Front Page Titles (by Subject) 1808 - NEGOTIATIONS WITH MR. ROSE. mad. mss. 1 - The Writings, vol. 8 (1808-1819)
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1808 - NEGOTIATIONS WITH MR. ROSE. mad. mss. 1 - James Madison, The Writings, vol. 8 (1808-1819) 
The Writings of James Madison, comprising his Public Papers and his Private Correspondence, including his numerous letters and documents now for the first time printed, ed. Gaillard Hunt (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1900). Vol. 8.
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NEGOTIATIONS WITH MR. ROSE.mad. mss.1
Friday, 1st Feby, 1808.
General object of interview.
Explain causes of Proclamation—☞ continuation of attack—by seamen detained—officers recalled—Ships in Harbors doing illegal things.
Grounds of prelimy. 1. Disavowal by Ld G. due to G. B. even if war—2. General assurance and personal conviction.
Impossible NA for means of judging for ourselves see Mr. E. Object of procln—precaution—not merely as to the Chesapeake.
2. Errors. 1. In supposing reparation object—which an item then only—2. Precaution vs. Chesapeake.
Disavowal—due to G. B.—even if war meant—honor, interest, principle so much against her—disavowed by Ld Grenville—disavowal no reparation—shews a disposition only to repair—project of expln—particulars and contemporary acts.
Mr. Rose—suggests idea of his friendly return with rept of the diffly.
J. M. reports this to P., who, on consultation on Monday, decides vs. this idea, and prefers informal disclosure by R. of atonement and repeal of procln to be contemporary acts.
J. M. states to Mr. R. objection to adjournment of subject to G. B., which Mr. Rose admits—and in conversation as between two private Gentn enquires whether U. S. will agree to a mutual discharge from public ships of all natural-born subjects and Citizens, it appearing to be implied that this might contribute to diminish difficulties and prepare way for something further—willing to wait for answer.
Wednesday, Feby 3.
Idea of Cabinet that the mutual discharge not inadmissible, if extended to Merchant Vessels; considering the advantage to naturalized subjects, of being kept out of danger from being taken into the jurisdiction of their former Sovereign; and that Mr. R. be sounded as to his powers and dispositions.
Thursday, Feby 4.
Conversation of J. M. with Mr. Rose—explained himself on the subject of Tuesday’s conversation, by signifying that his suggestion was a hasty thought, and that it was most consonant to his situation to limit the enquiry to the case of deserting subjects natural born. He was told this was already provided for by the rules prescribed to our Naval Commanders. Occasion was taken to express the desire of the U. States to remove all causes of danger to the harmony, &c., as well as that exemplified in affair of Chesapeake, which was evidently of a nature not likely to recur after disavowal, &c. He did not open himself as to any thing beyond the limit to which he reduced the enquiry, acquiescing generally in the desirableness of a general adjustment, &c. The objections to the delay of seeking further instructions, &c., was dwelt on by both, and ended in a frank and direct suggestion by J. M. to let the satisfaction, acceptance, and recall of proclamation, be executed on same day, and so as not to shew on the face of the proceeding a priority, leaving this to be assumed respectively, as might be agreeable. He, Mr. Rose, would take into consideration with best wishes, but was not sure that his instructions could bend to it. He held out the idea of exhibiting without editing the revoking proclamation, as an expedient to save him. He was told nothing would be admitted that would expose the Executive to appearance of having yielded to his preliminary; and it was remarked that Mr. Canning, if he had not supposed the Proclamation to be a retaliation, and that the aggression had been discontinued, which could not be during the detention of the men, would have approved this course at least. Mr. Rose glanced at idea of disclosing his terms, &c., through Mr. Erskine and Mr. Robt Smith. He went away under an arrangement for another interview to-morrow, 12 o’clock.
Mr. Rose appeared to have taken a view of the proposed contemporary signing and adjustment of the Proclamation, which required him to decline it definitely. On my restating it, he resumed the conversation, and agreed to see me in the evening at my house, in order to hold frank and informal communications and explanations.
Evening of Feby 5.
He brought Mr. Erskine with him. The conversation was free. The tenor of a suitable proclamation disclosed, and the terms he meant to offer, viz: recall of Admiral Berkley, restoration of [the?] three men; and provision for families of the killed and wounded. The idea of restoration to the same ship was stated to him, which he seemed willing to favor; also punishment of Berkley, which he said would be difficult by his co-officers, and be in the result, perhaps, an obstacle to a permanent exclusion from actual employment. Agreed to see one another at 1 o’clock to-morrow, at office of State.
Friday, Feby 6.
Mr. Rose starts the idea of a disavowal on our part of conduct of Agents, &c., in encouraging and not discharging deserters—natural-born subjects. This was combated as going out of the case of the Chesapeake and leading to other subjects of complaint; and particularly as justifying a demand of British disavowal of—&c., &c. The difficulty, also, as to natural born, was stated, in cases of naturalization. He was reminded, too, that orders had been issued and circulated to officers against recruiting deserters, &c., which was amply sufficient. He retired under doubts as to the possibility of his satisfying his instructions without obtaining this point.
Monday, Feby 8th, appointed to meet again.
Monday, Feby 8.
Instead of the expected matter, Mr. Rose very soon introduced, as a point enjoined in his instructions, the necessity of some disavowal on the part of the U. States as to the conduct of their agents in encouraging, harbouring, and retaining, deserters, natural-born subjects of H. B. M.; as what had preceded the affair of the Chesapeake, and was but a reasonable satisfaction to his Majesty preparatory to the adjustment intended by him.
