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burg, Bremen, and Lubeck, there was nothing to disprove the repeal of the decrees. He declared that the blockade of the British islands should cease when the British blockades should cease; and that the French blockade should cease in favor of those nations in whose favor Great Britain should revoke hers, or who should support their rights against her pretension, as France admitted the United States would do by enforcing the non-importation act. Every communication received from the French government was in accordance with the actual repeal of the Berlin and Milan decrees, in relation to the neutral commerce of the United States. But the best evidence of their ceasing to operate, was the want of evidence that they did operate.

It was unreasonable for Great Britain to require that the commerce of the continent should be restored to the state in which it stood prior to the date of the Berlin and Milan decrees, before she would revoke her orders in council. The laws of war governed the relations of Great Britain and France. The vessels of either taken by the other, were liable to confiscation. But even if no war existed, the United States could not open the continent to the commerce of Great Britain. They could not maintain such a claim in their own favor, though neutral; and how could Great Britain demand that they should obtain the favor for her, being an enemy? Every nation not restrained by treaty, has a right to regulate its trade with other nations as it may deem most conducive to its own interests.

It will be recollected that Mr. Monroe, in 1806, then minister at London, represented the blockade against France as favorable to our commercial interests. Mr. Foster, in one of his letters to Mr. Monroe, expressed his surprise that our government should now require the revocation of this order of blockade as a condition of the renewal of intercourse; the motive to which is insinuated in the following extract :

owing extract: "It was clearly proved that the blockade of May, 1806, was maintained by an adequate naval force, and therefore was a blockade founded on just and legitimate principles; and I have not heard that it was considered in a contrary light when notified as such to you by secretary Fox, nor until it suited the views of France to endeavor to have it considered otherwise. Why America took up the view the French government chose to give of it, and could see in it grounds for the French decrees, was always matter of astonishment in England.”

To which Mr. Monroe replied: “A controversy had taken place between our governments on a different topic, which was still depending The British government had interfered with the trade between France and her allies in the produce of their colonies. The just claim of the United States was then a subject of negotiation ; and your government,

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professing its willingness to make a satisfactory arrangement of it, issued the order which allowed the trade without making any concession as to the principle, reserving that for adjustment by treaty. It was in this light that I viewed, and in this sense that I represented that order to my government; and in no other did I make any comment on it."

Much importance seems to have been given to the question of the revocation of the French decrees. In addition to the facts already mentioned as evidence that they were still in force, another was, that American vessels engaged in the trade with France, were required to have licenses from the French consuls in the United States. If the decrees had been to any extent repealed, so far, at least, no licenses should be necessary; a license being given to allow what, but for that license, would be prohibited. Besides, no instrument by which the repeal had been effected, had yet appeared. If there were fair dealing in the transaction, no reason could be given for not producing it. It ought to be produced to show to what extent the decrees had been really repealed.

To this it was replied, that seizures might have been made upon other grounds than those which had been mentioned. Great Britain claimed the right to seize for other causes, and all nations admit it in cases of contraband of war. If, by the law of nations, one belligerent has a right to seize neutral property, in any case, the other belligerent has the same right. Another cause might be found in the well known practice in England of furnishing the officers of her vessels with counterfeit papers, purporting to be American, under which British vessels had ao quired the benefits of neutrality. It had impaired the credit due to American documents, and ceased to afford adequate protection to our vessels. Against this practice our minister at London had made a formal representation, with an offer of the necessary information to detect and suppress it; but the communication was entirely disregarded.

The granting of licenses by the French government in certain instances, proved only that the trade with France in other instances was under restraint. The object of the Berlin and Milan decrees was not to prohibit the trade between the United States and France, but the trade of the United States with Great Britain, which was a violation of our neutral rights, and to prohibit the trade of Great Britain with the continent, with which the United States had nothing to do. If the object of these decrees had been to prohibit trade between the United States and France, Great Britain would have had no cause of complaint. And if the idea of retaliation on the part of Great Britain by lier measures had been applicable, it would have been by prohibiting our trade with herself. To prohibit it with France, would not have been retaliation (like for like) but a coöperation,

Could that he really a revocation which depended upon certain conditions? It will be recollected, that it was to take effect the 1st of Notember, 1810, " it being understood, that, in consequence of this declaration, the English shall revoke their orders in council, and renounce the new principles of blockade which they have attempted to establish ; or that the United States shall cause their rights to be respected by the English;" that is to say, they must cause Great Britain to relinquish her blockades. The French government could scarcely have believed that these conditions would have been fulfilled. Doubts of a bona fide repeal were strengthened by the terms upon which the trade was opened. Our vessels were required to obtain licenses from French consuls in the United States, with which they might proceed to French ports with American produce; for which, however, they must take in exchange silks, wines, and other articles of French manufacture-two-thirds of the value of the cargo to consist of silks.

These restrictions upon our trade were the subject of bitter complaint and strong remoustrance by our government. Jonathan Russell, our chargé des affaires, at Paris, (in the place of Mr. Armstrong, returned,) in a letter to the secretary of state, said: “ The tendency of this restriction, added to the dangers of a vigilant blockade, and to the exactions of an excessive tariff, was to annihilate all commercial intercourse between the two countries.” In the same light was the subject viewed by Mr. Monroe, secretary of state. In a letter of the 26th of July, 1811, to Mr. Barlow, then minister at Paris, he says: “ The president expects that the commerce of the United States will be placed, in the ports of France, on such a footing as to afford to it a fair market. An arrangement to this effect was looked for immediately after the revocation of the decrees; but it appears from the documents in this department, that that was not the case : on the contrary, that our commerce has been subjected to the greatest discouragement, or rather to the most oppressive restraints; that the vessels which carried coffee, sugar, &c., &c., though sailing directly from the United States to a French port, Tere held in a state of sequestration, on the principle that the trade was prohibited, and that the importation of those articles was not only unlawful but criminal; that even those vessels which carried the unquestionable productions of the United States were exposed to great and expensive delays, to tedious investigations in unusual forms, and to exorbitant duties. In short, that the ordinary usages of commerce between friendly nations were abandoned."

Our merchants, Mr. Monroe said, had considered themselves invited to the ports of France by the repeal of the decrees; and the vexations and losses to which they had been unexpectedly subjected, were not only unjust to them, but disrespectful to our government. If the ports of France and her allies were not opened to our commerce, on fair condi. tions, the revocation of the British orders would be of no avail. He complained also of the injustice of compelling our merchants to bring in return for their cargoes an equal amount in the produce or manufactures of that country, while French merchants enjoyed the liberty of selling their cargoes here for cash, and taking in return what they pleased. The system of carrying on the trade by licenses granted by French agents, ought to be annulled, and Mr. Barlow was instructed to tell the French government that the United States could not submit to it; and that if the consuls did not discontinue it, the president might find it necessary to revoke their exequaturs.

Mr. Monroe also reprehended the “unjustifiable aggression on the rights of the United States " by the French decrees, especially the Rambouillet decree, of March, 1810, which“ made a sweep of all American property within the reach of the French power.

• In Spain, Holland, and Naples, it has been most sensibly felt. In each of those countries, the vessels and cargoes of American merchants were seized and confiscated under various decrees founded in different pretexts, none of which had even the semblance of right to support them.” And be mentions as the most atrocious of all the reprehensible acts of that government and its subjects, the burning of the vessels of our citizens at sea.

The annoyances to our commerce mentioned in the first of these extracts from Mr. Monroe's letter, were by many deemed inconsistent with a sincere revocation of the decrees; and, in connection with the fact that the repeal was never formally announced, were regarded by many as conclusive evidence that it was a mere pretense. In view of the outrages recited in the latter of these extracts, and which had been perpetrated long prior to the pretended repeal of the decrees, and for which no promise of compensation had been made, the inquiry naturally arises, whether the proclamation of president Madison, immediately suspending the non-intercourse law in regard to France, was not premature. It was the more mild and conciliatory policy pursued toward that country than toward Great Britain, and the greater apparent readiness to comply with her wishes, that furnished the principal ground of opposition to the administration during this long controversy. Insisting on the relinquishment of the British blockade, which was regarded as “ highly satisfactory” before such relinquishment was made by Bonaparte a condition of the revocation of his decrees, and demanding the unconditional removal of this blockade as an obligation imposed by the conditional and doubtful repeal of those decrees, gave occasion for nine-tenths of the opposition.

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A review of the entire history of this commercial warfare, justifies the conclusion, that neither Great Britain nor France avowed her real designs; that the British orders in council, instead of being intended as measures of retaliation against her enemy, their real object was to force a trade to France and the continent, generally through British ports, where a transit duty was levied for the British treasury. They were in fact spoken of by a leading member of parliament as "a system of selfdefense, to prevent the commerce of America from coming into competition with the commerce of England." Trade with all the world, even with her enemies, seems to have been her object; and she wished to make our government the instrument of forcing France to receive her manufactures. Such an opinion is at least plausible.. Niles said with some truth: “ If Bonaparte were to grant a license for the purpose, certain London merchants could obtain leave to supply him even with arms and ammunition--so zealous are they for a trade with an enemy! The least relaxation of his continental system'is hailed with exultation and joy. They gladly send him what he pleases to admit, and accept in return almost anything he pleases to give them.

This has been the pracyears; and yet some have said the orders in council were 'retaliatory' on the French decrees.”

Equally manifest is it, from the reprehensible policy of France, in connection with the facts disclosed in the foregoing letters and documents, and the indispensable conditions of the repeal of her decrees, viz., that we should compel Great Britain to repeal her orders in council, that the object of France was to force us into a quarrel with her enemy, or, what is tantamount, into an alliance with herself.

In 1811, Robert Smith, secretary of state, in consequence of a disagreement between himself and the president on the subject of the repeal of the French decrees, and the consequent measures of the government, resigned his office, and was succeeded by Mr. Monroe. In an address to the public, giving the reasons for his resignation, are statements which may aid in forming an opinion as to the expediency of the policy of the adıninistration. Mr. Smith, as will be seen, considered the decrees of France as not actually repealed, and, of course, the proclamation of the president, removing the non-intercourse with France, and the law of March 2, 1811, reënacting it against Great Britain, as unwarranted by facts.

Mr. Smith imputed to the president improper motives in procuring the passage

of the non-intercourse act. Congress had considered his proclamation and the message recommending the enforcement of the act of May, 1810, as satisfactory evidence of the repeal of the French decrees And Mr. &. notes it as a significant fact that the act was

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