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Relations with Great Britain.
and postponed at the instance of Lord Harrowby denied by our Government, and, as it is contended, until his return. These subjects will be found in upon the soundest principles of the law of nations. a communication to Lord Harrowby of the 5th I wish to possess, and to give correct information
September last, which contains a project of a on the whole subject, and shall be happy that convention to define certain neutral rights, to dis- your Lordship will enable me to do it. criminate between American and British seamen, It would have been agreeable to me to have and protect the former from impressment; and postponed this inquiry until I should be honored also to establish, by a modification of the conven- with the interview which I requested of your tion entered into by Lord Hawkesbury and Mr. Lordship on the 31st ultimo, and which you have King, on the 12th of May, 1803, in the inanner been so good as to promise me next week; but proposed, and for the reasons staied in that com the importance of the subject, the impression that munication, the boundary between the territories the measure has made on the parties interested, of His Majesty and those of the United States on and doubtless will make in the United States, totheir porthwestern frontier. The two first men- gether with the propriety of giving to my Govtioned of these topics have been the cause of ernment such information as is official and aumuch irritation and complaint on the part of the thentic only, will, I flatter myself, satisfy your United States, which cannot otherwise than be Lordship that I could not justify a longer delay. increased by the principles which appear to have I have the honor to be, my Lord, your most been adopted in some late decisions of the Court obedient, humble servant, J. MONROE. of Admiralty relative to the commerce of the United States with the colonies of the enemies of
No. 4. Great Britain, and with the parent country in the
From Lord Mulgrave. productions of such colonies. Mr. Monroe is persuaded that it is of great importance to both coun
DOWNING STREET, August 9, 1805. tries to arrange these poinis between them, and
Sir: I have just received the honor of your he flatters himself that it will be easy to do it on letter of yesterday's date, stating the existence of terms that will be equally safe aud satisfactory to
some measures relative to the vessels of the United both parties.
States, of which you have cause to complain. As
you have not mentioned either the nature or the No. 2.
period of the trasanction to which you allude, I
am not enabled to give you a satisfactory answer; From Lord Mulgrave.
and I am not aware of any recent occurrence of Downing Street, August 5, 1805.
so pressing a nature as to require an explanation Lord Mulgrave presents his compliments to previous to the day on which I shall have the Mr. Monroe, and will have the honor of appoint- honor of seeing you in the course of the next ing a day for receiving him at the Foreign Office week. If you will inform me more particularly early next week. Lord Mulgrave wishes to in- of the ground of complaint, I shall, without deform himself of the state of the business opened lay, give the subject every attention in my power. to Lord Harrowby, previous to his conference
I have the honor to be, sir, your most obedient, with Mr. Monroe.
To Lord Mulgrave.
Dover Street, August 12, 1805. Dover Street, August 8, 1805. My Lord: I have been honored with your My LORD: The late seizures of the vessels of Lordship's letter of the 9th instant, and shall willthe United States by His Majesty's cruisers is so ingly comply with your request in stating more important an event as to make it my duty to in- fully the nature of ihe complaint to which I alvite your Lordship's attention to it. My Govern- luded in nine of the Sih, and the period within ment will naturally expect of me immediately the which it has occurred. By a report of the Conbest information I can obtain of the nature and sul of the United States for this port and district, character of the measure, the extent to which it of which I have the honor to enclose you a copy, has been and will be carried, and of the policy it appears that, in the course of a few weeks past, which dictates it. Being in a state of profound about twenty American vessels have been seized peace with His Britannic Majesty and his domin- in the Channel and North Sea, by His Majesty's ions, conscious of having cherished that relation, ships of war and privateers, and brought into his and performed all its duties with the most perfect ports for trial : the officers who seized ihem stated good faith, it will be surprised at a measure which (according to the report of some of the masters) will be understood to breathe a contrary spirit. I that they had acted by order, as is to be presumed, From the view which I have of the subject I can of the Government. As this proceeding was sudonly state, that many of our vessels have been den, without notice, and without example in the brought in under orders that were equally un-conduct of the present war, as it has embraced a known to the parties that were affected by them, considerable number of vessels, and may be exand to the representative of the United States tended to many others, it was impossible for me
accredited with His Majesty; that the principles to reconcile it with the friendly relations subsists on which some of them have been condemned are ling between the two Powers. It is, therefore, my
Relations with Great Britain.
