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conformable to that great constitutional Act by which your Royal Highness's family was raised to the throne of this kingdom, and which Act expressly declares, that in case of the family of Brunswick succeeding to the throne, no war shall be undertaken by England for their German dominions, unless by consent of Parliament. If the measure of blockade above-mentioned had produced war on the part of America, that war would have been made without consent of Parliament; and, though a measure fall short of producing war, it may be equally a violation of the Act of Settlement, if its natural tendency be to produce war, or to cause England to support warlike expenses, which this measure manifestly has done, and has, at last, led to something very nearly approaching to open war with America, though, in the meanwhile, Hanover itself has been wrested from the King of Prussia and formed into a member of another kingdom,

Thus, then, at any rate, this attack upon the rights of neutrals did not begin with France. If it was not begun by us, it was begun by the King of Prussia, though it is not very easy to perceive how he could violate the maritiine rights of America by any act of his in the heart of Germany. The Decrees of France have grown out of our measures. They carry in themselves the proof of this. The first (for there are but two), issued from Berlin, was expressly grounded upon our Orders issued in consequence of the conduct of the King of Prussia in Hanover ; and thus the Emperor Napoleon became, towards us, the avenger, as far as he was able, of that very King of Prussia, whom he had just driven from his dominions ! Alas, Sir, what a scene was here exhibited to the people of Europe ! First the King of Prussia, closely related to the family of the King of England, seizes upon the German dominions of the latter : the latter protest3 against this, and by his Secretary of State, declares that he never will make peace without obtaining the restoration of these dominions : while this quarrel is going on, Napoleon marches against the King of Prussia, defeats him, drives bim from his dominions, takes Hanover, the object in dispute, and bestows it on a third party; and, from the capital of the King of Prussia's dominions, issues a decree against England, avenging the cause of the King of Prussia !

Napoleon in this his first decree, declares England (who had, by this time, extended her blockade from the Elbe to the port of Brest) in a state of blockade, and prohibits all trade and all commercial communication with England. But, this Decree, which was little less practicable in all cases than our blockade, was declared to be retaliatory, and was to be repealed whenever England repealed her Orders in Council which had then been issued. Certainly this was not the beginning. We had begun, and that, too, under the administration of those who have since so loudly censured the Orders in Council; and, which must, I presume, be a subject of regret with your Royal Highness, the state paper in which this beginning was announced to the American government, came from the pen of Mr. Fox, who appears to have yielded implicitly to the principles of his new associates in politics. At any rate, this Decree of the Emperor Napoleon was not the beginning of the open attacks upon neutral rights; and, what is of still more importance, it was not Napoleon, but it was the King of Prussia, who committed those acts of aggression in Hanover which produced our first of that series of measures, called the Orders in Council, and which measures have finally led to the exclusion of our goods and our ships from the American ports. This is a fact of

VOL. IV.

F

crees.

great importance in the dispute, and especially if that dispute should end in war. It will be right, in that case, for us to bear in mind the real grounds of the war; the true origin of it. And endeavour to cast the blame where we will, it will, at last, be found in the aggression of the King of Prussia upon Hanover.

The Berlin Decree brought forth new Orders in Council from us; and these brought from the Emperor Napoleon the Decree issued at Milan, in December 1807. This ended the series of invasions of neutral rights ; for, indeed, nothing more was now left to invade. Both parties called their measures retaliatory. Crib having taken a blow upon a third party in the way of retaliation on Belcher, Belcher takes another blow upon the same party in the way of retaliation on Crib. Both parties declared, that they were perfectly ready to repeal their Decrees; that they regretted exceedingly the necessity of adopting them; each explicitly promised, that, whenever the other gave up the new restrictions he would also give them up too. Napoleon said his measures had been forced upon him by us: we said our measures had been forced upon us by him. The Americans, who complained of both, were told by us, that we should always be ready to revoke our Orders if the enemy would revoke his De

This was saying very little, seeing that his Decrees had been issued in consequence of our Orders, and, of course, he was not to be expected to revoke first, especially as the Decrees themselves declare that their object is to cause our Orders to be revoked.

The American government having remonstrated so long in vain, and seeing no likelihood of obtaining redress by the means of diplomatic entreaties, and yet not wishing to plunge the country into a war, resort to the measure of exclusion from their ports, giving to both parties an opportunity of preventing the execution even of this measure of demi-hostility. During the session of Congress in 1809-10, a law was passed providing, that, if both France and England continued in their violation of the rights of America till and after the 1st day of November, 1810, the ships and goods of both should be prohibited from entering the ports and waters of the American States ; that, if they both repealed their obnoxious Decrees and Orders, then the ships and goods of both were to have free admission; that if one party repealed and the other did not, then the ships and goods of the repealing party were to be admitted, and the ships and goods of the non-repealing party were to be excluded. Napoleon, the Americans say, has repealed : we have not, and accordingly, our ships and goods are excluded, while those of France are admitted into the waters and ports of the United States.

