« PreviousContinue »
affair would be made to take the most friendly character, and that I should be at liberty to express in my reply to the overture, if I thought fit, the expectation of my government as to the further punishment of admiral Berkeley.
I ought to add that, in all my conversations with lord Wellesley on the case of the Chesapeake, he has shown not only a disposition but a wish to accommodate it, and that I am therefore the more astonished at the delay which has taken place.
In a few days I intend to renew my efforts to bring this matter to a conclusion, and to obtain an answer of some sort to my letter of the 30th of April. I am sufficiently inclined to present a strong paper upon both subjects, but in the actual posture of affairs, and in the absence of such instructions from you as would countenance such a step, I think it my duty to forbear a little longer.
It is not impossible that lord Wellesley's backwardness to close the case of the Chesapeake with me, may arise from a desire that it should be adjusted in America through the new minister. If this were so, however, he could have no inducement to conceal it from me, since he is aware that I have always entertained the same desire. When I see him I will advert to this.
I am not yet able to say positively who the new minister will be. Lord
and some others are spoken of. Lord Wellesley has given me no other written information on the subject than is contained in his letter of the 22d ultimo, already communicated to you. His verbal information has been to the same effect, with this addition, that he retained his opinion (mentioned in my unofficial letter to you of the 4th of January last) that the minister to America ought to be a man of rank. As far as may be prudent I shall not fail to do all in my power to expedite the appointment.
The letter from general Armstrong, to which my letter of the 8th instant to lord Wellesley alludes, is dated the 24th of July; and expresses his wish that the declaration of the British government concerning the blockades may be obtained and forwarded without delay. I have the honour to be, &c.
WM. PINKNEY. The Hon. Robert Smith, &c. &c. &c.
Mr. Pinkney to Mr. Smith. London, August 18, 1810.
Sir, I enclose the Times newspaper of this morning, containing a copy of a French decree of the 5th instant, and of a letter of the same date, from the French minister for foreign affairs to general Armstrong. The last is a most important paper, of which I hope to receive without delay an official communication. I have the honour to be, &c.
Mr. Pinkney to Mr. Smith. London, Aug. 21, 1810.
Sir, I have just received a communication from general Armstrong, dated the 6th instant, announcing the absolute revocation of the Berlin and Milan decrees, and have, in consequence, sent a note to lord Wellesley, requesting to see him. Lord Wellesley is out of town, but will, it is said, return to-night or to-morrow morning.
General Armstrong has not transmitted any copy of the official notice mentioned in his letter ; but I presume it is the same with that published in the Moniteur of the 9th, of which I am in possession, and with which the quotation in general Armstrong's letter agrees.
I do not know whether his construction of that document will be thought here to be liable to any objections. I think it impossible, however, that upon any interpretation of it this government can hesitate to repeal its orders in council.
general Armstrong's letter to me is enclosed. I have the honour to be, &c.
Copy of General Armstrong's Letter to Mr. Pinkney.
Paris, August 6, 1810. Sır,- I have the honour to inform you that his majesty the emperor and king, has been pleased to revoke his decrees of Berlin and Milan. Of this interesting fact, I had this morning a written and official notice, in the following words, viz.
" Je suis autorisé à vous declarer, monsieur, que les décrets de Berlin et de Milan sont revoqués, et, qu'a dater du 1er Novembre, ils cesseront d'avoir leur effet."*
Sincerely hoping that you may be able to turn this circumstance to some useful account, I forward it per triplicate, and am, sir, with very great respect, &c. &c.
General Armstong lo Mr. Pinkney. Paris, Aug. 7, 1810.
Sir,—I hazarded a line or two yesterday by the way of Morlaix, merely to inform you that the imperial decrees of Berlin and Milan were at last given up. I now send you by a more direct conveyance a copy of the duke of Cadore's letter to me of the 5th instant, and am, sir, with very great respect, &c. &c.
Extract of a Letter from Mr. Pinkney to Mr. Smith.
