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over the sea, and resolve on making a solid and durable peace. Far from this : not only has it rejected the propositions which have been made to it on the part of my intimate ally the emperor of the French and king of Italy, as well those made by himself as those made through the medium of several powers, friends of England; but, having committed the greatest atrocity and piracy, in the scandalous attack on the city and port of Copenhagen, it has thrown off the mask in such a way that no one can doubt that its insatiable ambition aspires to the exclusive commerce and navigation of every sea. Nothing proves it more than the measures which it has just adopted, under date of the 14th November last, not only declaring all the coasts of France, of Spain, of their allies, and those occupied by the arms of the one or the other power, in a state of blockade, but subjecting the vessels of neutral powers, friends and even allies of England, not only to be searched by English cruisers, but likewise to touch, contrary to their will, at an English port, and also subjecting them to the arbitrary payment of a certain per centage on their cargoes, as may be determined by the English legislature. Authorized then, by the just right of reciprocity, to take those measures which
may seem to me proper, to prevent the abuse which the British cabinet is making of its forces with respect to the neutral flag, and to see if, in this way, a renunciation of so unjust a tyranny can be obtained, I have come to the determination to adopt, and I will that there be adopted in all my dominions, the same measures which my intimate ally, the emperor of the French and king of Italy has adopted, and they are as follows:
Considering that, by the act above mentioned of the 14th November last, the British cabinet has denationalized the vessels of all the nations of Europe, and that it is not at the discretion of any government to accommodate (transiger) as to its independence and its rights, all the sovereigns of Europe being guarantees of the sovereignty and of ihe independence of their flags; and that, if, through an unpardonable weakness, which would be an indelible stain in the eyes of posterity, such tyranny should be suffered to be laid down as a principle and consecrated by use, the English would take it as granted to establish it as a right in the same way that they have availed themselves of the tolerance of governments, to establish the infamous principle that the flag does not cover the merchandise, and to give to its right of blockade an arbitrary extension aimed at the sovereignty of all states, I have decreed, and do decree as follows:
Art. 1. Every vessel, of whatever nation she may be, which may have been visited, (visitado) by an English ship, or may have submitted to touch at a port of England, or may have paid any duty to the English government, is from that act declared to be denationalized, loses the proicction of its flag, and makes itself English property.
11. The vessels so denationalized by the arbitrary measures of the British government, whether they enter into our ports, or enter those of our allies, or whether they fall into the possession of our ships of war or our privateers, are good and valid prize.
11. The British Isles are declared in a state of blockade, as well by sea as by land. Every vessel, of whatever nation she may be, whatever may be her cargo, despatched (expedido) from the ports of England, or of the English colonies, or from the countries occupied by the English troops, will be a good prize, as contravening this decree, will be liable to capture by our ships of war, or by our privateers, and will be adjudged to the captor.
These measures, which are nothing more than a just reciprocation of the barbarous system adopted by the English government, which assimilates its legislation to that of Algiers, will cease to have effect in all those nations who know how to oblige the English government to respect their flag, and will continue in full force until the English government return to the adoption of those principles of the laws of nations which establish the relations of civilized states in time of war.
The dispositions of the present decree will be revoked and have no effect, so soon as the English governmene shall have returned to the adoption of those principles of the laws of nations which are equally those of justice and of honour.
You will keep this in mind, and communicate it to those to whom belongs its execution. Signed with the royal hand of his majesty, at Aranjuez, on the 3d of January, 1808.
FROM THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES RELATIVE
TO ENGLAND AND FRANCE. MARCH 22, 1808. (Cannot be published. Message, &c. recalled, and copy not to be found in
Secretary of State's office.)
FROM THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES TO CON
GRESS. MARCH 22, 1808.