As this was a new and unlooked-for preliminary ultimatum, though it had been glanced at in a former conversation, when it was supposed to have been answered in a way putting it entirely aside, it was proposed to him to reduce it to paper, so that there might be no possible misconception, with a general intimation only that it would not be admitted into the adjustment, and that it would be impossible for the U. States to view natural-born subjects of G. Britain, who had been naturalized here, in any other light than as American Citizens whilst within American jurisdiction. Mr. Rose agreed to see me the next day, (Tuesday, Feby 9,) with his idea put into writing, to be informally read to me.
Tuesday, Feby 9, 1808.
Mr. Rose read from his paper, in substance, that with a view to remove impressions made by recent events on the mind of H. B. M., the U. States should disavow the conduct of their Agents in encouraging, harbouring, and not discharging natural-born deserters—a case different from not surrendering, which was not claimed.
He was reminded of the difficulty as to natural-born subjects naturalized by the U. States; that if impressions were to be removed on one side, so on the other, where they were much greater, from the course of indignities offered by British Ships in our harbours and on our coasts; that the proposal was not reciprocal in itself—a thing essential to the honor of the U. States, [here he remarked that this had not escaped him, reading a reservation to the U. States of their right to claim from G. Britain a like disavowal; to which the reply was, that there was no reciprocity between an actual disavowal and a right to ask a disavowal;] and, finally, that it could not enter into the Chesapeake business, unless other things as much connected with it were also to be admitted.
Being myself much indisposed, the conversation was soon ended, with an understanding that I would take the orders of the President, and see him as soon as convenient.
Sunday, Feby 14.
This was the earliest that I had health enough to see Mr. Rose, who was invited to call at my house for the purpose. I preferred the irregularity, both as to time and place, to a delay, which was becoming very disagreeable on all sides, and was rendered to him, as he had indicated, peculiarly distressing, by his having two British Packets detained till he could say something on the subject of his mission.
Having previously obtained the sanction of the President, I repeated the insuperable objections to his proposal, (adding, in fact, that there had been no refusal to discharge deserters, the demand being always to surrender,) and, in place, suggested a mutual disavowal—1. As to receiving deserters into naval service. 2d. As to claiming a surrender of them. This would agree with the principles now maintained on both sides, would be reciprocal, and might be useful. He admitted that the surrender was not claimed, but that his instructions did not authorise any such general or separate arrangements being restricted to the case of the Chesapeake.
It was observed that this was at least as much connected with that as the case of the discharge; and it was signified that a mutual, general, and separate disavowal of this case alone would not be inadmissible, with a saving, by the form of expression, of the principle as to naturalized Citizens. This also was declined, as not within his instructions.
He was finally told, as had been on former occasions intimated, that it would be easy to write a letter on some pretext to Mr. Erskine, explaining the principles of the U. States as to Deserters; that if mere assurance of these principles was the object of his Government, that object would thus be attained as well as in his mode; if not that, but an expiatory act on the part of the U. States was the object, it was absolutely inadmissible.
He dwelt with expressions of great regret on the situation in which he found himself, tied down, as he was, by his instructions, and knowing, as he did, the impressions of his Government. To all which it was simply remarked that the attack on the Chesapeake was a detached, flagrant insult to the flag and Sovereignty of the U. States on the high seas, in face of the world; that the plain course was to repair that, according to usage public and private, and to the examples of his own Government; that reparation made, the way was open to any demands of redress on other points, if any existed, where it might be due to the redressing party, and a general example was the best mode of securing liberal satisfaction.
In course of this conversation, he mentioned, with an apology for omitting it before when he intended to do it, that a disavowal of Commodore Barron’s denial that he had such men on board as were required made a part of his instructions.
After remarking that it was impossible in any view that that circumstance could be admitted, and that it was merely noticed for the sake of truth, which could never do harm where the manner did not imply something improper, I told him that Barron was responsible to his Government for his conduct in that instance; that his reply was wholly unbecoming his station; that it was probable, however, that he said what he believed to be true; and, indeed, was true, the demand of Humphreys being for deserters from other ships than that to which the men taken from the Chesapeake belonged. This he admitted, except as to one Jenkins Radford, stated to be a deserter from the Halifax. I told him that, even as to him, we had the authority of the British Consul at Norfolk that he was a deserter from a Merchantman. This he seemed not to be aware of, and said that if the fact was wrong, he could not found a proceeding on it. He retired with an intimation that he would revolve the subject and his instructions still further, and see me when I pleased to intimate, which was promised as soon as health permitted. His manner and concluding remarks left it uncertain what determination he would bring to the interview.
Tuesday, Feby 16.
Mr. Rose, in consequence of an offer to see him to-day, called about 2 o’clock. It appeared that he did not consider himself authorized to accede to either proposal for getting over the difficulty respecting the disavowal required from the U. States of the conduct of our agents in harbouring, encouraging, and not discharging deserters. He was reminded that this disavowal, as stated by him, was as much a departure from the specific case of the Chesapeake as the mutual disavowals proposed by me, being general as to deserters, and not restricted to those entering on board the Chesapeake. He seemed sensible of this, and manifested a disposition to make it rather more limited; but proposed nothing; nor did he revive the subject of disavowing Barron’s answer; seeming to be prepared for abandoning further informal conversations, and leaving me to answer in form his note of the 26th ult. This was promised as soon as my health, and some urgent business, [meaning the despatch of the vessel waiting at New York to carry letters, &c., to France and G. Britain,] would permit; it being remarked to him that the hopes that an answer would have been rendered unnecessary had prevented me from particularly revolving even a suitable answer.
Monday, Feby 22.
Mr. Rose having signified by a note last evening, a wish for an interview to-day, 2 oc. was named when he called for the purpose.