London, Friday, Aug. 24, 1810. “I TRANSMIT a copy of my answer formed upon your recent instructions, to lord Wellesley's notification of the blockade of Corfou. Is it not worthy of a reflection, whether an attempt to blockade an entire sea, like the Adriatick, should not be protested against, whatever may be the force employed in closing the passage to it?"
Mr. Pinkney to Lord Wellesley. Great Cumberland Place,
Aug. 21, 1810. MY LORD,--I have had the honour to receive your official note of the 18th instant, communicating the resolution of the British government to establish a blockade of the canal of Corfou, and shall not fail to transmit a copy of it, with as little delay as possible, to the Secretary of State of the United States.
* Translation. “ I am authorized to declare to you, sir, that the decrees of Berlin and Milan are revoked, and that after the 1st of November, they will cease to have effect,
In the mean time I take the liberty, in pursuance of the sentiments of the President heretofore signified to me, to observe to your lordship that, as a blockade essentially implies a force on the spot for the purpose, and as the notification required in the case must be a warning to neutral traders of the fact that a blockade exists, the communication which your lordship has made to me, derives its title to the acknowledgments of the United States from the supposition that it was meant as a friendly premonition, which, though imposing of itself no legal restraint on neutrals, nor inducing any penal consequences, might usefully influence the course of their mercantile expeditions. In this sense the communication will be received by the President as a mark of that friendly attention which ought, in all cases, to be reciprocally maintained, and in this sense the President will be the more disposed to regard the communication, as a different one would contradict the definition of a blockade, and of the requisite notification thereof, contained in the orders of the British government to commodore Hood and the judges of the vice-admiralty courts, as communicated to the American government by Mr. Merry, on the 12th of April, 1804. I have the honour to be, &c. &c.
Mr. Pinkney to Mr. Smith. London, Aug. 29, 1810.
Sir, I dined yesterday with lord Wellesley, and found that he had only returned to town in the morning. He still complained of indisposition; but it certainly could not be considered as unfitting him for business. In a short conversation before dinner he told me that my note respecting the Berlin and Milan decrees should be mentioned to his colleagues to-day, and that I should have an immediate answer; that the affair of the Chesapeake " would be settled to my satisfaction ;" that he believed he should recommend to the king the appointment of a minister plenipotentiary to the United States, cither this week or the next; _that he had two persons in his eye, (both men of high rank) but that he could not with propriety name them to me at present.
As far as the opportunity permitted I urged promptitude on all these subjects as indispensable, and expressed my confidence that they would be disposed of in season for the approaching meeting of Congress.
You perceive that notwithstanding past promises, nothing has yet been done ; and that there is no security that we shall have any thing but promises. I am truly disgusted with this, and would, if I followed my own inclination, put a speedy end to it. It is better, however, to do nothing of an irritating nature until this government has had full time for acting upon my note of the 25th. Even if it should decline to repeal the orders in council (which I am told is quite possible) a moderate course on my part will have the recommendation of putting it more clearly in the wrong. If it should decline to repeal, the President may be assured that I will not fail to present such a paper as conduct so extraordinary will demand, and, if further delays are affected, that I will remonstrate in very decided terms. I have the honour to be, &c. &c.
Mr. Pinkney to Mr. Smith. London, Sept. 3, 1810. SIR,-Lord Wellesley sent me his answer yesterday to my note of the 25th ultimo, respecting the Berlin and Milan decrees. I hasten to transmit a copy of it. A copy shall be sent, without delay, to general Armstrong. I have the honour to be, &c.
Mr. Pinkney to Lord Wellesley. Great Cumberland Place,
Aug. 25, 1810. MY LORD, --I have the honour to state to your lordship, that I have received from general Armstrong, minister plenipotentiary of the United States at Paris, a letter bearing date the 6th instant, in which he informs me that the government of France has revoked the decrees of Berlin and Milan, and that he has received a written and official notice of that fact in the following words : “ Je suis autorisé a yous declarer, monsieur, que les décrets de Berlin et de