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Message, March 30, 1796, assigning reasons for not
ACCOMPANYING THE PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE OP APRIL 4,
[Continued from preceding volume.]
.Additional instruction to the commanders of all our a. R. ships of war and privateers, that have or may [l. s.] have letters of marque against France.
Given at our Court at St. James's, the 6th day of November, 1793, and in the 34th year of our reign.
That they shall stop and detain all ships laden with goods, the produce of any colony belonging to France, or carrying provisions, or other supplies, for the use of such colony, and shall bring the same, with their cargoes, to legal adjudication in our courts of admiralty.
By his majesty's command,
London, January 9, 1794.
My Dear Sir,—You will receive herewith the copy of an instruction to the commanders of his Britannick majesty's ships of war, Sic. dated the 8th of this month, concerning which I had another conversation this morning with the minister of the foreign department. On his saying, in the introduction of the subject, that he hoped I saw in it a manifestation of the good will of this government towards the United States, I observed, that it was certainly much less injurious to us than the instruction which it revoked, and might be as favourable as the prin
vQh. Ii. 1*
ciples, upon which this government acts, would admit: but I reminded him, that our ideas differed materially from theirs on this subject; and without repeating the arguments I had before addressed to him, both verbally and in writing, in support of our position, it was only necessary to say, that we did not admit the right of the belligerent powers to interfere farther in the commerce between neutral nations and their adversaries, than to prevent their carrying to them articles, which, by common usage, were established as contraband, and any articles to a place fairly blockaded ; that consequently the two first articles, though founded upon their principles of not suffering, in war, a traflick which was not admitted by the same nations in time of peace, and of taking their enemies property, when found on board of neutral vessels, were, nevertheless, contrary to what we contended to be the just principles of the modern law of nations; that indeed I had some doubt of the first article being altogether supported by their own principle; but supposing that article, as well as the rest, to be consonant to their former usage, I wished to know, whether their present re-publication imported any thing more than was before practised.—Lord Grenville answered, that the only reason for renewing them was, lest the present instruction, being a revocation of that of the 6th of November, might also be deemed to revoke these articles, which were connected with it.—His lordship then explained the motives which had induced this government to issue the present instruction—The first, he said, was the sincere desire of administration to maintain the best understanding and harmony with the United States—The second was, what he could not mention to me officially, but what he still thought it right I should be apprized of, that no misconception of their motives might be entertained; that he was aware of the delicacy of speaking to a foreign minister concerning the internal state of his country, neither could he expect an answer from me on the subject; but that their second reason was, by this conduct, to take away every pretext, from evil disposed persons among us, who, according to the intelligence he had received, were endeavouring to irritate our people against Great Britain, as well as to oppose the measures of our own government, and. in short, to reduce us to the present situation of France; a misfortune which they deprecated, as well for our sakes, as for the common welfare and tranquillity of mankind—He farther took occasion to observe, with respect to the conduct of our government in maintaining our neutrality, that, although there were some matters with which this government was not perfectly satisfied (and to which, for the same reason, they refrained from giving that opposition they thought they would be justified in doing) yet from the general tenour of the conduct of our government, they were convinced it was their desire to maintain a fair neutrality, which was an additional motive for their present conduct.—I, of course, said nothing of our internal affairs, nor of those of France. I assured him, however, that our government had been perfectly sincere in every measure relating to our neutrality; that they adopted it from a conviction that it was both just and politick, and had pursued it according to what they conceived to be just principles, knowing that such conduct could entitle us to the benefits to be derived from a neutral situation. I concluded, by asking what explanation could be given of what was passed in this business; and of the effect of the instruction of the 6th of * May upon such vessels as might, during the two months it had been in force, have fallen into the hands of their cruisers? Lord Grenville answered, that the order of the 6th November was intended to be temporary, and calculated to answer two purposes; one was to prevent the abuses which might take place, in consequence of the whole of the St. Domingo fleet having gone to the United States; the other was on account of the attack designed upon the French West-India islands, by the armament under Sir John Jervis and Sir Charles Grey; but that it was now no longer necessary to continue that regulation for those purposes—He added, that the instruction of the 6th of November only authorized the vessels to be brought in for legal adjudication: And upon being told, that notwithstanding such were the terms made use of, yet that the officers who would have to act under it must conceive it to extend to condemnation, because, otherwise, the order was unnecessary, as, without it, they had been authorized *o bring to adjudication all such vessels as they previously
- * deemed liable to condemnation: He replied, that the case of every vessel must be decided by its own merits; but that he conceived no vessel would be condemned under that, instruction, which would not have been previously liable to the same sentence. I informed Lord Grenville, that I should communicate this instrument to you by the packet. He said he should likewise forward it by the same conveyance, and at the same time, would send an answer to my memorial on the king's instruction of the 8th of June, to be communicated to you by Mr. Hammond.
I remain, dear sir, &c.
Instructions to the commanders of our ships of war and privateers that have or may have letters of marque against France. Given at our Court at St. James’s, the 8th day of January, 1794.
WHERE As by our former instruction to the commanders of our ships of war and of privateers, dated the sixth day of November, 1793, we signified that they should stop and detain all ships laden with goods the produce of any colony belonging to France, or carrying provisions or other supplies for the use of any such colony, and should bring the same with their cargoes to legal adjudication, we are pleased to revoke the said instruction, and in lieu thereof, we have thought fit to issue these our instructions to be duly observed by the commanders of all our ships of war and privateers that have or may have letters of marque against France.
1. That they shall bring in for lawful adjudication all vessels with their cargoes, that are laden with goods, the produce of the French West India Islands, and coming directly from any port of the said islands to any port in Europe.
2. "fat they shall bring in for lawful adjudication, all ships with their cargoes, that are laden with goods, the produce of the said islands, the property of which goods shall belong to subjects of France, to whatsoever ports the same may be bound.
3. That they shall seize all ships that shall be found attempting to enter any port of the said islands that is or