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Decessity for giving notice that it would be continued, as by the further consideration, that according to the decision of your court of admiralty, a blockade instituted by proclamation does not cease by the removal of the force applied to it, nor without a formal notice by the government to that effect.
It is not, however, wished to discuss any question relative to the mode by which that blockade may be terminated. Its actual termination is the material object for consideration.
It is easy to shew, and it has already been abundantly shewn, that the blockade of May 1806, is inconsistent in any view that may be taken of it, with the law of nations. It is also easy to shew that, as now expounded, it is equally inconsistent with the sense of your govo ernment when the order was issued, and this change is a sufficient reply to the remarks which you have applied to me personally,
If you will examine the order, you will find that it is strictly little more than a blockade of the coast from the Seme to Oftendi. There is an express refervation in it, in favor of neutrals to any part of the coast between Brest and the Seine, and between Ol. tend and the Elbe. Neutral powers are permitted by it to take from their own ports every kind of produce without distinction as to its origin, and to carry it to the continent, under that limita. tion, and with the exception only of contraband of war and enemy's property, and to bring thence to their own ports in return whatever articles they think fit. Why were contraband of war and enemy's property excepted, if a commerce even in those arLicles would not otherwise have been permitted under the reser. vation ? No order was necessary to fubject them to feizure; they were liable to it by the law of nations, as asserted by Great Britain.
Why then did the British government institute a blockade which, with respect to neutrals, was not vigorous as to the greater part of the coast comprised in it? If you will look to the state of things which then existed between the United States and Great Britain, you will find the answer : a controverfy had taken place between our governments on a different topic, which was still depending. The British government had interfered with the trade between France and her allies, in the produce of their colo. nies. The just claim of the United States was then a subject of negociation; and your government, profefling its willingness to make a fatisfactory arrangement of it, issued the order which allowed the trade, without making any conceffion as to the princi. ple, reserving that for arljustment by treaty. It was in this light that I viewed, and in this sense that I represented that order to my government, and in no other did I make any comment on it.
When you reflect that this order, by allowing the trade of neutrals in colonial productions to all that portion of the coast which was not rigorously blockaded, afforded to the United States an accommodation in a principal point then at issue between our go. vernments, and of which their citizens extensively availed theinfelves; that that trade, and the question of blockade, and every other question in which the United States and Great Britain were interested, were then in a train of amicable negociation ; you will, I think, see the cause why the minister, who then represented the United States with the British government, did not make a formal complaint againft it. You have appealed to me, who happened to be that minister, and urged my filence as an evidence of my approbation of, or at least acquiescence in, the blockade. An explanation of the cause of that supposed silence, is not less due to myself than to the true character of the transaction. With the minister with whom I had the honor to treat, I may add, that an official formal complaint was not likely to be resorted to, because friendly communications were invited and preferred. The want of such a document is no proof that the measure was approved by me, or that no complaint was made.
In recalling to my mind, as this incident naturally does, the manly character of that distinguished and illustrious statesman, and the confidence with which he inspired all those with whom he had to treat, I shall be permitted to express, as a flight tribute of respect to his memory, the very high confideration in which I have always held his great talents and virtues.
The United States have not, nor can they approve the blockade of an extensive coast. Nothing certainly can be inferred from any thing that has passed relative to the blockade of May 1806, to countenance such an inference.
It is seen with fatisfation, that you still admit that the applica. tion of an adequate force is neceffary to give a blockade a legal character, and that it will lose that character whenever that ade. quate force ceases to be applied. As it cannot be alleged that the application of any such adequate force has been continued, and actually exists, in the case of the blockade of May 1806, it would seem to be a fair inference that the repeal of the orders in council will leave no insuperable difficulty with respect to it. To fuppose the contrary, would be to suppose that the orders in council, said to include that blockadle, resting themselves on a principle of retaliation only, and not sustained by the application of an adequat sorce, would have the effect of sustaining a blockade admitted to require the application of an adequate force, until such adequate force should actually take the place of the orders in council.-Whenever any blockade is instituted, it will be a subject for confideration, and if the blockade be in conformity to the law of nations, there will be no disposition in this government to con. teft it. I have the honor to be, &c.
(Signed) JAS. MONROE.
[Documents to be continued in No. 4.]
Report of the Committee on Foreign Relations. This committee consisted of Messrs. Porter from New York, Calhoun from South-Carolina, Gendy from Tennessee, Smilie from Pennsylvania, Randolph from Virginia, Harper from New Hampshire, Key from Maryland, Desha from Kentucky, and Seaver from Massachusetts.]
House of Representatives, Friday, Nov. 29, 1811. Mr. Porter, as chairman of the committee on Forviga Relations, made the following REPORT. The Committee, to whom was referred that part of the President's
message which relates to our Foreign siffairs, beg leüve to report in part
That they bave endeavored to give the fubject fubmitted to them, that full and dispaffionte confideration which is due to one fointimately connected with the interest, the peace, the safety and the honor of their country.
Your committee will not encumber your journals and waste your patience with a detailed history of all the various matters growing out of our foreign relations. The cold recital of wrongs, of injuries and aggressions, known and felt by every member of this Union, could have no other effect than to deaden the national sensibility, and render the public mind calloas to injuries with which it is already too familiar.
Without recurring then to the multiplied wrongs of partial or temporary operation, of which we have fo just cause of complaint against the two belligerents, your committee will only call your attention, at this time, to the systematic aggression of those pow. ers, authorised by their edicts against neutral commerce-a fystem, which, as regarded its principles, was founded on pretenfions that went to the subversion of our national independence; and which, although abandoned by one power, is, in its broad and destructive operation, as still enforced by the other, fapping the foundation of our prosperity.
