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usage of capturing the commercial ships the dominion of France, and all powers and cargoes of an enemy at war was, he that covered this extent of country were contended, as old as war itself; it was an leagued with her in the war; and on the usage asserted by every nation, and a right other side were Russia, Prussia, and Swestill more important than that of capturing den, co-operating with us. The only an enemy's ship of war; because the coni-powers that were neutral, were Austria, mercial vessels of an enemy contributed so which had only the single port of Triest; greatly to increase his revenues and re- Denmark, which had no means of supply, sources for carrying on and protracting war; ing its colonies, or of disposing of its coand yet this was the sole ground of pretence lonial produce, if we carried a general inupon which the French government pro- terdict into execution ; Portugal, which ceeded to declare the ports of these is- would feel the same disabilities; and Ame. lands in a state of blockade ! Ilis hon. and rica, with respect to which such an interlearned friend did not venture to sustain dict would be the nieans of infiuite distress. the conduct of France on this occasion ; \He could discover that a jealousy of Amehe was of opinion, that neutral nations bad rica was at the bottom of all these comfull right to retaliate ; and that those na- plaints. But was it to be conceived that tions would allow the like right to this we also should not suffer by adopting and country, and of having recourse to similar enforcing a total interdict? For if we shut means for distressing an enemy, who had so the door upon neutral commerce, we must flagrantly outraged the law of nations. also shut it in a great degree, upon our The question, then, to be considered was own. If the commerce of neutrals with the merely, to what extent it would be politic continent was stopped, we must be totally and advisable to exercise that right, with- debarred from all access to the continental out first giving due notice to those nations? market. If neutrals are deprived of the Were we to press and crush unoffending continental market for their colonial promerchants by the actual execution of seve-duce, they will not have the means of rities to the utmost extent of the enemy's purchasing from us. America exports menace ? He believed the house would not to the continental nations, but imports go with his hon, and learned friend so far, chiefly from Great Britain. The combut would rather prefer mild and moderate merce
of neutrals with our eneniies measures at first, if likely to be efficacious. was also necessary to us in another view. It became a great and magnanimous nation We wanted some of the produce of the to be always moderate in the application of enemy's country for our manufactures ; its power; and he was sure the house the silks of Italy for instance, and the would approve of the reluctance with wools of Spain. We wanted a little of tbe which his majesty's ministers yielded to wines and brandies of France to cheer and the necessity of adopting measures of re- comfort us. France had no maritime taliation upon the enemy which would oc- power to enforce her decree; but if her casion so much distress on neutrals. It intimidation deterred neutrals from coming was not denied that some steps in retalia- to us, it would be tben time enough to reţion were necessary, and the question was, cur to extreme severity. The restriction how far the ships that had been taker were of the commerce between one port of the adequate ; his honourable friend said, we enemy and another, was the measure of ought to have gone the length of interdict- present retaliation, which it was conceived ing all commerce with France, and sug. would fall heaviest on the enemy, with the gested some measures which the house was least possible anpoyance to neutrals
, to compare with those of ministers now Much trade was carried on from port to carrying into execution. It was necessary port of the enemy under neutral names. to allow a fair trial to what ministers had the whole trade of the enemy was, in fact, adopted. A total probibition of all com- carried on under a system of neutraliza. merce in the produce of the enemy would tion. This trade from port to port of the be attended with the most distressing conse- enemy, was a trade in which neutrals were quences to the few provinces that re- not concerned in time of peace, though mained neutral, and perhaps with some they had a right to exercise it. Their in, mischief to ourselves. "Spain, Italy, Hol- terference in it increased in proportion as lapd, the North of Germany, all the coast our maritime superiority grew on the de from the Elbe to the gulph of Venice, struction of the marine of the enemy là with the exception of Portugal, were under times when maritime power was nearly bay lanced, every country carried on this trade this great metropolis, in neutral vesgels. in its own bottoms by means