States to him in your name, nor of the readines with which he has given directions when practicable for their being instantaneously discharged. I have the honour, &c. (Signed)



Mr. Monroe to Mr. Foster.

Department of State, May 30th, 1812. Having had the honour to confer with you soon after the date of your letter of April 15, relative to a deserter from his Britannic majesty's ship of war the Gleaner, it is unnecessary to repeat here the remarks which I then made on that subject. I shall only observe that none of the men who deserted from that vessel had any encouragement to do it, from the constituted authorities of the United States, or of the state of Maryland. If they received such encouragement from any of our citizens, it is a cause of regret; but it is an act not cognizable by our laws any more than it is presumed to be by those of Great Britain.

It is proper to state that a similiar desertion took place last year from an American frigate in an English port, in which no redress was afforded. It was the more remarkable as the deserter took refuge on board a British ship of war, the commander of which refused to surrender him on being requested to do so.

Your proffered exertions to procure the discharge of native American citizens, from on board British ships of war, of which you desire a list, has not escaped attention.

It is impossible for the United States to discriminate between their native and naturalized citizens, nor ought your government to expect it, as it makes no such discrimination itself. There is in this office a list of several thousand American seamen who have been impressed into the British service, for whose release applications have, from time to time, been already made. Of this list a copy shall be forwarded you, to take advantage of any good offices you may be able to render.

I have, &c. (Signed)


Mr. Monroe to Mr. Russel.

Department of State, July 27th, 1811. This letter will be delivered to you by Mr. Barlow, who is appointed to represent the United States at Paris, as their minister plenipotentiary. You will deliver to him the papers in your possession, and give him all the information in your power, relative to our affairs with the French government. The president has instructed me to communicate to you


approbation of your conduct in the discharge of the duties which devolved on you as charge d'affaires at Paris, after the departure of general Armstrong, which I execute with pleasure. As an evidence of his confidence and favourable disposition, he has appointed you to the same trust in London, for which I inclose you a commission. It is hoped that it may suit your convenience to repair to that court, and to remain there till a minister shall be appointed, which will be done as soon as the congress convenes. The frigate which takes Mr. Barlow to France wi pass on to some port in Holland, to execute a particular instruction from the secretary of the treasury relative to our debt in that country. She will then return to France, and take you to such English port as may

be most convenient to you. Your services in France will have given you such knowledge of your duties at London, that I shall not go into detail in this coinmunication respecting them. It is wished and expected that you and Mr. Barlow will communicate fully on the subject of your respective duties, and co-operate together in the measures which are deemed necessary to promote the just objects of the United States with the countries in which you will respectively represent them.

You will receive a copy of the notes of Mr. Foster on several im-' portant topics, and my answers to them; particularly on the British orders in council, the possession taken by the United States of certain parts of West Florida, and the late encounter between the United States' frigate the President and the British sloop of war the Little Belt. It is hoped that the British government will proceed to revoke its orders in council, and thus restore, in all respects, the friendly relation which would be so advantageous to both countries. The papers relative to West Florida show the ground on which that question rests. Th affair of the Little Belt cannot excite much feeling, as it is presumed, in England: the chase was begun by the British captain-he fired the first shot and the first broadside; to which it may be added, that the occurrence took place near our coast, which is sometimes infested by vessels from the West Indies, without commissions, and even for piratical purposes. It seems to be a right inseparable from the sovereignty of the United States to ascertain the character and nation of the vessels which hang on their coast. An inquiry is ordered into commodore Rodgers' conduct, at his request, for the purpose of establishing all the facts appertaining to this occurrence.

You will be allowed an outfit for Paris, and half an outfit to take you to London.

Should you by any circuinstance be unable to proceed to London, which would be a cause of regret, you will be so good as to transmit, by a special messenger, the papers forwarded for you to Mr. Smith, who in that event, will remain there."

You will receive inclosed a letter to Mr. Smith, to be delivered to him in case you go to London; as it wished that your removal to London should not be imputed to a want of due respect for him.

I have the honour, &c. &c. Jonathan Russell, esq. c. &c.


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Extract of a letter from the Secretary of State to Mr. Russell,


Department of State, Nov. 27, 1811. “ I had lately the honour to transmit to you a copy of the President's message to congress at the commencement of the session, and of the documents which accompanied it, so far as they were then printed. In the papers now sent, you will receive a complete copy of that highly interesting communication.

“ You will see by these documents the ground which has been taken by the executive, in consequence of the new ground taken by Great Britain. The orders in council are considered as war on our commerce, and to continue till the continental market is opened to British products, which may not be, pending the present war in Europe. The United States cannot allow Great Britain to regulate their trade, nor can they be content with a trade to Great Britain only, whose markets are already surcharged with their productions.