duty to request of your Lordship such informa
No. 7. tion respecting it, as I may transmit without de
To Lord Mulgrave. day to my Government. Of a measure so highly important to the rights and interests of the United
Dover STREET, August 12, 1805. States, no erroneous opinion should be formed, no
Mr. Monroe presents his compliments to Lord incorrect idea entertained.
Mulgrave, and will do himself the bodor to wait It is proper here to observe, that the decisions on him at his office on Thursday next, at two of the courts to which I alluded in mine of the o'clock. He has the pleasure to send bis Lordship 8th, the principles of which are considered by my
a reply to his letter of the 9th instant. Government as subversive of the established law of nations, were given in the case of the “Essex"
No 8. a few weeks since, and in those of the “Enoch”
To Lord Mulgrave. and "Mars" on the 23d and 24th ultimo. These decisions impose restraints on the commerce of
Dover STREET, August 16, 1805. neutral nations with the enemies of Great Britain,
Mr. Monroe presents his compliments to Lord which it is contended derive no sanction from Mulgrave, and has the honor to return his Lordthat authority. The principle on which they are ship the papers which he was so good as to defounded asserts a right in Great Britain to resirain liver him yesterday. Mr. Monroe is sorry to find neutral nations from any commerce with the col- that those documents furnish no satisfactory exonies of an enemy in time of war which they do planation on the real ground of complaint on the not enjoy in time of peace; or, in other words, part of the United States, as stated in his letter denies, in respect to neutrals, the sovereignty of of the 12th; he will, therefore
, be happy to see an enemy in time of war over its own colonies
, Lord Mulgrave again on the subject, as soon as it which remain in other respects subject to its au- may be convenient for bis Lordship to receive him. thority, and governed by its laws. It cannot well be conceived how there should be a difference on
Mr. Monroe to Mr. Madison. principle, in the rights of neutral Powers, to a
LONDON, August 20, 1805. commerce between any two ports of an enemy, not regularly blockaded, and any other two of its
Sir: I had an interview with Lord Mulgrave ports: how it should be lawful to carry on such yesterday, on the late seizure of our vessels, which, commerce from one port to another of the parent less favorable result than I had anticipated from
I am sorry to observe, presented the prospect of a country, and not from its colonies to the parent the preceding one. He asserted the priociple, in the seventh article of the Treaty of 1794, in revis: the fullest extent, that a neutral Power had no ing the decisions of the British courts founded on right to a commerce with the colonies of an the instructions of November 6, 1793, condemned enemy in time of war which it had not in time this doctrine, there was just cause to expect that of peace, and every extension of it in a former it would never have been revived. It is under-state, beyond the limit of the latter, was due to the stoud that no other Power admits it, and that it is concession of Great Britain, not to the right of also repugnant to the practice of Great Brit
the neutral Power. I denied the principle in herself with respect to her own colonies in time equal extent, and insisted that Great Britain had of war. It is easy to show that the doctrine is of no more right in war to interpose with or control modern date even in England ; that the decisions the commerce of a neutral Power with the coloof her courts have not been uniform, and that nies of an enemy, than she bad in peace. As we those in the cases referred to have carried the could not agree on the principle, I asked on what pretension to an extent which, by assuming cog. trade His reply showed that it was not dis
footing his Government was willing to place the nizance, if not jurisdiction, in the interior concerns of the United States, is utterly incompati- posed to relax in the slightest degree from the docble with the rights of sovereignty, and the self-trine of the late decrees of the Courts of Admirespect which, as an independent nation, they can
ralty and Appeals, which go to cut up by the never lose sight of. I forbear, however, to enter roots the commerce of the United States in the further into this subject at present, in the expecta- produce of the colonies of its enemies, other tban tion that I shall be honored with such informa- for the home consumption of their citizens. I tion from your Lordship of the views of His urged, in as strong terms as I could, the objecMajesty's Government as will be satisfactory to but he showed no disposition to accommodate, so
tions which occurred to me to this pretension. that which I have the honor to represent. I have the honor to be, my Lord, &c.
