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under them even much hesitation in pronouncing; you know that as late as the 9th of August, I sought an explanation of the decree in question, and that even then your excellency (who was surely a competent and legitimate organ of his majesty) did not think yourself prepared to give it. The conclusion is inevitable; his majesty's answer transmitted to the court of Paris, on the 18th of September following, through the medium of the grand judge, was in the nature of an interpretation, and being so, could not without possessing a retroactive quality, apply to events many months anteriour in date to itself.

The 4th reason of the council, and the last which enters into my present view of the subject, is," That though one of the principal agents of his majesty had given a contrary opinion, of which the council had at no period partaken, this opinion being that of an individual, could not (whatever consideration its author may merit,) balance the formal declaration given in the name of his majesty himself, and that if the communication of this opinion had, as is alleged, given room to and served as a basis for many American shipments, and particularly of the one in question, this circumstance, which may call for the indulgence of his majesty, in a case in which the confiscation is entirely to the advantage of the state, does not prevent a council, rigid in its duty, to pronounce in conformity to the decree of the 21st of November, and of the declaration which followed it."

It would appear from this paragraph, that, not finding it easy to untie the knot, the council had determined to cut it. Pressed by the fact, that an interpretation of the decree had been given by a minister of his majesty, specially charged with its execution, they would now escape from this fact, and from the conclusions to which it evidently leads, by alleging,

1st. That at no time had the council partaken of the opinion given by the minister; and

2d. That this opinion, being that of an individual, could not possess either the force or the authority of one truly ministerial.

It appears to me, as I think it will to your excellency, that the council have, in these statements, been less correct than is usual to them on similar occasions, if, as they now assert, they have never partaken of the minister's opi

nion. If they have never even hesitated on the question, whether the decree of November did, or did not derogate from the treaty of 1800. Why, I ask, suspend the American cases generally? Or why decide as they did in the case of the Hibernia? If I mistake not we find in this case the recognition of the very principle laid down by the minister of marine; that officer says, "In my opinion the November decree does not work any change in the rules at present observed with respect to neutral commerce, and consequently none in the convention of the 8th Vindemiaire, year 9." And what says the council?" Admitting that this part of the cargo (the rum and ginger) was of British origin, the dispositions of the November decree, which contain nothing with regard to their own influence over the convention of the 8th Vindemiaire, year 9, evidently cannot be applied to a ship leaving America on the 6th of the same month of November, and of course cannot have authorized her capture in the moment she was entering the neutral port of her destination." We have here three distinct grounds of exemption from the effects of the November decree.

1st. The entire silence of that decree with regard to its own influence over the convention of 1800.

2d. The early period at which the ship left the United States, and

3d. The neutral character of the port to which she was destined. If such, sir, were the principles admitted by the eouncil of the 25th March last, with what correctness can it be now said that at no period have they partaken of the opinion of the minister?"

The second fact asserted by the council is, that the interpretation of the decree in question, given on the 24th of December, 1806, was private, not publick, or in other words, that it was the interpretation of the man, not that of the minister, and as such cannot outweigh the more recent declaration coming directly from his majesty himself. On the comparative weight of these declarations I shall say nothing, nor shall I do more to repel the first part of the insinuation (that the minister's declaration was that only of the individual) than to submit to your excellency my letter of the 20th of December, 1806, claiming from that minister an official interpretation of the decree in ques

tion, and his answer of the 24th of the same month, giving to me the interpretation demanded.

To your excellency, who, as late as the 21st of August last, considered the minister of marine as the natural organ of his majesty's will, in whatever regarded the decree aforesaid, and who actually applied to him for information relating to it, this allegation of the council of prizes, and the reasoning founded upon it, cannot but appear very extraordinary, and will justify me in requesting that his majesty may be moved to set aside the decision in question.

I beg, &c. &c.
His Excellency the Minister of Foreign Relations.

Letter from the Minister of Foreign Relations of the 21st of August, 1807, referred to in the preceding letter.