This is one source of the present ill blood against America, who is accused of partiality to France; but, before this charge can be established, we must show that the measures she has adopted are not the natural and necessary result of an impartial measure ; a measure in execution of an impartial law. If a pardon were tendered to Belcher and Crib upon condition that they ceased to beat the parties as above supposed, and if Belcher persisted while his enemy did not, the injured parties could not fairly be accused of partiality in pardoning Crib while they punished Belcher. The American Government and people may, however, without any crime, or, at least, without giving us any just cause of complaint against them, like, and show that they like, Napoleon better than Messrs. Perceval and Rose and Lords Liverpool and Wellesley. It may be bad taste in the American Government and people to entertain such a liking; it may be great stupidity and almost wilful blindness that prevent them from perceiving how much more the latter are the friends of freedom than the former. But, so long as the American Government does no act of partiality affecting us, we have no reason to complain : so that justice is done to a man in court, he has to reason to complain of the personal likings or dislikings of the judge or the jury. The people in America look at France and at the state of Europe in general with minds pretty free from prejudice. They are in no fear of the power of Napoleon. They have amongst them no persons whose interests are served by inflaming the hatred of the people against him. They reckon dynasties as nothing. They coolly compare the present with the former state of Europe ; and, if they give the preference to the present state of things, it must be because they think there has been a change for the better. They may be deceived ; but, it can be the interest of nobody to deceive them. Those who have the management of their public affairs may have a wrong bias ; but they cannot communicate it to the people; for they have no public money to expend upon a hireling press. The government and the people may all be deceived ; but the deception cannot be the effect of any cheat practised upon either ; it cannot be the work of bribery and corruption. If, therefore, the government and people of America do really entertain a partiality for Napoleon, we have, on that account, good ground for regret, but certainly none for complaint or reproach. They have a right to like and to dislike whom they please. We, for instance, have a great attachment to the court and government of Sicily, and also to the courts and ancient governments of Spain and Portugal. We should not permit the American government or people to interfere with these attachments of ours; and, I presume, it will, therefore, not be thought reasonable that we should arrogate to ourselves the right of judging whom the American people and government are to like.

When we are told of the “partiality for France,” which is a charge continually preferred against the American government, we should ask what acts of partiality they have been guilty of, and that is the test by which we ought to try their conduct in the present instance. They have put their law in force; they have shut out our goods and our ships, while they freely admit those of France; and this is called partiality, and is made the grounds of one of those charges, by the means of which, it appears to me, that the venal press in England is endeavouring to prepare the minds of the people for a war with the American States. But, to make out this charge, it must be shown, that the French have done nothing that we have not done in the way of repealing the injurious Decrees. Indeed, this is what is asserted; and, though a regular communication has been made to the American government by the French government, that the Berlin and Milan Decrees are revoked ; though they are by the American Minister here asserted to be revoked, and no longer in operation ; still it is asserted by some here, that they are not revoked. The American government, however, is satisfied that they are revoked, and it has, accordingly, put its exclusion law in force against us.

To settle this point of fact the Americans have not been told what sort of evidence we shall require. They present us the letter of the French minister for foreign affairs to the American minister at Paris, telling him, that the Decrees are revoked, and that the revocation is to go into effect on the 1st of November 1810. This we say is nothing at all,

