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Mr. Pinkney to Mr. Smithi London, Feb. 23, 1810.
Sir, I have the honour to transmit enclosed a copy of a notification of the blockade of the coast and ports of Spain, from Gijon to the French territory,” received from lord Wellesley two days ago. I have not yet given any answer to this communication. I have the honour to be, &c.
Lord Wellesley to Mr. Pinkney. Foreign Office, February
20, 1810. The undersigned, his majesty's principal secretary of state for foreign affairs, has received his majesty's commands to inform Mr. Pinkney, envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary from the United States of America, that the king has judged it expedient to signify bis commands to the lords commissioners of the admiralty, to establish a strict blockade of the coast and ports of Spain, from Gijon to the French territory, which will be maintained and enforced according to the usages of war acknowledged and observed in similar cases.
Mr. Pinkney is therefore requested to apprize the American consuls and merchants residing in England, that the whole of the Spanish coast above mentioned is, and must be considered as in a state of blockade ; and that from this time all the measures authorized by the law of nations, and the respective treaties between his majesty and the different neutral powers, will be adopted and executed, with respect to vessels attempting to violate the said blockade after this notice.
The undersigned requests Mr. Pinkney to accept the assurances of his high consideration.
Mr. Pinkney to Mr. Smith. London, March 21, 1810.
Sir,-On the 27th of December, Mr. Brownell delivered to me your letters of the 11th, 14th, and 23d of the preceding month, and on the Saturday following 1 had a conference with the marquis Wellesley, in the course of which I explained to him fully the grounds upon which I was instructed to request Mr. Jackson's immediate recall, and upon which the official intercourse between that minister and the American government had been suspended.
Lord Wellesley's reception of what I said to him was frank and friendly; and I left him with a persuasion that we should have no cause to be dissatisfied with the final course of his government on the subjects of our conference.
We agreed in opinion that this interview could only be introductory to a more formal proceeding on my part ; and it was accordingly, settled between us, that I should present an official letter to the effect of my verbal communication.
Having prepared such a letter, I carried it myself to Downing-street a few days afterwards, and accompanied the delivery of it to lord Wellesley with some explanatory observations, with which it is not, I presume, necessary to trouble you. You will find a copy of this letter enclosed, and will be able to collect from it the substance of the greater part of the statements and remarks which I thought it my duty to make in the conversation above mentioned.
Although I was aware that the answer to my letter would not be very hastily given, I certainly was not prepared to expect the delay which has actually occurred. The President will do me the justice to believe, that I have used every exertion, consistent with discretion and the nature of the occasion, to shorten that delay; which, though not ascribable, as I persuade myself, to any motive unfriendly or disrespeciful to the United States, may, I am sensible, have been productive of some disadvantage. A copy of the answer, received on the day of its date, is enclosed.
Between the delivery of my letter and the receipt of the reply, I had frequent conversations with lord Wellesley, some of which were at his own request, and related altogether to the subject of my letter. The rest were on other subjects; but Mr. Jackson's affair was incidentally mentioned in all. A particular account of what was said on these several occasions would scarcely be useful, and could not fail to be tedious. It will, perhaps, be sufficient to ok.
serve, that, although these conversations were less satisfactory to me than the first, there was always an apparent anxiety, on the part of lord Wellesley, to do what was con. ciliatory; and that, in the share which I took in them, I was governed by an opinion that, although it might become my duty to avoid, with more than ordinary care, all appearance of my being a party to the ultimate proceeding of the British government upon my official representation, it could not be otherwise than proper, in any turn which the affair could take, that I should avail myself of every opportunity of bringing to lord Wellesley's mind such considerations as were calculated to produce a beneficial influence upon the form and character of that proceeding. In what light the President will view the course, which after so much deliberation this government has adopted, it would not become me even to conjecture. If, either in manner or in effect, it should not fulfil his expectations, I shall have to regret that the success of my humble endeavours to make it what it ought to be, has not been proportioned to my zeal and diligence.
Of my letter to lord Wellesley, of the 2d of January, I have very little to say. I trust it will be found faithful to my instructions, and that, while it maintains the honour of my government, it does not neglect what is due to conciliation.
