Page images


FROM THE SUPPLEMENT TO THE LONDON GAZETTE, JAN. 9. The Prince Regent's DeCLARATION. useless her maritime superiority, and so to

The earnest endeavours of the Prince avail himself of his continental ascenRegent to preserve the relations of peace dancy, as to constitute himself in a great and amity with the United States of Ame measure the arbiter of the ocean, notrica baving unfortunately failed, his withstanding the destruction of his feets. Royal Highness, acting in the name and -With this view, by the Decree of Beron the behalf of his Majesty, deems it liu, followed by that of Milan, he deproper publicly to declare the causes and clared the British territories to be in a origin of the war, in which the Govern 'state of blockade; and that all commerce, ment of the United States has compelled or even correspondeace, with Great Bris him to engage.-No desire of conquest, tain was prohibited. He decreed that or other ordinary motive of aggression, every vessel and cargo, which had enhas been, or can be with any colour of tered, or was found proceeding to a Brireason, in this case, imputed to Great tish port, or which, under any circum. Britain : that her commercial interests stançes, had been visited by a British were on the side of peace, if war could ship of war, should be lawful prize : he, have been avoided, without the sacrifice declared all British goods and produce, of her maritime rights, or without an in wherever found, and however acquired, jarious submission to France, is a truth whether coming from the Mother Country which the Ainerican Government will not or from her colonies, subject to confiscadeny.--His Royal Highness does not, tion : he further declared to be dena. however, mean to rest on the favourable tionalized, the flag of all neutral ships presumption to which he is entitled. He that should be found offending against is prepared by an exposition of the cir these his Decrees : and he gave to this cumstances which have led to the pre project of universal tyranny, the name of sent war, to show that Great Britain has the Continental System for these atthroughout acted towards the United tempts to ruin the commerce of Great States of America with a spirit of amity, Britain, hy means subversive of the forbearance, and conciliation; and to de clearest rights of neutral nations, France monstrate the inadmissible nature of those endeavoured-in vain to rest her justificapreteusions which have at length unhap- tion upon the previous conduct of his pily involved the two countries in war. Majesty's Government.--Under circumIt is well known to the world, that it has stances of unparalleled provocation, his been the invariable object of the Ruler of Majesty had abstained from any measure France to destroy the power and inde which the ordinary rules of the Law of pendence of the British Empire, as the Nations did not fully warrant. Never chief obstacle to the accomplishment of was the maritime superiority of a Belli. his ambitious designs.--He first contem gerent over his Enemy more complete plated the possibility of assembling such and decided. Never was the opposite a naval force in the Channel as, com Belligerent so formidably dangerous in bined with a numerous flotilla, should his power, and in his policy, to the lio

ble him to disembark in England an ies of all other nations. France had army sufficient, in his conception, to already trampled so openly and systemasubjugate this country; and through the tically ou the most sacred rights of Neuconquest of Great Britain he hoped to tral Powers, as might well have justified realize his project of universal empire.- the placing her out of the pale of civiBy the adoption of an eularged and pro

lized nations. Yet in this extreme case, vident system of internal defence, and by Great Britain had so used ber naval as. the valour of His Majesty's fleets and ar cendancy, that her Enemy could find no mies, this design was entirely frustrated ; just cause of complaint: and in order to and the naval force of France, after the give to these lawless decrees the appearmust signal defeats, was compelled to re ance of retaliation, the Ruler of France tire from the ocean.-An attempt was then was obliged to advance principles of mamade to effectuate the same purpose by ritime law upsanctioned by any other au. other means; a system was brought for thority than his own arbitrary will. The ward, by which the Ruler of France' pretexts for these Decrees were, first, that hoped to annihilate the commerce of Great Britain had exercised the rights of Great Britain, lo shake her public credit, war against private persons, their ships, and to destroy her revenue ; to render and goods; as if the only object of legiCent, Mac, January, 1813,


