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satisfactory arrangement. Our calculations differ widely. In the mean time, the business is become more than ever puzzling. To go to war with Enga and not with France arms the federalists with new matter, and divides the Republicans some of whom with the Quids make a display of impartiality. To go to war agst both, presents a thousand difficulties, above all, that of shutting all the ports of the Continent of Europe agst our Cruisers who can do little without the use of them. It is pretty certain also, that it would not gain over the Federalists, who w turn all those difficulties agst the Administration.' The only consideration of weight in favor of this triangular war as it is called, is that it might hasten thro' a peace with G. B. or F. a termination, for a while at least, of the obstinate questions now depending with both.
But even this advantage is not certain. For a prolongation of such a war might be viewed by both
J. G. Jackson, a Representative from Virginia, a connection by marriage of Madison's, wrote to him from Clarksburg, Va., March
30, 1812, that the hostility of the opposition was inveterate, and that the damning proof of British perfidy submitted in the Henry correspondence had not moved them. “My voice is for war," he added. Elbridge Gerry, Governor of Massachusetts, wrote confidentially April 12, that three division commanders of Massachusetts troops and three brigadiers were friends of the national government. He had been obliged to appoint officers who were federalists because he could not find others, but he thought they would do their duty and the MajorGenerals could be depended upon to correct them if they were guilty of misconduct. On May 19, he wrote again to say that the opposition increased with delay and that war would help matters. “By war we shall be purified as by fire," he said.-Mad. MSS. These are only examples of many letters to the same effect received by Madison at this time.
Bellig! as desirable, with as little reason for the opinion, as has prevailed in the past conduct of both.
SPECIAL MESSAGE TO CONGRESS.
WASHINGTON, June 1, 1812. 1 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
1“More than six months had passed since Congress met, and the question of actual war was still in suspense. At length, after private conference, a deputation of Members of Congress, with Mr. Clay at their head, waited upon the President, and upon the representations of the readiness of a majority of ngress to vote the war if recommended, the Presdnt, on the first Monday in June, transmitted to Congress his message submitting that question to their decision.”—Joseph Gale's account, Am. Hist. Rev., xiii, 309. Here is the true account of the visit to Madison, which has been so often represented as the occasion when he was promised a renomination for the Presidency if he would send Congress a war message. See Hildreth, vi., 298; McMaster, iii., 445; Von Holst, i., 230; Gay's Madison, 308. The message being referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House, John C. Calhoun brought in the famous war manifesto June 3, but this paper had really been written by James Monroe. See Joseph Gales on the “War Manifesto of 1812," Am. Hist. Ra., xiii, 303.
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 responsible 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 a 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 pretext 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 everything 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 the 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 entering 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 offenses committed by her own vessels, her Government has bestowed on their commanders additional marks of honor and confidence.
Under pretended blockades, without the presence of an ad-. equate 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 Britain resorted at length to the sweeping system of blockades, under the name of orders in council, which has been molded 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 transcendent injustice of this innovation the first reply was that the orders were reluctantly adopted by Great Britain as a neces
sary 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 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 toward 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 prerequisites 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 nowise necessary to their termination nor exemplified by British usage, and that the French repeal, besides including that portion of the decrees which operates within a territorial jurisdiction, 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