It is more than five years since England and France, in violation of those principles of justice and public law, held facred by all civilized nations, commenced this unprecedented sit m, by seizing the property of the citizens of the United Stats peaceahly pursuing their lawful commerce on the high seas. Toshield themselves from the odium which such outrage must incur, each of the belligerents fought a pretext in the conduct of the othereach attempting to justify his fy stem of rapine as a retaliation for fimilar acts on the part of his enemy: As if the law of nations, founded on the eternal rules of justice, could sanction a principle, which if engrafted into our municipal code, would excuse one robber, upon the fole plea that the unfortunate object of his rapacity was also a victim to the injustice of another. The fact of priority could be true as to one only of the parties; and whether true or falle, could furnish no ground of justification.
The U. States, thus unexpectedly and violently assailed by the two greatest powers in Europe, withdrew their citizens and prop. erty from the ocean; and cherishing the blessings of peace, altho' the occasion would have justified war, fought redress in an appeal to the justice and magnanimity of the belligerents. When this appeal had failed of the fuccefs due to its moderation, other measures, founded on the same pacific policy, but applying to the interests, instead of the justice of the belligerents, were reforted to. Such was the character of the non-intercourse and non-importation larrs, which invited the return of both powers to their former state of a nicable relations, by offering commercial advan. tages to the one who should first revoke his hostile edicts, and impofing restrictions on the other.
France, at length, availing herself of the proffers made equally to hurand her enemy, by the non-importation law of May, 1810, announced the repeal on the first of the following November, of the decrees of Perlin and Milan. And it affords a subject of fin. cere congratulation to be informed, through the official organs of the goveriment, that those decrees are, fo far at least as our righis are concerned, really and practicaliy at an end.
It was conficlently expected that this act on the part of France, would have been immediately followed by a revocation on the part of Great Britain of her orders in council. If our reliance on her justice had been impaired by the wrongs she had inficted, yet when the bad plighted her faith to the world that the fole motive of her aggri lion on neutral commerce was to be found in the Ber. lin and Milan viecrees, we looked forward to the extinction of thof: decrees, as the period when the freedom of the feas would again be restored.
In this reasonable expectation we have, however, been disap. pointed. A year las clapted since the French decrees were refcinded, and yet Great Britain, instead of re-tracing pari passu that coule of unjustifiable attack on neutral rights, in which the profifid to be only the reluctant follower of France, has, advanced with bolder and continually increasing strides. To the categor. ical demands lately made by our government for the repeal of her orders in council the has affected to deny the practical extinction of the French decrees: and she has, moreover, advanced a new and unexpected demand, increasing in hoftility the orders themIlves. She has infilted, through her accredited minister at this place, that the repeal of the orders in council must be preceded, not only by the practical abandonment of the Berlin and Milan cecrets, so far as they infringe the neutral rights of the U. States ; but by the rinunciation on the part of France, of the whole of her fiftem of commercial warfare against Great Britain, of which thof decries originally formed a part,
This fyftem is understood to consist in a course of measures adopted by France and the other powers on the continent fubject to, or in alliance with her, calculated to prevent the introduction
into their territories of the products and manufactures of Great. Britain and her colonies; and to annihilate her trade with the ti, However hostile these regulations may be, on the part of France towards Great Britain ; or however sensibly the latter may feel their effects, they are, nevertheless,to he, regarded only as the expedients of one enemy against another, for which the U. States as a neutral power, can in no respect be responsible; they are too, in exact conformity with those which G. Britain has herself adopt. ed and acted upon in time of peace as well as war. And it is not to be presumed that France would yield to the unauthorized demand of America, what she seems to have considered as one of the most powerful engines of the present war.
Such are the pretensions upon which Great-Britain founds the violation of the maritime rights of the United States pretensions not theoretical merely, but followed up by a defolating war upon our unprotected commerce. The ships of the United States, laden with the products of our own soil and labor, navigated by our own citizens, and peaceably pursuing a lawful trade, are feized on our own coasts, at the very mouths of our harbors, condemned and confiscaitd.
Your committee are not, however, of that fect whose worship is at the Ahrine of a calculating avarice: And while we are laying before you the just complaint of our merchants against the plunder of their ships and cargoes, we cannot refrain from presenting to the justice and humanity of our country the unhappy case of our impressed seamen, Although the groans of these victims of barbarity for the lofs of (what should be dearer to Americans than life) their liberty-altho' the cries of their wives and children in the privation of protectors and parents, have, of late, been drowned in the louder clamors at the lofs of property; yet is the practice of forcing ourmariners into the British navy, in violation of the rights of our fag, carried on with unabated rigor and severity. If it be our duty to encourage the fair and legitimate commerce of this country, by protecting the property of the merchants, then, in. deed, by as much as life and liberty are more estimable than ships and goods, fo much more impressive is the duty to Thield the per
ons of our feamen, wliofe hard and honest services are employed, equally with those of the merchants, in advancing, under the man. tle of its laws, the interests of their country.
To sum up, in a word, the great causes of complaint against Great Britain, your committee need only fay, that the United States, as a fovereign and independent power, claim the right 10 use the ocean, which is the common and acknowledged highway of nations, for the purposes of transporting, in their own vessels, the products of their own foil, and the acquisition of their own industry, to a market in the ports of friendly nations, and to bring home, in return, such articles as their necessities or convenience may require: always regarding the rights of belligerents, as de. fined by the establilhed laws of nations. Great Britain, in defi.