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the terms of this statute, the non-intercourse against Great Britain, the very species of resistance would be made which France has been constantly representing as most efficacious. It may be added, that the form in which the law now presents the overture is as well calculated, as the overture itself, to gain a favourable attention, inasmuch as it may be regarded by the belligerent, first accepting it, as a promise to itself, and a threat only to its adversary
If, however, the arrangement contemplated by the law should be acceptable to the French government, you will understand it io be the purpose of the President not to proceed in giving it effect, in case the late seizure of the property of the citizens of the United States has been followed by an absolute confiscation, and restoration be finally refused. The only ground, short of a preliminary restoration of the property, on which the contemplated arrangement can be made, will be an understanding that the confiscation is reversible, and that it will become immediately the subject of discussion, with a reasonable prospect of justice to our injured citizens. I have the honour to be, &c.
R. SMITH. Gen. Armstrong, &c. &c.
Mr. Smith to General Armstrong. Department of State,
July 2, 1310. SIR,—The enclosed is a copy of a letter of instruction to Mr. Pinkney, bearing the same date with this letter. You will thence perceive that if the answer of the British government to the representation and requisition which our minister at London may make, should be of a satisfactory nature, it will be transmitted to you without delay. In that case you will make a proper use of it, for obtaining a repeal of the Berlin decree, and you will proceed, concurrently with Mr. Pinkney, in bringing about successive removals by the two governments of all their predatory edicts.
I avail myself of this occasion to state to you, that it is deemed of great importance that our ministers at foreign
courts, and especially at Paris and London, should be kept, the one by the other, informed of the state of our affairs at each. I have the honour to be, &c.
R. SMITH. . Gen. Armstrong, &c. &c. &c.
Mr. Smith to General Armstrong. Department of State,
July 5, 1810. Sir,—The arrival of the John Adams brought your letters of the 1st, 4th, 7th and 16th of April.
From that of the 16th of April it appears, that the seizures of the American property, lately made, had been followed up by its actual sale, and that the proceeds had been deposited in the emperor's caisse privé. You have presented in such just colours the enormity of this outrage, ihat I have only to signify to you, that the President entirely approves the step that has been taken by you, and that he does not doubt that it will be followed by you, or the person who may succeed you, with such further interpositions as may be deemed advisable. He instructs you particularly to make the French government sensible of the deep impression made here by so signal an aggression on the principles of justice and of good faith, and to demand every reparation of which the case is susceptible. If it be not the purpose of the French government to remove every idea of friendly adjustment with the United States, it would seem impossible but that a reconsideration of this violent proceeding must lead to a redress of it, as a preliminary to a general accommodation of the differences between the two countries.
At the date of the last communication from Mr. Pinkney, he had not obtained from the British government acceptance of the condition, on which the French government was willing to concur, in putting an end to all the edicts of both, against our neutral commerce. If he should afterwards have succeeded, you will of course, on receiving information of the fact, immediately claim from the French government the fulfilment of its promise, and by transmitting the result to Mr. Pinkney, you will co-ope
rate with him in completing the removal of all the illegal obstructions to our commerce.
Among the documents now sent is another copy of the act of Congress, repealing the non-intercourse law, but authorizing a renewal of it against Great Britain, in case France shall repcal her edicts and Great Britain refuse to follow her example, and vice versa. You have been already informed that the President is ready to exercise the power vested in him for such a purpose, as soon the occasion shall arise. Should the other experiment, in the hands of Mr. Pinkney, have failed, you will make the act of Congress, and the disposition of the President, the subject of a formal communication to the French government, and it is not easy to conceive any ground, even specious, on which the overture specified in the act can be declined.
If the non-intercourse law, in any of its modifications, was objectionable to the emperor of the French, that law no longer exists.