MONSIEUR, J'ai reçu la lettre que vous m'avez fait l'honneur de m'adresser le 9 de ce mois relativement à des bâtimens Americains conduits dans les ports d'Espagne par suite des dispositions que cette puissance a prises contre le commerce Anglais, à l'exemple de la France. તે

Comme l'execution des mesures maritimes indiquées par le décrêt impérial du 21 Novembre, 1806, appartient naturellement à son excellence le ministre de la marine et que d'ailleurs il a déjà en l'honneur des vous adresser de prémieres observations sur l'application de ce décrêt, je me, suis empressé de lui transmettre votre lettre, et de lui demander les nouvelles explications que vous pouvez desirer. Des qu'elles m'auront été adressées, j'aurai l'honneur de vous en donner connaissance.

Agréez, M. l'assurance de ma haute consideration.

Son Ex. le Gen. Armstrong.

SIR, I have received the letter which you did me the honour of addressing me on the 9th of this month, relative to American vessels carried into ports of Spain, in consequence of the measures taken by that power against the English commerce in imitation of France.

As the execution of the maritime measures indicated by the imperial decree of the 21st of November, 1806, rests naturally with his excellency the minister of marine, and that moreover, he has already had the honour of addressing you some first observations on the application of that decree, I transmitted, without delay, your letter, and asked from him the new explanations which you might desire. When they shall have been forwarded me, I will have the honour of informing you of them.

Accept the assurance of my high consideration, CHAMPAGNY.

His Excellency Gen. Armstrong.



At our Royal Palace, at Milan, Dec. 17, 1807. NAPOLEON, emperor of the French, king of Italy, and protector of the Rhenish confederacy.

Observing the measures adopted by the British government, on the 11th of November last, by which vessels belonging to neutral, friendly, or even powers the allies of England, are made liable, not only to be searched by English cruisers, but to be compulsorily detained in England, and to have a tax laid on them of so much per cent. on the cargo, to be regulated by the British legislature.

Observing that by these acts the British government denationalizes ships of every nation in Europe, that it is not competent for any government to detract from its own independence and rights, all the sovereigns of Europe having in trust the sovereignties and independence of the flag; that if by an unpardonable weakness, and which, in the eyes of posterity, would be an indelible stain, such a tyranny was allowed to be established into principles and consecrated by usage, the English would avail themselves of the tolerance of governments to establish the infamous principles, that the flag of a nation does not cover goods, and to give to their right of blockade an arbitrary extension, and which infringes on the sovereignty of every state; we have decreed, and do decree as follows:

ARTICLE 1. Every ship, to whatever nation it may belong, that shall have submitted to be searched by an English ship, or to a voyage to England, or that shall have paid any tax whatsoever to the English government, is thereby, and for that alone, declared to be denationalized, to have forfeited the protection of its king, and to have become English property.

ARTICLE II. Whether the ships thus denationalized by the arbitrary measures of the English government, enter into our ports or those of our allies, or whether they fall into the hands of our ships of war, or of our privateers, they are declared to be good and lawful prizes.

ARTICLE III. The British islands are declared to be in a state of blockade, both by sea and land. Every ship, of whatever nation, or whatsoever the nature of its cargo may be, that sails from the ports of England, or those of the English colonies, and of the countries occupied by English troops, and proceeding to England, or to English colonies, or to countries occupied by English troops, is good and lawful prize, as contrary to the present decree; and may be captured by our ships of war or our privateers, and adjudged to the captor.

ARTICLE IV. These measures, which are resorted to only in just retaliation of the barbarous system adopted by England, which assimilates its legislation to that of Algiers, shall cease to have any effect with respect to all nations who shall have the firmness to compel the English government to respect their flag. They shall continue to be rigorously in force as long as that government does not return to the principle of the law of nations, which regulates the relations of civilized states in a state of war. The provisions of the present decree shall be abrogated and null, in fact, as soon as the English abide again by the principles of the law of nations, which are also the principles of justice and of honour.

All our ministers are charged with the execution of the present decree, which shall be inserted in the bulletin of the laws.

By order of the Emperor.

The Secretary of State.



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