I am not sure that I ought to have quoted in it your letter to me of the 11th of November, of which the substance is undoubtedly given in the quotation from your subsequent letter of the 23d of the same month. But I saw no objection to a repetition of the just and amicable sentiments expressed in these quotations; and, as I had been induced, at my first interview with lord Wellesley, to read to his lordship each of the passages, I felt thai I was in some sort bound to the introduction of both into my written communication.
My letter avoids all discussion, and all invitation to discussion, on the business of the Chesapeake, on the orders in council
, and on other topicks which circumstances have connected with both. It does not, however, entirely pass them by; but contains such references to them as I supposed were likely to be useful. I feel assured, that in this respect I have acted in conformity with the President's intentions. Indeed, if I had acted otherwise, I should have
complicated and embarrassed a question, which I was ordered to simplify, and forced into combination the peculiar difficulties of several subjects, to counteract the wishes of my government upon each. I should have done so, too, without inducement; for I had no authority to make any demand or proposal in the cases of the Chesapeake and orders in council, or to act upon any proposal which lord Wellesley might be inclined to make to me; and it was perfectly clear that these subjects were not susceptible of any very material written illustrations which they had not already received. I did not, however, imagine that I was to make no use of the rellections upon them which you
had furnished in your letter of the 23d of November. I was, on the contrary, convinced that it would be proper to suggest them oecasionally in conversation, with a view to dispose lord Wellesley, and through him the British government, to seek such fair and liberal adjustments with us as would once more make us friends.
Accordingly, in my first conference, I spoke of the affair of the Chesapeake and the orders in council, and concluded my explanations, which did not lose sight of your letter of the 23d of November, by expressing a wish that lord Wellesley would allow me an early opportunity of a free communication with him on these heads. From the disposition evinced by lord Wellesley, in the notice which he took of these suggestions and of that wish, I was inclined to hope that it might be in my power to announce to you, by the return of the corvette, that a new envoy would be charged, as the successor of Mr. Jackson, with instructions adapted to the purpose of honourable accommodation. My letter to his lordship was written under the influence of this hope, and concludes, as you will perceive, with as strong an appeal to the disposition on which it rested as could with propriety be made.
I recurred, in subsequent conversations, as often as occasion presented itself, to the attack on the Chesapeake and to the orders in council. It soon appeared, however, that a new envoy would not, in the first instance, be sent out to replace Mr. Jackson, and consequently that an arrangement of these subjects was not in that mode to be expected. A special mission would still less be resorted 10; and it was not likely that approaches to negotiation would be made through a charge d'affaires. li was still VOL. VII.
barely possible that, though I had no powers to negotiate and conclude, the British government might not be disinclined to make advances through me, or that lord Wellesley would suffer me so far to understand the views of his government as that I might enable you to judge upon what conditions and in what mode arrangement was practicable. This was possible, though not very probable ; but it finally became certain that no definite proposal would, for the present at least, be made to us through any channel, and that lord Wellesley would not commit himself, upon the details to which I wished him to speak, but upon which, of course, I did not press him.
It only remains to refer you, for the actual sentiments of this government, with regard to future negotiation, to the concluding paragraph of lord Wellesley's letter to me, which is subtantially the same with his recent verbal explanations, and to add that, in a short conversation since the receipt of his letter, he told me that, if I thought myself empowered to enter upon and adjust the case of the Chesapeake, he would proceed without delay lo consider it with me.
I have not supposed that lord Wellesley's letter requires any other than the common answer; and I have accordingly given the reply of which a copy is now transmitted. I have the honour to be, &c.
Mr. Pinkney to Lord Wellesley. Great Cumberland Place,
Jan. 2, 1810. MY LORD,- In the course of the official correspondence which has lately taken place between the Secretary of State of the United States, and Mr. Jackson, his majesty's envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary at Washington, it has unfortunately happened, that Mr. Jackson has made it necessary that I should receive the commands of the President to request his recall, and that in the mean time the intercourse between that minister and the American government should be suspended.
I am quite sure, my lord, that I shall best consult your lordship’s wishes, and the respect which I owe to his majesty's governinent, by executing my duty on this occa