timate hostility on the ocean were the Britain. Although they knew that these public property of a State, or as if the Orders would be revoked, if the Decrees Edicts and the Courts of France itself had of France, which had occasioned them, not at all times enforced this right with weie repealed, they resolved at the same peculiar rigour; secondly, that the Bri moment to resist the conduct of both Beltish orders of blockade, instead of being ligerents, instead of requiring France in confined to fortified towns, had, as France the first instance to rescind her decrees. asserted, heen unlawfully extended to Applying most unjustly the same mcacommercial towns and ports, and to the sure of resentment to the aggressor aud months of rivers; and thirdly, that they to the party aggrieved, they adopted had been applied to places, and to coasts, measures of commercial resistance against which neither were, nor could be actually both-a system of resistance, whick, blockaded.' The last of these charges is however varied in the successive Acts of not founded on fact; whilet the others, Embargo, Non-Intercourse, or Non-Imeven by the admission of the American portation, was evidently unequal in its Government, are utterly groundless in operation, and principally levelled against point of law.--Against these Decrees, his the superior con merce and maritime Majesty protested and appealed; he power of Great Britain.—The same parcalled upon the United States to assert tiality towards France was observable in their own rights, and to vindicate their their negociations, as in their measures independence, thas menaced and at of alleged resistance.-Application was tacked; and as Prance had declared, made to both Belligerents for a revocathat she would confiscate every vessel tion of their respective edicts; but the which should touch in Great Britain, or terms in which they were made, were be visited by British ships of war, his widely different.--Of France was required Majesty, having previously issued the a revocatiou only of the Berlin and Milan Order of January, 1807, as an act of Decrees, although many other edicts, mitigated retaliation, was at length com grossly violating the neutral commerce of pelled, by the persevering violence of the the United States, had been promulgated Enems, and the continued acquiescence by that Power. No security was deof Neutral Powers, to revisit, upon France, manded, that the Berlin anıl Milan De. in a more effectual manner, the measure crees, even if revoked, should not under of her own injustice; by declaring, in an some other form be re-established : and Order in Council, bearing date the 11th a direct engagement was offered, that of November, 1807, that no peutral ves upon such revocation, the American Go. sel should proceed to France, or to any vernment would take part in the war of the countries from which, in obedience against Great Britain, if Great Britain to the dictates of France, British com did not immediately rescind her Orders : anerce was excluded, without first touch whereas no corresponding engagement ing at a port in Great Britain, or her de was offered to Great Britain, of whom it pendencies. At the same time bis Ma was required, not only that the Orders in jesty intimated his readiness to repeal Council should be repealed, but that no the Orders in Council, whenever France others of a similar nature should be issued, should rescind her Decrees, and return and that the blockade of May, 1506, to the accustomed p:inciples of maritime should be also abandoned. This block warfare ; and at a subsequent period, as ade, established and enforced according a proof of his Majesty's sincere desire to to accustomed practice, had not been obaccommodate, as far as possible, his de- jected to by the United States at the time fensive measures to the convenience of it was issued. Its provisions were, on the Neutral Powers, the operation of the Or coutrary, represented by the American ders in Council was, by an order issued Minister resideni in London at the time, in April, 1809, limited to a blockade of to have been so framed, as to affre, in France, and of the countries subjected to his judgment, a proof of the friendly disher immediate dominion.-Systems of position of the British Cabinet towards violence, oppression, and tyranny, can the United States. Great Britain was never be suppressed, or even checked, if thus called upon to abandon one of her the Power against which such injustice is most important maritime rights, by acexercised, be debarred from the right of knowledging the order of blockade in full and adequate retaliation; or, if the question, to be one of the edicts which measures (if the retaliating Power are to violated the commerce of the United be considered as matters of just offence States, although it had never been so to neutral nations, whilst the measures considered in the previous negociations; of original aggression and violence are to and although the President of the United tolerated with indifference, submission, or States had recently consen!ed to abrogate complacency. The Government of the the Non-Intercourse Act, on the sole conUnited States did not fail to remonstrate dition of the Orders in Council being re. against the Orders in Council of Great voked ; thereby distinctly admitting these


was to cease.

orders to be the only edicts which fell when the operation of the French Decrees within the contemplation of the law under