of convoys. His bon. and learued friend, therefore, It was thus carried on in time of peace. was not correct in stating that the interrupThe restriction now imposed, while it would tion of tbe coasting trade would be no great be very annoying to the enemy, would still al injury to France, or that the order of coun. low to neutrals a gainful commerce, by ma- cil for that purpose signified nothing. That ķing their ports the entrepôts between one order was but one step, and an important enemy's port and another. It was honour- step, of those that would, if necessary, be able to us as a great nation, that in propor-resorted to for retaliation. From the mantion as the enemy was violent, we were mo- ner in which this subject had been treated, derate. Our moderation would be, besides it might be supposed that no such measure the means of procuring us the supplies of as that of the enemy had ever been rethe articles we wanted from the enemy, sorted to before. But in the administraand of introducing our commodities among tion of that illustrious statesman, now no them. He would ask, whether the inter- more, (Mr. Pitt) and whose loss he regretvention of neutrals would not afford a ted as much as any member of that house, great facility to what Buonaparte was most much more rigorous measures had been hostile to, the introduction of British goods resorted to by the enemy than the present. into the countries under bis controul, and in the year 1797, after the French had our obtaining from those countries the sup- made peace with Austria, and the army, plies we wanted from them. The com- which had been arrogantly called the Army merce from port to port, in a line of coast of England, had been collected at Brest, extending from the Elbe to Venice, with with a view to turn their whole force the exception of Portugal, could not be against this country; in that year, on the carried on by small craft, creeping along 29:h Nivose, year six, that is, in Christian shore under the protection of batteries. language, on the 19th day of January, 1798, Small craft could not creep from Amster- a decree was passed by the French governdam to Bourdeaux, from Bourdeaux to Bar- ment, making all vessels that should be celona, from thence to Leghorn, and from freighted in the whole or in part with EnLegborn to Venice. The number of ves- glish commodities, good prizes. A vessel sels employed under the system of neutra- proceeding from Copenhagen to Tranque. lization in this extent was very great, and bar, or from Lisbon to the Brazils, which the trade itself was of vital importance to had but a single bale of English goods on France ; and was it to be contended, that board, was to be confiscated, if captured the application of our maritime superiority by French cruizers. The house would to the prevention of this trade on so vast perceive that the former decree was niuch a line of coast, was a measure that would inore atrocious than the late one. be attended gith no effect, at a time when der lo sbew what bad been the feeling of our cruizers were so numerous on every the neutral nations on the subject of that station, that no ship could move without decree, he need only refer to the speech of the greatest risk of being captured? The the president of the United States on openlearued gent. then adverted to the opinion ing the session of congress, on the 8th of of an hon. and learned friend (sir W. Scott) December, 1798, in which he declared, who presided over the admiralty court, rela- that “ as the decree of the 19th of the pretive to the importance and extent of the ceding January was still in force, in conse. coasting trade. This was an authority quence of the failure of an atteinpt to prowhich the house would look to with re- cure its repeal, he considered it as an unespect. The opinion had been stated by that quivocal act of war, and a breach of the learned gent. in giving judgement in a cause independence and sovereignty of neutral tried before him, and the coasting trade was nations, which was only to be met by a represented by him as one of the grealest determined resistance.” As the chief ma. accommodations to any country. Soine con- gistrate of America bad expressed so strong ception might be formed of the importance a sense of the aggression in that instance, of it, if gentlemen would suppose France there was no ground to suppose that he to be possessed of the same naval superio- would not act as decidedly on the present rity, which this country at present had, occasion. And this was another.consideand that the coals of Newcastle were to be ration why this country ought to abstain, brought to the port of London, and every for the present, from any act which might other necessary for the consumption of prove grievous to the trade of America;