At the opening of the present session, I informed the legislature, that the measures which had been taken with the government of Great Britain for the settlement of our neutral and national rights, and of the conditions of commercial intercourse with that nation, had resulted in articles of a treaty, which could not be acceded to on our part; that instructions had consequently been sent to our ministers there, to resume the negotiations, and to endeavour to obtain certain alterations, and that this was interrupted by the transaction which took place between the frigates Leopard and Chesapeake; the call on that government for reparation of this wrong produced, as Congress have been already informed, the mission of a special minister to this country, and the occasion is now arrived, when the publick interest permits and requires that the whole of these proceedings should be made known to you.
I therefore now communicate the instructions given to our minister resident at London, and his communications to that government on the subject of the Chesapeake, with the correspondence which has taken place here, between the Secretary of State and Mr. Rose, the special minister charged with the adjustment of that difference; the instructions to our ministers for the formation of a treaty; their correspondence with the British commissioners, and
with their own government on that subject, the treaty itself, and written declaration of the British commissioners accompanying it, and the instructions given by us for resuming the negotiation, with the proceedings and correspondence subsequent thereto. To these I have added a letter lately addressed to the Secretary of State, from one of our late ministers, which, though not strictly written in an official character, I think it my duty to communicate, in order that his views of the proposed treaty, and of its several articles, may be fairly presented and understood.
Although I have heretofore, and from time to time, made such communications to Congress as to keep them possessed of a general and just view of the proceedings and dispositions of the government of France towards this country, yet, in our present critical situation, when we find that no conduct on our part, however imparțial and friendly, has been sufficient to ensure, from either belligerent, a just respect for our rights, I am desirous that nothing shall be omitted on my part which may add to your information on this subject, or contribute to the correctness of the views which should be formed. The papers, which, for these reasons, I now lay before you, embrace all the communications, official or verbal, from the French government, respecting the general relations between the two countries, which have been transmitted through our minister there, or through any other accredited channel, since the last session of Congress, to which time all information of the same kind had, from time to time, been given them. Some of these papers have already been submitted to Congress; but it is thought better to offer them again, in order that the chain of communications, of which they make a part, may be presented unbroken.
When, on the 26th February, I communicated to both houses the letter of general Armstrong to M. Champagny, I desired it might not be published, because of the tendency of that practice to restrain injuriously the freedom of our foreign correspondence. But perceiving that this caution, proceeding purely from a regard to the publick good, has furnished occasion for disseminating unfounded suspicions and insinuations, I am induced to believe that the good which will now result from its publication, by confirming the confidence and union of our fellow citizens, will more than countervail the ordinary objection
10 such publications. It is my wish therefore that it may be now published.
No. 1. From Mr. Madison to Mr. Monroe. Department of State,
July 6, 1807. SIR,—The documents herewith enclosed, from No. 1 to No. 9 inclusive, explain the bostile attack, with the insulting pretext for it, lately committed near the capes of Virginia by the British ship of war the Leopard on the American frigate the Chesapeake. No. 10 is a copy of the proclamation issued by the President, interdicting in consequence of that outrage the use of our waters and every other accommodation to all British armed ships.
This enormity is not a subject for discussion. The immunity of a national ship of war from every species and purpose of search on the high seas has never been contested by any nation. Great Britain would be second to none in resenting such a violation of her rights and such an iusult on her flag. She may bring the case to the test of her own feelings by supposing that, instead of the customary demand of our mariners serving compulsively even on board her ships of war, opportunities had been seized for rescuing them in like manner, whenever the superiority of force or the chance of surprise might be possessed by our ships of war.
But the present case is marked by circumstances which give it a peculiar die. The seamen taken from the Chesapeake had been ascertained to be native citizens of the United States, and this fact was made known to the bearer of the demand, and doubtless communicated by him to his commander previous to the commencement of the attack. It is a fact also, affirmed by two of the men, with every appearance of truth, that they had been impressed from American vessels into the British frigate, from which they escaped, and by the third, that having been impressed from a British merchant ship, he had accepted the recruiting bounty under that duress, and with a view to alleviate his situation, till he could escape to his own country: and hat the attack was made during a period of negotiation VOL, VI.