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The aggressions of England and France collectively, affecting almost the whole of our commerce, and persisted in, notwithstanding repeated remonstrances, explanations, and propositions the most candid and unexceptionable, are to all intents and purposes, a maritime war waged by both nations against the United States. It cannot be denied, that the ultimate and only effectual mode of resisting that warfare, if persisted in, is war. A permanent suspension of commerce, after repeated and unavailing efforts to obtain peace, would not properly be resistance : it would be withdrawing from the contest, and abandoning our indisputable right freely to navigate the ocean.

The present unsettled state of the world, the extraordinary situation in which the United States are placed, and the necessity, if war be resorted to, of making it at the same time against both nations, and these the two most powerful of the world, are the principal causes of hesitation. There would be none in resorting to that remedy, however calamitous, if a selection could be made on any principle of justice, or without a sacrifice of national independence.

On a question of such difficulty, involving the most important interests of the Union, and which has not, perhaps, until lately, been sufficiently considered, your committee think the house alone competent to pronounce a decisive opinion : and they have, in this report, confined themselves to an exposition of the subject, and to such introductory resolutions, as will be equally applicable to either alternative. The first of these, being merely declaratory of a determination not to submit to foreign aggressions, may perhaps, at a first view, appear superfluous. It is, however, believed by the committee, that a pledge, by the representatives of the nation, that they will not abandon its essential rights, will not, at this critical moment, be unacceptable. The misapprehensions which seem to have existed, and the misrepresentations which have been circulated, respecting the state of our foreign relations, render also such declaration expedient. And it may not be useless that every foreign nation should understand, that its aggressions never will be justified or encouraged by any description of American citizens. For the ques. tion for every citizen now is, whether he will rally round



the government of his choice, or enlist under foreign banners? Whether he will be for his country, or against his country ?






ACCORDING to the request of the House of Representatives, in their resolution of November 11, that copies should be laid before them of all acts, decrees, orders, and proclamations, affecting the commercial rights of neutral nations, issued or enacted by Great Britain and France, or any other belligerent power, since the year 1791, and also of an act placing the commerce of America, in English ports, upon the footing of the most favoured nation, I now transmit them a report of the Secretary of State, of such of them as have been attainable in the department of state, and are supposed to have entered into the views of the House of Representatives.


Department of State, Dec. 21, 1808. The Secretary of State, in pursuance of the resolution of the House of Representatives of the 11th of November, respectfully reports to the President of the United States, a copy of an act of the British parliament regulating the trade between the United States and Great Britain, and also copies of such belligerent acts decrees, orders, and proclamations, as affect neutral rights of commerce, and as have been attainable in the department of state; with the exception, however, of sundry acts, particularly blockades of doubtful import or inferior importance, which it was supposed would have inconveniently extended the delay and the size of the report.


1793. March 25. Extract from the Russian treaty.
May 25. do.

July 14. do.

Aug. 30.

June 8. Additional instructions, with respect to

corn, meal, &c. &c.
Nov. 6. do. Detention of neutral vessels laden

with goods the produce of French colonies, &c. 1794. Jan. 8. Revocation of the last order, and the

enactment of other regulations. 1798. Jan. 25. Revocation of the last order, and the

enactment of new regulations. 1799. March 22. Blockade of all the ports of Holland.

Nov. 27. Suspension of the blockade of Holland. 1303. June 24. Direct trade between neutrals and the

colonies of enemies not to be interrupted, unless upon the outward voyage contraband supplies

shall have been furnished by the neutrals. 1804. April 12. Instructions concerning blockades, com

municated by Mr. Merry. Conversion of the seige

of Curracoa into a blockade. Aug. 9. Blockade of Fecamp, &c. &c. 1805. 17. Direct trade with enemies' colonies sub

jected to restrictions.
1806. April 3. Blockade of the Ems, Weser, &c. &c.

May 16. Ditto from the Elbe to Brest.
Sept 25. Discontinuance of the last blockade, in

part. 1807. March 12. Interdiction of the trade from port to

port, of France.
June 26. Blockade of the Ems, &c. &c.
Oct. 16. Proclamation recalling seamen.
Nov, 11. Three orders in council.

25. Six do. do.
1308. Jan. 8. Blockade of Carthagena, &c. &c.

March 28. Act of Parliament.
April 11. Orders encouraging our citizens to vio.

late the embargo.

April 14. Act of Parliament to prohibit the expor

tation of cotton wool, &c. &c. Act of Parliament making valid certain

orders in council, &c. &c.
May 4. Blockade of Copenhagen and the island of

June 23. Act of Parliament, regulating trade be-

tween the United States and Great Britain.
Oct. 14. Adm. Cockrane's blockade of the French

Leeward Islands.

LIST OF FRENCH DECREES. 9th May, 1793, Authorizes French vessels to arrest and

bring into the ports of the Republick,vessels laden

with provisions destined for an enemy port. 23d May, 1793, Exempts American vessels from the ope

ration of the decree of the 9th. 28th May, 1793, Suspends the decree of 23d May. 1st July, 1793. The decree of 23d again enforced. 27th July, 1793. The decree of 23d May repealed, and

that of 9th May enforced. 25th Brumaire 3d year. (18th November, 1794.) Gene

eral regulations, the most important is, that mer. chandise belonging to the enemy is made liable to seizure in neutral vessels until the enemy shall exempt from seizure French merchandise similarly

situated. 14th Nivose 3d year. (30 January, 1795.) Repeals the

5th article of the above, and exempts enemy goods

from capture in neutral vessels. 14th Messidor 4th year. (2d July, 1796.) The French

will treat neutral nations, as they suffer themselves

to be treated by the English. 17th Ventose 5th year. (2d March, 1797.) Enemy's pro

perty in neutral vessels liable to confiscation, makes

necessary rôle d'equipages. 29th Nivose 6th year. (18th January, 1798.) The cha

racter of vessels to be determined by that of their

cargoes. 28th Ventose 7th year (18th March, 1799.) Explains the

4th article of the decree of 2d March, 1797.

8th Brumaire 7th year. (29th October, 1799.) Neutrals

found on board enemy vessels liable to be treated

as pirates. 24th Brumaire 7th year. (141h November, 1799.) Sus

pends the operation of the above decree of the 29th

October. 23d Frimaire 8th year. (13th December, 1800.) Repeals

the 1st article of the law of the 29th Nivose, 6th

year. (18th January, 1798.) 29th Frimaire 8th year. (19th December, 1800.) Enforces

the regulations of 26th July, 1778. 21st November, 1806. Berlin decree. 17th December, 1807. Milan decree. 17th April, 1808. Bayonne decree.

List of Decrees of the French Agents in the West Indies,

sent to the President December 22, 1808. 1. 1st August, 1797. Making horses contraband. 2. 1st February, 1797. Authorizes the capture of neutral

vessels bound to certain West India Islands. 3. 27th November, 1797. Authorizes the capture of

American vessels going to or coming from English

ports. 4. 5th February, 1805. Declares that all persons found

on board vessels bound to or coming from any ports in Hispaniola, in the possession of the rebels, shall suffer death.

SPANISH DECREES. 1. 15th February, 1800. Blockade of Gibraltar. 2. 18th February, 1807. In imitation of Berlin decree. 3. 3d January, 1808. In imitation of Milan decree.

BRITISH ORDERS, BLOCKADES, &c. Extract from a Convention between his Britannick Majesty

and the Empress of Russia, signed at London the 25 h of March, 1793.

« Art. 111. Their said majesties reciprocally engage to shut all their ports against French ships, not to permit the

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