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and act of Parliament, neutrals were required, in order to trade with France and her allies, then embracing most of the continental nations of Europe, to enter a British port, to take a British lisence and pay a transit duty into the British treasury. This tribute amounted to a large sum on a rich cargo. Britain thus not only asserted and exercised the same municipal authority over neutrals in respect to their ships and cargoes that she ordinarily exercised over British subjects, but she extended her power to the persons of neutrals sailing on the high seas. She impressed seamen from on board American and other neutral ships, naturalized as well as native-born Americans. Multitudes of American and other neutral ships were forcibly seized under these orders in council and act of Parliament, and with their cargoes condemned by the British Admiralty. Such acts were a high handed and unjustifiable assumption of municipal jurisdiction over the high seas, where none such ever existed or can exist according to the law of nature and the moral law of nations. Thomas Jefferson appropriately called these acts, “a lawless system of piracy.” For the sea being common to all, and like the air of Heaven, incapable of appropriation, none can make title to any sea without the express consent by treaty of every maritime nation; nay, it cannot be without a treaty consent of every nation on earth, as the high seas belong to the whole family of man for common use and free navigation. No other consent can be properly alleged against any nation, as a treaty is the only peaceful and Christian mode by which one nation can transfer any vested national right to another. It is agreed among civilized men that all nations have an equal right to the free and uninterrupted navigation of the high seas. This opinion, the golden rule and the moral law of nations, condemn the British assumption of jurisdiction over the persons, ships and cargoes of neutrals on the high seas as destitute of any foundation in reason and equity, and as directly opposed to the fundamental doctrine of the Holy Alliance, to which Britain acceded, that the Gospel was the true international law, and that all nations ought to observe it in their intercourse with each other. Napoleon was not less extravagant in his pretensions. Britain having by a proclamation blockaded the coast of Europe from Brest to the Elbe, a distance of about eight hundred miles, Napoleon in retaliation, in November, 1806, by a decree, dated at his Imperial Camp in Berlin, declared, among other things, “the British islands are in a state of blockade. All commerce and correspondence with them are prohibited,” “every warehouse, all merchandise or property whatever, be

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longing to an Englishman, are declared good prize,”.and all Englishmen found by his troops or officers were allowed to be made prisoners Of war. As a rejoinder to the British order in council of November 11th, 1807, Napoleon at Milan, on the 17th of December, 1807, issued an Imperial Decree of which we insert a translated copy. It is in these words:

“Napoleon, Emperor of the French, King of Italy, Protector of the Rhenish Confederation.”

“Observing the measures adopted by the British government on the 11th November last, by which vessels belonging to neutral, friendly, or even powers the allies of England, are made liable not only to be searched by English cruizers, but to be compulsorily detained in England, and to have a tax laid on them of so much per cent. on the cargo, to be regulated by the British legislature.” - “Observing that by these acts the British government demationalises ships of every nation in Europe; that it is not competent for any government to detract from its own independence and rights; all the sovereigns of Europe having in trust the sovereignties and independence of the flag; that if by an unpardonable weakness, and which in the eyes of posterity would be an indelible stain, such a tyranny were allowed to be established

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into principles, and consecrated by usage, the English would avail themselves of it to assert it as a right, as they have availed themselves of the toler. ance of governments to establish the infamous principle, that the flag of a nation does not cover goods, and to give to their right of blockade an arbitrary extension, which infringes on the sovereignty of every State; we have decreed and do decree as follows: “1st. Every ship, to whatever nation it may belong, that shall have submitted to be searched by an English ship, or to a voyage to England, or shall have paid any tax whatever to the English government, is thereby, and for that alone, declared to be denationalised ; to have forfeited the protection of its king; and to have become English property., “2d. Whether the ships thus denationalised by the arbitrary measures of the English government, enter into our ports, or those of our allies, or whether they fall into the hands of our ships of war, or of our privateers, they are declared to be good and lawful prize. “3d. The British islands are declared to be in a state of blockade, both by land and sea. Every ship of whatever nation, or whatsoever the nature of its cargo may be, that sails from the ports of England, or those of the English colonies, and of the countries occupied by English troops, and proceeding to England or to the English colonies, or to the countries occupied by English troops, is good and lawful prize, as contrary to the present decree; and may be captured by our ships of war, or our privateers, and adjudged to the captor. “4th. These measures, which are resorted to only in just retaliation of the barbarous system adopted by England, which assimilates its legislation to that of Algiers, shall cease to have any effect with respect to all nations who shall have the firmness to compel the English government to respect their flag. They shall continue to be rigorously in force as long as that government does not return to the principle of the law of nations which regulates the relations of civilized states in a state of war. The provisions of the present decree shall be abrogated and null in fact, as soon as the English abide again by the principles of the law of nations, which are also the principles of justice and honor. “All our ministers are charged with the execution of the present decree which shall be inserted in the bulletin of the laws. NAPOLEoN.” This and the Berlin decree exhibit Napoleon's continental system adopted to compel Britain to

abandon her sweeping blockades and her unjust o

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