Page images

H. of R.

Repeal of the Embargo.


ately in question, respecting the impressment of Brit- ties which stood in the way of any final and permaish seamen from American ships, is one of such es nent adjustment were at that time insurmountable, we sential importance, at the present moment, as to make were compelled to rest satisfied with the temporary and it necessary for me to ascertain, with as much accuracy imperfect arrangement, which our note of the 8th of Noas possible, what has really passed between your Lord- vember promised to afford. We certainly did not then ships and the American Commissioners upon this understand, nor do we now understand that, by that subject.

note, we pledged our Government to abstain in futuje I understood the American Commissioners to say from the practice of impressing British seamen from that, in addition to whatever passed in writing between American vessels. We certainly, however, did mean you, they received from your Lordships an informal to pledge the British Government to make its cruisers assurance of something that “should, in its practical observe the utmost caution, moderation, and forbear. eflect, remove the grievance complained of." By " the ance, in the exercise of that practice ; but we never grievance complained of,” I understood the Commis- either expressed or implied that they were to desist sioners to mean the practice of impressment itself, not from taking British seamen from American merchant any abuses of that practice.

ships. We farther engaged, that our Goveroment Your Lordships deny that any forbearance was would be at all times ready to take into its serious conpromised, “in the sense of any suspension or discon- sideration any proposal made to it by the American tinuance of the practice," and your Lordships refer to Government, for the recovery of deserters from the your note of the 8th of November, as containing the British Navy, who take refuge in the American terri. correct statement of what you communicated to the tory or on board of American ships, without having American Commissioners.

recourse to the means which are at present resorted to The note of the 8th of November certainly promises for that purpose. forbearance in the practice, but not a discontinuance of Whatever passed in conversation was, we conceive, the practice of impressment.

in strict conformity to that note, and implied no farther I am therefore under the necessity of requesting concession nor forbearance, on the part of Great Brityour Lordships to have the goodness to state to me ain, than extreme caution and moderation in the exerwhether the note of the 8th of November does, accord- cise of the right, which alone, without any discontinu. ing to your Lordships' recollection and belief, contain ance, much less renunciation of the practice, we ex. the whole of what was promised or held out by your pressed our confident hope would be sutħcient to preLordships to the American Commissioners upon this vent such inconveniences and outrages as the American point ?

Commissioners represented, and contended, had freWhether whatever else passed (if anything else did quently arisen from it. pass) in conversation, was in strict conformity to that

We have the honor to be, &c. note; implying no further concession or forbearance,

VASSAL HOLLAND. on the part of Great Britain, and authorizing no fur

AUCKLAND. ther expectation on the part of the United States ?

Right Hon. George Cansing.
If this be so, it does appear to me that the American
Commissioners have misconceived the effect of your

Nothing can be more explicit, and prove the Lordships' communication to them; and must have mistake of our Ministers more unequivocally; nay, represented it to their Government as implying a much more, the Commissioners say, " the treaty was in larger concession than was in fact in your Lordships': itself complete and unconditional, and subject contemplation.

• to no reservation on either part, except what was I have the honor to be, &c.

expressed in the note of ihe 30th of December," GEORGE CANNING. wherein Great Britain reserved the right, notwithR.. Hon. Lords Holland and AUCKLAND.

standing the irealy, to chastise us if we did not To this letter they returned the subjoined an

resist France, in the way and manner which she swer, August 10, 1807.

might prescribe; and Mr. Canning echoes the

same sentiments. The information he obtained, Letter from Lords Holland and Auckland to Mr. Sec. was a prelude to his note, in reply to Messrs.

retary Canning, dated August 10, 1807. Monroe and Pinkney, of the 22d of October, 1807. Sir: In answer to your letter of the 6th instant, we See page 224, of No.3; therein Mr. C.states: “ The have the honor to repeat our former assurances that it treaty was considered, by those who signed it, is our desire, as it is our duty, to give you every possi- . as a complete and perfect instrument. No enble information respecting the negotiation with the American Commissioners, which His Majesty was late- of His Majesty, as connected with the treaty,

gagements were ever entered into, on the part ly pleased to entrust to us. As the points in which our answer to your letter of he adus, that, with respect to impressmedis, it

except such as appear upon the face of it.” And. the 25th ultimo has not appeared to you sufficiently must be understood to have had in view the reclear and satisfactory, we must again refer you to our newal of such discussions, not as forining any official note, of the 8th of November last, as containing part of the treaty then signed.". I will noi cona full and authentic statement of what was settled be. ceal my surprise, sir, at finding Mr. Monroe, who tween us and the American Commissioners, with regard to the impressment of British scamen' from on doubtless knew of ihe correspondence, and reboard of American ships. That note was delivered ceived the foregoing answer, persisting in his after many fruitless conferences held for the purpose of coostructions, and urging upon ihe nation that it devising some expedient that might reconcile the inter- was understood, that no impressment should be ests and pretensions of both nations on this important made upon the high seas.” The gentleman quoted point. But finding, after much careful consideration the documents to prove that the Government of the different plans proposed to us, that the difficul- were satisfied with the exertions of our Ministers.

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]


Repeal of the Embargo.

H. of R.

No doubt they were-I believe every man in ihe ware says, Great Britain never will abandon the
nation was satisfied with their exertions; for I practice of impressment; she would rather go to
take a wide distinction between their exertions war. Mr. Monroe says the same; for " the navy
and their acts; and I wish not to be misunder- and country are opposed to it.” And in Doc. No.4,
stood in doing so. I give them credit for great p. 11, he says Great Britain will not treat, unless
talents and patriotism, pressed, as they were, ihe non-importation law is thereby repealed.
by the convulsions in Europe, and the solicitude Doc. No. 3, p. 139– They would not indemnify
to settle our disputes; they assumed a latitude of us for seizures, in violation of the law of nations.
discretion consistent with the genius of our Gov. Same, p. 123–The East India Company will
eroment, and its honorable conduct in the tur- not give up anything in relation to the trade to
moils of diplomacy. European Ministers march the East ludies.
by the plumb-line and square, of their limited

Same, p.

129- The West India merchants will instructions; whilst ours, having a wide latitude, not permit us to trade, under any restrictions, to may honestly transcend thir bounds. We, how the West Indies. ever, at a distance from the scene, can look more Same, p. 132—They would not agree to any calınly at the passing events there, and refuse to definition, by treaty, concerning blockades. shift our course, because of their supposed im Same, p. 134-They would not permit us to portance. I think they were mistaken, in making enjoy the colonial trade, unless it was embarrassed a treaty in express violation of their instructions; by circuitous voyages and taxation. and I think they also erred, in exciting a hope that Doc. No. 2, p. 6-They would not regulate the they had agreed, (see page 119, of No. 3,) on that right of search by any reasonable stipulations. day, " 10 conclude a treaty on all the points which Doc. No. 4, p. 144–And they would rather fight had formed the object of their negotiation." I us, than yield much. well recollect the pleasure that was excited here, Pray, Mr. Chairman, what are the claims of when this information reached us; for it was the American Government, and what are the communicated forth with by a special message. points of collision or importance, to be considBut do I therefore doubt of their exertions? As-ered in treating with Great Britain ? Expressly suredly not; I will be just to them, while I ain those, and those alone, which have just been reperforming my duty to my country. Sir, I am capitulated; all of which are resisted ; and we in the performance of a great duty. The awful are officially informed they would rather have situation of this nation, on the verge of war on war with us than yield either. Gracious God! the one hand, and the abyss of dishonor and de- Are we a nation ? Have we not already become struction on the other, demands, at our hands, that base and degenerate in the very morn of our pono unjust charge shall be suffered to go out to the litical existence, and unworthy of the liberty so people, without its antidote; it is right that they dearly purchased? Why would we treat with should see and know what their Government has any nation? I suppose, sir, that we may receive done to preserve peace; the grounds upon which indemnity for the past and security for the future; our claims have been rested; and the offers which and, regardless of both, with a rod suspended over have been made. Mr. Monroe has complained, our heads, we treat; and, tremble with pale fear; but I think was without just cause ; for who sacrificing all-obtaining neither. We give up is most in fault, the Government, in conforming everything-we receive nothing—with a knowlto their instructions, or he, in departing from edge, 100, derived from the pages of experience, them?

that the nation that consents to the surrender of The gentleman from Delaware accuses the Adone right, thereby invites attacks upon those reministration of inconsistency, in offering to place maining. The gentleman from Delaware says, our whole relations upon an informal arrange- we might have continued the Treaty of 1794, and ment, after having rejected the treaty with ihe avoided the embarrassments we are subjected to. informal arrangement concerning seamen: and The Treaty of 1794 has already passed the ordeal Mr. Monroe's letter (Doc. No. 4, p. 14) is refer- of public opinion. The Republicans of this counred to, urging the same charge. Sir, I make a try condemned it then, and few of them, I premost material distinction between placing the sume, would applaud it now. whole relations upon an informal understanding, But I will take a cursory view of that treaty, to and treating away everything we had to give, see if it contained any security against those emwhile the essential equivalents were merely in- barrassments, and if it is such an one as can be formally reserved. In the former case, we should accepted. retain what we had to offer-lhe quid pro quo The first ten articles are declared perpetual and and in the latter, success could not be expected irrevocable, and it is uonecessary to give any analby us, as no indulgence could be tendered to induce ysis of them. a relaxation on the part of Great Britain. But, The eleventh is a mere preamble to the comI contend that Mr. Monroe is mistaken in what mercial articles. he asserts relative to this subject. Mr. Madison's The twelfth article was rejected. It related to letter of the 20th May, 1807, states explicitly that the West India trade. 6. The President is constrained to decline any The thirteenth permitted a trade to the British

arrangement, formal or informal, which does not East Indies, embarrassed with restrictions incomcomprise a provision against impressments from patible with a liberal policy. It required that we "American vessels." The gentleman from Dela- should bring their products to the United States.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

H. of R.

Repeal of the Embargo.


The coasting trade was disallowed, and our cili-jection, and a serious one, too, to this article, is, zens were not permitted to settle or reside there, that they are not sufficienily restrained. or go into the interior.

The 2014 relates to the punishment of piracyThe fourteenth opened all our ports to British not objectionable. subjects and British vessels, and permitted the The 21st prohibits individuals from commitresidence of merchants. In this article, there wasting acts of hostility-not objectionable either. no real reciprocity. We were allowed to enjoy The 22d prohibiis reprisals until justice is rethe like privileges in their European possessions fused, and unreasonable delay-the oniy objection only, where the balance of trade is greatly against to this is, that the time is too indefinite; and, as us-whither we carry our raw materials and the we shall always be the complaining party, we necessaries of life, and receive in return their man- have a right to expect prompt reparation. ufactures, aster they have received the final finish The 23d article throws open all our ports to of the artist. It was foreseen how injurious the their armed vessels, and declares that those inresidence of their merchants would be. The sulting the officers shall be punished-it further effects are still severely felt, for a great portion provides for our admission and stay until time to of the capital in this country is British, and all refit, when driven in by the dangers of the seas its weight is thrown into the enemy's scale into their prohibited ports; let it be recollected against us.

that none of ours are prohibited-all are open to The 15th provides that no prohibition shall be them. But to this article there are other insupeimposed on the exportation or importation of any rable objections. While the British navy bave articles that do noi extend 10 all nations. Thus, the right to enter our ports withoui limitation as if an equivalent were given by any other nation 10 numbers ; they hold us as much in their power for certain commercial privileges, which may as Bonaparte does Prussia, when his armies ocoften occur in a young nation like thismas in the cupy all their strong fortresses, and their weak purchase of territory. &c., Great Britain became, ones too-we are bound to punish the citizen who ipso facto, enuitled to them; whereas she having a insults the British officer; and why not punish redundani population and undergoing no change, the officer, 100, who insults the citizen ? We have and, permit me to add, never granting any indul an awful lesson on this score in the murder of gence in ber European possessions io any, was Pierce-the affair of the Cambrian, and many sure to profit by it, while we gained nothing. others—they were punished by promotion.

The 16th permits the residence of Consuls The 24th'prohibits the arming of privateerstheirs in all our sea ports-ours in Great Britain no objection to it. and Ireland only.

