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Relations with Great Britain.
In communicating these circumstances, it will | He expressed dissatisfaction also at the section occur to you, whilst they may be allowed to pro- which requires certain compliances, on the part claim the growing sensibility of the United States of British ships of war entering our harbors, with on the subject of impressments, they ought, by arrangements to be prescribed by the collectors. proper explanations and assurances, to be guarded He did not deny the right of the nation to make against a misconstruction into marks of illiberal | what rules it might please in such cases, but apor hostile sentiments towards Great Britain. The prehended that some of them were such as the truth is, and it may be so stated by you, that this commanders might deem incompatible with their practice of impressments, aggravated by so many just pretensions, especially when subjecting them provoking incidents, has been so long continued, to the discretion of so subaltern an authority as and so often in vain remonstrated agaiost, that, that of the collectors, and, consequently, that the without more encouragement than yet appears, to law would have the unfriendly effect of excluding expectspeedy redress from the British Government, British ships of war altogether from American the United States are, in a manner, driven to the ports. He was reminded, in reply, that the colnecessity of seeking for some remedy dependent lectors were, according to the terms of the section, on themselves alone. But it is no less true that to be guided in the exercise of their power by the they are warmly disposed to cherish all the friend- directions of the President; and it was not only ly relations subsisting with Great Britain; that to be presumed, but he might be particularly asthey wish to see that necessity banished by just sured, that the directions given would be consistand prudent arrangements between the two Gov- ent with the usages due to public ships, and with ernments; and that, with this view, you were in the respect entertained for pations in amily with structed to open the negotiations which are now the United States. He asked whether, in transdepending. It is impossible for the British Gov. mitting the act to his Government, as his duty ernment to doubt the sincerity of these sentiments. would require, he might add the explanation and The forbearance of the United States, year after assurances he had heard from me. I answered year, and war after war, to avail themselves of that, without having received any particular authose obvious means, which, without violating thority for that purpose from the President, I could their national obligations of any sort, would ap- safely undertake what I had stated was conformpeal in the strongest manner to the interest of able to his sentiments. Great Britain, is of itself a sufficient demonstra- Enclosed is another act of Congress, restraining tion of the amicable spirit which has directed their and regulating the arming of private vessels by public councils. This spirit is sufficiently mani. American citizens. This act was occasioned by fested also by the propositions which have been the abuse made of such armaments in forcing a lately made through you, and by the patience trade, even in contraband of war, with the Island and cordiality with which you have conducted of St. Domingo, and by the representations made the negotiation. I might add, as a further proof on the subject of that irade by ihe French Chargé to the same effect, that, notwithstanding the resu- des Affaires and Minister here, and by the British sal, of which we have official information, from Minister, with respect to abuses which had resultGlasgow and Liverpool particularly, to restore ed, or might result, from such armaments, in cases American seamen deserting their ships in British injurious to Great Britain. A report of these ports, the laws of many of the States have been representations, as made to the President, is here left, without interruption, to restore British de- with enclosed. The act, in substituting a securiserters. One of the States (Virginia) has, even ty against the unlawful use of the armaments in at the last session of its Legislature, passed an act place of an absolute prohibition of them, is not for the express purpose of restoring such deserters, only consistent with the obligations of a neutral which deserves the more attention as it was done pation, but conformable to the laws* and ordi. in the midst of irritations resulting from the mul- nances of Great Britain and France themselves, tiplied irregularities committed by British ships and is consequently free from objections by either. in the American seas.