because it is clogged with this remark, "it being clearly understood that the English Orders in Council are to be revoked at the same time.Certainly. This was to be naturally expected ; and England bad promised that it should be so. The Decrees have actually been revoked, without this condition being complied with on our part ; but, if they had not, it was to be expected that the American Government would put their exclusion law in force against us at the time appointed; because we ought to have declared our intention at the same time and in the same manner that the French declared their intention. It was in the month of August 1810, that Mr. Pinckney, the American minister in London, communicated to our Foreign Secretary, Lord Wellesley, that the French Decrees were revoked, and that the revocation was to take effect from the 1st day of the then ensuing November. The answer which Mr. Pinckney expected was, that the English Orders in Council were also revoked, and that the revocation would take effect from the 1st of November. That he had a right to expect this will clearly appear from the communications made to the American Government by our ministers in that country, who, in answer to the complaints of America upon this score, always declared, that the King their master was exceedingly grieved to be compelled to have recourse to such measures ; that nothing could be farther from his heart or more repugnant to his feelings than a wish to injure or harass the commerce of neutrals; that he had taken these odious measures in pure self-defence; that it was his "earnest desire” (1 quote one of these declarations)" to see the commerce of the world restored to that freedom, “ which is necessary for its prosperity, and his readiness to abandon the “ system, which had been forced upon him, whenever the enemy should retract the principles which had rendered it necessary.When, therefore, Mr. Pinckney, who had this declaration before him, communicated to Lord Wellesley the fact that the French Decrees were revoked, and that the revocation was to go into effect on the 1st of November, he had a full right to expect an immediate revocation of our Orders in Council, and an assurance that such revocation should go into effect on the same day when the French revocation was to go into effect. But, instead of this he received for answer, that we would revoke our Orders, when the revocation of the French Decrees should have actually taken place. But there was another condition, " that whenever the repeal of “ the French Decrees shall have actually taken place, and the commerce “ of neutral nations shall have been restored to the condition in which it stood previously to the promulgation of these Decrees,” then the King will relinquish his present system. Here is a second condition. We do not here content ourselves with the revocation of the Decrees; no, nor even with that revocation having actually gone into effect. We call for something more, and that something greater too than the thing for which we before contended. We here say, thar, before we revoke our Orders, we will have the neutral commerce restored to its old footing; that is, that we will have the “ Continental System” abandoned by France, with which system the Americans have nothing to do, and with regard to which they can have no right to say a word, it being a series of measures of internal regulation, not trenching upon nor touching their maritime commerce. It is a matter wholly distinct from the other; it relates to the reception or exclusion of English goods in France and ber dependencies; and, if we are to make America answerable for the conduct of France in that respect, it would follow that France would have a right to make her answerable for our conduct in excluding the goods of France from the ports of England.

We had, it appears to me, no right to require any thing of America, previously to our revocation of the obnoxious Orders, than an official and authenticated declaration, that the French Decrees were revoked. And, what more could we ask for than was tendered to us, I am at a loss to conjecture. The French Government officially informed the American Government that the Decrees were revoked, and that the revocation was to have effect on the 1st of November. This was officially communicated to us by the American Government through their accredited minister. We were, therefore, to give credit to the fact. But, no : we stop to see the 1st of November arrive. This was not the way to convince America of our readiness, our earnest desire, to see neutral commerce restored to freedom. The course to pursue, in order to give proof of such a disposition, was to revoke our Orders in Council, and to declare that the revocation would begin to be acted upon on the 1st of November. This would have been keeping puce with the French; and, if we had found that the revocation did not go into operation in France on the 1st of November, we should have lost nothing by our revocation; for we might immediately have renewed our Orders in Council, and we should then have continued them in force, having clearly thrown all the blame upon the enemy.

This line of conduct would, too, have been perfectly consonant with our professions to the American Government, to whom, in 1808, our minister had declared, that, in order to evince the security of our desire to reinore the impediments to neutral commerce, we were willing to follow the example of France in the way of revocation, or, to proceed step for step with her in the way of relaxation. Our minister, upon the occasion here alluded to, in communicating the several Orders in Council to the American Government, declared that " the king felt great regret at the necessity imposed upon him for such an interference with neutral “commerce, and he assured the American Government, that his Majesty “would readily follow the example, in case the Berlin Decree should be resciuded; or, would proceed, pari passu with France, in relaxing “ the rigour of their measures." Agreeably to this declaration, we should, it clearly appears to me, have done exactly what France did in August 1810, and not evaded it by saying that we would revoke after her revocation should have been actually put into operation; that is to say, that we would condescend to begin after France had ended.

This is the view, may it please your Royal Highness, which clear and unclouded reason takes of this matter. This is the light in which it has been seen by the American Government and by the people of that country, who, though they do not wish for war, will assuredly not censure those who manage their affairs for acting as they have done upon this occasion. The measure of exclusion adopted against us by America is too advantageous to France for the latter not to act upon the revocation of her Decrees; and, indeed, there appears now not to be the smallest doubt, that, as far as relates to America (and she is in reality the only neutral), the Decrees are, in deed as well as in word, revoked. It is notorious that our Orders are not revoked; and, for my part, I am wholly at a loss to form an idea of the grounds upon which any complaint against America can be founded, as far as relates to this part of the dispute. State Prison, Newgate, 29th Aug. 1811.

WM, COBBETT.

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