« ForrigeFortsett »
American Affairs continued. Declaration of the British Government relating
to the disputed Poin!s of Maritime Law. Secret Mission of Captain Henry to the United States. Renewed Discussion on the Orders in Council. The British Government rescind them with respect to America. America still dissatisfied. Declares War against England. Capture of the Guerriere and Macedonian Frigates. Destruction of the Armies of Generals Hull and Wadsworth.
The frequent acts of plunder and crease of the duties on importation. confiscation committed by the French, The loans for 1813 and 1814 were at seemed for a time to have some effect the same time estimated at eighteen on the councils of the United States, millions each year; and although a and to have encouraged a pacific dis. vigorous opposition was made to a position towards Great Britain, which measure which threatened to subject was, perhaps, not a little strengthen- the citizens of the United States to ed by the disclosures so recently a severe system of taxation which made as to the state of the American they were unable to bear, the bill at finances. Yet the proposals submit. last received the sanction of the legisted to the British government were lature. perhaps not very sincere, but intend. A bill of a most extraordinary naed merely for the purpose of gaining ture was about the same time introtime. An offer was made by Ame- duced, which provided that any forica to establish, under some import- reigner guilty of impressing American ant modifications, the treaty which citizens on board a foreign ship, should, was signed by the plenipotentiaries of when arrested, be tried, and, if convictthe two governments in the year 1806, ed, suffer death as a pirate. The ob. but which Mr Jefferson refused at that ject of this, as well as of the other time to ratify. The American go. measures adopted at this period, could vernment must have known, however, not be mistaken ; and the general hosthat England could not, without sur. tility towards England seemed to in. rendering all her pretensions, accede crease in spite of the vain attempts at to such a proposition. In the mean negociation, which the American gotime the Americans were making pre- vernment still continued to pursue. parations for war ; a loan of eleven An event occurred about this time millions of dollars was proposed for which imperiously demanded of the the service of the year; the interest British government, a distinct avowal upon which was to be paid by an in- of its principles in the new state of commercial warfare in which the ciple, that free ships should make world had been involved. On the 10th free goods ; that neutral property in of March the French minister for fo. the hands of enemies should be treated reign affairs presented to the conserva- as hostile ; that arms and warlike tive senate an official report, by which stores, alone, to the exclusion of ship all doubt as to the perseverance of timber, and other articles of naval the French ruler in the assertion of equipment, should be regarded as con, his extravagant principles was remo- traband of war; and that no ports ved. The British government imme. should be considered as lawfully blockdiately issued a declaration, in which aded, except such as were invested and it was stated, that the novel and ex- besieged, in the presumption of their traordinary principles to which the being taken, and into which no merFrench government had recourse, had chant ship could enter with safety. called for measures of retaliation on The enemy thus demanded that the the part of England ; that the king established law of nations should be had always
desirous to exercise overthrown, that Gre Britain should his undoubted right with as little in. forego the advantages of her naval jury as possible to the commerce of superiority, and that her commerce neutrals, and had at all times professed should be excluded from every counhis readiness to revoke the orders in try of the world, to which the influcouncil, 50 soon as the decrees of the ence of France might extend.—That, enemy were fairly repealed, and the acting on this principle, the enemy commerce of neutral nations restored did not hesitate to incorporate with to its accustomed course. That the his own dominions all states which restate of Europe in the year 1809 had fused to sacrifice their national honour enabled his majesty to reduce these at his command.--That the provisions beneficent views to practice, and to of the treaty of Utrecht, which were confine the retaliatory measures to founded on a voluntary compact, were France, and the countries on which referred to as evidence of principles the French yoke had been most strict. which were to be established by force; ly imposed; and his majesty had rea- and that France had thus departed dily availed himself of so favourable from the very conditions on which the an opportunity for abridging the mi pretended repeal of her decrees had series of war.- -That the government been accepted by America.—That it of the United States had still remained had, therefore, become the duty of dissatisfied. It had been pretended America to relax the measures of sethat the French decrees were revoked, verity, which by misconception she although ample proofs of their execu. had adopted towards Great Britain ; tion at a recent period had been and as a proof of the desire of the brought forward. That the enemy British government to fulfil its en. had now, however, laid aside all dissi- gagements, it was declared that so mulation, and had declared that the soon as the Berlin and Milan decrees ships of every power which refused to should be actually and unconditionally acknowledge his principles were, to revoked, the British orders in council use the language of his code, denation. should be considered, without any far, alized. That in addition to the disa. ther declaration, as at an end; reservowal of the blockade of 1806, and ving at the same time to the king the the repeal of the orders in council, he most ample powers to re-establish any demanded the admission of the prin. measures of this kind, should it after. wards appear that the repeal by the sions discovered a very accurate know. enemy had been illusory.