until it should be seen whether the Ameri- such measures as should be deemed necan government would follow the same cessary for a complete retaliation. On all course now as in 1798. The decree of these grounds, he thought that no good 1798 had continued in force during the reason bad been stated for the production last peace, and though it had been evaded of the paper. by means of neutral ships, no vessel was Mr. Jacob was of opinion, that this coutallowed to enter a port of France, without try ought always to assert its claims to its a certificate of origin from the French con. full rights, bui, at the same time, he did sul, or commercial agent, at the port not think that, in the present circumstanwhence it had sailed. Yet that decree had ces of Europe, it should exercise them to passed unnoticed in that instance, and, on their full extent. If the whole colonial the authority of that precedent, 'it was his trade was to be stopped, he would ask the opinion that no measures should be taken learned gent. whether he thought it would in the present case, except such as would be more injurious to France than Great be attended with as little rigour as possible Britain ? Above one half of the colonial to the trade of neutrals. As to the mea- produce consumed in France was British sare proposed by his hon. and learned colonial produce. What inconvenience, friend to be substituted for the order of therefore, inight not result, if the trade council, namely, that no ships with colo- that supplied France with that produce nial produce should be suffered to enter was to be put a stop to? If the measure the ports of France; did he suppose that proposed by the learned gent. were to be such a measure would be more distressing adopted, the only effect of it would be, that to the trade of France than to that of it would be injurious to that already sufferneutrals, or to our own trade ? Il would ing class of the community, the West-India be injurious to our trade, because the neu- merchants and planters, and irritating to trals, by carrying the colonial produce of neutrals, and the whole of the remaining cithe enemy, are enabled to export our ma- vilized states of the world. He was of nufactures in great quantities. The house opinion consequently, that no gound had of commons would not therefore, in the been laid for the production of the paper. exercise of its inquisitorial powers, inter- Lord Castlereagh rose to niake a few obfere with this act of the executive, until it servations, just to shew the grounds of the should see what effect would be produced vote he meant to give on the motion of his by the measure that had already been re- learned friend. It did not appear to him sorted to. It was his opinion that the cut-that any arguments of any weight had been ting off of the coasting trade would be brought forward to resist the able argu. highly distressing to France. But if France ments of his learned friend, and certainly should, in the madness of her policy, think no parliamentary objection had been started of shutting up the remaining neutral ports the production of a paper, which was upon the continent, she would soon find already in the hands of every body in the that they were now as necessary to her as country. The hon. and learned gent. opto Great Britain. As soon as she should posite (sir J. Nicholls), who was justly enbegin to feel the distress arising from shut. iitled to the confidence of that house and ting up those ports, she would open again of the country, had not produced any suffithose ports which were at present in her cient objection against the motion of his occupation. It was therefore his opinion, I learned friend, and, as that hon. and learned that ihey should in the first instance make gent. was so fully competent to decide trial of the measure that had been adop- upon this question, he did not suppose ted, as they would at all times bave it in that any hon. member who should follow their power to resort to measures of grea- hin, would be more successful in the arguter extremity, if such should be found ne- ments he might bring forward. The right cessary. The adoption of moderate mea- of war he was ready to admit was a prerosures in the first instance, would be credit- gative of the crown, but then it was subject able to the national character, and in the to the controul of parliament. He connational character consisted, in a great de- tended that his learned friend opposite was gree, the national strength. If the enemy bound to make out a case, to shew that the should persist in their decree; and attempt papers ought not to be produced, before to enforce it, then he was convinced that he could call upon him, or his hon. and the country had sufficient means, and his learned friend near him, to make out & majesty, sufficient vigour, to resort to case of the paramount necessity for its production. If, however, they were so called unto war. But the claims advanced by on, their difficulty would not be great, be- France in the present instance, not only cause they could shew that the measure extended to neutrals, but to the free navithat had been resorted to was inadequate gation of the mercantile shipping of the to its professed object. Whatever objec-evemy.