The interposition of the Government, though Mr. Merry has expressed some inquietude with claimed in behalf both of Great Britain and of respect to the clause in the act above referred to France, was most pressed in behalf of the latter. which animadverts on British trespasses on board Yet the measure, particularly as it relates to the American vessels, and his language, on several shipment of contraband articles for the West Inlate occasions, has strongly opposed the expecta- dies, is likely to operate much more conveniently tion that Great Britain will ever relinquish her for Great Britain than for France, who cannot, practice of taking her own subjects out of neutral like Great Britain, otherwise insure a supply of vessels. I did not conceal from him my opinion these articles for the defence of their colonies. that the terms “ trespass,” &c., would be applica- In the project which you have offered to the ble to the impressment of British subjects as well British Government, I observe you have subjoined as others, or that the United States would never a clause for securing respect to certificates of citiaccede to that practice. I observed to him, that zenship. The effect of this clause, taken as it every preceding Administration had maintained ought to be, and as was doubtless intended, in conthe same doctrine with the sent on that point, and, such were the ideas and feelings of the na- * See act of Parliament, 35 George III, ch. 22, section on it, that Do Administration would dare so tions 37, 38; and Valin's Commentaries liv. 1, tit. 10, far to surrender the rights of the American flag. I art. 1.
Relations with Great Britain.
text with the preceding clause, is limited to the With the aid of these communications and recase provided for in that clause. Still it may be marks you will be at no loss for the views of the well, in order to guard against the possibility of subject most proper to be presented to the British its being turned into a pretext for requiring such Government, in order to promote the object of certificates in other cases, that a proviso for the the resolutions; and the resolutions themselves purpose be added, or that words of equivaleot re- ought powerfully to second your efforts, if the striction be inserted.
British Government feels the same desire, as acAnother subject requiring your attention is tuates the United States, to confirm the friendpointed at by the resolutions of ihe Senate, moved ship and confidence on both sides, by a greater by General Smith, on the subject of a British tax conformity on that side to the spirit of the comon exports, under the name of a convoy duty. A mercial regulations on this. copy of the resolution is enclosed. A duty under I have referred above to the enclosed copy of that name was first laid in the year 1798; it then the motion made by Mr. Crowninshield, in the amounted to half of one per cent. on exports to House of Representatives. The part of it which Europe, and one per cent. on exports to other has relation to the trade with the West Indies places, and consequently to the United States. was suggested, as appears in his introductory obThe discrimination, being evidently contrary to servations, by the late proclamations of the Britthe treaty then in force, became a subject of dis-ish West India Governors, excluding from that cussion between Mr. King and the British ministrade vessels of the United States, and certain try. His letters to the Secretary of State and to articles of our exportations, particularly fish, even Lord Grenville explain the objections urged by in British vessels. These regulations are to be him, and the pretexts in support of the measure ascribed partly to the attachment of the present alleged by them. The subject was resumed in my administration in Great Britain to the colonial letter of the 5th of March, 1904, to Mr. King, with and navigation system ; partly to the interested a copy of which you have been already furnished. representations of certain merchants and others It was received by Mr. Gore, during the absence residing in the British provinces on the contiof Mr. King on the continent; and if any occa- nent. Without entering at large into the policy sion was found proper by either for repeating the on which the colonial restrictions are founded, it remonstrance against the duty, it appears to have may be observed that no crisis could be more inbeen without effect. Whilst the treaty was in eligible for enforcing them than the present, beforce, the discrimination was unquestionably a cause at none more than the present have the violation of its faith. When the war ceased, it West Indies been absolutely dependent on the lost the pretext that it was the price of the con- United States for the supplies essential to their voy, which, giving a longer protection to the existence. It is evident, in fact, that the United American than to the European trade, justified a States, by asserting the principle of a reasonable higher price for the former than for the latter. reciprociiy, such as is admitted in the trade with Even during war the exports are generally made the European ports of Great Britain, and as is adas American property, and in American vessels ; mitted even in the colonial trade of other Euroand therefore, with a few exceptions only, a con- pean nations, so far at least as respects the vessels voy, which would subject them to condemnation, employed in the trade, might reduce the British from which they would otherwise be free, would Government at once to the dilemma of relaxing not be a benefit, but an injury. Since the expira- f her regulations, or of sacrificing her colonies; tion of the treaty, the discrimination, as