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It is decided, on consideration of all circumstances, that Mr. Bowdoin will repair to Paris, where he will probably remain till he receives the orders of the President, and that Mr. Erving will proceed immediately to Madrid to relieve Mr. Pinkney. Mr. Bowdoin, by being on that ground, will be more in the way of obeying such orders as he may receive than here; and both he and Mr. Erving respectively may perhaps take their ground with greater propriety in this stage, while it is known that our government has not acted, than afterwards.
I am, sir, with great respect and esteem, your very obedient servant,
London, Sept. 25, 1805.
SIR, I have already forwarded you copies of two letters to lord Mulgrave, respecting the late seizure of American vessels, and you will receive with this a copy of a third one. His lordship has endeavoured to manage this business without writing, from a desire, which has been very apparent, to get rid of it, without any compromitment. With that view he gave me, in an early interview, a report of the king's advocate-general and proctor on my first letter, which had been referred to them, which gave some explanation on the subject, which he might suppose would be satisfactory. I soon, however, assured him that it was not, and pressed an answer to my letters, which was promised, but has not yet been given. A few days before Mr. Erving left this for the continent, I requested him to ask Mr. Hammond when I should be favoured with one. I send you a note of the conversation between them. Having waited some time longer, I thought it my duty to press the point again, and in so doing to expose, as fully as I could, the fallacy and injustice of the principle, on which Great Britain asserts the right to interdict our commerce with the colonies of her enemies and elsewhere in the production of those colonies. I do not know that I shall be able to obtain an answer to this or the other letters. The presumption is against it, because she does not wish to tie up her hands from doing what her interest may
dictate, in case the new combination with Russia and Austria should be successful against France. In the mean time she seeks to tranquillize us by dismissing our vessels in every case that she possibly can. It is evident to those who attend the trials, that the tone of the judge has become more moderate; that he acquits whenever he can acquit our vessels, and, keeping within the precedent of the Essex, seizes every fact, that the papers or other evidence furnish in the cases which occur, to bring them within that limit. If any thing can be done in our affairs, it may be in a week or ten days; and if not done in that time, it most probably will not be during the present winter. I shall do every thing in my power to bring them to a satisfactory conclusion.
I am, sir, with great respect and esteem, &c.
P. S. I enclose you a copy of my letter to general Armstrong, by Mr. Erving.
[Here is inserted the remonstrance of Mr. Monroe, which we have already printed, as it accompanied a former message of the President, in vol. v. p. 297.]
London, Nov. 26, 1805.
SIR, I hasten to transmit to you a copy of a letter, which I received yesterday from lord Mulgrave, in reply to mine of August 12th, and September 23d. From the length of time which had elapsed, and other circumstances, I had almost concluded that his government had resolved not to enter on the subject, but to leave me to get its determination as I could, from the decision of the admiralty. I find, however, with much satisfaction, that it is intended to take it up, whence there is some cause to presume that the business may yet be placed on a satisfactory footing. I shall not fail to cherish a disposition to such an adjustment by all the means in my power, or to inform you, without delay, of whatever may occur in it.
I am, sir, &c.
Downing Street, Nov. 25, 1805.
SIR,-Upon a deliberate consideration of the nature and importance of the question which you have opened in the two official notes which I had the honour to receive from you, and adverting to the grounds of reasoning, upon which you have principally rested your representations, I deemed it indispensably necessary to a due discussion of the subject, that a reference should be made by me to those who are best acquainted with all the circumstances respecting the decisions which have taken place, and the rules which have been established in our courts of admiralty and appeal, as well as with the principles and practice, according to which the law is therein administered. I have not yet received any report, in consequence of the reference which I have made, but I hope at no distant period to be enabled to give a full, and I trust, conclusive answer upon this most important point. I trust that you will not consider the interval of time, which is nesessary for a due investigation of so considerable a question, as a delay either inexpedient or misplaced.
I have the honour to be, &c.
James Monroe, Esq. &c. &c. &c.
Extract of a Letter from Mr. Monroe to Mr. Madison. London, February 12, 1806.
"As soon as Mr. Fox took possession of his office, he requested an interview with the foreign ministers, which took place yesterday. We were introduced separately. Mine lasted about half an hour. As soon as the ceremony of the interview had passed, I observed, that I presumed he had been too short a term in office to have made himself acquainted with what occurred between his predecessors and myself, more especially the last one. He said, he had not had time to read the papers, though he presumed he had a general idea on some of the topicks. In respect to the immediate question of seizure, he asked me whether I had made to them, or they to me, any proposition. I gave a short sketch of the part which our respective governments had acted, since the commencement of the pre
sent war, towards each other. I told him, my government had been ready to form a commercial treaty with his, on the expiration of the late one; that it had agreed to postpone it to accommodate his, and with a desire that the arrangements which might be formed, being entered into at a time when each had sufficient leisure to attend to the object, and founded on a liberal view of their respective interests, might place their relations on such a footing as to secure their friendship from interruption, at least at an early day; that in the same spirit it had sought to put out of the way certain causes of a transient nature which might possibly create misunderstanding in the course of the war, such as the impressment of our seamen, blockades by proclamation, &c. according to a project which had been presented to lord Hawkesbury, and to both his successors; that those gentlemen never gave any definitive answer to that project, and urged, as a cause of their delay, the other and pressing engagements of their government, with which I was well acquainted; as also, that its conduct towards the United States, in the course of the present war, was as consonant to their principles and wishes in the most important points, as they could desire it to be that I left the business on that ground, when I went to Spain, in the expectation that no change in the existing relations between the two countries would be made in my absence.
I assured him, that I was astonished to find, on my return, that on the contrary those relations had experienced the most essential change; that an attack has been made on our commerce, on a principle which had heretofore, been so completely settled between our governments, and abandoned by his, as to have been a case for which no provision was even proposed in the project referred to. I explained to him the ground of this remark, and informed him that I had written several notes to lord Mulgrave on the subject, to which I had not been able to obtain an answer on the main question, though he seemed desirous, by keeping it open, in his short replies, that I should not consider it as decided against the United States. I could not avoid intimating to him, that the friendly disposition which our government had shown, had been most ungenerously requited by his that it seemed as if it had pursued a just and friendly conduct towards the United States, till the moment that the new coalition was formed, and gave the
present blow, when the prospect was favourable to success, and kept the business in suspense to see the result of affairs on the continent and in the United States. He heard me with much attention and apparent interest, intimated that he had been accused of being too friendly to America, and when I spoke of the treaty with Russia, he observed, that he had thought that the arrangement made by it was a good one, though I did not understand him as pledging himself by the remark to its conditions. I requested that he would make himself master, as soon as in his power, of the correspondence between lord Mulgrave and myself, and give me an interview, which he promised. I am happy to add, on a view of all circumstances, that I think the prospect of arranging our affairs with this government, especially that one which respects the trade with the colonies of its enemies, on satisfactory terms, a very favourable one. It is certain that nothing more favourable to such a result was, or could reasonably have been expected from the first interview with the present minister."
I am, sir, with great respect, &c.
London, February 28, 1806.
SIR,-Presuming that it may be satisfactory to the President, and useful, to be made acquainted, without delay, with every incident that occurs, I have the pleasure to send you a copy of a late note to Mr. Fox, on our concerns in his hands. In our first interview he promised to examine the papers, and give me another at an early day; but as I did not hear from him within the time I had expected, I called again, when he informed me that he had not yet been able to take up the American papers, but should soon do it. He asked, in what shape the most interesting topick presented itself, alluding, as I understood, to the late seizures. I replied, by a complaint on the part of the United States, of a violation by Great Britain of the relations subsisting between the countries; and I illustrated the remark by a sketch of the conduct of his government in the most material circumstances. To the merits of the case he said but little. What he did say, however, was