This instrument expressly which he acted. --A proposition so hos

declared that these French Decrees were tile to Great Britain could not but be repealed in consequence of the American proportionally encouraging to the preten- Legislature having, by their Act of the sions of the Enemy; as by this alleging 1st of March, 1811, provided, that British that the blockade of May, 1806, was ships and merchandise should be excluded illegal, The American Government vir from the ports and harbours of the United tually justified, so far as depended on States.--By this instruinent, the only dothem, the French Decrees. After this cument produced by America as a repeal proposition had been made, the French of the French Decrees, it appears beyond Minister for Foreign Affairs, if not in a possibility of doubt or cavil, that the concert with that Government, at least in alleged repeal of the Irench Deerees was conformity with its views, in a dispatch, conditional, as Great Britain had assert. dated the 5th of August, 1810, and ad- ed; and not atsolute or final, as had been dressed to the American Minister resident maintained by Ainerica : that they were at Paris, stated that the Berlin and Milan not repealed at the time they were stated Decrees were revoked, and that their ope to be repealed by the American Govern-' ration would cease from the 1st day of ment: that they were not repealed in conNovember following, provided his Ma- formity with a proposition, simultaneous. jesty would revoke his Orders in Council, ly made to both Belligerents, but that in and renounce the new principles of block consequence of a previous Act on the part ade; or that the United States would of the American Gorernment, they were canise iheir rights to be respected; mean

repealed in favour of me Belligerent, to ing thereby, that they would resist the lhe prejudice of the other: that the Ame. retaliatery measures of Great Britain.- rican Government having adopted meaAlthough the repeal of the French De sures restrictive upon the commerce of crees thus anxounced was evidently, coc

both Belligerents, in consequence of tiagent, either oo concessions to be inade Edicts issued by both, rescinded these. by Great Britain (concessions to which it measures, as they affected that Power was obvions Great Britain could not sub. which was the aggressor, whilst they put mit), or on nueasures to be adopted by them in full operation against the party, the United States of America, the Ameri- aggrieved, although the Edicts of both can President at once considered the re Powers continued in force; and lastly, peal as absolute. Under that pretence that they excluded the ships of war be the Non. Iinportation Act was strictly en longing to one Belligerent, whilst they forced against Great Britain, whilst the adinitied into their ports and harbours the ships of war aud merchant ships of the ships of war belonging to the other, in Enemy were received into the harbours of violation of one of the plainest and most America. - The American Government, as essential duties of a Neutral Nation. suming the repeal of the French Decrees Although the instrument this produced to be absolute and effectual, mast unjustly was by no means that general and in: required Great Britain, in conformity to qualified revocation of the Berlin and Mj. ber declarations, to revoke her Orders in lan Decrees which Great Britain had cons Council. The British Government denied timually demavded, and had a full right that the repeal, which was announced in to clain ; and although this instrument, the letter of the French Minister for Fun under all the circumstances of iis appearreigo Affaiis, was such as ought to satisfy ance at that moment, for the first time, Great Britain ; and in order to ascertain wa, open to the strongest suspicions of its the true character of the measure adopted autenticity; yet as the Minister of the by France, the Government of the United United, States produced it, as purporting States was called upon to produce the to be a copy of the Instrument of reroca. Instrument, by which the alleged repeal tion, the Government of Great Britain, of the French Decrees had been effected. desirous of reverting, if possible, to the If these Decrees were really revokeil, such ancient and accustomed principles of an instrument must exist, and no satis Maritime War, determined upon revoking factory reason could be given for with condi:ionally the Orders in Council. Aca it.-A: length, on the 21st May, cordingly in the month of June last, his 1812, and not before, the American Mi. Royal Highness the Prince Regent was nister in London did produce a copy, or

pleased to declare in Conncil, in the at least what purported to be a copy, of name and on the behalf of bis Majesty, such an instrument. It professed to bear

that the Orders in Council should be redate the 28th of April, 1811, lovg subse voked, as far as respected the ships and quent to the dispatch of the French Mi. property of the United Siates, from the nister of Foreign Affairs of the 5th of Ist of August following. This revocaAug ist, 1810, or even the day named tion was to continue. in force, provided pesem, viz. the 1st November following the Government of the United States



should, within a time to be limited, re port of the French Minister for Foreign peal their Restrictive Laws against Bric Affairs, of the 12th of March, 1812, protish commerce. His Majesty's Minister mulgating anew the Berlin and Milan n America was expressly ordered to de. Decrees, as fundamental laws of the clare to the Government of the United French Empire, under the false and exStates, that this measure had been

travagani pretext, that the monstrous adopted by the Prince Regent, in the principles therein contained were to be earnest wish and hope, either that the found in the Treaty of Utrecht, and were Government of France, by further relaxa therefore binding upon all States. From", tions of its system, might render perse the penalties of this code no nation was verance on the part of Great Britain in to be exempt, which did not accept it, retaliatory measures unnecessary, or if not only as the rule of its own conduct, this hope should prove delusive, that his but as a law, the observance of which it Majesty's Government might be enabled, was also required to enforce upon Great in the absence of all irritating and re Britain.--In a Manifesio, accompanying strictive regulations on either side, to en their Declaration of Hostilities, in auditer with the Government of the United tion to the former complaints against the Slates into arnicable explanations, for the Orders in Couocil, a long list of griev. purpose of ascertaining whether, if the ances was brought forward; some trivial necessity of retaliatory measures should in themselves, others which had been unfortunately continue to operate, the mutually adjusted, but none of them particular measures to be acted upon by such as were ever before alleged by the Great Britain could be rendered more American Government to be grounds for acceptable to the American Government, war.-As if to throw additional obstacles than those hitherto pursued." In order in the way of peace, the American Con. to provide for the contingency of a De gress at the same time passed a law, proclaration of War on the part of the United hibiting all intercourse with Great BriStates, previous to the arrival in America tain, of such a tenour, as deprived the of the said Order of Revocation, Instruc Executive Government, according to the tions, were sent to his Majesty's Minister President's own construction of that Act, Plenipotentiary accredited to the United of all power of restoring the relations of States (the execution of which instruc- friendly intercourse between the tions, in consequence of the discon- States, so far, at least, as concerned their tinuance of Mr. Foster's functions, were commercial intercourse, until Congress at a subsequent period entrusted to Ad should re-assemble.The President of miral Sir John Borlase Warren), direct the United States has, it is true, since ing him to propose a cessation of hostili proposed to Great Britain an Armistice ; ties, should they have commenced ; and not, however, on the admission, that the further to pffer a simultaneous repeal of cause of war hitherto relied on was rethe Orders in Couucil on the one side, moved ; but on condition, that Great Briand of the Restrictive Laws on British tain, as a preliminary step, should do away ships and commerce on the other. They a cause of war, now brought forward as were also respectively empowered to ac such for the first time ; namely, that she quaint the American Government, in re should abandon tlie exercise of her unply to any inquiries with respect to the doubled right of search, to take from blockade of May, 1806, whilst the British American merchant vessels British sea. Goverument must continue to maintain men, the natural-born subjects of his its legality, “that in point of fact this Majesty; and this.' concession was particular blockade had been discon- quired upon a mere assurance that laws tinued for a lengih of time, having Been would be enacted by the Legislature of Dierged in the general retaliatory block the Unised Stares, to prevent such seaade of the Enemy's ports under the Or men from entering into their service : but ders in Council, and that his Majesty's independent of the objection to an excluGoverument had no intentiop of recurring sive reliance on a foreign State, for the to this, or to any other of the blockades conservation of so vital an interest, no of the Enemy's ports, founded upon the explanation was, or could be afforded by ordinary and accustomed principles of the agent who was charged with this overMaritime Law, which were in force pre ture, either as to the main principles vious to the Orders in Council, without a upon which such laws were to be fouuded, new notice to Neutral Powers in the usual or as to the provisions which it was proform."--The American Government, be posed they should contain. This propofore they received intimation of the course sition having been objected to, a second adopled by the British Government, bad, proposal was made, again offering an in fact, proceeded to the extreme mea Armistice, provided the British Governsure of declaring war, and issuing

ment would secretly stipulate to renounce Lers of Marque," notwil bstanding they the exercise of this right in a Treaty of were previously in possession of the re- Peace. An immediate and formal aban



" Let


donment of its exercise, as preliininary support of her maritime power.