well as and with respect to the interdict of supplies from the duty itself, can be combated by no other ar. the United States of articles necessary to the guments than those which, in the document refer- subsistence and prosperity of the West Indies, in red to, are drawn from justice, friendship, and order to force the growth and prosperity of the sound policy; including the tendency of the mea continental provinces of Nova Scotia, &c., what sure to produce a discontinuance of the liberal can be more unjust than thus to impoverish one but unavailing example given 10 Great Britain part of the foreign dominions, which is considby the regulations of commerce on our side, and ered as a source of wealth and power to the a recurrence to such counteracting measures as parent country, not with a view to favor the are probably contemplated by the mover of the parent country, but to favor another part of its resolutions of the Senate. All these arguments foreign dominions, which is rather expensive than gain strength, in proportion to the augmentations profitable to it? What can be more preposterous which the evil has lately received; it being now ihan thus, at the expense of islands which not stated that the duty amounts to four per cent. on only contribute to the revenue, commerce, and the exports to the United States. These, accord- navigation of the parent State, but can be secured ing to Cox's answer to Sheffield, amounted, in the in their dependence by that naval ascendancy year 1801, to about seven and a half millions ster which they aid, to foster unproductive establishling, and therefore levy a tax on the United States / ments? of about one million three hundred thousand dol. Considerations, such as these, ought to have lars. From this is, indeed, to be deducted a sum weight with the British Government, and may proportioned to the amount of re-exportation from very properly enter into frank conversations with the United States; but, on the other hand, is to its ministry on favorable occasions. However be added the increase of the exports since the year repugnant ihat Government may be to a depar. 1801, which probably exceed the re-exportations. I ture from its system, in the extent contemplated
Relations with Great Britain.
by Mr. Crowninshield's motion, it may at least dency, which rendered such a principle subserbe expected that the trade, as opened in former vient to her particular interest. The history of wars, will not be refused under circumstances her regulations on this subject shows that they which, in the present, particularly demand it. I have been constantly modified under the influmay be hoped that the way will be prepared for ence of that consideration. The course of these some permanent arrangement on this subject be modifications will be seen in an appendix to the tween the two nations, which will be conforma- fourth volume of Robinson's Admiralty Reports ble to equity, to reciprocity, and to their mutual Secondly. That the principle is manifestly advantage. I have the bonor to be, &c., contrary to the general interest of commercial JAMES MADISON. nations, as well as to the laws of nations, settled
by the most approved authorities, which recog. Mr. Madison to Mr. Monroe.
nises no restraints on the trade of nations not at
war, with nations at war, other than it shall be DEPARTMENT OF State, April 12, 1805. impartial between the latter; that it shall not Sır: The papers herewith enclosed explain extend to certain military articles, nor to the particularly the case of the brig Aurora.
transportation of persons in military service, nor The sum of the case is, that while Spain was to places actually blockaded or besieged. at war with Great Britain, this vessel, owned by Thirdly. Thai the principle is the more cona citizen of the United States, brought a cargo of trary to reason and to right, inasmuch as the adSpanish produce, purchased at the Havana, from mission of Deutrals into a colonial trade shut that place to Charleston, where the cargo was against them in times of peace, may, and often landed, except an insignificant portion of it, and does, result from considerations' which open to the duties paid, or secured, according to law, in neutrals direct channels of trade with the parent like manner' as they are required to be paid, or State, shut to them in times of peace, the legality secured, on a like cargo, from whatever port, of which latter relaxation is not known to have meant for home consumption ; that the cargo re- been contested; and inasmuch as a commerce mained on land about three weeks, when it was may be, and frequently is, opened in time of war, reshipped for Barcelona, in Old Spain, and the between a colony and other countries, from conduties drawn back, with a deduction of three and siderations which are not incident to the war, a half per cent., as is permitted to imported arti- and which would produce the same effect in time cles in all cases, at any time within one year, of peace; such, for example, as a failure or dimunder certain regulations, which were pursued in inution of the ordinary sources of necessary supthis case; that the vessel was taken on her voy- plies, or new turns in the course of profitable age by a British cruiser, and sent for trial 10 interchanges. Newfoundland, where the cargo was condemned Fourthly. That it is not only contrary to the by the Court of Vice-Admiralty ; and that the principles and practice of other nations, but to cause was carried thence, by appeal, to Great the practice of Great Britain herself. It is well Britain, where it was apprehended that the sen- known to be her invariable practice in time of tence below could not be reversed.