His object appeared to be to express his hopes that a failure of our negociations, might be still consistent with a future adjustment, either here or in Engd and to speak of the difficulty under which he should find himself in making known to his Govt the points on which the failure wd have taken place; as he could not give this explanation, after a refusal of his preliminary, witht showing that he had departed from his instructions. With these remarks he mingled expressions of much solicitude that no unfavorable inferences might be drawn from the obstacles arising from his instructions, and that he might be instrumental in promoting a removal of them, which he thought he could best do by personal communications at London.
It was observed to him, that without meaning to express more than an abstract opinion, it wd seem not difficult to let his Govt understand the points on which the business failed, by intimating that there were sufficient indications that if the preliminary had been complied with or got over, the views entertained by the Govt on those points wd have necessarily produced a failure. It was intimated also that the place most proper in itself for adjusting the matter was here, not in G. B. and that the propriety was strengthened by what had passed. If, in the first instance, London had been proposed, it was with a view to hasten the result.
Mutual observations were made pointing out the inconveniences of referring the subject to a settlement under new instructions: His attention was drawn to the experiments which had been made to avoid delay, and it was repeated to him that there was still a willingness to write a letter detached from & subject to an acceptance of the reparation, in which the principles & practice of the U. S. in the case of Deserters could be stated, with the addition now authorized, that an order had issued for discharging from the pub. ships all British subjects. It was remarked that could not be mentioned but in a certain way, such as such a letter wd admit, because the order was not the result of either legal obligation or of example; his Govt instantly refusing to discharge Americans voluntarily accepting a bounty.
He manifested satisfaction at this course, & signified that it could not fail to make agreeable impressions & promote salutary objects. He was reminded that this was more than his instructions aimed at: and it was for him to decide how far it wd balance the objections to a departure from the letter of them.
He professed to be gratified with the spirit of the conversation but without any apparent change in the course he was to pursue, and retired with an understanding, that I wd see him at any time he might wish to resume it.
Mr Rose having yesterday asked an interview was afforded one to-day. He seemed to have in view to prevent any expectation that he would instead of the disavowal required as to deserters, accept the information proposed to be given of the principles & policy of this Govt on that subject, by suggesting, that as this course would be inconsistent with his powers, he should not act with candor towards us in so doing. He re-iterated his regret that his powers were so limited, and his belief that the orders issued to discharge all British subjects from our public ships, would make great impression on his Govt. Little was said in reply, further than repeating the inconveniences resulting from such an issue to his mission, and remarking on our disappot at the tenor of his instructions, and the length we had prevailed on ourselves to go in order to surmount the difficulties they occasioned. It was intimated as one of the inconvenient effects of the actual posture of the business, that the President was sending a message to Congs recommending an extension of precautionary measures necessarily attended with expence &c.
Points for Mr. Rose. Wednesday, [Feby 24.]
Evils of degradation mutually to be shunned NA after acceeding to ye mode of separating cases of impressment & of the Chesapeake, the demand of such preliminary the less looked for, so categorical & precise.
The recall of Procln founded on disavowal &c &c.
What is disavowed?—An act of unauthorised officer—and principle of do, an avowal never presumed—but the contrary.
What to be recalled? Act of Govt itself, an act not of aggression or of reparation; but of precaution—and referring to wrongs prior to & wholly distinct from the affair of Chesapeake.
To revoke the proclamation in face of the world, undr such circumstances, would acknowledge it to be aggressive & wd originate a reparation on our part instead of receiving one—
A degradation in fact the worst of all evils, and which a nation determined never to be degraded, could never suffer to be imposed on it.
Do not wish to require cannot therefore perform, degrading conditions.
Unless therefore some new turn to the subject must proceed from oral to written communications. If a precise & categorical preliminary shuts the door agst all chance and prospect, delay is fruitless.
But if door not shut, it will be agreeable to find that the consequences of a failure, are not suspended on an ultimatum of such a character.
The revocation of the Procln impossible, witht extending the disavowal, and assurances, to the several cases which led to it and referred to in it, & many of them long lying before your Govt without notice or promise of future security to the U. S.1
Tho’ the time unexpected by the P—, no purpose, by hasty issue on a particular point not perfectly understood, to preclude amicable explanations, and which might possibly lead to a favorable result.
General and mutual reasons vs. war—interest, harmony &c., &c.
With this view, U. S. desired to settle everything.
Union of Impressments and Chesapeake favorable thereto, and facilitates latter.
Separation yielded, to the views taken of the subject by G. B. and to his Mission.
Surprize at; at splitting the case of Chesapeake—entirely statu quo. Talk NA Proclamation—precaution vs. other wrongs—Bradly—Whitby—Love—French ship burnt—Dougl seiz. of Norfk—Continental disobedience to Procln.
TO JOHN ARMSTRONG.d. of s. mss. instr.
Department of State, February 8th, 1808.
Your letters and communications by Dr. Bullus were duly delivered on the NA day of NA. The same conveyance brought a copy of the sentence pronounced by the French prize Court in the case of the Horizon, giving a judicial effect to the Decree of Nov. 21, 1806, as expounded in the answer of Mr. Champagny to your letter of the NA.
Whilst the French Government did not avow or enforce a meaning of the Decree of Nov. 1806, in relation to the United States, extending its purview beyond the municipal limits, it could not in strictness be regarded as an infraction either of our neutral or conventional rights; and consequently did not authorize more than a demand of seasonable explanations of its doutbful import, or friendly expostulations with respect to the rigor and suddenness of its innovations.
The case is now essentially changed. A construction of the Decree is avowed and executed which violates as well the positive stipulations of the Convention of Sep. 30, 1800, as the incontestable principles of public law. And the President charges you to superadd, to whatever representations you may have previously made, a formal remonstrance in such terms as may be best calculated either to obtain a recall of the illegal measure, so far as it relates to the United States, or to have the effect of leaving in full force all the rights accruing to them from a failure to do so.
That the execution of local laws against foreign Nations on the high seas is a violation of the rights of the former and the freedom of the latter, will probably not be questioned. A contrary principle would in fact imply the same exclusive dominion over the entire ocean as is enjoyed within the limits of the local sovereignty, and a degradation of every other Nation from its common rights and equal rank.
If it be contended that the Decree, as a retaliation on the other belligerent, at the expense of neutral nations; is justified by a culpable acquiescence in the prior measures of that belligerent operating thro’ neutrals, you will be able to deny such acquiescence, and to urge moreover that, on every supposition, the retaliating measure could not be justly enforced in relation to neutrals without allowing them at least a reasonable time for chusing between due measures against the prior wrong and an acquiescence in both. The copy of the representations to the British Government thro’ its Minister here, on the subject of its orders of Jany. 1807, will at once disprove an acquiescence on the part of the United States, and explain the grounds on which the extension of the French Decree of Novr. 1806 is an object of just remonstrance.
The conduct of the French Government in giving this extended operation to its decree, and indeed in issuing one with such an apparent or doubtful import against the rights of the sea, is the more extraordinary inasmuch as the inability to enforce it on that element exhibited the measure in the light of an empty menace, at the same time that it afforded pretexts to her enemy for several retaliations for which ample means are found in her naval superiority.
The accumulated dangers to which the illegal proceedings of the belligerent nations have subjected the commerce and navigation of the United States, have at length induced Congress to resort to an Embargo on our own vessels, as a measure best fitted for the crisis, being an effectual security for our mercantile property and mariners now at home and daily arriving, and at the same time neither a measure, nor just cause of war. Copies of this Act were soon after its passage, transmitted to Mr. Pinkney, with an authority to assure the British Government that it was to be viewed in this light; and that it was not meant to be the slightest impediment to amicable negotiations with foreign Governments. He was requested to avail himself of an opportunity of communicating to you and Mr. Erving this view of the subject, and I hope that you will have been thence enabled to present it to the French Government. Not relying however on that indirect opportunity, I send by this another copy of the Act, with an instruction from the President, that you make it the subject of such explanations as will guard against any misconception of the policy which led to it. It is strictly a measure of precaution required by the dangers incident to external commerce, and being indiscriminate in its terms and operation toward all nations, can give no just offence to any. The duration of the Act is not fixed by itself, and will consequently depend on a continuance or cessation of its causes in a degree sufficient in the judgment of the Legislature to induce or forbid its repeal. It may be hoped that the inconveniences felt from it by the belligerent nations may lead to a change of the conduct which imposed the inconveniences of it on ourselves. France herself will be a sufferer, and some of her allies far more so. It will be very agreeable to find in that consideration, and still more in her sense of justice, a sufficient motive to an early manifestation of the respect due to our commercial rights. The example would be worthy of the professions which she makes to the world on this subject.
February 18th. Since the above was written, I have been under a degree of indisposition which has suspended the proposed continuation of it, and which now will oblige me to be very brief; the more so, as the vessel has been some days detained, which was engaged for the special purpose of conveying public dispatches and private letters to Europe.
The delay has enabled me to inform you that Mr. Erskine a few days ago communicated by instructions from his government its late Decrees of Novr. 11, and those forming a sequel to them. The communication was accompanied with assurances that much regret was felt by his Brittanic Majesty at the necessity which the conduct of his enemy had created for measures so embarrassing to neutral commerce, and that His Majesty would readily follow an example of relinquishing such a course, or even of making relaxations pari passu with his enemy.
Whether these intimations have any reference to the distinction between such parts of the French decree as operate municipally on shore, and such as operating on the high seas, violate the rights of neutrals, or to a distinction between the former restriction and the late extension of the Decree with respect to the United States, Mr. Erskine did not seem authorized to say. The probability is that neither of these distinctions entered into the views of the British Cabinet. But it is certainly neither less the duty nor the true policy of the Emperor of the French so to vary his decree as to make it consistent with the rights of neutrals and the freedom of the seas, and particularly with his positive stipulations to the United States. This may be the more reasonably expected as nothing can be more clear, as has been already observed, than that the effect of the Decree, as far as it can be carried into effect, would not be sensibly diminished, by abolishing its operation beyond the limits of the territorial Sovereignty.
In remonstrating against the injustice and illegality of the French Decree, I am aware that you may be reminded of antecedent injuries to France and her allies thro’ British violations of neutral commerce. The fact cannot be denied, and may be urged with great force, in our remonstrances against the orders to which Great Britain has given a retaliating character; since the French Decree might on the same ground, be pronounced a retaliation on the preceding conduct of Great Britain. But ought the legitimate commerce of neutrals to be thus the victim and the sport of belligerents contesting with each other the priority of their destructive innovations; and without leaving, either of them, to neutrals, even the opportunity or the time for disproving that culpable acquiescence which is made the pretext by both for the wrongs done to them? And I must repeat that apart from all questions of this nature the French Decree, or at least the illegal extensions of it to the United States remain chargeable with all the impolicy which has been pointed out.
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. 21st, 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.
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 11th 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 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 to you.
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.
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 23d Nov. and NA 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. I 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. Rose’s concluding letter, which will probably be pacific and even conciliatory.
With sentiments of high respect &c.
TO WILLIAM PINKNEY.d. of s. mss. instr.
Department of State, April 4th, 1808.