that we parted as remote from an accord as posJAMES MONROE.
sibly could be. I asked Lord Mulgrave wbether I should consider the sentiments which he ex
pressed as those of his Government? He said No. 6.
he had in the commencement expressed a desire From Lord Mulgrave.
that our conversations should be considered rather DOWNING STREET, August 12, 1805. as informal than official, as entered into more in Lord Mulgrave presents his compliments to the hope of producing an accord than in the erMr. Monroe, and will be very happy to see him pectation that we should ultimately disagree; at his office on Thursday next, at iwo o'clock.
ihat he was sorry to find that we could not agree; Relations with Great Britain.
that, however, he should report the result to the was promised, but which has not yet been given. Cabinet, and give me such an answer to my lei- A few days before Mr. Erving left this for the ters for my Government, of the views of his own, continent, I requested him to ask Mr. Hammond as it might wish to be taken of its conduct and when I should be favored with one. I send you policy in this business. I do not state the argu- a note of the conversation between them. Have ments that were used in the conference on each ing waited some time longer, I thought it my side, because those of Lord Mulgrave will prob- duty to press the point again, and, in so doing; to ably be furnished by himself, and you will readily expose as fully as I could the fallacy and injusconceive those to which I resorted. What the tice of the principle on which Great Britain asultimate decision of his Government may be, I serts the right to interdict our commerce with the cannot pretend to say. It is possible that he held colonies of her enemies, and elsewhere in the the tone mentioned above, in the late conference, productions of those colonies. I do not know to see whether I could be prevailed on to accom- ihat I shall be able to obtain an answer to this or modate with his views. It is difficult 10 believe the other letters. The presumption is against it, that it will yield no accommodation on its part because she does not wish to tie up her hands to our just claims, in the present state of public from doing what her interest may dictate, in case affairs.
the new combination with Russia and Austria In my former interview with Lord Mulgrave, should be successful against France. In the mean he said that I should find, by the reports which time she seeks to tranquillize us by dismissing he gave me, that most of the vessels had been dis- our vessels in every case that she possibly can. missed ; and it appeared by the reports that some It is evident to those who attend the trials, that of them had been, one or two on the opinion of Dr. the tone of the judge has become more moderate; Lawrence, counsel for the captured, which had that he acquits whenever he can acquit our vesbeen taken in the absence of ihe King's proctor. sels, and, keeping within the precedent of the I returned to him the reports, to obtain copies for Essex, seizes every fact that the papers or other you. General Lyman bas informed me that evidence furnish, in the cases which occur, to others have been since dismissed, and, as he bring them within that limit. If anything can thought, some that had been seized on the new be done in our affairs, it may be in a week or ten doctrine of continuity of voyage, though nothing days; and if not done in that time, it most probato countenance such as expectation escaped Lord bly will not be during the present winter. I shall Mulgrave in the last conference.
do everything in my power to bring them to a satIt is decided, on consideration of all circum- isfactory conclusion. stances, that Mr. Bowdoin will repair to Paris, I am, sir, with great respect and esteem, your where he will probably remain until he receives very obedient servant the orders of the President, and that Mr. Erving
JAMES MONROE. will proceed immediately to Madrid, to relieve Mr. P.S. I enclose you a copy of my letter to GenPinckney. Mr. Bowdoin, by being on that ground, eral Armstrong, by Mr. Erving. will be more in the way of obeying such orders as he may receive, than here; and both he and
No. 35. Mr. Erving, respectively, may perhaps take their
Mr. Monroe to Mr. Madison. ground with greater propriety in this stage, while it is known that our Government has not acted,
LONDON, October 18, 1805. than afterwards.
