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cable to all articles exported, and that they were not adopted to favour any particular commerce as has been erroneously supposed. Mr. Fox will be the more sensible of this fact, when he recollects that the government of the United States never admitted the right in Great Britain to inhibit the commerce in question, that, on the contrary, it had concluded on the highest possible evidence, as is proved by the papers in Mr. Fox's possession, that Great Britain had relinquished the pretension.
Mr. Monroe considers it his duty to observe to Mr. Fox, that as his government thinks itself entitled to the commerce referred to, and that the citizens of the United States have been injured by the attack which has been made on it, by his majesty's cruisers and privateers, under circumstances too, that were peculiarly calculated to inspire a confidence in their security, his instructions forbid his entering into any adjustment which does not look to the object of a reasonable compensation. He makes this communication with candour, in the hope, that Mr. Fox will take it into consideration in the answer which he has been so good as to promise him, at an early day.
Mr. Monroe flatters himself that his majesty's government will be animated by a sincere desire to meet the government of the United States in such an arrangement as will establish the relations of the two countries on a ground of permanent friendship, and that it will be of opinion, independent of the satisfaction to be derived from rendering justice to a friendly power which it has injured without provocation, that the recompense due to the sufferers is but a trifling consideration, when compared with so great a national object. Mr. Monroe hopes that Mr. Fox will see the propriety of placing this business in his answer on such ground as may promise a satisfactory adjustment of it, and for the reasons stated in his note of the 31st ult. that his majesty's government will not hesitate, in the present stage, to prohibit the further seizure and condemnation of American vessels, on the principle in question.
London, May 17, 1806. Sır. ----After my interview with Mr. Fox, on the 25th ult. I waited a fortnight without hearing from him. This new instance of delay surprised me, because he had shown a sensibility to the former one, and did not seem aware of the necessity of adding to it. Independent of the general object, the war with Prussia, and the blockades incident to it, the doctrine and practice respecting which it was necessary to arrange, furnished a new motive for a communication with him. On mature reflection, I thought it best to call informally, which I did on the 11th, with a view to enter on these topicks in the familiar manner I had heretofore done. Mr. Fox was at the office, but did not receive me. He sent the expression of his regret at not being able to do it, being as he said just going to attend the cabinet, who were waiting for him. I called again on the 13th, and experienced the same result, though I had left word that I should then be there. I was informed by his desire, that a summons from the king, to attend him at the palace, prevented his receiving me on that day. I met him on the 15th at the drawing room, but had no opportunity of speaking to him. Sir Francis Vincent, the first under secretary of state, being acquainted with my desire, promised to arrange with him an interview, and to inform me of it. These are the only circumstances worthy notice that have occurred here since my last, till to-day. I mention them that you may be better enabled to judge correctly, in all respects, of the light in which the incident of this day ought to be viewed. Early this morning I received from Mr. Fox a note, a copy of which is enclosed, which you will perceive embraces explicitly a principal subject depending between our governments, though in rather a singular mode. A similar communication is, I presume, made to the other ministers, though of that I have no information. The note is couched in terms of restraint, and professes to extend the blockade further than was heretofore done; nevertheless it takes it from many ports already blockaded, indeed from all east of Ostend and west of the Seine, except in articles contra
band of war and enemies' property, which are seizable without a blockade. And in like form of exception, considering every enemy as one power, it admits the trade of neutrals, within the same limit, to be free, in the produce tions of enemies colonies, in every but the direct route between the colony and the parent country. I have, however, been too short a time in the possession of this paper to trace it in all its consequences in regard to this question. It cannot be doubted, that the note was drawn by the governmemt in reference to the question, and if intended by the cabinet as a foundation on which Mr. Fox is authorized to form a treaty, and obtained by him for the purpose, it must be viewed in a very favourable light. It seems clearly to put an end to further seizures, on the principle which has been heretofore in contestation. I am engaged, by invitation, with Mr. Fox, on the 19th, when it is probable I may have an opportunity of conversing with him, and thereby enabled to form a satisfactory opinion on the subject. I hasten, however, to forward you the enclosed, with the above details, as it is important for you to have them. It is worthy of attention that at the drawing room, on the 15th, it was whispered about, that the bill for prohibiting the importation of British goods, &c. had passed the senate, of which it was said that intelligence had that morning been received. It evidently produced some sensation, which was doubtless the stronger from the idea then entertained, that the bill was to commence its operation at an early day. I observe, however, with pleasure, that on the whole the measure is considered by the government papers, on account of the distant period at which it does commence, rather as a pacifick than as a hostile one. 1 persuade myself that the present ministry will see, in the circumstance of delay, a strong proof of the disposition of the United States not only to preserve the relations of peace with Great Britain, but of their confidence, that the ministry is animated with the same desire. I cannot help
remarking likewise the fact, that this paper was sent me • immediately after the passage of the bill was known. It
furnishes a strong presumption, that the government papers judge correctly of the sentiments of the government on that point. It may be inferred, that a kríowledge of the passage of the bill hastened the communication to me. But my own opinion is, that the business, haying had its
regular course, was advanced to such a stage that it would have been made, had the intelligence not been received. This opinion, however, is formed on circumstances only, and may be erroneous. I hope soon to be able to give you more certain and satisfactory information respect
I am, sir, with great respect, &c.
