Page images

no other information in my possession) as relate to complaints by the government of France, against the commerce carried on by the citizens of the Unied States to the French island of St. Domingo.

january 10th, 1806. Th. JEFFERSON.


o -
From General TURREAu to the Secretary of State. ,

[ocr errors]

General TuRREAU, Minister Plenipotentiary of his Imperial and Royal Ma. jesty, to Mr. Madison, Secretary of State.

Washington, 2d jan. 1806. SiR-Formal orders of my government oblige me to infist upon the contents of my official note, of the 14th of Oétober, relative to the commerce, which isome inhabitants of the United States maintain with the rebels of 8t. Domingo, Not receiving any answer to that note, I had room to hope, that the go

vernment of the union would take prompt and effectual measures to put an

[ocr errors]

(Signed) TURREAU,
Faithfully translated.
J. WAGNER, Chief Clerk, Department of State.

From Mr. TAlley RAND to Gen. ARM stroN G, without date, but received in Gen. Armstrong's letter to the Secretary of State, of 10th Aug. 1805,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

Paris, 29th Thermidor, 13th year, (16th August, 1805.) Sir–Since the letter I had the honour to write to you on the 2d Thermidor, concerning the armaments which were making in the ports of the United 8tates, for the western parts of St. Domingo, fresh information upon this point confirms every thing which had been received. The adventures to St. Domingo are publickly made ; vessels are armed for war to protećt the convoys ; and it is in virtue of contracts, entered into between Dessalines and American merchants, that the latter send him supplies and munitions of war. I add, fir, to the letter I have the honour to write to you, a copy of a sentence given at Halifax in the matter of a merchant of New-York, who had conveyed into the revolted part of St. Domingo, three cargoes of gunpowder, and who was taken on his return by an English frigate. If even in the English tribunal, where this prize was condemned, the whole island of St. Domingo was confidered as a French colony, how can the fede

[ocr errors][merged small]

ral government tolerate that the rebels of this colony should continue to receive from America succours against the parent country It is impossible that that government should be ignorant of the armaments making in its ports. Too much publicity is given to them, not to render it reasonable, and it ought

[ocr errors]

to suffer longer, in its ports, armaments evidently directed against France.

Without doubt the federal government would not wish, in order to favour certain private speculations, to give new facilities to rebellion and robbery (brigandage); and tolerance of a commerce so scandalous would be unworthy of it. Neither your government nor his majesty can be any longer indifferent to it; and as the seriousness of the facts, which occasion this complaint, obliges his majesty to confider as good prize every thing which shall enter the port of St. Domingo, occupied by the rebels, and every thing coming out, he perfuades himself, that the government of the United States will take, on its part, against this commerce, at once illicit and contrary to all the principles of the law of nations, all the repressive and authoritative measures proper to put an end to it. This system of impunity and tolerance" can no longer continue ; and his majesty is convinced, that your government will think it due from its frankness promptly to put an end to it.

Receive, fir, the assurances of my high confiderations.


To his Excellency General Armstrong.

Faithfully translated.
J. WAGN ER, Chief Clerk Department State.


T H E viol AT to N of N F UTRAL rights, THE DE PREDAT to Ns on the

To the Senate and House of Representatives
of the United States.

IN my message to both Houses of Congress, at the opening of their present session, I submitted to their attention, among other subjects, the oppression of our commerce and navigation by the irregular practices of armed vessels, publick and private, and by the introduction of new principles, derogatory of the rights of neutrals, and unacknowledged by the usage of nations.

The memorials of feveral bodies of merchants of the United States are now communicated, and will develope these principles and practices, which are producing the most ruinous effects on our lawful commerce and navigation.

The right of a neutral to carry on commercial intercourse with every part of the dominions of a belligerent, permitted by the laws of the country (with the exception of blockaded ports, and contraband of war) was believed to have been decided between Great-Britain and the United States, by the fentence of their commissioners, mutually appointed to decide on that and other questions of difference between the two nations ; and by the actual payment of the damages awarded by them against Great-Britain, for the infractions of that right. When, therefore, it was perceived that the fame principle was revived, with others more novel, and extending the injury, instructions were given to the minister plenipotentiary of the United States at the court of London, and remonstrances duly made by him on this subject, as will appear by documents transmitted here with. These were followed by a partial and temporary suspension only, without any disavowal of the principle. He has, therefore, been instructed to urge this subjećt anew, to bring it more fully to the bar of reason, and to infift on rights too evident and too important to be surrendered. In the mean time, the evil is proceeding under adjudications

* Ne pourroit durer d'advantage,

[ocr errors]

Extrađ of a letter from the Secretary of State to JAMEs Monroe, Esq. dated Department of State, April 12, 1800.

A “THE papers herewith inclosed, explain particularly the case of the brig urora. “The sum of the case is, that whilst Spain was at war with Great Britain, this vessel, owned by a citizen of the United States, brought a cargo of Spanish produce, purchased at the Havana, from that place to Charleston, where the cargo was landed, except an infignificant portion of it, and the duties paid, or secured, according to law, in like manner as they are required to be paid, or secured, on a like cargo, from whatever port, meant for home consumption ; that the cargo remained on land about three weeks, when it was refhipped for Barcelona, in old Spain, and the duties drawn back, with a deduction of three and a half per cent, as is permitted to imported articles in all cafes, at any time within one year, under certain regulations, which were pursued in this case ; that the vessel was taken on her voyage by a British cruiser, and sent for trial to Newfoundland, where the cargo was condemned by the court of vice admiralty; and that the cause was carried thence, by appeal, to Great Britain, where it was apprehended that the sentence below would not be reversed. The ground of this sentence was, and that of its confirmation, if such be the result, must be, that the trade in which the vessel was engaged was unlawful, and this unlawfulness must rest, first, on the general principle assumed by Great Britain, that a trade from a colony to its parent country, being a trade not permitted to other nations in time of peace, cannot be made lawful to them in time of war; secondly, on the allegation that the continuity of the voyage from the Havana to Barcelona was not broken by landing the cargo in the United States, paying the duties thereon, and thus fulfilling the legal pre-requifites to a home consumption ; and, therefore, that the cargo was subject to condemnation, even under the British regulation of January, 1798, which so far relaxes the general principle as to allow a direct trade between a belligerent colony, and a neutral country carrying on such a tradeWith respect to the general principle which disallows to neutral nations, in o of war, a trade not allowed to them in time of peace, it may be observed, First, That the principle is of modern date ; that it is maintained, as is belişved, by no other nation but Great Britain ; and that it was assumed by her under the auspices of a maritime ascendency, which rendered fuch a principle subservient to her particular interest. The history of her regulations on this subject shews, that they have been constantly modified under the influence of that confideration. The course of these modifications will be seen in an appendix to the fourth volume of Robinson’s Admiralty Reports. Secondly, That the principle is manifestly contrary to the general interest of commercial nations, as well as to the law of nations settled by the most approved authorities, which recognizes no restraints on the trade of nations not at war, with nations at war, other than that it shall be impartial between the

« PreviousContinue »