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has made its appearance ; in which the United States are Qamed as alone within the perview of the order. A more extraordinary experiment is perhaps not to be found in the annals of modern transactions. It is levelled, moreover, against a nation towards which friendship is professed, as well as against a law, the justice and validity of which are not contested; and it sets the odious example, in the face of the world, directly in opposition to all the principles which the British government has been proclaiming to it. What becomes of the charge against the United States for receiving British subjects who leave their own country contrary to their allegiance? What would be the charge against them, if they were, by proclamation, to invite British subjects, those too expressly and particularly prohibited from leaving their country, to elude the prohibition; or to tempt, by interested inducements, a smuggling violation or evasion of laws on which Great Britain founds so material a part of her national policy? In the midst of so many more important topicks of dissatisfaction, this may not be worth a formal representation. But it will not be amiss to let that government understand the light in which the proceeding is regarded by this. I have already touched on it to Mr. Erskine, with an intimation that I should not omit it in my observations to you."
“ The French decree, said to have been issued at Bayonne, has not yet reached this country. Such a decree, at such a time has a serious aspect on the relations of the two countries, and will form a heavy item in our demands of redress. It is much to be regreited, at the same time, that any of our vessels, by neglecting to return home, and conforming to the arbitrary regulations of one belligerent, should expose themselves to the arbitrary proceedings of another. So strong and general an indignation seems particularly to prevail here against the Americans in Europe, who are trading under British licences, and thereby sacrificing, as far as they can, the independence of their country, as well as frustrating the laws which were intended to guard American vessels and mariners from the dangers incident to foreign commerce, that their continuance in that career ought to be frowned upon, and their return home promoted in every proper manner. It appears by information from our consul at Tangier, that great numbers of our vessels are engaged in a trade between Great Britain and Spanish ports, under licenses from the former, and that the experiment proves as unsuccessful as it is dishonourable; the greater part of them being either arrested in port, or by French and Spanish cruisers.”
Mr. Pinkney to Mr. Madison. London, Feb. 23, 1808.
Sir,-Mr. Canning has just sent me a note, of which a copy is enclosed, relative to an intended alteration, upon the subject of cotton, in their bill for carrying into execution the late orders in council. You will perceive, that he lays some stress upon the accidental observations, which (as already explained to you in my letter of the 26th of last month) were drawn from me, some time since, upon the singularly offensive project of imposing a transit duty upon our cotton. I mentioned to you in my letter of the 2d inst, that he appeared to have misapprehended the tendency of these observations, and that, in a subsequent conversation, he showed a disposition to remove this obnoxious feature from their plan, for the purpose of substituting an absolute interdict of the export of that article, under an idea that we should then cease to object to it: but that I thought it my duty to decline to give him any encouragement to do so, although I agreed, as he seemed to wish it, to mention bis disposition to you. A few days ago, he sent for me again, and renewed his proposal, of an immediate change, with respect to cotton, from a prohibitory duty, to a direct prohibition. My answer was the same in substance as it had been before. gested the alternative arrangement, which you will see stated in this note; but, adhering to the determination I had formed, upon the first appearance of the orders in council, to make no compromise (without precise directions from my government) with the system which they announce, by becoming a party to its details, I received this proposal as I had done the other.
The British government, however, had resolved to adopt this last mentioned plan, whether it received my concurrence or not, upon a presumption, that it would be more acceptable to us, and, perhaps, too, under the idea, that it was more defensible than their original scheme; and the purpose of Mr. Canning's note is merely to signify to me,
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in a manner as friendly and respectful as possible to the United States, their intention to propose it to parliament. One object of all this is, certainly, to conciliate us, although it may be another, to free their system, as far as they can, from ihe disadvantage of one of the formidable reproaches which their opponents cast upon it. But the wise and magnanimous course would be, at once to tread back their steps upon the whole of this ill-judged measure, instead of relying upon small and unsubstantial modifications, which neither produce an effect upon its character and principle, nor mitigate the severity of its practical consequences. I might, if I thought it advisable, take the occasion, which Mr. Canning's note undoubtedly furnishes, to press upon him, once more, the policy, as well as the justice of such a course; but I believe it, under all circumstances, to be more prudent to wait for your instructions, which must, I think, be very soon received.