My last letter was of March 22d and went under the care of Mr. Rose. I now forward printed copies of the correspondence with him on the subject of his Mission, and of the antecedent documents relating to the case of the Chesapeake. As soon as the voluminous residue of the communications made to Congress issues from the press, it shall also be forwarded. You will find that they include certain documents relating to France which were thought proper for the knowledge of Congress at the present Crisis.
To these communications I add copies of Mr. Erskine’s letter to me on the subject of the British decrees of Novr. last, and of my answer. And that you may have a view of the ground which has been taken with respect to the French decree of Novr. 1806, and to the judicial exposition in the case of the Horizon giving it an illegal operation against the United States, I inclose copies of two letters to Genl. Armstrong on those subjects.
The President made to Congress a few days ago other communications relating to the present crisis with Great Britain and France, among which were Mr. Erskine’s letter now inclosed, and a letter from Mr. Champagny to Genl. Armstrong, explaining the course meditated by the French Government with respect to the commerce of the U. States. These being excepted from the confidential character attached to the others have been published, and will be found among the printed inclosures. Your letter of Feby. 26, was included in the communication to Congress but not in the exception.
The conduct of the two great contending nations towards this Country as will now appear to it, and to the world, fully displays their mutual efforts to draw the United States into a war with their adversary. The efforts on both sides, are too little disguised to be worthy the discernment of either, and are addressed moreover, to motives which prove great ignorance of the character of the United States, and indeed of human nature.
From the posture in which Mr. Rose’s final reply to the compromise proposed to him, placed the question of adjustment in the case of the Chesapeake, it remains with the British Government to resume it if adjustment be their object. Whether a tender of reparation will be made here, or to you, will also lie on that side. It will certainly be most becoming that Government under all circumstances to make the reparation here and this course might of right be insisted on by this Government. The President nevertheless, in the liberal spirit which always governs him, authorizes you to accept the reparation provided it be tendered spontaneously, be charged with no condition, unless it be that on the receipt of the Act of reparation here the proclamation of July 2nd shall be revoked; and provided the reparation shall add to the disavowal of the attack on the Chesapeake, an express engagement that the seamen retained shall be immediately restored, and that the guilty officer shall experience an exemplary punishment. The reparation will be the more satisfactory, and not exceed a just expectation if the restoration of the seamen be made to the very ship from which they were wrested and if provision be made for the wounded survivors, and for the families of those who lost their lives by the attack.
I must repeat however that it is considered entirely proper that the reparation should be offered here, rather than in London, and it is only in the event of a decided repugnance in the British Government to make it thro’ a functionary here, that you are to accept it there.
The answer to Mr. Erskine’s letter on the British orders will furnish the grounds to be taken in your communications. If the Cabinet can be brought to view the orders in their true light a revocation of the whole of them cannot fail to take place, unless they mean to violate every maxim of justice, or are fixed in hostile purposes against the United States. In not regarding the orders indeed as Acts of hostility and in trusting for redress to the motives and means, to which they have appealed, the United States have given the most signal proofs of their love of peace, and of their desire to avoid an interruption of it with the British Nation.
Still, it is to be understood, that whilst the insult offered in the attack on the American frigate remains unexpiated, you are not to pledge or commit your Government to consider a recall of the orders as a ground on which a removal of the existing restrictions on the commerce of the United States with Great Britain, may be justly expected.
The two letters to Genl. Armstrong of 22nd May 1807, and Feby. 8th, 1808, are proofs of the sincerity and impartiality with which the President has proceeded in relation to the belligerent parties, and may perhaps assist you in repressing unjust suspicions imbibed by the British Cabinet. It would be happy for all parties, the belligerent as well as the U. States, if truth could, in this case, be made to prevail; and if the retaliating rivalship of the former against the latter could be converted into an emulation, as politic as it would be magnanimous in both, to take the lead in a fair, lawful, and conciliatory course towards a nation which has done no wrong to either. Should the experiment be made on either side it would probably be followed on the other; and it could never happen that the side first doing justice, would suffer on that account.
In the present state of our relations to Great Britain it would be premature to mark out the course to be pursued with respect to further negotiations on other topics than those above noticed. You are authorized however to continue your interpositions in behalf of our impressed or detained seamen, and in the event of a repeal of the British orders, and satisfactory pledges for repairing the aggression on the Chesapeake, to enter into informal arrangements for abolishing impressments altogether and mutually discontinuing to receive the seamen of each other into either military or merchant service, conformably to the instructions on this point transmitted by Mr. Purviance.
You will find by a passage in Mr. Rose’s reply of March 17 that the British Government does not maintain the principle that the obligation of the United States extends beyond the discharge of deserters from their public service; and by an order of the Navy Department here, already carried into execution, of which a copy is inclosed, that it has lately been decided that no foreign seamen, whether deserters or not, shall serve on board our ships of war. The principles respectively manifested by these documents, ought to facilitate such an adjustment as is contended for by the United States.
It cannot yet be said how much longer the Session of Congress will be protracted. The two provisions of most importance remaining to be decided on are the augmentation of the Army, and the definition of the case or cases in which a repeal or relaxation of the Embargo, may, during a recess, be committed to the Executive.
I have the honor to be &c.
TO WILLIAM PINKNEY.d. of s. mss. instr.
Department of State, April 30, 1808.
My last was of the 4th inst, and went by a British packet from New York. I now forward a copy of it.
Congress ended their Session on the night of the 23 inst. The series of newspapers herewith sent affords a view of their proceedings subsequent to the communications last made to you. Some other points are included which throw light on the workings of public opinion and the State of public affairs.