war, by relaxations in her navigation laws, to adThe ground of this sentence was, and that of mit neutrals to trade in channels forbidden to its confirmation, if such be the result, must be, them in times of peace, and particularly to open that the trade in which the vessel was engaged her colonial trade, both to neutral vessels and supwas unlawful; and this unlawfulness must rest, plies, to which it is shut in times of peace; and first, on the general principle assumed by Greai that one at least of her objects in these relaxaBritain, that a trade from a colony to its parent tions, is to give to her trade an immunity from country, being a trade not permitted to other na capture, to which, in her own hands, it would be tions in time of peace, cannot be made lawful to subjected by the war. them in time of war; secondly, on the allegation Fifthly. The practice which has prevailed in that the continuity of the voyage from the Ha- the British dominions, sanctioned by orders of vana to Barcelona was not broken by landing the Council and an act of Parliament, (39 Geo. III. cargo in the United States, paying the duties c. 98,) authorizing for British subjects a direct thereon, and thus fulfilling the legal pre-requi- trade with the enemy, still further diminishes the sites to a home consumption ; and, therefore, that force of her pretensions for depriving us of the the cargo was subject to condemnation, even un-colonial trade. Thus we see in Robinson's Adder the British regulation of January, 1788, which miralty Reports, passim, that during the last war so far relaxes the general principle as to allow a a licensed commercial intercourse prevailed bedirect trade between a belligerent colony and a tween Great Britain and her enemies, France, neutral country carrying on such a trade. Spain, and Holland, because it comprehended With
respect to the general principle which articles necessary for her manufactures and agridisallows to neutral nations, in time of war, a culture, not withstanding the effect it had in opentrade not allowed to them in time of peace, iting a vent to the surplus productions of the othmay be observed:
ers. In this manner she assumes to suspend the First. That the principle is of modern date; war itself, as to particular objects of trade benethat it is maintained, as is believed, by no other ficial to herself
, whilst she denies the right of the pation bụt Great Britain, and that it was assumed other belligerents to suspend their accustomed by her under the auspices of a maritime ascen. I commercial restrictions in favor of neutrals. But
Relations with Great Britain.
the injustice and inconsistency of her attempt to corporated and naturalized, as a part of the com: press a strict rule on peutrals, is more forcibly mercial stock of the country re-exporting it. displayed by the nature of the trade which is The question then to be decided under the openly carried on between the colonies of Great British regulation itself is, whether in landing Britain and Spain, in the West Indies. The the cargo, paying the duties, and thus as effectumore of it is detailed in the enclosed copy of a ally qualifying the articles for the legal consumpletter from -, wherein it will be seen that tion of the country as if they had been its native American vessels and cargoes, after being con- productions, they were not, at the same time, demned in British courts, under pretence of illi- equally qualified with native productions for excit commerce, are sent on British account to the portation to a foreign market. That such ought enemies of Great Britain, if not to the very port to be the decision results irresistibly from the folof the destination interrupted when they were lowing considerations : American property. What respect can be claimed 1. From the respect which is due to the interfrom others to a doctrine, not only of so recent nal regulations of every country, where they canan origin, and enforced with so little uniformity, not be charged with a temporizing partiality tobut which is so conspicuously, disregarded in wards particular belligerent parties, or with fraudpractice by the nation itself, which stands aloneulent views towards all of them. The regulain contending for it?