ledge of this subject, that by the Ber. Such was the just and magnanimous lin decree, if British goods were found declaration issued by the British go- on board of an American ship trading vernment. In England, however, it between America and China, they was considered by the enemies of the must be forfeited ; and that it was, orders in council as a reply to the
pe- therefore, absurd to talk of the decree titions before parliament, complaining as a mere municipal regulation. He of the distresses occasioned by these observed also, that although the Berlin orders; and it was no sooner issued, decree had been in a great measure inthan Lord Stanley brought forward a operative until the peace of Tilsit, bemotion in the House of Commons, for cause the enemy had not till that
pereferring these petitions to the consi- riod the means of enforcing it, yet im. deration of a committee of the whole mediately afterwards the French had House. There was not much no. marched their troops into all parts of velty in the arguments by which this the continent, for the purpose of carmotion was supported. With refer. rying their system into effect, and the ence to the terms of the declara.
consequences had been immediately felt tion, it was asserted that the mea. in the extreme depression of the comsures of the French government were
merce of this country. Among the neither new nor extraordinary ; but
evils which would result from the re. had in principle been adopted, al- peal of the orders in council in the exist. though executed with less rigour by ing state of Europe, Mr Rose mention. England in the years 1739 and 1756 ; ed, that as the ports of France would and were precisely such in fact as all then be opened to American com. independent states had a right to pur- merce, the enemy would easily be sup sue. —That the measures of the French plied with the raw materials, and would government has proved wholly impo. be enabled to manufacture them, and to tent, till they were supported by the compete with England directly in the retaliatory system to which England markets of South America, and in had recourse. That the petitions on
every other place to which her precathe table concurred in attributing the rious trade might extend. --That the distresses of the country to the orders falling off in the direct trade of this in council; yet the declaration lately country to America had been, in a issued had announced the resolution great measure, compensated by the of government to abide by its prin. increase of our exports to other counciples, without regard to the general
tries, to which the same commodities misery which appeared in every dis. had formerly been carried in Ameri. trict of the country. That this reso- can ships.-A curious fact was also lution reduced the measures of the Bri. stated by this gentleman respecting tish government, and the prosperity the trade of America. Of her exports, of British commerce, to a dependence amounting annually in value to fortyon the will of the enemy; and that five millions of dollars, thirty-eight although it had become impossible to went to England and her allies, and obtain employment for the lower or., only two millions to France and her ders, and the price of provisions was dependencies, whose friendship the gorapidly advancing, there seemed to vernment of America seemed so anxi. be no prospect of redress.-In an- ous to cultivate. But there was no swer to these speculations, it was necessity for a protracted debate; the stated by Mr Rose, who on all occa
distresses of the country were unquesa
tionably great ; the people seemed to southern states, to ascertain their opi. look to the repeal of the orders in nions as to the policy of a separacouncil as a source of relief; and in tion from the Union, and their dissuch circumstances the ministers did position to avail themselves of the asnot think of resisting enquiry, but sistance of the British government. Ia gave their consent to the motion for a memorial to Lord Liverpool, which appointing a committee.
papers, A circumstance of an extraordinary took credit to himself for the services nature was about this time communi- which he had performed, by incated by a message from the president Auencing the public acts and legisla. of the United States to congress. The tive resolutions of the assemblies of message stated, that while the United Massachusets and Connecticut, by States were at peace with Great Bri. means of which the general governtain, a secret agent of the British go. ment was kept in check, and its hosvernment had been employed in cer. tility towards Great Britain consider. tain states, more especially at the seatably moderated. The memorial was of government at Massachusets, in fo. inciosed in a letter addressed to Mr menting disaffection to the constituted Peele, and claimed, a handsome reauthorities of the country, for the ward from government.-Another of purpose of seducing the southern parts the documents purported to be a letof the Union into a political connec- ter' from Mr Peele, written by detion with Great Britain.- The mes. sire of Lord Liverpool, in which it sage was accompanied with various was stated, that as the opinion of Sie documents. The secret agent alluded James Craig respecting the merits and to was a person of the name of Henry, services of Henry had not been rewho pretended to the American go- ceived, and as no wish had been exvernment, that he had been employed pressed by Sir James that the claim for the purposes stated in the message, should be referred to this country, it and had been induced to make the dis- had been determined to transmit Hencovery, by the refusal of the British ry's memorial to Sir James Craig's government to give him his reward.
