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I find by accounts from Hamburgh, Bremen, Holland, and Leghorn, that the trade and property of our Citizens have been much vexed by regulations subaltern to those of the Original Decree of Novr. 2150, 1806. How far the complaints are founded on proceedings violating our public rights, or on such as are unfriendly and inequitable towards our Citizens who have placed their property within those jurisdictions, you will be able to decide better than we can do at this distance; and the President refers to your own judgment the kind of representation to the French Government which those and other analagous cases may require.
Mr. Rose charged with a special mission to the United States for adjusting and making the satisfaction required for the outrage on the Chesapeake Frigate, has been about a month here. He opened his mission with a demand, preliminary to the negotiation, which was inadmissible. Much time and pains have been spent in informal experiments to overcome that difficulty at the threshold, and others known to lie within the negotiation itself. These experiments are giving way to formal and direct discussions, which do not under the instructions by which he professes to be restricted, promise any definitive and satisfactory result.
It was my purpose to have given greater extent to this communication, and particularly to have touched some other points in your last letters. But I find my health scarcely equal to the task already performed; and I am unwilling to prolong the detention of the vessel which has been ready for some time to depart with the numerous letters from our merchants to their correspondents, for carrying which she was in great measure employed. As she will return to L'Orient from Falmouth, where she will wait 8 or 10 days only, in order to bring back Lieut. Lewis the bearer of this, I hope you will dispatch him in due time, and that he will bring from you communications equally ample and agreeable.
The inclosed copy of a letter from the Secretary of War to me, together with the papers spoken of in it, will enable you
to reply to the Minister of War in answer to his letter of the 15th Sept. last, a copy of which you sent me.
I have the honor to be &c.
TO WILLIAM PINKNEY.
D. OF S. MSS. INSTR.
DEPARTMENT OF State, February 19, 1808. SIR,
A vessel having been engaged to carry from the Port of New York public dispatches and mercantile letters to Europe, I avail myself of the opportunity of forwarding you a series of Gazettes which contain the proceedings of Congress and such current information, as will give you a view of our internal affairs. They will be put, with this letter, into the hands of Mr. Nourse a passenger in the Dispatch vessel, who will deliver them at London; and as the vessel, which will have previously touched at L'Orient, will after waiting 10 or 12 days at Falmouth, return to that port and thence to the United States, you will have an opportunity of sending thither any communications you may wish to make to Paris, as well as of transmitting to your Government such as may follow up your correspondence which at the present period will be the more acceptable, the more it be frequent and full.
My last which was committed to the British packet inclosed a copy of the Act of Embargo, and explained the policy of the measure. Among the considerations which inforced it was the probability of such decrees as were issued by the British Government on the nth Novr, the language of the British Gazettes with other indications, having left little doubt that such were meditated. The appearance of these decrees, has had much effect in reconciling all descriptions among us to the Embargo, and in fixing in the friends of the measure, their attachment to its provident guardianship of our maritime interests.
Mr. Erskine communicated a few days ago, the several late decrees of his Government with expressions of the regret felt
VOL. VIII. -2,
by His Britannic Majesty at the necessity imposed on him, for such an interference with neutral commerce, and assurances that his Majesty would readily follow the example, in case the Berlin decree should be rescinded, or would proceed pari passu with France in relaxing the rigor of their measures. Mr. Erskine was asked whether his Government distinguished between the operation of the French Decree municipally on land, and its operation on the high seas. On this point he was unable to answer; as he also was to an enquiry whether the late British decree had reference to the late extension of the French decree, with respect to the U. States. He seemed also, as is perhaps the case with his Government, to have taken very little into consideration the violations of neutral commerce, and thro' them, the vast injury to France, antecedent to the Berlin decree. It is probable that something further is to pass between us on the subject.
Mr. Rose has now been about a month in this City. He opened his mission with a demand of the repeal of the President's proclamation of July 2d, as an indispensable preliminary to the negotiation of the adjustment to which his Mission related. The time has hitherto been chiefly spent in informal experiments to overcome this difficulty at the threshold, which have led to a glimpse of other prerequisites to the success of the negotiation as little looked for as they are inadmissible on the part of the United States. At present it would seem that the informal communications are at an end, and that a formal note given in by Mr. Rose sometime ago, stating his preliminary demand, is to receive a formal and written answer. The particular turn which the correspondence may take in its close, I am not yet authorized to state
It was my purpose to have given greater extent to this letter; but I have been till within a day or two for nearly two weeks confined by an indisposition which unfitted me for business of any sort. And even now I sacrifice the consideration of health, to my anxiety to avoid a longer detention
of the dispatch vessel which has been some time waiting for this, and for the communications destined to Genl. Armstrong.
I have the honor to be &c.
TO WILLIAM PINKNEY.
D. OF S. MSS. INSTR.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE, March 8th, 1808. SIR,
Having just learnt that the present Mail will arrive at New York in time for the British packet, I avail myself of the opportunity of forwarding your Commission and letters of credence, as successor to Mr. Monroe, in the Legation at London.
Since my last which went by Mr. Nourse in a dispatch vessel bound first to L'Orient and then to Falmouth, I have received your communications of the 230 Nov. and of Decr. These with a representation from Genl. Armstrong to the French Government on the subject of the Decree of Berlin as expounded and enforced in the case of the ship Horizon, were thought by the President to throw so much light on the course likely to be pursued by Great Britain and France in relation to the United States, that he had the documents confidentially laid before Congress. By an inadvertence, the documents were read in the Senate with unshut doors; and one of the family of Mr. Rose being, as is said, present, it is not improbable that your statement of the conversations with Mr. Canning will be reported to him; and possibly with such errors, as are incident to that mode of obtaining information. mention this circumstance, that in case you should perceive any misimpression to have been made, you may take occasion to correct them.
The Embargo continues to take deeper root in the public sentiment, and in the measures of Congress. Several supplemental Acts for enforcing it have passed, and another is on its passage, for the same purpose. The modifications of the
British orders, admitting a trade with her enemies in her own behalf, and subjecting neutrals to special licenses and to tribute, prove that retaliation is a cover for usurpation and monopoly and awaken feelings, sometimes stronger than interest itself, in stimulating perseverance in a remedial system.
Mr. Erskine has made a written communication on the subject of the British orders. I shall answer him as soon as the urgent business on hand will permit.
Mr. Rose will probably return in a short time, the Frigate in which he came being kept in waiting for him. His mission has not been successful, except in obtaining a separation of the general subject of impressments from the case of the Chesapeake. The way being opened to him by an acquiescence of the President in the mode of discussing the latter insisted on by the British Government, Mr. Rose disclosed the preliminary categorically required by his instructions, that the proclamation of July should be annulled, as the only condition on which he could “enter upon any negotiation for the adjustment with which he was charged.” After various informal conferences and experiments, which did not lessen the apprehension from passages in Mr. Cannings letter to Mr. Monroe (interpreted as the passage relating to the proclamation was interpreted by the preliminary) that if this difficulty at the threshold could have been parried, others of an insuperable nature would have grown out of the negotiation itself, the business has been put into the form of a regular correspondence. My answer to Mr. Rose's first communication was sent to him on the fifth instant. As soon as his reply is received, it is probable that the whole will be laid before Congress. And as Mr. Rose will, it is understood, depart immediately after the correspondence is closed, I shall have an opportunity by him of transmitting to you copies of it. In the mean time I can only observe that the operative impressions to be made on Congress by the correspondence will necessarily depend much on the tenor and tone of Mr.