If he be ready, as has been declared in the letter of the duke of Cadore of February 14, to do justice to the United States, in the case of a pledge on their part not to submit to the British edicts, the opportunity for making good the declaration is now afforded. Instead of submission, the President is ready, by renewing the non-intercourse against Great Eritain, to oppose to her orders in council a measure, which is of a character that ought to satisfy any reasonable expectation. If it should be necessary for you to meet the question, whether the non-intercourse will be renewed against Great Britain, in case she should not comprehend, in the repeal of her edicts, her blockades, which are not consistent with the law of nations, you may, should it be found necessary, let it be understood, that a repeal of the illegal blockades of a cate prior to the Berlin decree, namely, that of May, 1806, will be included in the condition required of Great Britain; that particular blockade having been avowed to be comprehended in, and of course identified with the orders in council. With respect to blockades, of a subsequent date or not, against France, yon will press the reasonableness of leaving them, together with future blockades not warranted by publick law, to be proceeded against by the United States in the manner they may choose to adopt. As has been heretofore stated to you, a satisfactory provision for restoring the property lately surprized and seized by the order or at the instance of the French government, must be combined with a repeal of the French edicts, with a view to a non-intercourse with Great Britain: such a provision being an indispensable evidence of the just purpose of France towards the United States. And you will, moreover, be careful, in arranging such a provision for that particular case of spoliations, not to weaken the ground on which a redress of others may be justly pursued.
If the act of Congress which has legalized a free trade with both the belligerents, without guarding against British interruptions of it with France, whilst France cannot materially interrupt it with Great Britain, be complained of as leaving the trade on the worst possible footing for France, and on the best possible one for Great Britain, the French government may be reminded of the other feature of the act, which puts it in their own power to obtain either an interruption of our trade with Great Britain, or a recall of her interruption of it with France.
Among the considerations which belong to this subject, it may be remarked, that it might have been reasonably expected, by the United States, that a repeal of the French decrees would have resulted from the British order in council of April, 1809. This order expressly revoked the preceding orders of November, 1807, heretofore urged by France in justification of her decrees, and was not on-, ly different in its extent and in its details, but was essentially different in its policy.
The policy of the orders of 1807 was, by cutting off all commercial supplies, to retort on her enemies the distress which the French decree was intended to inflict on Great Britain.
The policy of the order of April, 1809, if not avowedly, was most certainly to prevent such supplies, by shutting out those only which might flow from neutral sources, in order thereby to favour a surreptitious monopoly to British traders. In order to counteract this policy, it was the manifest interest of France to have favoured the rival and cheaper supplies through neutrals; instead of which, she has co-operated with the monopolizing views of Great Britain by a vigorous exclusion of neutrals from her ports. She has in fact reversed the operation originally professed by her decree. Instead of annoying her enemy at the expense of a friend, she annoys a friend for the benefit of
If the French government should accede to the overture contained in the act of Congress, by repealing or so modifying its decrees as that they will cease to violate our neutral rights, you will, if necessary, transmit the repeal, properly authenticated, to Mr. Pinkney by a special messenger, and you will hasten and ensure the receipt of it here, by engaging a vessel, if no equivalent conveyance should offer, to bring it directly from France, and by send. ing several copies to Mr. Pinkney to be forwarded from
I have the honour, &c. &c.
General Armstrong, &c. &c. &c.
Mr. Smith to General Armstrong. Department of State,
July 17, 1810. Sir - You will herewith receive duplicates of my letters to you of the 20th June, and 2d and 5th of July.
This despatch you will receive from lieutenant Miller, of the navy, who is to proceed from New York in the sloop of war, the Hornet. This publick vessel bas been ordered to England and to France, not only for the purpose of transmitting despatches to you and to our minister in London, but for the further purpose of affording you, as well as him, a safe opportunity of conveying to this department, before the next meeting of Congress, full information of the ultimate policy, in relation to the United States, of the governments of England and France. And with a view to ensure her return to the United States in due season, her commanding officer has received orders not to remain in any port of Europe, after the first day of October next. With respect therefore to the time you will detain Mr. Miller in Paris, you will be influenced by the information which you may receive from him, as to the orders he may have from the commanding officer of the Hornet. I have the honour to be, &c.
R. SMITH. General Armstrong, &c. &c.