deplorable condition; that the capital of the first is totally unemployed, his ships rotting in port, and his warehouses empty; that the manufacturer has no vent for his goods, nor the farmer for his produce. How is it possible to persist in asserting that the blockade of the continent has had no effect on the condition of the enemy, when we hear that his custom-house revenues have fallen from 60 millions of livres in 1807, to 18 millions in 1808, and still farther in 1809 to 11 millions, that is to say, to less than one fifth part of their amount before the orders in council took effect--when we see this hater of all commerce, employed in calculating how many myriagrams of this article, and killograms of that, will pacify the clamours of the merchant, the mechanic, and the labourer ? enacting pénal statutes to force the cultivator of the soil to employ his land in endeavouring to raise certain products in a climate ungenial to their growth ? to plant beet instead of corn,
and cotton, and tobacco, and indigo, where nature never intended them to grow ?
The inference to be drawn from the statements advanced by the advocates of America, on this side the Atlantic, is nothing more nor less than this--that all the distresses of our manufacturing towns are entirely owing to the orders in council. The increase of the poor in Liverpool, the decrease in the demand for the pottery ware of Staffordshire, the riots at Nottingham, are all to be ascribed to the orders in council. As we profess nothing more than plaiu matter of fact dealing, we content ourselves with transcribing the return to an order of the House of Commons of the 16th of May, 1811, for the value of all imports into, and all exports from Great Britain, from 1805 to 1810 inclusive, ordered to be printed 18th February, 1812.
1806 28,835,907 50,621,707
1810 41,136,135 74,538,061
1806 36,527,184 53,028,881
1810 45,869,860 62,702,409 This return, in our opinion, speaks sufficiently for itself. The diminution in 1807, and particularly in the exports, was in no degree whatever owing to the orders in council, whose operation had not then taken effect; but is sufficiently explained, as Lord Sheffield observes, by the liostile proceedings of the United States in consequence of the President's violent proclamation, interdicting British ships of war from their ports, and the distrust which such a proceeding occasioned among our merchants here; to the peace of Tilsit, which concluded the disastrous campaign of the North ; to the rupture with Denmark; the Russian declaration of war; the declaration of Prussia; the irruption of the French into Portugal all of which occurred in the course of the year 1907—yet with all these disasters, and the Berlin and Milan decrees to boot, interdicting the introduction of British commerce and manufactures from the shores of the Adriatic to the White Sea, the diminution in the real value of the exports scarcely exceeded £500,000. But we are told that the custom-house books are false and unworthy the least attention; that nobody is interested in their being correct; none re
sponsible for any errors they may contain. Let us then turn to the amount of the customs actually received at the Treasury. The gross amount of those receipts in the five consecutive years was as under, exclusive of the war taxes: In the year 1806,
10,773,869 So that the calamitous year of 1807 occasioned in the receipts of the customs of 1808 a diminution only of £358,929, while in the two following years an increase of more than a million each year took place.
We mean not to assert that the extraordinary increase of the value of imports and exports in the years 1809 and 1810 was owing to the orders in council; but we think that we shall be borne out in assuming that the orders in council have at least had no tendency to ruin our commerce or distress our manufacturers. That our manufacturers suffer distress is deeply to be lamented; but those who lead them to suppose that their distress arises from the orders in council grossly deceive them. So long as Buonaparte decrees that British produce and British manufactures, wheresoever found and to whomsoever belonging,' shall be seized and confiscated, it would answer no good purpose to ourselves to revoke our Orders and remove every restriction. The orders in council might be right or wrong in point of belligerent policy; they might be right or wrong in point of inter-national justice: but it is utterly absurd, it is mere perverseness to contend that our passive acquiescence under the blockade decreed against our trade and manufactures would have been less injurious to them than even an imperfect, or otherwise questionable measure of retaliation.
Among other evils attributed to the orders in council, is the mass of fraud, forgery, and perjury connected with the licence trade. On the subject of that trade we have had occasion, in a former number, to deliver a free opinion: and we must here repeat the objection we then stated to the filiation by which that trade is represented as the offspring of the orders in council. They have no necessary connection with each other.
The licence trade may exist, and has existed, and does exist, wholly independent of those orders. The fraud and perjury with which it is accompanied existed in as great a degree or perhaps greater before the birth of these ca. lumniated orders, and among the same class of men to which we believe it is still principally confined, then known by the name of neutralizing agents,' or as an indignant American calls them, “No