If to a cessation of hostilities, was not de America, by, denganding this preliminary manded ; but his Royal Highness the concession, intends to deny the validity Prince Regent was required, in the name of that right, in that denial Great Britain and on the behalf of bis Majesty, secretly cannot acquiesce; nor will she give to abandon what the former overture had countenance to such a pretension, by acproposed to him publicly to concede.- ceding to its suspension, much less to its This

most offensive proposition abandonment, as a basis on which to also rejected, being accompanied as treat. If the American Government has the former had been, by other de devised, or conceives it can devise, regu. mands of the most exceptionable na. lations, which may safely be accepted by ture, and especially of indemnity for all Great Britain, as a substitute for the exAmerican vessels detained and condemn ercise of the right in question, it is for ed under the Orders in Council, or under them to bring forward such a plan for what were termed illegal blockadesma consideration. The British Government compliance with which demands, exclu has never attempted to exclude this ques sive of all other objections, would have lion from amongst those on which the two amounted to an absolute surrender of the States might have to negociate: it has, ca rights on which those Orders and blockades the contrary, uniformly professed its were founded.-Had the Ainerican Go. readiness to receive and discuss any provernment been sincere in representing the position on this subject, coming from the Orders in Council, as the only subject of American Government : it has never asdifference between Great Britain and the serted any exclusive right, as to the im. United States calculated to lead to hosti pressment of British seamen from Ame. lities, it might have been expected, so rican vessels, which it was not prepared soon as the revocation of those Orders had to acknowledge, as appertaining equally been officially made known to them, that to the Government of the United States, they would have spontaneously recalled with respect to American seamen when their “ letters of marque," and mani found on board British merchaut ships ; fested a disp silion imrnediately to restore but it cannot, by acceding to such a basis the relations of peace and amity between in the first instance, either assume, or the two Powers. But the conduct of the admit that to be practicable, which, when Government of the United States by no attempted on former occasions, has always means corresponded with such reasonable been found to be attended with great difexpectations. The Order in Council of ficulties ; such difficulties, as the British the 23d of June being officially commu Commissioners in 1806 expressly deelarnicated in America, the Government of ed, after an attentive consideration of the the United States saw nothing in the re suggestions brolight forward by the Compeal of the Orders in Council, which missioners on the part of America, they should of itself restore peace, unless were unable to surmounts -Whilst this Great Britain were prepared, in the first proposition, transinitted through the Briinstance, substantially to relinquish the tish Admiral, was pending in America, right of impressing her own seamen, another communication on the subject of when found on board American merchant an armistice was unofficially made to the ships.—The proposal of an armistice, and British Government in this country. The of a simultaneous repeal of the restrictive agent, from whom this proposition was measures on both sides, subsequently received, acknowledged that he did not made by the Commanding officer of his consider, that he had any authority himMajesty's naval forces on the American self to sign an agreement on the part of coast, were received in the same hostile his Governmeni. It was obvious, that spirit by the Governınent of the United any stipulations entered into, in conseStates. The suspension of the practice quence of this overtuie, would bave been of impressment was insisted upon, in the binding on the British Government, whilst correspondence which passed on that the Government of the United States occasion, as a necessary preliminary to would have been free to refuse or accept a cessation of hostilities : negociation, it them, according to the circumstances of was stated, might take place without any the moment. Inis proposition was, there. suspeusion of the exercise of this right, fure, necessarily declined. After this ex. and also without any armistice being con position of the circumstances which precluded; but Great Britain was required ceded, and which have followed the declapreviously to agree, without any know ration of war by the United States, his Royal ledge of the adequacy of the system Highness the Prince Regent, acting in the wbich could be substituted, to negociate name and on the behalf of His Majesty, upon the basis of accepting the legislative feels himself called upon to declare the regulations of a foreign Staie, as the sole leading principles by which the conduct equivalent for the exercise of a right, of Great Britain has been regulated in which she has felt to be essential to the the transactions connected with these dis


[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »