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officers who were lately taken upon the river Thames. They will inform you, sir, that so far from offering any violence to the persons of their prisoners, these savages would not permit a word to escape them which was calculated to wound or insult their feelings, and this too with the sufferings of their friends and relatives at the river Raisin and Miami, fresh upon their recollection.
“P. S. I pledge myself for the truth of the above statement in relation to the murders committed by the Indians."
General Vincent, in reply, stated, that“ the account given of the British officers, whom the fortune of war has lately placed at the disposal of the United States, is such, as cannot fail affording very consoling reflections to this army and their anxious friends.
“Though you must be sensible,” continues he, “that there are several points in your letter respecting which it is wholly beyond my power to afford you the satisfaction of an explicit declaration,' yet be assured, sir, I shall never feel the smallest degree of hesitation in joining you in any pledge, that it will ever be my anxious wish and endeavour to alleviate as much as possible the fate of those who may fall into my power by the chances of war.
“ Believe me, sir, I deprecate as strongly as yourself the perpetration of acts of cruelty committed under any pretext; and lament equally with yourself that any state of things should produce them. No efforts of mine will be ever wanting to diminish the evils of a state of warfare, as far as may be consistent with the duties which are due to my king and country.
“ The Indians when acting in conjunction with the troops under my command, have been invariably exhorted to mercy, and have never been deaf to my anxious entreaties on this interesting subject.
“ I shall not fail to transmit the original of your letter to the lower province, for the consideration of his excellency the commander of the forces."
, con mıdı aley}/33 follows the Americans
AMERICAN AND BRITISH MANIFESTOIS.
Message of the President of the United States, recommending
the Subject of War to the Consideration of Congress. To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States.
I COMMUNICATE to congress certain documents, being a continuation of those heretofore laid before them, on the subject of our affairs with Great Britain.
Without going back beyond the renewal in 1803, of the war in which Great Britain is engaged, and omitting unrepaired wrongs of inferior magnitude, the conduct of her government presents a series of acts, hostile to the United States as an independent and neutral nation.
British cruisers have been in the continued practice of violating the American flag on the great highway of nations, and of seizing and carrying off persons sailing under it; not in the exercise of a belligerent right, founded on the law of nations against an enemy, but of a municipal prerogative over British subjects. British jurisdiction is thus extended to neutral vessels, in a situation where no laws can operate but the law of nations, and the laws of the country to which the vessels belong; and a self redress is assumed, which, if British subjects were wrongfully detained and alone concerned, is that substitution of force, for a resort to the responsi. ble sovereign, which falls within the definition of war. Could the seizure of British subjects, in such cases, be regarded as within the exercise of a belligerent right, the acknowledged laws of war, which forbid an article of captured property to be adjudged, without a regular investigation before a competent tribunal, would imperiously demand the fairest trial, where the sacred rights of persons were at issue. In place of such trial, these rights are subjected to the will of every petty commander:
The practice, hence, is so far from affecting British subjects alone, that under the pretexts of searching for these, thousands of American citizens under the safeguard of public law, and of their national flag, have been torn from their country, and from every thing dear to them ; have been dragged on board ships of war of a foreign nation, and exposed under the severities of their discipline, to be exiled to the most distant and deadly climes, to risk their lives in the battles of their oppressors, and to be the melancholy instruments of taking away those of their own brethren.
Against this crying enormity, which Great Britain would be so prompt to avenge if committed against herself, the United States have in vain exhausted remonstrances and expostulations; and that no proof might be wanting of their conciliatory dispositions, and no pretext left for a continuance of the practice, the British government was formally assured of the readiness of the United States to enter into arrangements, such as could not be rejected, if the recovery of British subjects were the real and sole object. The communication passed without effect.
British cruisers have been in the practice also of violating the rights and the peace of our coasts. They hover over and harass our ente ing and departing commerce. To the most insulting pretensions, they have added the most lawless proceedings in our very harbors; and have wantonly spilt American blood within the sanctuary of our territorial jurisdiction. The principles and rules enforced by that nation when a neutral nation against armed vessels of belligerents hovering near her coasts and disturbing her commerce, are well known. When called on, nevertheless, by the United States, to punish the greater offences committed by her own vessels, her government has bestowed on their commanders additional marks of honour and confidence.