The 25th. This article permits their vessels to The 17th stipulates for captures in cases where enter with their prizes wherever they please; exthere is a just suspicion of having enemies' prop- empts them from search or duties, and prohibits erty on board—this sanction to seizures on suspi- the like permission to any other nation-ihis is a cion is objectionable, because the captors have so most unneutral and partial stipulation. strong an interest to suspect, that they will not, The 26th provides that, in case of war, the living as they do upon plunder, have virtue suffi- merchants may remain as long as they please cient to resist the bribe.

among us, to carry on trade. Sir. to this there The 18th relates to contraband, and compre- are two sirong objections. 1st. They are a curse hends timber, hemp, plank, &c., which cught to to us in time of peace, and they would be far be excluded from the list, upon every principle of worse in a period of war-spies upon us, and right and justice. This is not all; ii expresses moneyed spies too; their whole wealth and power that there is a difficulty in deciding in what cases would be brought to bear upon our people for ibe provisions and other articles are contraband. It purpose of corrupting them. 20. I will ever would be difficult, indeed, 10 decide the affirma- maintain the position that private property is tive-but there never should have been a difficul- no more justly liable to seizure at sea iban on ty allowed to exist in so clear and palpable a case; land; and, unless they would refrain from taking and a case, 100, of such immense inierest to this ours at sea, I would retaliate by sequestering nåtion, whereby Great Britain could with a single theirs on land. fiat cut off our great staples, “our provisions and The 27th requires that fugitives shall be deliv. other articles," from their market. The stipula- ered up. Under this article, Jonathan Robbins tion that they shall pay the full value for them in was offered up, and sacrificed. cases of seizure is a flimsy security. Where? at The 28th relates to the limitation of the artiwhat place is the value to be ascertained ? None cles; the first ten to be permanent, the others to is mentioned; of course, then, at the British be in force until two years after the signature of ports, already glutted with our produce, being preliminary articles of peace. This being the made the emporium of our commerce. A more import of ihe creaty, and ibe effect of all the artipernicious and anti-neutral article could not have cles, which I have separately considered, lest it been devised ; and, immediately succeeding the might be supposed that those omitted contained seizure of our provision-vessels by the Orders of something favorable, I ask any candid man, if it 1793, it gave a sanction to the principle, that ought again to be renewed ? And, if it were, Great Britain, when commanding ihe ocean, may wherein is to be “indemnity or security ?" The starve other nations into submission.

good, if any, were contained in the first ten artiThe 19th article relates to privateers. The ob- cles, and they were executed, except so far as re

Repeal of the Embargo.

H. OF R. lates to their permanency.' They, indeed, con the United States. The great value of that trade, tained much good; and one article, relating to as regulated by the Treaty of 1794, consisted in the Western posts, swallowed up all that were carrying the produce of the United States to a obnoxious. You must recollect, Mr. Chairman, markel in Europe, receiving specie and other arwith what eloquence and effeci that considera- ticles of traffic there, and going thence to the tion was pressed upon Congress; genilemen who East Indies; thereby deriving all the benefits never saw an Indian, all at once felt uncommon accruing from double freights and double profits. sympathy for us Western people; they painted, The same benefits resulted from the traffic on the in vivid colors, the relentless barbarily of ihe savo return voyages. Under this article the trade ages, who waged a war of extermination against would drain the country of specie, as with specie us; no age, po sex, no condition, exempting any principally is it carried on.' It, like the Treaty from the indiscriminate murder of all; led on, too, of 1794, prohibits our citizens from selling or by British officers, fighting in their ranks and residing there, and from going into the interior. commanding the expeditions-deriving supplies Article 4th relates to the trade with The United and protection from these pests, and stimulated States and Europe-all our States and Territothere, to lay our country waste, and cut off its ries are thrown open for Europe alone; it is prescattered population. It contemplated a lottery cisely similar to the 14th article of the Treaty provision, too, for indemnity; five Commission- of 1794, and the objections urged to that, apply ers were to be appointed; two by Great Britain, to it. and two by the President, and if they could not