You will find that the critical posture of our foreign relations has produced provisions of different kinds for our greater security; and particularly that no pains have been spared to stop every leak by which the effect of the Embargo laws might be diminished. I refer you also to the report made to the Senate, by a committee on the documents relating to the affair of the Chesapeake and on the letters of Mr. Champagny and Mr. Erskine; and indicating the spirit which may be expected to influence the future policy of the Country, if kept under the excitement resulting from the system now pursued against it.
You will observe at the same time, that whilst a determination is sufficiently evinced against a dishonorable acquiescence in the despotic Edicts enforced on the high seas, the United States are ready to resume their export trade as soon as the aggressions on it shall cease, and that in a hope that this might happen during the recess of Congress, the President is authorized, in such an event, to suspend in whole, or in part, the several Embargo laws.
The conditions on which the authority is to be exercised appeal equally to the justice and policy of the two great belligerent powers which are now emulating each other in a violation of both. The President counts on your endeavors to give to this appeal all the effect possible with the British Government. Genl. Armstrong will be doing the same with that of France. The relation in which a revocation of its unjust decrees by either, will place the United States to the other is obvious; and ought to be a motive to the measure, proportioned to the desire which has been manifested by each to produce collision between the United States and its adversary; and which must be equally felt by each, to avoid one with itself.
Should the French Government revoke so much of its decrees as violate our neutral rights, or give explanations and assurances having the like effect, and entitling it therefore to a removal of the Embargo as it applies to France, it will be impossible to view a perseverance of Great Britain in her retaliating orders, in any other light than that of war without even the pretext now assumed by her.
In order to entitle the British Government to a discontinuance of the Embargo as it applies to Great Britain, it is evident that all its decrees, as well those of Jany. 1807 as of Nov. 1807, ought to be rescinded as they apply to the United States, and this is the rather to be looked for, from the present administration, as it has so strenuously contended that the decrees of both dates were founded on the same principles and directed to the same object.
Should the British Government take this course you may authorize an expectation that the President will, within a reasonable time, give effect to the authority vested in him on the subject of the Embargo laws. Should the orders be rescinded in part only it must be left to his free judgment to decide on the case. In either event you will lose no time in transmitting the information to this Department and to Genl. Armstrong; and particularly in the event of such a course being taken by the British Government as will render a suspension of the Embargo certain or probable, it will be proper for you to make the communication by a Courier to Genl. Armstrong, to whom a correspondent instruction will be given, and to provide a special conveyance for it hither unless British arrangements shall present an opportunity equally certain and expeditious.
The suspension of the non-importation Act having expired without any renewal of the suspending power to the President, that Act is now and must continue in operation. The Senate proposed during the last days of the Session to revest such a power in the President, as a provision for a state of things which might warrant the exercise of it. In the House of Representatives the Bill was rejected by a large majority. The debate will best explain the grounds of the rejection. Whilst the wrongs which led to that measure continue, it is probable that the measure will be continued; especially as the idea gains force daily, that we are less unripe for manufacturing establishments than has been supposed, and that we are admonished by experience to lessen our dependence for supplies on foreign nations. There is no longer any ground to apprehend that this Act can be an obstacle to adjustments on other subjects; the right of the United States to make such regulations at any time being admitted, and the justice of them being derived from commercial discriminations actually enforced by Great Britain against the United States.
From the notification of Jany. communicated in your letter of Jany. 8th, it seems that every possible variety of blockade legal and illegal is to be exhausted against our commerce. I beg leave to refer you to my letter of the 3d June 1806 to your predecessor and its inclosure for the kind of answer suitable to such notifications.
Among the documents forwarded, are a few printed copies of the communications made to Congress as stated in my last.
The letters received from you and not yet acknowledged are under dates of the 8th Jany. and 2d February.
I have the honor to be &c.
TO JOHN ARMSTRONG.d. of s. mss. instr.
Department of State, May 2nd, 1808.
Since my last letter of which Lt. Lewis was the bearer, I have received your several letters of 27 Decr, 22 Jany, 15 & 17 February, with their respective inclosures.
That of the 15th Jany. from Mr. Champagny to you has, as you will see by the papers herewith sent, produced all the sensations here, which the spirit and stile of it were calculated to excite in minds alive to the interests and honor of the nation. To present to the United States the alternative of bending to the views of France against her enemy, or of incurring a confiscation of all the property of their Citizens carried into the French prize Courts, implied that they were susceptible of impressions by which no independent and honorable nation can be guided; and to prejudge and pronounce for them the effect which the conduct of another nation ought to have on their Councils and course of proceeding, had the air at least of an assumed authority, not less irritating to the public feelings. In these lights the President makes it your duty to present to the French Government the contents of Mr. Champagny’s letter; taking care, as your discretion will doubtless suggest, that whilst you make that Government sensible of the offensive tone employed you leave the way open for friendly and respectful explanations if there be a disposition to offer them; and for a decision here on any reply which may be of a different character.
On the subject of your letter of Feby. 15th and its inclosures, the sentiments of the President prescribe that the French Government be assured of the full justice he does to the manner in which the wishes of the Emperor are disclosed for an accession of the U. States to the War against England, as an inducement to which his interposition would be employed with Spain to obtain for them the Floridas. But that the United States having chosen as the basis of their policy a fair and sincere neutrality among the contending powers, they are disposed to adhere to it as long as their essential interests will permit; and are more especially disinclined to become a party to the complicated and general warfare which agitates another quarter of the Globe for the purpose of obtaining a separate and particular object, however interesting to them. It may be intimated at the same time, that in the event of such a crisis as will demand from the United States a precautionary occupation of the Floridas against the hostile designs of Great Britain, it will be recollected with satisfaction that the measure had been contemplated with approbation by His Imperial Majesty.