Sir: I sent you lately, by Colonel Mercer, my I am, sir, with great respect and esteem, your note to Lord Mulgrave of the 23d ultimo, relative very obedient servant,
to the late seizures of our vessels, in which I JAMES MONROE. thought proper to advert, at the conclusion, to the
other topics that were depending when I left
this country for Spain. I endeavored to touch No. 34.
those topics, especially the insults in our ports Mr. Monroe to Mr. Madison.
and impressment of our seamen, in a manner to
show a due sensibility to such' outrages, and, if London, September 25, 1805.
possible, to conciliate this Government to concur Sır: I have already forwarded you copies of in a suitable arrangement to prevent the like in two letters to Lord Mulgrave, respecting the late future. It seemed to be improper, and it was seizure of American vessels
, and you will receive certainly useless, to touch them without expresswith this a copy of a third one. His Lordship has ing the sense which the President entertained of endea vored to manage this business without writ- the injury and indignity to which the United ing from a desire, which has been very apparent, to States had thereby been exposed. The acts were get rid of it without any compromitment. With of a nature to require it, and the conduct of ihis ibat view he gave me, in an early interview, a Government since had increased the obligation to report of the King's advocate general and proctor do it. It appeared, also, by your letters, which on my first letter, which had been referred to were received by Mr. Purviance in my absence, them, which gave some explanation on the sub- that the President expected that this Government ject, which he might suppose would be satisfac- would make such an example of the officers who tory. I soon, however, assured him that it was had most signalized themselves by their misconnot, and pressed an answer to my letters, which | duct, as would serve as a warning to the com
Relations with Great Britain.
manders of other vessels who may hereafter seek menced, began to assume a serious aspect. It beshelter or hospitality in our ports. This had not came my duty, in my first letter to Lord Mulgrave, been done. On the contrary, I was informed by to notice them, and they soon claimed the princithe best authority, that Captain Bradley, of the pal attention. On the 10th, however, I thought Cambrian, whose conduct' had been most offen- myself perfectly at liberty io give notice of my sive, had been promoted, immediately on his return, iniention to depart, in a guarded manner. I had to the command of a ship-of-the-line. By that already said everything, in my several communimeasure, which prejudged the case, this Govern- cations on the subjects that were depending, that ment seemed to have adopted those acts of its I intended to say, unless it should be made necesofficers as its own, and even to announce to all sary to add more by a reply to them; I had also others that the commission of like aggressions waited in vain a sufficient time for a reply; ! within our jurisdiction would pave the way to could not depart without giving timely notice of their preferment. It is said, it is true, that the it
, especially after the late correspondence; and translation of an officer from a frigate to a ship-of-the season was so far advanced, that, if I with. the-line is not considered in all cases a promotion, held it longer, I should be exposed io a winter or, more correctly speaking, is not such a one as passage, or compelled to remain until the spring. is solicited by the officers of the navy. The com- | It was on these considerations that I wrote the mand of a frigate on a separate station, especially above mentioned note to Lord Mulgrave, in the one which affords an opportunity to make prizes, hope of promoting, without longer delay, a satisis often preferred by them to that of a ship-of-the- factory arrangement of the points alluded to. line in a fleet, and may perhaps be deemed a But so vague is his answer, that it is quite out of more important trust by the Government. Osten- my power to determine at this time whether it sibly, however, and in effect, it is a promotion ; will be proper for me to sail or not in the course the least, therefore, that could be said of the dis- of the present season. Indeed, there is but one position which this Government has shown re- vessel now in port, destined to the United States, specting the misconduct of that officer, was, that in which I should wish to embark with my family if it had not been the cause, it certainly formed at so lale a period. She will be commanded by no obstacle to his. Under such circumstances, Captain Tompkins, for Norfolk, who, I underit seemed to be impossible to separate the officer stand, proposes to set out in the beginning of dext from the Government in these outrages, and quite month. By that time I shall probably see more useless to demand the censure of him. ' I thought fully into the ultimate intentions and policy of it, therefore, most advisable in the present stage, this Government towards the United States; and at least, to treat the affair in a general way, rather I think I may venture to say, that, if I sail during than in reference to a particular occurrence; and the present autumn, it will be in that vessel. in looking to the offensive object, and paying any I have no doubt ihat the seizure of our vessels regard to what was due to the United Siates, the was a deliberate act of this Government. I do manner was as conciliating as I could make it. not know that the measure was regularly sub
Having waited near three weeks after my let-mitted to and decided in the Cabinet, but I am ter of the 230 ultimo to Lord Mulgrave, without satisfied that that department of it, having cog: hearing from hiin, I wrote him on the 10th in- pizance of and control over the business, dictated stant, and stated that, by the permission of the the measure. The circumstances attending the President, I proposed to sail to the United States transaction justify this opinion. Before the cothis autumn, and, as the favorable season was far alition with Russia and Sweden, the commerce advanced, wished to depart with the least possible was free. The blow was given when ihat coalidelay; that I should be happy to see the interest- tion was formed. Great Britain has shown much ing concerns depending between our Governments political management in the whole of this affair. satisfactorily arranged before I sailed; that I had By the emendatory article of her treaty with been, and should continue to be. prepared to enter Russia, in 1801, the latter abandons the right to on them while I remained in England; and that the direct trade between the colonies of an enemy the time of my departure would be made subser- and the parent country, and agrees to rest on the vient to that very important object. To this note ground which the United States may hold in that I received, some days afterwards, a short answer, respect
. It is to be presumed that she declined which promised as early a reply to my commu- the seizure before the coalition was formed with nication as the additional matier contained in the Northern Powers, lest it might alarm them and that of the 23d ultimo would permit. Having endanger the coalition; and that she made the taken the liberty to inform you from Madrid that seizure afterwards, on the idea, ihat, as they were I should sail for the United States soon after my embarked in the war with her, they would bearrival here, it was my intention, after making a come indifferent to the object, and leave her free fair experiment to arrange the concerns of this to push her pretensions against us. The manner Government, to have departed forth with, be the in which the pressure is made, being through the success of it what it might. I considered myself Admiralty Court, on a pretext that the trade is as having the permission of the President to re- direct, alihough the articles were landed in our turn home after such an experiment, and it was ports and the duties paid on them, is equally a very much my wish, and that of my family, to proof of management on her part. It was obri. avail ourselves of it. But, unfortunately, at that ously intended to urge, (indeed Lord Mulgrave in period, the seizures, which had just before com- our first interyiew began by urging:) that there
Relations with Great Britain.
had been no new measure, thatthe Government had and increasing prosperity, and I am satisfied that not acted in the business, while the court, by con- nothing which is likely to succeed will be left unsidering every species of that commerce direct, tried to impair it. That this sentiment has taken and every accommodation on the part of our cit- a deep hold of the public councils here was suffiizens with previous regulations fraudulent and cienily proved by the late seizures, being at a time evasive, should push the pretensions of the Gov. when the state of our affairs with 'Spain menaced eroment to such an extent as to annihilate it al-a rupture, from wbich Great Britain could not together. Lord Mulgrave insisted in express terms, fail io derive the most solid advantages. It was in the second interview, that we ought not to carry natural to expect, especially when we advert to it on at all with the parent country; that the im- the then critical situation of this country, that portation into our country ought to be confined the Government would have seized the opporstrictly to supplies necessary for home consump-tunity to promote that object by a more just and tion. I am equally confident that if Great Bri- enlightened policy. The part, however, which it tain should succeed in establishing her pretensions acred was calculated, so far as depended on it, to against us, she would avail herself hereafter or prevent one. It proves satisfactorily that no event the example with the Noribern Powers. It is, is deemed more unfavorable to Great Britain than therefore, a question of great importance to them the growing importance of the United States, and also.