I have already had the honour to send you two copies of the resolutions moved in the house of commons by the chancellor of the exchequer, as tables of export duties, to which their bill should refer. I have enclosed in another letter, with which this will be accompanied, a copy of the bill itself, which will, however, undergo several alterations. These will be found to be explained (as far as I am acquainted with them) in the letter above mentioned. I have the honour to be, &c.
WILLIAM PINKNEY. Hon. James Madison, Sec'ry of State.
Mr. Canning to Mr. Pinkney. Foreign Office, February 22,
1808. Sir, I have already had the honour of assuring you in conversation, of the disposition which is felt by the British government, to give due weight to the observations which you have made to me, respecting the unfavourable imprese sion likely (in your opinion) to be excited in the United States, by the duty proposed to be levied upon cotton, destined for the use of the enemy, but brought into the ports of this country, conformably to the tenour of the orders of council of the 11th of November last.
You are already apprized, that the principle, upon which the whole of this measure has been framed, is that of re
fusing to the enemy those advantages of commerce which he has forbidden to this country.
The simple method of enforcing this system of retaliation, would have been to follow the example of the enemy, by prohibiting altogether all commercial intercourse between him and other states..
It was from considerations of indulgence to neutral trade, that the more mitigated measure of permitting intercourse under the restraints and regulations of a duty, in transitu, was adopted; and being adopted with this view, it was not immediately felt by the British government, that there might be a distinction taken by neutral states, with respect to articles the produce of their own soil, and that while the commutation of prohibition into duty was acknowledged as an indulgence, when applied to articles of foreign commerce, of which they were only the carriers, it might be considered as an invidious imposition when applied to their own productions.
The moment that this distinction has been explained to the British government, they have been desirous of manifesting every attention to it; and if you, sir, had been possessed of the necessary authority from your government, there would have been no difficulty in entering into a specifick agreement with you upon the subject. In order, however, to obviate the objection, in a great degree, I have the honour to inform you, that it is intended to be proposed to parliament, that all cotton, brought into this country, in comformity to the orders of council, should be absolutely prohibited from being exported to the territories of the enemy. But as you are not prepared to take upon yourself to say, that in no case the option would be acceptable, an option will still be left to the neutral owner, either to acquiesce in the total prohibition, or to re-export the article, on the payment of such a duty as parliament may judge it expedient to impose.
I flatter in yself, sir, that this alteration in the legislative regulations, by which the orders of council are intended to be carried into execution, will be considered by you as a satisfactory evidence of the disposition of his majesty's government to consult the feelings as well as the interests of the United States, in any manner which may not impair the effect of that measure of commercial restriction, to which the necessity of repelling the injustice of his enemies has obliged his majesty, reluctantly, to have recourse, I have the honour to be, &c.
GEORGE CANNING. William Pinkney, Esq. &c. &c. &c.
Mr. Pinkney to Mr. Canning. Great Cumberland Place,
February 23, 1808. Mr. Pinkney presents his compliments to his excellency, Mr. Canning, and has the honour to acknowledge the receipt of his note of yesterday, relative to an alteration on the subject of cotton, in the legislative regulations, by which the late orders in council are intended to be carried into execution, which Mr. Pinkney will hasten to transmit to his government.
Mr. Pinkney requests Mr. Canning to accept the assurances of his high consideration.
Mr. Pinkney to Mr. Madison. London, May 9, 1808.
“I had a conversation with Mr. Canning on Friday last, in consequence of the arrival of the Osage.
As it was obviously expected that I should seek an interview with him, I went to Downing street on the 5th with that object. He had been indisposed, and was not at the office; but in answer to a note which I sent bim in the evening, he asked to see me next day at his house in Bruton street.
The Osage had for some time been looked for with considerable anxiety, and the government had apparently anticipated a communication (and perhaps a proposal) of some importance, from me, as soon as my despatches should be received. As I had, in fact, no communication to make, it seemed to be proper that I should render the disappointment of as little moment as possible, by the manner of announcing it, without, however, putting any thing to hazard by an indiscreet manifestation of unnecessary solicitude.
The little which I supposed it requisite to say on this occasion appeared to be very well received: and, if any