John] 1793-1863 [Russell.

The history of the war, betwee the United States and Great-Britain, which commenced in June, 1812, and closed in Feb. 1815 .. online

. (page 9 of 38)
Online LibraryJohn] 1793-1863 [RussellThe history of the war, betwee the United States and Great-Britain, which commenced in June, 1812, and closed in Feb. 1815 .. → online text (page 9 of 38)
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not obtained, to resent them. The time has now ar-
rived when this system of reasoning must cease. It
would be insulting to repeat it. It would be degrad-
ing to hear it. The United States must act as an in-



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their oppressors to deliver them up, are encroach-
uients of that high and dangerous tendency which
could not fail to produce that pernicious etlect, nor
would those be the only consequences that would re-
sult from it. The British government might for a
while, be satisfied with the ascendency thus gained
over us, but its pretensions would soon increase.
The proof which so complete and disgraceful a sub-
mission to its authority, would afford of our degene-
racy, could not fail to inspire contidence that there
was no limit to which its usurpations, and our degra-
dation might not be carried.

Your committee, believing that the freeborn sons
of America are worthy to enjoy the liberty which
their fathers purchased at the price of so much blood
and treasure, and seeing, in the measures adopted by
Great-Britain, a course commenced and persisted in,
which might lead to a loss of national character and
independence, feel no hesitation in advising resistance
by force, in which the Americans of the present
day will prove to the enemy and the world, that we
have not only inherited that liberty which our fathers
gave us, but also the will and power to maintani it.
Helying on the patriotism of the nation, and confi-
dently trusting that the Lord of Hosts will go with
us to battle in a righteous cause, and crown our ef-
forts with success — your committee recommend an
appeal to arms.

Soon after the above Report was read, Mr. Cal-
houn, from the committee of foreign relations, on
leave being given, presented a bill, declaring war be-
tween Gi"€at- Britain, and her dependencies, and the
United States, and their territories; which, after seve-
ral day's debate, passed the House of Representatives
in the following manner ; and was approved by the
President, on the 18th day of June.


Declaring War hetrveen the United Kingdoms of Great-
Britain and Irelandy and the dependencies thereof
and the United States of America , and their Terri-

BE it enacted by the Senate and House of Repre-
sentatives of the United States ot" America in Con"
g-ress assembled, That WAR be and the same is
hereby declarad to exist between the United King-
doms of Great-Britain and Ireland and the dependen-
cies thereof, and the United States of America and
their territories : and that the President of the United
States be and he is hereby authorised to use the w hole
land and naval force of the United States to carry
the same into effect and to issue to private armed
vessels of the United States commissions, or letters of
marque and general reprisal, in such form as he shall
fliink proper, and under the seal of the United States,
against the vessels, goods and effects of the govern-
ment of the same United Kingdoms of Great-Britain
and Ireland, and of the subjects thereof.
June 16, 1812.


Nerv- Hampshire. Dinsmoor, Hall, and Harper — 3.

Massachusetts. Seaver, Carr, Green, Richardson,
Turner, and Widgery — t).

Hhode-hland. ^in\e.

Vermont. Fisk, Shaw, and Strong — 3.

Connecticut. None.

NeW'York. Pond, Avery, and Sage — 3.

Nerv-Jersey. Condit, and Morgan — 2.

Pennsylvania. Seybert, Anderson, Brown, Ro-
berts, Findley, Smilie, Lyle, Whitehill, Bard, Da-i*
vis, Lefevre, Hyneman, Piper, Lacock, Crawford,
and Smith — 16.

Delarvare. None.

Maryland. Kent, Little, M'Kim, Ringgold,
Brown, and Archer — 6;


Virginia. Nelson, Gholson, Goodwyn, Newton,
Taliaferro, Dawson, Bassett, Smith, Hawes, Roane,
M'Kov, Pleasants, Clopton, and Burwell — 14.

iSorth-Carolina. Alston, BlackleJ^e, Macon,
King, Cochran, and Pickens — 6.

South-Carolina. Williams, Cheves, Lowndes,
Butler, Calhoun, Earle, Winn, and Moore — 8.

Georgia. Troup, Bibb, and Hall — 3.

Kentucky. Johnson, Desha, New, M'Kee, and
Ormsby — 5.

Tennessee. Rhea, Grundy, and Sevier — 3.

Ohio. Morrow — 1.


New- Hampshire. Bartlett, and Sullivan — 2.

Massachusetts. Q,uincy, Reed, Taggart, Ely,
Brigham, White, Tallman, andWheaton — 8.

llhode- Island. Potter, and Jackson — 2.

Vermont. Chittenden — 1.

Connecticut. Sturges, Davenport, Mosely, Cham-
pion, Tallmadge, Pitkin, and Law — 7.

ISeK- York, Bleecker, Eraott, Cooke, Fitch, Gold,
Saramoiis, Stow, Tracy, Van Cortlandt, Mitchill,
and Metcalf— 11.

JSew-Jcrsey. Boyd, Hufty, Maxwell, and NeW-
bold— 4.

Pennsylvania. Milnor, and Rodman — 2.

Delaware. Ridgely — 1.

Maryland. Key, Goldsborough, and Stuart — 3.

Virginia. Randolph, Lewis, Baker, Brecken-
ridge, and Wilson — 5.

JSorth-taroliua. Pearson, M'Bryde, and Stan-
ford — 3.

S(mth- Carolina. None.

Georgia. None.

Kentucky. None.

Tennessee. None.

Ohio. None.





Majority for War, 30

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er notes M'ere slill unanswered, the one written three
•months ago, containing among' other important top-
icks a particular question which I was expressly in-
structed to put to you, as to whether you could point
to an} public act, on the part of the French govern-
ment, by which they had really revoked their Decrees,
and the other furnishing strong evidence of the con-
tinued existence of those very Decrees ; also, when
I perceived that my note, communicating the duke of
Bassano's report, which you knew was to be sent to
you on the 1st inst. was not waited for, but that a mes-
sage was transmitted by the Executive to Congress,
which it seems contained a reference to an insulated
passage in the despatch on which my note was found-
ed, that if taken unconnected with what preceeded or
followed, it might be liable to misconstruction, I could
not avoid apprehending that no means of further ex-
planation might be left open to me.

I beg you to be assured sir, that if I was embarras-
sed by your demands of an explanation as to what
appeared to you to be a difference between lord Cas-
tlereagh's despatch, communicated to you, and my
note, it arose from the novelty of the demand, that
seemed to involve an informality of proceeding, in
which I could not feel myselfjustitied in acquiescing.
Had you, in making a reply to my communication,
asked me how far a repeal of the French Decrees
was demanded by my government and as to whether
a special repeal, as far as respected America, would
be sufficient I should have had no hesitation in giv-
ing you every satisfaction.

Your note of the 6th instant has, by shewing that
the door was not absolutely shut to a coiUinuance of
our discussion, relieved me from further difficulty on
this point.

I have no hesitation, sir, in saying that Great-Bri-
tain, as the case has hitherto stood, never did^ nor
never could engage, without the grossest injustice to
herself and her allies, as well as to other neutral na-
tioub, to repeal her orders as affecting America alone,


leaving' them in force ao^ainst oilier stales, npon con-
dition that France would except, singly and special-
ly, America from the operation of her Decrees. You
will recollect, sir, that the Orders in Council are meas-
ures of defence, directed against the system contained
in those Decrees ; that it is a war of trade which is car-
ried on by France ; that what you call the municipal
reg-ulations of France, have never been called munici-.
pal by France herself, but aie her main engines in that
novel and monstrous system. It cannot, then, be
expected that Great-Britani should renounce h<T ef-
forts to throw back upon France the evils vvith which,
she menaces Great-Britain, merely because France
mig'ht seek to alleviate her own situation by waving
the exercise of that part of her system which she
cannot enforce.

But, sir, to what purpose argue upon a supposed
case ; upon a state of thing's not likely to occur, since
the late report and senatus consultum which have
been published to the world, as it were, insultingly in
the face of those who would contend that any repeal
whatever had taken place, of the Decrees in question.

You draw a comparison between the mode m which
this instrument has appeared, and that which you call
the high evidence of the repeal as stated in Mr. Cham-
pagny's note : and it would almost seem as if you
considered the latter as the most authentic of the two ;
but, sir, you cannot seriously contend that the duke
of Bassano'g report, with the senatus consultum ac-
companying it, published in the official pa])er at Pa-
ris, is not a very different instrument from the above
letter, oti'ering a mere provisional repeal of the De-
crees, upon conditions utterly inadmissible : condi-
tions too, which really formed of themselves a ques-
tion of paramount importance.

The condition then demanded, and which was
brought forward so unexpectedly, was a repeal of the
blockade of May, 1806, which Mr. Pinkney, in the
letter you have referred me to, declared to have been
irequired by America as indispensaiile in the view of


her acts of intercourse and non-intercourse, as well
as a rental of other blockades of a similar character,
which were maintained by Great-Britain, to be found-
ed on strict maritime rights.

The conditions now annexed to the French de-
mand ai»e much more extensive, and as I have shewn,
includes a surrender of many other of the most estab-
lished principles of the public law of nations.

I cannot, I confess, see upon what ground yon con-
tend that the report ot the duke of Bassano, affords no
proof against any partail repeal of the French De-
crees. The principles advanced in that report are
general ; there is no exception made m favor of
America, and in the correspondence of Mr. Barlow,
as officially published, he seems to allow that he had
no explanation respecting it. How can it, therefore,
be considered in any other light than as a repubiica-
tion of the Decrees themselves ? which, as it were to
take away all ground for any doubt, expressly ad-
vances a doctrine that can only be put in practice on
the high seas, namely, * that free ships shall make
free goods,' since the application of such a principle
to vessels in port is absolutely rejected under his con-
tinental system.

It is, indeed, impossible to see how, under such
circumstances, America can call upon Great-Britain
to revoke her Orders in Council. It is impossible
that she can revoke them at this moment, in common
justice to herself and to her allies; but, sir, while un-
der the necessity of continuing them, she will be
ready to manage their exercise, so as to alleviate as
much as possible, the pressure upon America ; and
it would give me great pleasure to confer with yon,
at any time, upon the most advisable manner of pro
ducing that effect. I have the honor, &c.

To ihehon. James Monroet 5cc,


Mr. Monroe to Mr. Foster.
Department of State, June 13, 1812.

1 am not aware that any letter of yours, on any
subject, on which the final decision of tins govern-
ment ha<l not been communicated to you, has bcu
suffered to remaui without a prompt and written an-
swer ; and even in the cases thus supposed to have
been setllcd, which you ihouoht proper to ixivive, al-
tlioug^h no favorable cha'^ge had taken place in the
policy or measures of your government, I have never
failed to explain to you informally, in early inter-
views, the !-easons which made it imperiously the du-
ty of the United States to continue to afford, to their
rijrhts and interests, all the protection in their power.
The acknowledgment of this on >our part, was due
to the frankness of the communications which have
passed between us on the highly important subjects
on which we have treated, and I am happy to find
by your letter of the 10th inst. that in relying on it, I
have not been disuppomted.

The impropriety of the demand made by your gov-
ernment of a copy of the instrument of instructions
given by the French government to its cruizers, after
the repeal ofthe Berlin and IMdan Decrees, was
sufficiently shown in Mr. Pinkney's letter to the IMar-
quis of VVellesley of the 10th of December, 1810,
and in my letters to you of the 23d July, 181 1, and
14th January last. It was for this reason that I thought
it more suitable to refer you to those letters, for the
answer to thatdemiuid, than to repeat it in a formal

It excites, however, no small surprise, that you
should continue to demand a copy of that instrument,
oi any new proof of the repeal of the French De-
crees, at the very lime that you declare that the proof
which you demand, in the extent to which we have a
right to claim the repeal, would not, if afl'orded, ob-
tain a corresponding repeal of the Orders in Council.
Thi"* demand is the more extraordm.^.ryi when it i«



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ampled assumption of authonl^ by France, in coun-
tries not under French juri^tliction, and expressly in-
vaded for the purpose, of preveniing- their trade with
England, on principles directly applicable to, if they
could be enforced as^ainst America.

I beg you to recollect, sir, that if no revocation had
been made of the Orders in Council, upon any repeal
of the French Decrees, as hitherto shown by America
to have taken place, it has not been the fault of his
Majesty's e^overnment. It was France, and after-
wards America, that connected the question relative
to the right of blockadevvith that arising out of the
Orders in Council. You well know that if these two
questions had not been united together, the Orders in
Council would have been, in 1810, revoked. How
could it be expected that Great-Britain, in common
justice to other- neutral nations, to her allies, and to her-
self, should not contend for a full and absolute repeal
of the French Decrees, or should engage to make
any particular concession in favor of America, when
she saw that America would not renounce her d e-
.mandfor a surrender with the Orders in Council of
some of our most important maritime rights.

Even to this day, sir, you have not explicitly stated
in any of the letters to which you refer me, that the
American government would expressly renounce
asking for arevocationof the blockade of May 1806,
and the other blockade alluded to in Mr. Pinkney's
letter ; much less have I been able to obtain from you
any disclaimer of the rights asserted by France to
impose upon the world the new maritime code pro-
mulgated by France in the late republication of her
Decrees, although I liave, by order of my govern-
ment, expressly stated their expectation of such dis-
claimer, and repeatedly called for an explanation on
this point.

I will now say that I feel entirely authorised to
assure you that if you can, at any time, produce a full
and unconditional repeal of the French Decrees, as
you have a right to demand it in your character of a


neutral nation, and that it be disengaged from any
connection with the question concerning our maritime
rights, we shall be ready to meet you with a revoca-
tion of the Orders in Council. Previous to your pro-
ducing such an instrument, which I am sorry to see
you regard as unnecessary, you cannot expect of \Ui to
give up our Orders in Council.

In reference to the concluding paragraph of youv
letter in answer to that in mine of the 10th insl. I will
only say, that I am extremely sorry to find you think
it imposible to devise or conceive any arrangement
consistent with the honor, rights, and interests, ofth6
United States, whi(h might tend to alleviate the pres-
sure of the Orders in Council on the commerce of
America. It would have given me great satisfaction
if we could have fallen upon some agreement that
might have had such effect. My goverimient, while
under the imperious necessity of resisting France with
her own weapons, most earnestly desires that the in-
terest of America may suffer as little as possible from
the incidental effect of the conflict. They are aware
that their retaliatory measures have forced the ruler of
France to yield in some degree from his hostile De-
crees, and whether it were more advisable to push
those measures rigorously on until they complete the
breaking of it up altogether (the main object of our
jetaliatory system) or to take advantage of the par-
tial and progressive retractions of it, produced by the
necessities of the enemy, hr^ been a question with
his Majesty's government. It is one on which they
would have been most desirous to consult the interest
of America. Under existing circumstances, how-
ever, and from our late communications, I have not
felt encouraged to make you any written proposal
arising out of this state of things; I shall, therefore,
merely again express to you, that as the object of
Great-Britain has been throughout to endeavor, while
forced, in behalf of her most important rights and in-
terest to retaliate upon the French Decrees, to com-
bine that retaliation with the sreatesi possible degree


of attention to the interest of America, it would give
his Majesty's governmeut the most sincere satisfaction
if some arrangement could be found which would have
so desirable an etlbct. I have, &c.


7'o the hon, James Monroe, Sec.


To the Senate and House of lieprenentatives of the

United iStates.
1 communicate to Congress copies of a letter to the
Secretary of state, from the charge d'affairs of the
United States at London, and of a note to him from
tjie British Secretary for foreign affairs.

June 22, 1812.

Mr. Russell to the Secretary/ of State.

London, May 2, 1812.

SIR — After closing the duplicate of my letter to
you of the 26th ult. 1 discovered the copy of the note
of lordCastlereaghto meofthe 21st ult. had been left
out by mistake. I take the liberty of now handing
it to you. 1 am, &c.


To the hon. James Monroe, 6s"c.

[Enclosed in the above.]

The undersigned, his Majesty's principal Secretary
of state for foreign affaii:^, is commanded by liis Rov-
al Highness, the Prince Regent, to transmit to ;\jr.
Russell, charge d'affairs of the government of the
United States of America, the enclosed copy of a
declaration accompanying an Order in Council which
has been this day passed by his Royal Highness, the
Prince Regent in Council.

The undersigned is commanded by the Prince Re-
gent to request that ]\Ir. Russell, in making this
communication to his government, will represent this
measure as conceived in the true spirit of conciliation,
and with a due regard, on the part of his RoyaJ


Highness, to the honor and interest of the Uiutecl
States; and the undersiotied ventures to express his
conddent hope, that this decisive proof of the arnica-
We sentiments which animate the councils of his
Royal Hig'hness towards America, may accelerate
the return of amitv and mutual confidence between
Great-Britain and the Cnited States,

The undersigned avails himself of this opportunity
to repeat to Mr. Russell the assurances of his high


Foreign Office, April 2 J, 1812.
3Ir. Russell to lord Castlereayh.

My Lord — I have the honor to acknowledge the
receipt of the note which your lordship addressed to
me on the 21st of this month, enclosinjv, by command
of his Royal Hig'hness, the Prince Regent, a copy
of a declaration accompanying an Order in Council
which had this day been passed.

It would afford me the highest satisfaction, in com-
municating that declaration and order to my govern-
ment, to have represented them, as conceived in the
true spirit of conciliation and with a due regard to
the honor and interests of the United States. I re-
gret, however, that so far from perceiving- in them
any evidence of the amicable sentiments which are
professed to animate the councils of his Royal High-
ness, I am compelled to consider them as an unequiv-
ocal proof of the determination of his Britannic Ma-
jesty's government to adhere to a system, which, botli
as to principle and fact, originated, and has been con-
tinued in error ; and against which, the government
of the United States, so long as it respects itself and
the essential rights of the nation over which it is placed,
cannot cease to contend.

The United Stales have never considered it their
duty to enquire, nor do they pretend to decide, wheth-
er England or France was guilty, in relation to the
other, of the first violation of the public law of nations j


bnt fbe^ do consider it their mod imperious doty t«
protect KhevaseUea from the onjast operation of iHie
wifneedeoied measoie of retahatkm professed hj
httik ^amen, to be foooded on 99th ▼k>latioo. Iq
Ah operatiOfi, bj whithewer partv directed, the Cnit-
ed States have neirer fora moment acquiesced,
the sligfateiit indication of sach acquiescence,
ed a pretext, for extend'mg to them the erils, by w bich
England and France a£^&ct to retaliate on each other.
Ther have in no indance departed from the ob<^nr>
ance of that strict impartialitj vbtch thteir pe^cefal
position required, and irbich oagfat to bare seen red
to them the onm<dested enjoyment of their neotratity.
To their astMHsfamcnt, however, thej perceived that
both these belligerent powers, ander the pretence of
annof ing each other, adopted and pat in practice new
principJei of retaliation, iarolring- the de^tmction of
those commercial and maritime rights which tlie V n it-
cd l^tates re^^d as esssoAial and inseparabie atlri«

Online LibraryJohn] 1793-1863 [RussellThe history of the war, betwee the United States and Great-Britain, which commenced in June, 1812, and closed in Feb. 1815 .. → online text (page 9 of 38)