that it is a primary object of her Government to With respect to our other concerns with Great check, if not to crush it. It is possible that this Britain, I am sorry to say that I do not see any Government may be influenced in its conduct by prospect of arranging them on just and reasonable a belief that the United States will not revive ierms at the present time. No disposition has the treaty of 1794, unless they be driven to it by been shown to prescribe, by treaty, any restraint such means. It may also be aitributable to policy on the impressment of our seamen whenever the still more unfriendly. There is cause to believe Government may be disposed, or even when any that many prejudices are still fostered here in cerof its officers in the West Indies or elsewhere rain circles at least, which the experience of mulmay think fit. On the subject of boundary no- tiplied and striking facts ought long since to have thing has been lately said, nor does there appear swept away. Among these it is proper to mento be any inclination to enter on it. I have also tion an opinion, which many do not hesitate to reason to think that this Government is equally avow, that the United States are, by the nature disposed to postpone an arrangement of our com- of their Government, being popular, incapable of merce in general, by treaty, for any number of any great, vigorous, or persevering exertion: that years. On this point, however, I cannot speak they cannot, for example, resist a system of comwith so much confidence as on the others, having mercial hostility from this country, but must yield never made any proposition that was calculated to the pressure. It is useless to mention other preto obtain an explicit declaration of its sentiments. judices still more idle, which had influence on The conversations which I had with Lords past measures and certainly still exist with many Hawkesbury and Harrowhy before I went to Spain, of great consideration. With such a view of on the other subjects, naturally brought this into their interest, of the means of promoting it, and view; but being incidentally, it was only slightly the confidence which is entertained of success, it touched. The proposition which was made by cannot be doubted that it is their intention to push the latter, to consider the treaty of 1794 in force, their fortune in every practicable line at our exwas a temporary expedient, not a permanent reg- pense. The late seizure is probably an experiment ulation. From thai circumstance, and the man on this principle of what ihe United Siates will ner in which they spoke of that treaty, I conclu- bear, and the delay which is observed in answerded that their Government would be willing to ing my letters, only an expedient to give the Govrevive it for an equal term. It might, however. ernment time to see its effect. If it succeeds they have been made only to obtain delay. You will will, I presume, pursue the advantage gained to observe that in my note of the 23d ultimo I have ta- the greatest extent, in all the relations subsisting ken the liberty to mention the subject in a manner between the two countries, more especially in to show that it is not one to which the United the impressment of our seamen, the prostration States are indifferent, or which the President and pillage of our commerce through the war, wishes to postpone. Although I have no power and in the more elevated tone of the Government to form a treaty of so comprehensive a nature, in a future negotiation. If it fails, I am equally yet I thought I might with propriety open the confident that their whole system of conduct tosubject, so far at least as to ascertain the views of wards the United States will change, and that it this Government on it for your information. would then be easy to adjust our affairs with this
On a review of the conduct of this Govern-country, and place them on an equal and a recipment towards the United States, from the com- rocally advantageous footing. Perhaps no time mencement of the war, I am inclined to think was ever more favorable for resisting these unthat the delay which has been so studiously sought. just encroachments than the present one, The in all these concerns, is the part of a system, and conduct of our Government is universally known tbat it is intended, as circumstances favor, to sub- to have been just, friendly, and conciliating toject our commerce at present and hereafter to wards Great Britain, while the attack by her every restraint in their power. It is certain that Government on the United States is as univerthe greatest jealousy is entertained of our present sally known to be unjust, wanton, and unpro