Gambar halaman

on which some of them have been condemned, are denied by our government, and, as it is contended, on the soundest principles of the law of nations. I wish to possess, and to give correct information on the whole subject, and shall be happy that your lordship will enable me to do it. It would have been agreeable to me to have postponed this inquiry until I should be honoured with the interview, which I requested of your lordship on the 31st ult. and which you have been so good as to promise me next week; but the importance of the subject, the impression which the measure has made on the parties interested, and doubtless will make in the United States, together with the propriety of giving my government such information as is official and authentick only, will, I flatter myself, satisfy your lordship, that I could not justify a longer delay.

I have the honour to be, &c.


No. 4.

From Lord Mulgrave. Downing Street, Aug. 9, 1805.

SIR, I have just received the honour of your letter, of yesterday's date, stating the existence of some measures relative to the vessels of the United States, of which you have cause to complain. As you have not mentioned either the nature or the period of the transaction to which you allude, I am not enabled to give you a satisfactory answer; and I am not aware of any recent occurrence of so pressing a nature, as to require an explanation previous to the day on which I shall have the honour of seeing you in the course of the next week. If you will inform me more particularly of the ground of complaint, I shall, without delay, give the subject every attention in my power. I have the honour to be, &c.


No. 5.

To Lord Mulgrave. Dover Street, Aug. 12, 1805. MY LORD, I have been honoured with your lordship's letter of the 9th instant, and shall willingly comply with your request in stating more fully the nature of the complaint, to which I alluded in mine of the 8th, and the period within which it has occurred. By a report of the consul of the United States for this port and district, of which I have the honour to enclose you a copy, it appears that in the course of a few weeks past about twenty American vessels have been seized in the channel and North sea by his majesty's ships of war and privateers, and brought into his ports for trial: the officers who seized them stated (according to the report of some of the masters) that they acted by order, as is to be presumed, of the government. As this proceeding was sudden, without notice, and without example in the conduct of the present war, as it has embraced a considerable number of vessels, and may be extended to many others, it was impossible for me to reconcile it with the friendly relations subsisting between the two powers. It is therefore my duty to request of your lordship such information respecting it, as I may transmit without delay to my government. Of a measure so highly important to the rights and interests of the United States no erroneous opinion should be formed, no incorrect idea entertained. It is proper here to observe, that the decisions of the courts, to which I alluded in mine of the 8th, the principles of which are considered by my government as subversive of the established law of nations, were given in the case of the "Essex," a few weeks since, and in those of the "Enoch" and "Mars," on the 23d and 24th ultimo. These decisions impose restraints on the commerce of neutral nations with the enemies of Great Britain, which, it is contended, derive no sanction from that authority. The principle, on which they are founded, asserts a right in Great Britain to restrain neutral nations from any commerce with the colonies of an enemy, in time of war, which they do not enjoy in time of peace; or, in other words denies, in respect to neutrals, the sovereignty of an enemy in time of war, over its own colonies, which remain in other respects subject to its autho

rity and governed by its laws. It cannot well be conceived how there should be a difference on principle, in the rights of neutral powers, to a commerce between any two ports of an enemy not regularly blockaded, and any other two of its ports; how it should be lawful to carry on such commerce from one port to another of the parent country, and not from its colonies to the parent country. As the board of commissioners under the seventh article of the treaty of 1794, in revising the decisions of the British courts, founded on the instructions of November 6, 1793, condemned this doctrine, there was just cause to expect that it would never have been revived. It is understood that no other power admits it, and that it is also repugnant to the practice of Great Britain herself, with respect to her own colonies in time of war. It is easy to show that the doctrine is of modern date, even in England; that the decisions of her courts have not been uniform, and that those in the cases referred to have carried the pretension to an extent, which, by assuming cognizance, if not jurisdiction, in the interior concerns of the United States, is utterly incompatible with the rights of sovereignty, and the self respect which, as an independent nation, they can never lose sight of. I forbear, however, to enter further into this subject at present, in the expectation that I shall be honoured with such information from your lordship of the views of his majesty's government, as will be satisfactory to that which I have the honour to represent.

I have the honour to be, my lord,


No. 6.

From Lord Mulgrave. Downing Street, August 12, 1805.

LORD MULGRAVE presents his compliments to Mr. Monroe, and will be very happy to see him at his office on Thursday next, at two o'clock.

No. 7.

To Lord Mulgrave. MR. MONROE presents his compliments to lord Mulgrave, and will do himself the honour to wait on him at his office on Thursday next, at two o'clock. He has the pleasure to send his lordship a reply to his letter of the

Dover Street, Aug. 12, 1805.

9th instant.

No. 8.

To Lord Mulgrave. Dover Street, Aug. 16, 1805. MR. MONROE presents his compliments to lord Mulgrave, and has the honour to return his lordship the papers which he was so good as to deliver him yesterday. Mr. Monroe is sorry to find that these documents furnish no satisfactory explanation on the real ground of complaint, on the part of the United States, as stated in his letter of the 12th: he will therefore be happy to see lord Mulgrave again on the subject, as soon as it may be convenient for his lordship to receive him.

London, Aug. 20, 1805.

SIR,-I had an interview with lord Mulgrave yesterday, on the late seizure of our vessels, which I am sorry to observe presented the prospect of a less favourable result than I had anticipated from the preceding one. He asserted the principle in the fullest extent, that a neutral power had no right to a commerce with the colonies of an enemy in time of war, which it had not in time of peace; and that every extension of it in the former state, beyond the limit of the latter, was due to the concession of Great Britain, not to the right of the neutral power. I denied the principle in equal extent, and insisted that Great Britain had no more right in war to interfere with or control the commerce of a neutral power with the colonies of an enemy, than she had in peace. As we could not agree on the principle, I asked on what footing his government was willing to place the trade? His reply showed, that it was

not disposed to relax in the slightest degree from the doctrine of the late decrees of the courts of admiralty and appeals; which go to cut up completely by the roots the whole commerce of the United States in the produce of the colonies of its enemies, other than for the home consumption of their citizens. I urged in as strong terms as I could the objections which occurred to me to this pretension, but he showed no disposition to accommodate, so that we parted as remote from an accord as possibly could be. I asked lord Mulgrave whether I should consider the sentiments which he expressed as those of his govern ment? He said he had in the commencement expressed a desire that our conversations should be considered rather as informal, than official, as entered into more in the hope of producing an accord, than in the expectation that we should ultimately disagree; that however he should report the result to the cabinet, and give me such an answer to my letters, for my government, of the views of his own, as it might wish to be taken of its conduct and policy in this business. I do not state the arguments that were used in the conference on each side, because those of lord Mulgrave will probably be furnished by himself, and you will readily conceive those to which I resorted. What the ultimate decision of his government may be, I cannot pretend to say. It is possible that he held the tone mentioned above, in the late conference, to see whether I could be prevailed on to accommodate with his views. It is difficult to believe that it will yield no accommodation on its part to our just claims in the present state of pub lick affairs.

In my former interview with lord Mulgrave, he informed me, that I should find by the reports which he gave me, that most of the vessels had been dismissed; and it appeared by the reports, that some of them had been, one or two on the opinion of doctor Lawrence, counsel for the captured, which had been taken in the absence of the king's proctor. I returned to him the reports to obtain copies for you. General Lyman has informed me, that others have been since dismissed, and, as he thought, some that had been seized on the new doctrine of continuity of voyage, though nothing to countenance such an expectation escaped from lord Mulgrave in the last conference.

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »