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tised under a show of friendly protection, and aggravated by every practical wrong which could well be associated with it. I have the honour to be, &c. &c.
Mr. Pinkney to Lord Wellesley. Great Cumberland Place,
September 21, 1810. MY LORD,On the 30th of April last, I had the honour to address a note to your lordship, in which, upon the inducements which it stated, I took the liberty to inquire, whether there was any objection, on the part of his majesty's government, to a revocation, or to a declaration that they were no longer in force, of the British blockades of France of a date anterior to the Berlin decree.
In a second note of the 23d of June, I had the honour to recall your lordship's attention to that inquiry, and to add, that my government expected from me a communication upon it. And on the 8th of August, it was again brought to your lordship's recollection, in the same mode. It was moreover mentioned in several conversations after the delivery of my first note, which had, in fact, been preceded by verbal explanations on my part, as well as by an abortive correspondence in writing, to which some of those explanations were preparatory.
If I had been so fortunate as to obtain for my hitherto unanswered inquiry, the notice which I had flattered myself it might receive, and to which I certainly thought it was recommended by the plainest considerations of policy and justice, it would not, perhaps, have been necessary for me to trouble your lordship with this letter, the purpose of which is, in very few words, to remind his majesty's government, in pursuance of my instructions, of the sentiments and expectations of the government of the United States, respecting such blockades as that which my inquiry principally regarded.
Those sentiments and expectations are so well explained in two letters, from Mr. Secretary Madison, of the 27th October, 1803, to Mr. Thornton, and of the 3d of June, 1806, to Mr. Merry, that very little more is required, in the execution of my instructions on this occasion, than that I should refer your lordship to the copies of those letters which are herewith transmitted.
Your lordship will perceive, that the strong and conclusive objections, in law and reason, to be found in those papers, (especially in the first, which was occasioned by a communication from the British consul, at New York, of a notice from commodore Hood, in July, 1803, that the islands of Martinique and Guadaloupe were, and for some time had been blockaded) apply to several blockades which Great Britain has lately pretended to establish ; but in a particular manner to that of May, 1806, (from the Elhe to Brest inclusive ;) to that in the spring of 1808, of the whole island of Zealand, and to that in March, 1809, of the isles of Mauritius and Bourbon.
The government of the United States can discover no just foundation for these and other similar attempts to blockade entire coasts, by notifications with which the fact has no correspondence. It views them as unwarrantable prohibitions of intercourse, rather than regular blockades; and as resembling, in all their essential qualities, the extraordinary decrees and orders, which, for the last
four years, have nearly obliterated every trace of the - publick law of the world, and discouraged, by menaces of hostile interruption, and pursued with seizure and confiscation, the fairest and most innocent trade of neutral merchants.
It may now be hoped that those decrees and orders are about to disappear for ever; and I think I may presume, as my government expects, that no blockade like that of May, 1806, will survive them.
Your lordship has informed me, in a recent note, that it is,“ his majesty's earnest desire to see the commerce of the world restored to that freedom which is necessary for its prosperity.” And I cannot suppose that this freedom is understood to be consistent with vast constructive blockades, which may be so expanded at pleasure as, without the aid of any new device, to oppress and annihilate every trade but that which England thinks fit to license. It is not, I am sure, to such freedom that your lordship can be thought to allude. I am the more inclined to be confident on this point, because I have now before me a well known official exposition, conceived in terms the most exact, of the British doctrine of blockade as it stood in 1804, con.
tained in the reply of Mr. Merry, his majesty's minister in America, to the very able remonstrance above mentioned, from Mr. Madison to Mr. Thornton.
In that reply, (of the 12th of April, 1804) it is formally announced to the government of the United States, “ by his majesty's command, signified to Mr. Merry, by the principal secretary of state for foreign affairs," ihat for redressing the grievance complained of? by the American government, orders had been sent to commodore Hood (and the necessary directions given to the vice-admiralty courts in the West Indies and America) not to consider any blockade of the islands of Martinique and Guadaloupe as existing, unless in respect of particular ports which might be actually invested; and then not to capture vessels bound to such ports, unless they should previously have been warned not to enter them."