P. S. I enclose to you a note from M. Lorentz, the minister resident of Hesse-Cassel, requesting certain information, which, if in your power to obtain, I beg you will be so good as to transmit to me.
Downing Street, May 16, 1806. The undersigned, his majesty's principal secretary of state for foreign affairs, has received his majesty's commands to acquaint Mr. Monroe, that the king, taking into consideration the new and extraordinary means resorted to by the enemy for the purpose of distressing the commerce of his subjects, has thought fit to direct, that the necessary measures should be taken for the blockade of the coast, rivers, and ports, from the river Elbe to the port of Brest, both inclusive ; and the said coast, rivers, and ports are and must be considered as blockaded; but that his majesty is pleased to declare, that such blockade shall not extend to prevent neutral ships and vessels, laden with goods not being the property of his majesty's enemics, and not being contraband of war, from approaching the said coast, and entering into and sailing from the said rivers and ports, (save and except the coast, rivers and ports from Ostend to the river Seine, already in a state of strict and rigorous blockade, and which are to be considered as so continued) provided the said ships and vessels so approaching and entering (except as aforesaid) shall not have been laden at any port belonging to or in the possession of any. of his majesty's enemies, and that the said ships and vessels so sailing from the said rivers and ports (except as aforesaid) shall not be destined to any port belonging to or in the possession of any of his majesty's enemies, nor have previously broken the blockade.
Mr. Monroe is therefore requested to apprize the American consuls and merchants residing in England, that the coast, rivers, and ports above mentioned, must be considered as being in a state of blockade, and that from this time all the measures, authorized by the law of nations and the respective treaties between his majesty and the different neutral powers, will be adopted and executed with respect to vessels attempting to violate the said blockade after this notice.
The undersigned requests Mr. Monroe to accept the assurances of his high consideration.
C. J. FOX,
Extract of a Letter from Mr. Monroe to Mr. Madison.
London, May 20, 1806. “ From what I could collect, I have been strengthened in the opinion which I communicated to you in my last, that Mr. Fox's note of the 16th was drawn with a view to a principal question with the United States, I mean that of the trade with enemies' colonies. It embraces, it is true, other objects, particularly the commerce with Prussia, and the north generally, whose ports it opens to neutral powers, under whose flag British manufactures will find a market there. In this particular, especially, the measure promises to be highly satisfactory to the commercial interest, and it may have been the primary object of the government. You will observe, that I have not considered the note as a reply to minc, or as being any way connected with them. It was not communicated to me as such, and it was evidently improper for me to consider it in that light. In directing the publication of it, I have expressed no sentiment on the contents, but left them to the criticism of the publick.
With respect to the delay to which I am exposed, it is utterly out of my power to explain to you the cause. I have no reason to change the opinion, which I have heretofore expressed, of Mr. Fox's disposition on the subject, though I have had, no late communication with him. His present reserve is unfavourable, but it may be otherwise accounted for, and on principles which are quite natural, and therefore presumable. He may have experienced more difliculties in the cabinet than he had expected.