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with all the authorities necessary for the accomplishing of so desirable an event, and, moreover, that if the attainment of this object through your agency should be considered more expeditious, or otherwise preferable, it would be a course entirely satisfactory to the United States.
“I am now charged by the President to transmit to you the enclosed letter, authorizing you to resume the negotiations with the British government under the full power that had been given, severally, and jointly, to you and Mr. Monroe. And in your discussions therein, you will be regulated by the instructions, heretofore given to Mr. Monroe and yourself. It is, however, not intended, that you should commence this negotiation until the requisite satisfaction shall have been made in the affair of the Chesapeake. And in the adjustment of this case, you will be guided by the instructions which you have heretofore re. ceived from this department in relation to it.
“ It is moreover desirable, that preparatory to a treaty upon all the points of difference between the two countries, an arrangement should be made for the revocation of the orders in council. As it is uncertain what may be the ultimate measures of Congress at the present session, it cannot be expected that the President can, at this time, state the precise condition to be annexed to a repeal of the orders in council: But, in general, you may assure the British government of his cordial disposition to exercise any power with which he may be invested, to put an end to acts of Congress, which would not be resorted to but for the orders in council, and at the same time, of his determination to keep them in force against France in case her decrees should not also be repealed.”
[Enclosed in the foregoing letter.] Mr. Smith 10 Mr. Pinkney. Department of State, Jan.
20, 1810. Sır,—The President, anxious to adjust the existing differences between the United States and Great Britain, and deeming it expedient to make another effort for that purpose, has given it in charge to me to instruct you to renew negotiations in London under the commission, dated 12th May, 1806, authorizing Mr. Monroe and yourself, severally, as well as jointly, “ to treat with the British government relative to wrongs committed between the parties on the high seas, or other waters, and for establishing the principles of navigation and commerce between them." I have the honour to be, &c.
Mr. Smith to Mr. Pinkney. Department of State, May
22, 1810. Sir,-Your despatch of the 27th of March, by the British packet, was received on the 17th of this month.
The President has read with surprise and regret the answer of lord Wellesley to your letter of the 20 January, and also his reply to your note requiring explanations with respect to the blockade of France. The one indicates an apparent indifference as to the character of the diplomatic intercourse between the two countries, and the other evinces an inflexible determination to persevere in their system of blockade.
The provision made for the diplomatic agency, which is to succeed that of Mr. Jackson, manifests a dissatisfaction at the step necessarily taken here with regard to that minister, and at the same time a diminution of the respect heretofore attached to the diplomatic relations between the two countries. However persevering the President may be in the conciliatory disposition which has constantly governed him, he cannot be inattentive to such an apparent departure from it on the other side, nor to the duty imposed on him by the rules of equality and reciprocity applicable in such cases. It will be very agreeable to him to find that the provision in question is intended merely to afford time for a satisfactory choice of a plenipotentiary successor to Mr. Jackson, and that the mode of carrying it into effect may be equally unexceptionable. But whilst, from the language of the marquis Wellesley, with respect to the designation of a charge d'affaires, and from the silence as to any other successor to the recalled minister, it is left to be inferred that the former alone is in contemplation, it becomes proper to ascertain what are the real views of the British government on the occasion ;
and should they be such as they are inferred to be, to meet them by a correspondent change in the diplomatic establishment of the United States at London. The President relies on your discretion for obtaining the requisite knowledge of this subject in a manner that will do justice to the friendly policy which the United States wish to be reciprocal in every instance between the two nations. But in the event of its appearing that the substitution of a charge d'affaires for a minister plenipotentiary, is to be of a continuance not required or explained by the occasion, and consequently justifying the inference drawn from the letter of lord Wellesley, the respect which the United States owe to themselves will require that you return to the United States, according to the permission hereby given by the President, leaving charged with the business of the legation such person as you may deem most fit for the trust. With this view a commission, as required by a statute of the last session, is herewith enclosed, with a blank for a secretary of legation. But this step you will not consider yourself as instructed to take in case you should have commenced, with a prospect of a satisfactory result, the negotiation authorized by my letter of the twentieth January.
In a letter of the 4th of this month, I transmitted to you a copy of the act of Congress, at their last session, concerning the commercial intercourse between the United States and Great Britain and France. You will herewith receive another copy of the same act. In the fourth section of this statute you will perceive a new modification of the policy of the United States, and you will let it be understood by the British government that this provision will be duly carried into effect on the part of the United States.
A satisfactory adjustment of the affair of the Chesapeake is very desirable. The views of the President upon this delicate subject you may collect not only from the instructions heretofore given to you, but from the sentiments that had been manifested on the part of this government in the discussion with Mr. Rose, and from the terms and conditions contained in the arrangement made with Mr. Erskine. And conformably with these views, thus to be collected, you will consider yourself hereby instructed
to negotiate and conclude an arrangement with the British government in relation to the attack on the frigate Chesapeake. I have the honour to be, &c.
R. SMITH. Win. Pinkney, Esq. &c. &c. &c. London.
Mr. Smith to Mr. Pinkney. Department of Stale, July 2,
1810. Sir,--Your several letters of the 8th and 9th of April, and 2d and 3d of May, have been received.
Whilst it was not known, on the one hand, how far the French government would adhere to the apparent import of the condition, as first communicated, on which the Berlin decree would be revoked, and, on the other hand, what explanations would be given by the British government with respect to its blockades prior to that decree, the course deemed proper to be taken was that pointed out in my letter to you of the 11th of November, and in that to general Armstrong of the 1st of December. cise and formal declaration since made by the French government, that the condition was limited to the blockades of France, or parts of France, of a date prior to the date of the Berlin decree, and the acknowledgment by the British government of the existence of such blockades, particularly that of May, 1806, with a failure to revoke it, or even to admit the constructive extinguishment of it, held out in your letter to the marquis Wellesley, give to the subject a new aspect and a decided character.
As the British government had constantly alleged that the Berlin decree was the original aggression on our neutral commerce, that her orders in council were but a retaliation on that decree, and had, moreover, on that ground, asserted an obligation on the United States to take effectual measures against the decree, as a preliminary to a repeal of the orders, nothing could be more reasonable than to expect, that the condition, in the shape last presented, would be readily accepted. The President is, therefore, equally disappointed and dissatisfied at the abortiveness of your correspondence with lord Wellesley on this important subject. He entirely approves the
determination you took to resume it, with a view to the special and immediate obligation lying on the British government to cancel the illegal blockades; and you are instructed, in case the answer to your letter of the 30th of April should not be satisfactory, to represent to the British government, in terms temperate but explicit, that the United States consider themselves authorized by strict and unquestionable right, as well as supported by the principles heretofore applied by Great Britain to the case, in claiming and expecting a revocation of the illegal blockades of France, of a date prior to that of the Berlin decree, as preparatory to a further demand of the revocation of that decree.
It ought not to be presumed that the British government, in reply to such a representation, will contend that a blockade, like that of May, 1806, from the Elbe to Brest, a coast of not less than one thousand miles, proclaimed four years since, without having been at any time attempted to be duly executed by the application of a naval force, is a blockade conformable to the law of nations and consistent with neutral rights. Such a pretext is completely barred not only by the unanimous authorities both of writers and of treaties on this point, not excepting even British treaties, but by the rule of blockade, communicated by that government to this in the year 1804, in which it is laid down that orders had been given not to consider any blockade of those islands (Martinique and Guadaloupe) as existing, unless in respect of particular ports which may be actually invested ; and then not to capture vessels bound to such ports unless they shall previously have been warned not to enter them, and that they (the lords of the admiralty) had also sent the necessary directions on the subject to the judges of the vice admiralty courts in the West Indies and America. In this communication it is expressly stated, that the rule of the British courts and cruisers was furnished in consequence of the representations made by the government of the United States against blockades not unlike that now in question, and with the express view of redressing the grievance complained of. Nor ought it to be presumed that the British government will formally resort to the plea that her naval force, although unapplied, is adequate to the enforcement of the blockade of May, 1806, and that this forms a legal distinction between that