An immediate seizure of the Floridas, according to your suggestion, would not have his approbation, or perhaps even acquiescence, as may be inferred from the final explanation of Mr. Champagny, namely that it was in the case of an attack on those provinces by Great Britain, and then for their defence only, that the march of American troops into them would not be disagreeable to the Emperor.
Congress closed their Session on the 25 ult. For a general view of their proceedings, I refer to the series of Newspapers heretofore and now forwarded, and to other prints which are added. Among their Acts of Chief importance is that which vests in the President an authority to suspend in whole or in part the Embargo laws.
The conditions on which the suspending authority is to be exercised will engage your particular attention. They appeal equally to the justice and the policy of the two great belligerent powers now emulating each other in violation of both. The President counts on your best endeavors to give to this appeal all the effect possible with the French Government. Mr. Pinkney will be doing the same with that of Great Britain. The relation in which a recall of its retaliating decrees by either power, will place the United States to the other is obvious; and ought to be a motive to the measure proportioned to the desire which has been manifested by each, to produce collisions between the U. States and its adversary: and which must be equally felt by each to avoid one with itself.
Should wiser Councils or increasing distresses induce Great Britain to revoke her impolite [impolitic?] orders against neutral commerce, and thereby prepare the way for a removal of the Embargo as it applies to her, France could not persist in the illegal part of her decrees, if she does not mean to force a contest with the United States. On the other hand should she set the example of revocation Great Britain would be obliged, either by following it, to restore to France the full benefit of neutral trade which she needs, or by persevering in her obnoxious orders after the pretext for them had ceased, to render collisions with the United States inevitable. In every point of view therefore, it is so clearly the sound policy of France to rescind so much at least of her decrees as trespass on neutral rights, and particularly to be the first in taking the retrograde step, that it cannot be unreasonable to expect that it will be immediately taken.
The repeal of her decrees is the more to be expected, above all if Great Britain should repeal or be likely to repeal hers, as the plan of the original decree at Berlin did not extend to a violation of the freedom of the seas, and was restricted to a municipal operation nearly an entire year, notwithstanding the illegal British orders of Jany, 1807; and as a return of France to that restricted scope of her plan, would so immaterially diminish its operation against the British commerce, that operation being so completely in the power of France on land, and so little in her power on the high seas.
But altho’ we cannot of right demand from France more than a repeal of so much of her decrees as violate the freedom of the seas, and a great point will be gained by a repeal of that part of them, yet as it may not have the effect of inducing a repeal of the whole illegal system of the British Government which may seek pretexts; or plead a necessity for counteracting the unprecedented and formidable mode of warfare practiced against her, it will be desirable that as little room as possible should be left for this remaining danger to the tranquil enjoyment of our commercial rights.
In whatever degree the French Government may be led to change its system, you will lose no time in transmitting the information to this Department and to Mr. Pinkney, and by hired conveyances, if necessary. A correspondent instruction is given to Mr. Pinkney.
It is of the greatest importance that you should receive from each other the earliest notice of any relaxations, as each Government is under a pledge to follow such an example by the other. And it is not of less importance that the President or Congress should be acquainted with the facts, that the proceedings here may be accommodated to them.
That you may know the grounds on which the British orders of Novr. have been arraigned by this Government, I inclose a copy of the answer to Mr. Erskine’s note communicating them; a copy of the note being also inclosed.
The other documents communicated will put you in full possession of the relations of the U. States with Great Britain, as resulting from the issue of our general negotiations, and from that of the Mission of Mr. Rose.
The letter from the King of Westphalia to the President having passed thro’ your hands, the answer is herewith inclosed to be forwarded by you.
I learn from the Treasury that no delay arises in settling your ordinary accounts, but from that in receiving the Bankers accounts connected with them. Mr. Gallatin tells me that the accounts under the Louisiana Convention have not yet been taken up, but will be in a few days.
This dispatch is forwarded by Mr. Baker, who takes his passage from Baltimore, in a vessel engaged as was the Osage which sailed from New York, for the special purpose of public and mercantile correspondences with Europe. She will proceed in the first instance to L’Orient where she will leave Mr. Baker, and thence proceed with dispatches for Mr. Pinkney to Falmouth, where she will remain a few days to receive communications from him. She will then return to L’Orient, in order to bring back Mr. Baker with your communications.
I have the honor to be &c.
TO WILLIAM PINKNEY.d. of s. mss. instr.
Department of State, July 18, 1808.
Your communications by Lt. Lewis were safely delivered on the evening of the 8th inst.
As it had been calculated that the interval between the return of Mr. Rose and the departure of Lt. Lewis would give sufficient time to the British Government to decide on the course required by the posture in which the affair of the Chesapeake was left, its silence to you on that subject, could not fail to excite the particular attention of the President; and the appearance is rendered the more unfavorable by the like silence, as we learn from Mr. Erskine, of the dispatches brought to him by the Packet which left England and arrived at New York at nearly the same times with the Osage. I have intimated to Mr. Erskine the impressions made by this reserve, without however, concealing our hope that the delay does not imply a final purpose of witholding reparation, and that the next communications from London will be of a different import. They must at least entertain the real views of the British Government on this interesting subject.
There was certainly no just ground for Mr. Canning to expect any particular communications from you on the arrival of the Osage; unless they should have grown out of such accounts from France as would second our demands of justice from Great Britain, particularly the revocation of her orders in Council. And in imparting to him what you did from that quarter, every proof of candor was given which the occasion admitted. If Mr. Canning was disappointed because he did not receive fresh complaints against the orders in Council, he ought to have recollected that you had sufficiently dwelt on their offensive features in the first instance; and that as he had chosen to make the formal communication of them to this Government thro’ another channel, it was thro’ that channel rather than thro’ you that answers to it would be most regularly given. But it cannot be supposed that his disappointment was in the least produced by your reserve on this topic, as indeed is clearly shown by his disinclination to listen to your suggestions with regard to it. It must have proceeded as you seem to have understood from some expectation of proposals having for their basis or their object, arrangements adverse to the enemies of G. Britain, or favorable to herself; an expectation contrary, surely, to all reason and probability under the accumulated injustice which the United States are suffering from British measures, and forming of itself, an additional insult to their just and honorable feelings. A very little reflection ought to have taught the British Cabinet, that no nation which either respects itself or consults the rule of prudence, will ever purchase redress from one of its aggressors by gratifying his animosity against another aggressor; and least of all when a suspicion is authorized that redress is insidiously withheld lest the example should be followed. The communications and instructions forwarded by Mr. Purviance who was a passenger in the St. Michael will enable you to bring the British Government to a fair issue on the subject of its orders. If it has nothing more in view than it is willing to avow, it cannot refuse to concur in an arrangement rescinding on her part the orders in Council, and on ours, the Embargo. If France should concur in a like arrangement, the state of things will be restored which is the alleged object of the orders. If France does not concur the orders will be better enforced by the continuance of the Embargo against her than they are by the British fleet and cruizers, and in the mean time all the benefits of our trade will be thrown into the lap of Great Britain. It will be difficult therefore to conceive any motive in Great Britain to reject the offer which you will have made, other than the hope of inducing on the part of France, a perseverance in her irritating policy towards the United States, and on the part of the latter, hostile resentments against it.
If the British Government should have elected the more wise and more worthy course of meeting the overture of the President in the spirit which dictated it, it is to be hoped that measures will have been taken in concert with you, and thro’ its Minister here, for hastening as much as possible the renewal of the intercourse which the orders and the Embargo have suspended; and thereby smoothing the way for other salutary adjustments.
It appears that the British Government not satisfied with the general blockade by her orders of Nov. 11th, has superadded a particular blockade, or rather a diplomatic notification of an intended one of Copenhagen and the other ports in the Island of Zealand; that is to say, a strict and legal blockade of the whole Island. The Island cannot be much less than two hundred miles in its outline, and is described as abounding in inlets. It is not probable, therefore, if it be possible, that a blockade within the true definition should be carried into effect. And as all defective blockades whether so in the disproportion of force to the object, or in the mode of notification, will authorize fair claims of indemnification, it is the more necessary that guarded answers should be given, in such cases as heretofore suggested.
Since the British order of NA evidently inviting our Citizens to violate the laws of their Country, by patronizing on the high seas their vessels destitute of Registers and other necessary papers, and therefore necessarily smugglers if not pirates, the circular letter of Mr. Huskisson has made its appearance in which the United States are named as alone within the purview of the order. A more disorganizing and dishonorable experiment is perhaps not to be found in the annals of modern transactions. It is aggravated too by every circumstance that could make it reproachful. It is levelled against a nation towards which friendship is professed, as well as against a law the justice and validity of which is not contested; and it sets the odious example, in the face of the world, directly in opposition to all the principles which the British Government has been proclaiming to it. What becomes of the charge against the United States for receiving British subjects who leave their own Country contrary to their allegiance? What would be the charge against them, if they were by proclamation to invite British subjects, those too expressly and particularly prohibited from leaving their Country, to elude the prohibition; or to tempt by interested inducements a smuggling violation or evasion of laws, on which Great Britain founds so material a part of her national policy? In the midst of so many more important topics of dissatisfaction, this may not be worth a formal representation; but it will not be amiss to let that Government understand the light in which the proceeding is regarded by this. I have already touched on it to Mr. Erskine, with an intimation that I should not omit it in my observations to you.
The French decree, said to have been issued at Bayonne has not yet reached this Country. Such a decree, at such a time, has a serious aspect on the relations of the two Countries, and will form a heavy item in our demands of redress. It is much to be regretted at the same time that any of our vessels by neglecting to return home, and conforming to the arbitrary regulations of one belligerent, should expose themselves to the arbitrary proceedings of another. So strong and general an indignation seems particularly to prevail here against the Americans in Europe who are trading under British licenses, and thereby sacrificing as far as they can the Independence of their Country, as well as frustrating the laws which were intended to guard American vessels and mariners from the dangers incident to foreign Commerce, that their continuance in that career ought to be frowned upon, and their return home promoted in every proper manner. It appears by information from our Consul at Tangier that great numbers of our vessels are engaged in a trade between Great Britain and Spanish ports under licenses from the former, and that the experiment proves as unsuccessful as it is dishonorable; the greater part of them being either arrested in port, or by French & Spanuh Crisizers.
For a view of our internal situation I refer you to the information to be collected from the Newspapers and other publications herewith forwarded. They sufficiently explain the spirit and sentiments of the nation with respect to the British and French Edicts, the Embargo, the unexpiated outrage on the Frigate Chesapeake and domestic manufactures; and are little flattering to the hopes, if such have been indulged, that the people of the United States were more ready to sacrifice the national honor and national rights than to acquiesce in a temporary abridgment of their interests or enjoyments.
As it is extremely important, and the President is particularly anxious that the Communications to Congress on the meeting which takes place the first Monday in Nov. should embrace the fullest and most authentic state of our foreign affairs, I must request your particular exertions to enable the present dispatch vessel to return in due time with all the materials you can contribute for that purpose.
The letters received from you not yet acknowledged are of Feby 22 & 23—March 15, April 24, 25 & 26 & 27th—May 3d, 9, 10 & 12th.
I have the honor to be