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“And who is the man that dares thus accuse English humanity? How did he treat the prisoners whom, not the fortune of war—not their own mad ambition, or their own voluntary surrender,--but the blackest treachery, put into his hands?"New Times, September, 1822.

The treaty of Amiens was signed in 1802, and scarcely was the ink dry which dropped from the

pens of its negotiators, before England and France once again entered the lists for mastery.

It is very generally, and we believe truly, remarked, that, at the beginning of a war, there is ever much difficulty in deciding with which of the parties rests the blame. Nations quarrel, complain, recriminate, and generally fight a battle before the point is elucidated.

The Editor of the New Times has, in the instance under consideration, thought proper to throw all the odium of the first blow” upon the

government opposed to England, but with how little justice it will now be our endeavour to make apparent.

France, at the breaking out of that contest with whose details the ears of the present generation must have become so familiar, commenced her proceedings by detaining every British subject within the territory of the republic.

The Editor asserts that France had no right to adopt this line of policy, and, having done it, had no right to ill-treat the victiins of her injustice in the way that was practised.

We make bold to assert that France had a right to act as she did with those British subjects under her control, and, having made prisoners of them, that she treated them, if not with kindness, at least not with harshness.

The case, we presume, we have fairly stated; but, before we enter upon its merits, we must trouble the reader with a few passages from the law of nations. The Editor appears to lose no opportunity of quoting Vattel; it would be cruel, therefore, not to indulge us with a draught from the same fount:

“All nations are equal. What is lawful for one is lawful for another. What is unjustifiable for one is equally unjustifiable for another.

“When a sovereign is not satisfied with the manner in which his subjects are treated by the

laws and customs of another nation, he is at liberty to declare that he will treat the subjects of that nation in the same manner as his are treated : this is what is called retortion, and there is nothing in this but what is conformable to justice and sound policy.

“ Reprisals are used between nation and nation, in order to do themselves justice, when they cannot otherwise obtain it: if a nation has taken possession of what belongs to another-if she refuse to pay a debt, to repair an injury, or to give adequate satisfaction for it,—the latter may seize something belonging to the former, and apply it to her own advantage, till she obtains payment of what is due to her, together with interest and damages, or keep it as a pledge till she has received ample satisfaction.

“ As we may seize the things which belong to a nation in order to compel her to do justice, we may equally, for the same reason, arrest some of her citizens, and not release them till we have received full satisfaction: this is what the Greeks call Androlepsia.*-And thus much for the law of nations, as it more particularly regards retaliation,-a law coeval with the world, founded on divine command, and so interwoven with our very nature, that Vattel, in recording the principle, has but given expression to what babes even imbibe with the first milk.

* Vattel, b. 2, cap. 18, p. 283, 284, 287.

France adopted the law of retaliation ;-the justice of her proceeding must depend upon the

previous conduct of her opponent.

The court of St. James, during profound peace, caused the merchant vessels of France to be captured, and their crews to be enslaved. The cabinet of the Thuilleries avenged its injured honour by causing the subjects of George III. alike to be detained and carried into bondage. The sufferers, in the one instance, navigated the ocean on the faith of treaties; those, in the other, pursued their travels on the very self-same pledge: the first only of these facts is disputed; the first only, therefore, we shall investigate.

Lord Whitworth, the British ambassador, quitted Paris on the 13th of May, 1803, slept at Boulogne on the 16th, and arrived at Dover on the 17th.

General Andreossi, the French ambassador, left London on the 16th of May, arrived at Dover on the same evening, and sailed thence on the 18th.

On the 15th of May orders for an embargo on all French vessels arrived, and were put into execution at Portsmouth.

On the 16th May Admiral Cornwallis sailed with the fleet from Torbay.

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On the 16th of May the king was present in privy council, and gave his signature to a proclamation declaratory of war against France.

On the 17th of May the proclamation appeared in the London journals.

On the 19th of May the first French prize was sent in to Dover.

On the 19th, also, a French vessel was brought into Plymouth, having been captured on the 18th; the captain of the cruizer observed, that a French Indiaman of great value had passed him the day before that is, on the 17th ; but he, not then knowing of the commencement of hostilities, had suffered her to continue an unmolested course.

In the French official journal of the 23d of May is a telegraphic despatch from the maritime prefect of Brest, dated the 21st, announcing the capture of two merchant vessels on the 19th by the English in the Bay of Andierne.

The order for the arrest of British subjects in France bears date the 22d of May.

In the Moniteur of the 24th of May is an article stating that England had began the war without any previous declaration, and that, in consequence of this unjustifiable proceeding, the Consuls had found themselves obliged to issue their decree of the 22d of May*.

* Vide the Moniteur and Morning Chronicle for 1803; also “Extraits du Moniteur," par Lewis Goldsmith, vol. 1.


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