tions of the United States on this subject must Sixthly. It is particularly worthy of attention, be free from every possible imputation, being not that the Board of Commissioners, jointly consti: only fair in their appearance, but just in their tuted by the British and American Goveraments, principles, and having continued the same during under the seventh article of the treaty of 1794, the periods of war as they were in those of peace. by reversing condemnations of the British courts, It may be added, that they probably correspond, founded on the British instructions of November, in every essential feature relating to re-exporta1793, condemned the principle, that a trade for- tions, with the laws of other commercial counbidden to neutrals in time of peace could not be tries, and particularly with those of Great Britain. opened to them in time of war; on which pre. The annexed outline of them, by the Secretary of cise principle these instructions were founded. the Treasury will at once explain their char And, as the reversal could be justified by no other ter, and show that, in the case of the Aurora, authority than the law of nations, by which they every_legal requisite was duly complied with. were guided, the law of nations, according to that 2. From the impossibility of substituting any joint tribunal, condemns the principle here com- other admissible criterion ihan that of landing bated. Whether the British Commissioners con- the articles, and otherwise qualifying them for curred in these reversals, does not appear; but the use of the country. If this regular and cuswhether they did or did not, the decision was tomary proceeding be not a barrier against furequally binding, and affords a “precedent which ther inquiries, where, it may be asked, are the incould not be disrespected by a like succeeding quiries to stop ? By what evidence are particutribunal, and ought not to be without great lar articles to be identified on the high seas or weight with both nations, in like questions re- before a foreign tribunal ? If identified, how is curring between them.
it to be ascertained whether they were imported On these grounds the United States may justly with a view to the market at home or to a foreign regard the British captures and condemnations market, or, as ought always to be presumed, to of neutral trade, with colonies of the enemies of the one or the other, as it should happen to inGreat Britain, as violations of right; and if rea- vite? Or, if to a foreign market, whether to one son, consistency, or that sound policy which can- forbidden or permitted by the British regulations ? not be at variance with either, be allowed the For it is to be recollected, that among the modiweight which they ought to have, the British fications which her policy has given to the gen. Government will feel sufficient motives to repair eral principle asserted by her, a direct trade is the wrongs done in such cases by its cruisers and permitted to a neutral carrier from a belligerent courts.
colony to her ports, as well as to those of his own But, apart from this general view of the sub-country. If, again, the landing of the goods, and ject, a resusal to indemnify the sufferers, in the the payment of the duties, be not sufficient to particular case of the Aurora, is destitute of every break the continuity of the voyagę, what, it may pretext; because, in the second place, the contin- be asked, is the degree of internal change or alienuity of her voyage was clearly and palpably broken, ation which shall have that effect? May not a and the trade converted into a new character. claim be set up to trace the articles from hand to
It has been already noted, that the British reg. hand, from ship to ship, in the same port, and ulation of 1798 admits a direct trade, in time of even from one port to another port, as long as war, between a belligerent colony and a neutralihey remain in the country? In a word, in decountry carrying on the trade; and admits, con-parting from the simple criterion provided by the sequently, the legality of the importation by the country itself for its own legitimate and permaAurora, from the Havana to Charleston. "Nor nent objects, it is obvious that, besides the defalhas it ever been pretended that a neutral nation cations which might be committed on our carryhas not a right to re-export to any belligerent ing trade, pretexts will be given to cruisers for country whatever foreign productions, not con- endless vexations on our commerce at large, and traband of war, which may have been duly in-Ithat a latitude and delays will accrue in the dis
Relations with Great Britain.
tant proceedings of Admiralty Courts still more
Mr. Monroe to Mr. Madison. ruinous and intolerable.