It is natural to conclude that, though the “ grievance," which this frank communication condemns, has been since so often repeated, as almost to make us lose sight of the rule in the multitude of its violations, your lordship could not speak of the restoration of the just freedom of commerce as an event desired by Great Britain, without some reference to the neglected doctrine of this paper, and without some idea of reviving it.
With regard to the blockade of May, 1806, I regret that I have failed to obtain an admission, apparently warranted by facts and invited by circumstances, that it is not in force.
Your lordship's answers to my letters of the 15th of February, and 7th of March last, appear to justify the opinion, that this blockade sunk into the orders in council of 1807, with which it was perfectly congenial. It can scarcely be said that, since the promulgation of those orders, there has been even a show of maintaining it, as an actual blockade, by a stationary force, adequate or inadequate, distributed with that view along the immense line of coast which it affected to embrace. And, if it has not been constantly so maintained, nor even attempted to be maintained, as an actual blockade,' but has yielded its functions since 1807, to orders in council, neither being, nor professing to be actual blockades, it may, I imagine, be very safely asserted that it exists no longer. But as this conclusion has not been adopted, but has rather been resisted by your lordship, it is my duty, in transmitting the enclosed copy of an act of the Congress of the United States, passed on the 1st of May, 1810, entitled "An act concerning the commercial intercourse between the United States and Great Britain and France and their dependencies, and for other purposes,” to state to your lordship that an annulment of the blockade of May, 1806, is considered by the President to be as indispensable, in the view of that act, as the revocation of the British orders in council. I have the honour to be, &c.
WM. PINKNEY. The Most Noble the Marquis
Wellesley, &c. &c. &c.
Mr. Pinkney to Mr. Smith. London, Sept. 28, 1810.
Sir, I have already sent you a copy of lord Wellesley's reply to that part of my letter of the 15th inst. which particularly respected the case of the Alert. The amount of that reply was, that government could not interfere, and that the case must be left to the court of admiralty.
I now transmit his answer to that part of my letter which regarded the effect of the blockade of Elsinore (as it was interpreted by sir James Saumarez) on the passage of the Sound; from which it appears that it is not yet intended to close that passage.
No notice has been taken of the residue of my letter concerning the four American seamen taken from the Alert.
As I have transmitted you a copy of lord Wellesley's reply to my application for the release of the Mary, from which it was to be inferred that she would be immediately released, I ought now to mention that so far from being released, she is to be forthwith proceeded against as prize! These things require a large stock of patience. I have the honour to be, &c.
WM. PINKNEY. 53
Lord Wellesley to Mr. Pinkney. Foreign Ofice, Sept. 26.
1810. The marquis Wellesley has the honour to acquaint Mr. Pinkney, in answer to that part of his letter of the 15th instant, relating to an alleged misconception of the order of council for the blockade of Elsinore, that it is the intention of his majesty's government, that that blockade should be strictly confined to the port of Elsinore, and that it does not affect any vessels professedly bound up the Sound, unless it should appear from their papers that they are bound to Elsinore.
T'he marquis Wellesley begs to renew to Mr. Pinkney the assurances of his high consideration.
William Pinkney, Esq. &c. &c. &c.
Nr. Pinkney to Mr. Smith. London, Oct. 3, 1810.
Sir,-Lord Wellesley's communication concerning the passage of the Sound was supposed by a merchant here, to whom I showed it, to be ambiguous, by reason of the expressions “bound up the Sound,” &c.
The ambiguity has, however, been removed (if indeed there was any) by a note which I have just received from the foreign office in answer to one from me.
It says, that “ nò vessels will be subject to the restrictions of the blockade of Elsinore, but such as may be going to that port, in whatever direction they may be pass. ing the Sound.” It says further, that “the equivoque in the original communication was certainly not intentional.” I have the honour to be, &c. &c.
Extract of a Letter from General Armstrong to Mr. Smith.
Paris, Jan. 28, 1810. “M. CHAMPAGNY stated, that the order given in relation to our ships, &c. &c. in Spain was a regular consequence of the systein declared in his letter of the 22d of August last, and which had been promulgated throughout the United States. It is obvious,' he added, that bis majesty cannot permit to his allies a commerce which he