successor in the government of North The documents referred to had been America. The other branches of the transmitted in a letter from Henry to correspondence were of little or no imMr Munro, the American secretary of portance. state ; and in this letter Henry con- The above intelligence no sooner fessed his strong feelings of disappoint- reached England, than a motion was ment and of revenge towards those made in the House of Lords by Lord who had employed him. The first of Holland, for copies of the whole cor. the documents produced with the mes. respondence relating to the pretended sage was a letter from Sir James employment of Henry.-The grounds Craig's secretary to Henry, dated at of this motion, said its supporters, Quebec in January, 1809, and de- were obvious ; a serious charge affectsiring to know, whether he would un- ing the honour of the country had dertake a secret and confidential mis- been made by the American governsion to Boston. The second, which ment, and it was proper to have it inwas dated February in the same year, vestigated. The British ministers had contained Sir James Craig's instruc. been charged not merely with employtions to Henry, in which the latter is ing Henryto obtain intelligence on sub. desired to form an acquaintance with jects which might be lawfully enquired some of the leading federalists of the into, but to induce some of the states of
EDINBURGH ANNUAL REGISTER, 1812. [CHAP. 10.
the Union to cast off their allegiance defensive measures adopted, but on to their lawful government. What the 25th of November the governor would have been the public feeling in of Boston received orders to hold England, it was asked, or the conduct 10,000 men in readiness to march at a of the government, if, while Andreossi moment's notice; a circumstance which was here during the peace of Amiens, was quite notorious, and oft menhe had been detected carrying on a se- tioned in the public prints.
This cret intercourse with the malcontents army could have but one object-the of Ireland ; who would have hesitated, invasion of Canada; and such accordif such an event had occurred, to have ingly was the impression on the mind advised war, unless a satisfactory ex- of Sir James Craig, which many other planation had been immediately offer. circumstances, and particularly the ed? and what bounds should we have set sudden enrolment of 50,000 volunteers to our resentment against those who by the government of the United had dared to insult the honour, and to States, tended to confirm. Mr Erintrigue against the peace, of the coun- skine, the minister then resident in try? It could afford no defence for America, had also entertained the the conduct of Sir James Craig, or of same suspicions ; and had sent an exthe government, (if, indeed, the press to Sir James Craig, informing vernment had been accessary to these him that Canada or Halifax was to be proceedings) that the Americans had immediately attacked. Such were the been making preparations to invade circumstances in which Sir James was Canada ; for although such a state of placed, at a moment too when the sethings warranted Sir James in taking paration of some of the states, in the all proper measures for defence, and event of a war, had become the subject even in doing every thing to secure of general speculation. Sir James had the most correct information, yet it already received communications from by no means entitled him to attempt Henry, a person who professed to be the seduction of the American people well acquainted with the sentiments of from their allegiance.
the people of the southern states; and The answer made by Lord Liver whatever falsehoods and exaggerations pool formed a complete vindication of might have been industriously propagathe ministry from the charges which ted, the object of the governor of Čahad been so indecently preferred against nada in sending Henry into the United them by the American government.
States was not to excite discontent, His lordship stated, that the employ- but to obtain information, which, in ment of Henry by Sir James Craig had the event of hostilities, might have ennot been authorised by the govern- abled him to avail himself of the prement ; nor was it even known at home valent temper and disposition of the that such a person had been employed, people in these states. As a proof till many months after the transactions that the instructions of the governor, were concluded. It was necessary, such as they were, had reference only however, to attend to the situation in to a state of hostilities, it was menwhich Canada was at that time placed tioned that no sooner did Sir James with respect to the government of the Craig hear that the points in discus. United States. In consequence of the sion had been adjusted, than he sent embargo act, great heat and clamour orders to Henry to return.-Ministers prevailed in America at the time; had been most anxious to caution Sir that country assumed a very warlike James against the employment of inand menacing attitude; not only were dividuals, who might disturb the har
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