Article 5th is like the 15th of the Treaty of agree upon the fifth, lots were to be cast. Well, 1794. It repeals our non-importation act, and sir, the British Commissioners decided against prohibits all other restrictive measures, which it our merchants, the American ones in their favor; may be politic to enact hereafter. There is no they could not agree upon the fifth, and accord- reciprocity in it; we are not a manufacturing ingly drew lots, "and the lot fell upon Jonah;" people, and, through restrictions upon manufacwe got the Commissioner, and our merchants iures, we wield a potent engine and the power were paid for unlawful spoliations. We had, to of discriminating ought not to be relinquished. be sure, a hard bargain for this favor, as we en Article 6th declares that the subject of intergaged to pay the old British debts, due from initio course with the West Indies shall be postponed. viduals, to an enormous amount; but, through the Sir, they cannot subsist without the supplies reprovident management of the present Adminis- ceived from us; and yet they will not allow us iration, we commuted them for a gross sum of to trade thither, at a time when every port we own £600,000 sterling.

is thrown open to them. Let it be recollected, sir, that we were then in Article 7ih relates to Consuls, and is similar to the gristle; now we are hardened into the bone the 16th in the Treaty of 1794—the same objecof manhood; and what might have been a good tions apply to it; their Consuls are allowed to treaty then, while our resources and industry reside at any of our ports-ours are confined to were merely unfolding themselves, would be a bad Europe, and excluded from the East and West one now, that we are a great, free, and powerful Indies, and all other places. nation. Such as I have rapidly reviewed them, Article 8th concerns captures on just suspicion are some of the inherent objections to the Treaty of being enemy's property. It is similar to the of 1794. It has many sins of omission to answer 17th of the Treaty of 1794, and liable to all the for. It contained no provision concerning im- objections urged in relation to it. pressments. The Wesi Indies were shut to us. Article 9th is on the subject of contraband, and There was no regulation about the colonial trade, includes timber, hemp, plank, &c., which should and nothing concerning blockades.

have been exempled, after ihe example of the Well

, sir, the Administration has been accused Russian Treaty; and, being the growth and proof error in refusing to accept the Treaty of 1806. duce of our country, such exemption was the It is worse than the former; and proceeding with more important to us. my first design to make this a matter of fact argu Article 101h relates to the notification of blockment, I will take a review of that treaty also. ades; the definition of them, which we are so

1st. The first article, like that of the Treaty of much interested in, and had pressed so strenu1794, stipulates that there shall be a firm, inviola- ously, being totally omitted. A provision on this ble peace, and a true and sincere friendship. As subject acquired fresh importance every day; we the article in the Treaty of 1794 was still in had witnessed the most alarming innovations force, this was superfluous, unless, indeed, that upon the established definitions in the laws of Great Britain, having often violated it, was will nations insomuch that paper blockades were ing to give a new proof of friendly dispositions, substituted for real ones, and whole islands, kingwhich her conduct rendered necessary.

doms, and continents, were declared to be blockArticle 2d renews the ten permanent articles of aded, when the combined fleets of Europe could the Treaty of 1794, by way of brightening the not effect it. chain of our recollection.

Article 11th is on the subject of the colonial Article 31 regulates our trade to the East In- trade ; the restraints upon it are incompatible with dies, and is materially worse than that of 1794: the character of independence, and, ai first vier by it we are confined to a direct trade from the the mind is struck with the outrageous attempt of United States to them, and directly from them to Great Britain to dictale to us in what manner we

H. OF R.

Repeal of the Embargo.


shall trade with the possessions of an independent at the imminent danger of his life, and there nation, and how we shall be permitted to trade saluted with the most abusive, ungentlemanly with her enemies. The regulation is a humiliat- language. It further relates to judgments in prizeing one; for by it Great Britain assumes the pre. cases and to restitution for unlawful captures: a rogative of directing to wbat extent at least it copy of the sentence and proceedings of the ad. shall be taxed by us. 1st. If we trade in the miralıy courts shall be given, if required. Sir, it productions or manufactures of Europe, destined should have gone further, and compelled the adfor the West Indies, they are to be first brought mirally judge to have stated the grounds of his here and subjected to a duty of at least one per opinion. Let it be recollected that the court is cent, before they can be carried there. If we an ex parte one: we have no security for its indesire to carry the productions of the colonies to tegrity, and the abuses committed by them are Europe, they must be first brought here, and a alarming. Their forms of judgments are, “conlike duty of two per cent. imposed. I am aware demned as enemy's property, or otherwise"-aod that to this it has been answered we derive a rev. our courts, where cases depending upon those deenue from the traffic ; but, sir, I am not for col. cisions have come before them, decide that the lecting a revenue from our citizens at foreign decree is conclusive, unless there is error apparent dictation-besides, the double voyages and ex- on the face of it. Indeed, I believe they go furpenses so enhance the price, that we cannot com- ther, and condescend to be the mere registers of pete in the market with the British productions; the British Admiralty edicts. How can an error and it operates as a bounty to thai amount on in the opinion of the judge appear when he conthem.