Under pretended blockades, without the presence of an adequate force, and sometimes without the practicability of applying one, our commerce has been plundered in every sea; the great staples of our country have been cut off from their legitimate markets; and a destructive blow aimed at our agricultural and maritime interests. In aggravation of these predatory measures, they have been considered as in force from the dates of their notification; a retrospective effect being thus added, as has been done in other important cases, to the unlawfulness of the course pursued. And to render the outrage the more signal, these mock blockades have been reiterated and enforced in the face of official communications
from the British government, declaring, as the true definition of a legal blockade, “ that particular ports must be actually, invested, and previous warning given to vessels bound to them, not to enter.”
Not content with these occasional expedients for laying waste our neutral trade, the cabinet of Great Britain resorted, at length, to the sweeping system of blockades, under the name of orders in council; which has been moulded and managed as might best suit its political views, its commercial jealousies, or the avidity of British cruisers.
To our remonstrances against the complicated and transcendant injustice of this innovation, the first reply was, that the orders were reluctantly adopted by Great Britain, as a necessary retaliation on decrees of her enemy, proclaiming a general blockade of the British isles, at a time when the naval force of that enemy dared not to issue from his own ports. She was reminded without effect, that her own prior blockades, unsupported by an adequate naval force actually applied and continued, were a bar to this plea: that executed edicts against millions of our property could not be retaliation on edicts, confessedly impossible to be executed: that retaliation, to be just, should fall on the party setting the guilty example, not on an innocent party, which was not even chargeable with an acquiescence in it.
When deprived of this flimsy veil for a prohibition of our trade with her enemy, by the repeal of his prohibition of our trade with Great Britain, her cabinet, instead of a corresponding repeal, or a practical discontinuance of its orders, formally avowed a determination to persist in them against the United States, until the markets of her enemy should be laid open to British products; thus asserting an obligation on a neutral power to require one belligerent to encourage, by its internal regulations, the trade of another belligerent; contradicting her own practice towards all nations, in peace as well as in war; and betraying the insincerity of those professions which inculcated a belief, that having resorted to her orders with regret, she was anxious to find an occasion for putting an end to them.
Abandoning, still more, all respect for the neutral rights of the United States and for its own consistency, the British government now demands, as pre-requisites to a repeal of its orders as they relate to the United States, that a formality should be observed in the repeal of the French decrees, no wise necessary to their termination, nor exemplified by British usage: and that the French repeal, besides including that
portion of the decrees which operate within a territorial ju* risdiction, as well as that which operates on the high seas, against the commerce of the United States, should not be a single and special repeal in relation to the United States, but should be extended to whatever other neutral nations, unconnected with them, may be effected by those decrees. And, as an additional insult, they are called on for a formal disavowal of conditions and pretensions advanced by the French government, for which the United States are so far from having made themselves responsible, that in official explanations which have been published to the world, and in a correspondence of the American minister at London with the British minister for foreign affairs, such a responsibility was explicitly and emphatically disclaimed.
It has become, indeed, sufficiently certain, that the commerce of the United States is to be sacrificed, not as interfering with the belligerent right of Great Britain; not as supplying the wants of her enemies, which she herself supplies ; but, as interfering with the monopoly which she covets for her own commerce and navigation. She carries on a war against the lawful commerce of a friend, that she may the better carry on a commerce with an enemy; a commerce polluted by the forgeries and perjuries, which are, for the most part, the only passports by which it can succeed.
Anxious to make every experiment, short of the last resort of injured nations, the United States have withheld from Great Britain, under successive modifications, the benefits of a free intercourse with their market, the loss of which could not but outweigh the profits accruing from her restrictions of our commerce with other nations. And to entitle these experiments to the more favourable consideration, they were so framed as to enable her to place her adversary under the ex. clusive operation of them. To these appeals her government has been equally inflexible, as if willing to make sacrifices of every sort, rather than yield to the claims of justice, or renounce the errors of a false pride. Nay, so far were the attempts carried to overcome the attachment of the British cabinet to its unjust edicts, that it received every encouragement within the competency of the executive branch of our government, to expect that a repeal of them would be followed by a war between the United States and France, unless the French edicts should also be repealed. Even this communi. cation, although silencing for ever the plea of a disposition in the United States to acquiesce in those edicts, originally the sole plea for them, received.no attention.