LONDON, August 16, 1805. 3. From the decision in the British High
Sir: I enclose you a copy of my letters to Lord Court of Admiralty itself, given in the case of Mulgrave, relative to the late seizures of our ves. the Polly, Lasky, master, by a judge deservedly sels by His Majesty's cruisers in the Channel and celebrated for his profound judgment, wbich can- North Sea, and of his replies. I had yesterday not be suspected of leaning towards doctrines an interview with him on the subject, in which unjust or injurious to the rights of his own coun: he gave me a report from each of the King's law try. On that occasion he expressly declares: "It officers in the Admiralty respecting the late decisis not my business to say what is universally, the ions, and promised me another interview on that test of a bona fide importation. It is argued that and the other topics depending between our Govit would be sufficient that the duties should be ernments, as soon as I should desire it, after har. paid, and that the cargo should be landed. If ing perused the reports. By my note to him of these criteria are not to be resorted to, I should this date, you will find that I consider these docu. be at a loss to know what should be the test; and
ments unsatisfactory on the great question, and I am strongly disposed to hold that it would be have asked another interview. It appears. howsufficient that the goods should be landed and ever, by them, that no recent order has been issued the duties paid.”—2 Robinson's Reports, p. 365-9. by the Government; hence it is probable that the
The President has thought it proper ihat you late decisions on the point of continuity of voyshould be furnished with such a view of the sub
age, which have carried the restraints on that ject as is here sketched, that you may make the commerce to a greater extent than heretofore, use of it best suited to ihe occasion. If the trial may have furnished to the parties interested a of the Aurora should not be over, it is questiona- motive for these seizures. It is equally probable ble whether the Government will interfere with that the decision of the Court of Appeals in the its courts. Should the trial be over, and the sen- case of the " Essex," as several of its members are tence of the Vice Admiralty Court at St. John's also members of the Cabinet, may have been dichave been confirmed, you are to lose no time in rated by policy, to promote the navigation of this presenting to the British Government a represen- country at the expense of that of the United tation corresponding with the scope of these ob- States. In the late joterview with Lord Mul. servations; and in urging that redress in the case grave much general conversation took place on which is equally due to private justice, to the ihe subject, in which he assured me in the most reasonable expectations of ihe United States, and explicit terms, that nothing was more remote from to that confidence and harmony which ought to the views of his Government thao to take an unbe cherished between the two nations.
friendly attitude towards the United States; he The effect of the doctrine involved in the sen- assured me also, that no new orders had been tence of the court in Newfoundland on our car issued, and that his Government was disposed to rying trade will at once be seen by you. The do everything in its power to arrange this and average amount of our re-exportations for three the other points to our satisfaction; by which, years, ending 30th September, 1803, has been however, I did not understand that the principle thirty-two million three thousand nine hundred in this case would be abandoned, though I think and iwenty-one dollars. Besides the mercantile it probable that in other respects much accommoand navigation profits, the average revenue from dation may be obtained relative to that commerce. drawbacks on goods re-exported for three years, Affairs here seem to be approaching a crisis. li ending the thirty-first December, 1803, is one is said that the combined teets, having been prehundred and eighty-four thousand two hundred viously joined by the Rochefort squadron, have and seventy-one dollars, to which is to be ad- entered Ferrol, and that the force now there is ded an uncertain but considerable sum, consist
thirty-seven sail-of-the-line. Sir Robert Calder ing of duties paid on articles re-exported, after has joined Admiral Cornwallis before Brest. The having lost, through neglect or lapse of time, the French fleet there consists of aboui lwenty-six privilege of drawback. A very considerable por- sail-of-the-line. This force, so nearly united, is tion of this branch of trade, with all its advan
a very imposing one. The menace of invasion tages, will be cut off if the formalities heretofore is kept up and increased. Everything seems to respected are not to protect our re-exportations. indicate that an attempt will soon be made. Indeed, it is difficult to see the extent to which
I have the honor to be, with great respect and the apprehended innovation may be carried in regard, sir, your very obedient servant, theory, or to estimate the mischief which it may
JAMES MONROE. produce in practice. If Great Britain, disregarding the precepts of justice, suffers herself to cal
No. 1. culate the interest she has in spoliating or abridging our commerce by the value of it to the Uni.
To Lord Mulgrave. ted States, she ought certainly not to forget that
Dover STREET, July 31, 1805. the United States must, in that case, calculate by Mr. Monroe presents his compliments to Lord the same standard the measures which the stake Mulgrave, and requests the honor of an interview will afford for counteracting her unjust and un- with his Lordship on the subjects that were defriendly policy. I have the honor to be, &c. pending between their Governments at the time
JAMES MADISON. of Mr. Monroe's departure last Autumn for Spain,