demns on the ground of “enemy's property, or Article 12th concerns maritime jurisdiction, otherwise ?" There is an extreme necessity for but within the defined limits permits the righi some checks. Sir William Scott, judge of the of search, to see it the vessel belongs to an High Court of Admirally, who has assumed to enemy. Within our jurisdictional limits we must himself the high character of impartial expounder maintain exclusive jurisdiction. or fritter away of the law of nations, for all nations, with all his our independence-within them it is a universally great talents, has been unable to reconcile his in. acknowledged principle, that the national sover- consistent, time-serving, varying decisions; and, eignty is as complete at sea as on land: nay, so failing in that, has been at length compelled to inviolable is that sovereignty. that even enemy's take refuge under the orders of ihe British Privy vessels are exempt from attack and capture. It Council: the laws of nations, of reason, morality, is true, that in the case of the Impetueux, Great and everything else, being disregarded. Sir, there Britain trampled upon the law of nations; but it is no provision for a bona fide restitution; and in is not the less obligatory, although we submitted proof of the abuses practised, I will state a case to the degradation of its violation. Once allow which occurred last summer: A vessel belongiog the right of search for the purpose expressed, and to an American merchant was dispatched in bal. the most alarming abuses will follow. lo this last 1o Guadaloupe, under a permission from the article there is no provision against hovering President, to collect a debi' due to him there. around our ports, and taking stations there, to Being prohibited by the embargo laws from carrysurprise and vex our inward and outward bound ing any lading, the owner drew bills upon his trade-a provision of indispensable necessity, debtors, and not being able to obtain specie, or taught us by the melancholy lessons at New perhaps desiring to import some of the producYork; for that important place has been effectu-lions of the island into the United States, as he ally blockaded by British vessels. Our jurisdic. lawfully might, he received sugar, &c., in distion must be complete and exclusive.

charge of the debt.

On the return voyage, the Art. 13th regulates the right of search: it is to vessel was captured and carried into Antigua and be exercised as favorably as ibe course of the war libelled there. The judge was disposed at first may permit, observing as much as possible the to condemn the property under the order of June; principles of the law of nations. This is a lati- but finding a betier expedient, he determined that tude, boundless as the universe; it is completely it must be enemy's property, as there was no undefined; it is a mockery of our understandings. cargo to purchase it with; and inasmuch as draw. Great Britain may give new aspects to the war ing bills might be converted to the fraudulent every day, and being sole judge of the favorable cover of enemy's property, he determined it was course which the war may permit, will riot upon enemy's property, and condemned it. Well, sir, our rights. It acknowledges the justice of, nay, although the cargo was worth, and would bare sanctions a departure from the law of nations : sold here for $12,000, by being exposed to sale in better, therefore, be without the article entirely. a glutted market it brought only $3,400. The Every man who has attended to the history of costs of prosecuting the claim, in the vice ad. our humiliations at sea, must recollect the many miralıy court, were $1,000; and it was admitted complaints of abuses in relation to the right of on all hands, that the expenses of appeal would search. Instead of keeping at a proper distance, be $2,000 more. Although it was most certain and limiting the number allowed to visit our that the decree would be reversed, it was equally merchant vessel, for the purpose of examining her so that nothing would be restored but the procharacter and lading, our captain is ordered with ceeds of the sale: so that after succeeding, our his papers to come on board of the British ship, citizen would lose his property, and $400 into the launched in his crazy boat upon a boisterous sea, I bargain. Suppose a vessel captured merely for

« PreviousContinue »