“ The United States are therefore reduced to the dilemma either of abandoning their commerce, or of resorting to other means more likely to obtain a respect for their rights. Between these alternatives, there can be little cause for hesitation.

" It will be highly satisfactory to learn that a change in the policy of Great Britain shall have taken place, and it is expected that you will avail yourself of every opportunity, and particularly of the return of this vessel, to communicate the most full and correct information on the subject.

“ The Hornet will land a messenger in France who takes despatches to our minister in Paris, after which she will proceed to England and land there a messenger with despatches to you. It is desired you will hurry her return to France with the greatest expedition possible, from whence she will hasten to the United States."

Extract of a letter from Mr. Russell to the Secretary of State,


London, 22d Nov. 1811. “ I have the honour to inform you that I reached London on the 12th of this Month, and on the 15th waited on the Marquis Wellesley, in pursuance to his appointment. His lordship said it was very uncertain when he should be able to present me to the prince regent, as his royal highness had the day before met with an acci. dent at Oatlands which might prevent his return to town for some time.

“Our conversation was of a very general character, and did not embrace with precision any of the questions in agitation between the two countries. His lordship once observed, that he hoped, in the course of five or six weeks, we might have some amicable discussion with each other.

“ Until I am otherwise instructed, I shall confine myself here to the exercise of the ordinary duties of the legation. After the proof which has been already produced of the revocation of the French decrees, it would probably do' no good for me to make a statement on that subject, especially, as I have nothing new to offer. Enough has already been said to convince those who were not predisposed to resist conviction.

66 The Constitution left Portsmouth on the 21st instant for Cher. bourg."

Extract of a Letter from Mr. Russell to the Secretary of State.

London, 23d Dec. 1811. “ Since I wrote you on the 22d ult. nothing new in relation to the United States has occurred here.

“Every thing remains in doubt with regard to a change of ministers, and much more so with regard to a change of measures.

“I have not heard from Mr. Barlow since I left France, and do not know if the Constitution has yet left that country.

“ The newspapers which I transmit you herewith, contain the late occurrences, and to those I beg leave to refer you."

Extract of a letter from Mr. Russell, Charge d'Affairs of the United States at London, to the Secretary of State, dated

London, 10th Jan. 1812. “ Mr. Tayloe, the messenger by the United States' ship Hornet, arrived in town on the 3d of this month, and delivered your despatches. I regret that I have nothing of a satisfactory nature to communicate to you in return, relative to a change of system here. I have detained Mr. Tayloe a few days, as the opening of parliament, and the early debates, might indicate the spirit, and develope the views of the ministry with regard to us.

“ I have announced to the marquis Wellesley that the messenger will leave London on the 14th inst.; and while I offered to take charge of any despatches which his lordship might wish to transmit by him, I availed myself of the occasion, to state the high satisfaction it would afford me to be able to communicate to the American government, by the same opportunity, the repeal, or such modification of the orders in council, violating the rights of the United States, as would remove the great obstacle to free intercourse and perfect harmony between the two countries. I do not, however, flatter myself that this suggestion will produce any effect."

Extract of a letter from Mr. Russell 10 Mr. Monroe, dated

London, Jan. 14, 1812. “ Since I had the honour to address you via Liverpool on the 10th of this month, I have received no communication from this government.

“The expectation of a change of ministry, which was confidently entertained a few weeks since, appears to have vanished, and a hope of the extinguishment of the orders in council is very much diminished.”

Extract of a letter from Mr. Russell to the Secretary of State,


London, Jan. 14, 1812. “I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your two letters of the 27th of November last.

" It would have afforded me the highest satisfaction to have been able to communicate to you, by the return of the Hornet, the revocation of the orders in council: hitherto, however, there has been exhibited here no disposition to repeal them.”


Copy of a letter from Mr. Russell to the Secretary of State, dated

London, Jan. 14, 1812. I lament that it is not in my power to announce to you, by the return of Mr. Tayloe, the adoption of a system here towards the United States more just and reasonable than that of which we now complain. No intimation has been given to me of an intention to abandon the offending orders in council. I have not hitherto made any representation in regard to these orders, and if they are to be persisted in, as Mr. Foster declares, not only until the Berlin and Milan decrees be entircly abrogated, but until we compel the French government to admit us in France with the manufactures and produce of Great Britain and her colonies, it must be useless to say any thing upon the subject. The revolting extravagance of these pretensions is too manifest to be the subject of argument, and the very attempt to reason them down would admit that they are not too absurd for refutation.

Should Mr. Barlow furnish me with any new evidence of the discontinuance of the French edicts, so far as they were in derogation of our rights, I shall present it to this government, and once more (however unnecessary it may appear) afford it an opportunity of revoking its orders, which can no longer be pretended to rest on our acquiescence in decrees of its enemy, from the unrighteous operation of which we are specially exempted. I have, &c. (Signed)


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