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lous 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 specifick charge, it is notorious that he has never declared any ports to be in a state of blockade, 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 naval ports and arsenals are actually blockaded, and he is unable to station any naval force whatever, before any port 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 rights 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 on its interests.
If however the enemy should carry these threats into execution, and if neutral nations, contrary to all expectation, should 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 pre
tensions of his enemies, he cannot enter into the stipula. tions 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 occur.
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 with out 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 an abandonment on the part of the enemy, or such assurances, or 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 his enemy.
The undersigned cannot conclude without expressing their satisfaction at the prospect of accomplishing an object so important to the interests and friendly connection of both nations, and their just sense of ihe conciliatory disposition manifested by the commissioners of the Unit. ed States during the whole course of the negotiation.
AUCKLAND. To James Monroe, &c. &c. &c.
William Pinkney, &c. &c. &c.
London, March 14, 1807. MY LORD,—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 every thing 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.
WILLIAM PINKNEY. The Rt. Hon. Lord Viscount Howick, &c. &c. &c.
London, August 20, 1806. The undersigned commissioners extraordinary and plenipotentiary of the United States of America, think it necessary to give to lord Holland and lord Auckland, the commissioners extraordinary and plenipotentiary of his majesty, a brief explanation in writing of the claims, which they have already had the honour to mention to their lordships in a recent conference, of sundry American citizens, for suitable compensation for losses and damages sustained in the course of the present war, by reason of irregular or illegal captures or condemnations of their vessels and other property, and at the same time to call the attention of their VOL. VI.
lordships to the situation of certain prize causes, arising out of some of these captures, now depending in the tribunals of this country.
The undersigned are happy in having it in their power to state that, according to the information they have been able to obtain, such of these claims as relate to captures, which, from causes peculiar to themselves, have excited in America a more than ordinary degree of sensibility, are not so considerable in number as was at first supposed.
The complaints of this description, to which the undersigned would particularly invite the attention of their lordships, have been produced by seizures as prize, made in direct violation of rules of maritime practice, previously declared by his majesty's government to the government of the United States, and in no degree revoked or affected by any arrangement between them, or even by any notification, that they were about to be abandoned.
Of these seizures, the most important, and in every view the most interesting, were made in the year 1805, and in the carly part of the year 1806, of the ships and merchandise of Ainerican citizens, upon the pretension, that the voyages in which they were engaged were direct or continuous between the colonies of his majesty's enemies and some port in Europe.
Although it is certain that the government of the United States has never admitted that illegality can be imputed to such a trade, even when confessedly continuous or direct, and had concluded that the question had been otherwise formally settled in its favour, the undersigned believe it to be unnecessary to bring that point into view with any reference to the cases now under consideration. It is sufficient to state that, at the date of these seizures the merchants of the United States did explicitly understand, and were justified in a confident belief, founded not only upon antecedent practice, but upon a formal communication, in the year 1801, to the American minister in London from bis majesty's principal secretary of state for the department of foreign affairs, that the circumstances, by which these voyages were accompanied, had been, and were distinctly admitted by the British government, and by British courts of prize, to break their continuity, and render them unquestionably lawsul.
The following detail will show more precisely the nature and effect of the communication to which the undersigned allude.
The publick and private armed ships of this country having seized American vessels, bound from the United States to the Spanish West Indies, on the pretext that their cargoes consisted of articles of the growth of Spain, then at war with Great Britain, and the vice-admiralty court of Nassau having condemned the cargo of one of these vessels upon that pretext, Mr. King, in a note to lord Hawkesbury of the 13th of March, 1801, remonstrated against these acts as palpable abuses. The subject of this remonstrance was immediately referred to the king's advocate, whose report of the 16th of March, 1801, after declaring that the sentence of the vice-admiralty court was erroneous, concludes with the following exposition of the law as understood in Great Britain, relative to the commerce of neutrals with belligerents and their colonies. " It is now distinctly understood, and has been repeatedly so decided by the high court of appeal, that the produce of the colonies of the enemy may be imported by a neutral into his own country, and may be re-exported from thence, even to the mother country of such colony; and in like manner the produce and manufactures of the mother country may, in this circuitous mode, legally find their way to the colonies. The direct trade, however, between the mother country and its colonies has not, I apprehend, been recognised as legal, either by his majesty's government, or by his tribunals."
6 What is a direct trade, or what amounts to an intermediate importation into the neutral country, may sometimes be a question of some difficulty. A general definition of either, applicable to all cases, cannot well be laid down. The question must depend upon the particular circumstances of each case. Perhaps the mere touching in the neutral country, to take fresh clearances, may properJy he considered as a fraudulent evasion, and is in effect the direct trade; but the high court of admiralty has expressly decided (and I see no reason to expect that the court of appeal will vary the rule) that landing the goods and paying the duties in the neutral country, breaks the continuity of the voyage, and is such an importation as legalizes the trade, although the goods be reshipped in the