As the claims now urged by tion there might be to the production of France were so much larger than any that the paper, on the ground of the adequacy had been before made, gentlemen should of the measure, or of the delicacy of his take care not to assist the views of the majesty's ministers on the subject, they French government by opposing the motion would more properly apply to the pro- of his learned friend, which might lead to ceeding that was to be grounded upon the the adoption of such measures as would production of the paper. This question visit the aggressions of the French governwas one of too much importance for any ment upon itself, the object of his hon. man to bring forward lightly; or unless he friend being only to shew that the order was could state sufficient ground for the pro- inadequate to its object. There was as duction of the paper. He derived some great a difference between the situation of consolation from the argument of the this country at present and in the year learned gent. opposite, that this measure 1798. Though France had then consiwas not fival. He was surprised that his derably added to her territory, she had learned friend had been so misunderstood, not identified with the whole of Europe as as to have it conceived that the order of she does at present. She had the central council would have no practical effect. of Holland it was true, but she had not the Ou the contrary, he had allowed that it ports of the North, Hamburgh, and the would have a great practical effect; but as Hanse towns. She had not extended herthe present circumstances of the country, self over the whole of Europe. She had the arising out of the order of the French go- north of Italy, but not the south, or the vernment, were different from any in which kingdom of Naples. Her dominion bad it had ever been placed, he contended that not been established over Spain, and Pormore vigorous measures should have been tugal was a substantively independent adopted. As to the period of our history, kingdom, and not tributary as at present, which had been alluded to, he should pre- when she is allowed to import articles of sently shew that the time of the American British produce, only by paying a tribute government had been wasted in negocia- to the French government. The relative tions and in intrigues to corrupt the French situation of Europe had therefore underministers. Whatever might be the feelings gone a great change since the year 1798. of government towards America, whatever The influence and ihe power of the French might be the principles on which the late government had been then great and fornegociation had been conducted, these midable; but they could not oploy with were no reasons for delaying the adoption such effect, as at present, the pressure of of more vigorous measures of retaliation their military force against the commerce against the enemy. He thought it impos of this country; and, therefore, a greater sible that the house could form an adequate forbearance might have been practised opinion whether the measure of govern- towards them than at present. He conment was wise or unwise, adequate or in- tended, that considerations of forbearance adequate, unless they should look at the respecting America, should not induce the state of the country as to its maritime house to abstain from adopting, not an act rights. It would be futile for him to dwell, of practical injustice, but the measures in this instance, on the importance of its which the circumstances of the times re. maritime rights to this country, but it was quired, namely, to warn American vessels, niecessary for the house to look a little at in the first instance, against entering French the two systems of maritime rights which ports ; but not to capture theni, unless it had under different circumstances been they should be found contumaciously bent called on to accede to. They would re. on entering the ports of France. What collect the claims made by the armed veu- had been said, therefore, did not appear to trality of 1780, and of 1800, that neutral them to be any ground why his hon, and ships should make free goods, and that learned friend should desist from proseneutral vessels sailing under convoy of cuting his motion, because it would be obships of war should not be molested, and vious, that what was lost to this country by that such claims had been resisted eyen its forbearance, would be gained by France. Vol. VIII.
It was also desirable, that the house should merchant sbould be afraid to riķk his cargo, have a more definite statement of that un- which he might cover by insurance, lest beexplained period that was lo elapse be- fore its arrival at ils destination, it should be tween the present measure, and the more captured,we should defer taking the vigorous vigorous measures that were to be adopted measures, which the measures of the enemy by government. Notwithstanding the vast bad rendered necessary? That this country superiority of our navy, uncontested and was to wait till it should know what might incontestable, France bad a surprising fa- be the representatious of the American go cility of importing the produce of her own, vernmeut, by the conduct wbich chat goand the Spanish colonies, to as great an exovernment had adopted during the last war, tent as during peace. Unless some mea- when it was every way in a better condisures of more vigorous retaliation should tion to resist the injustice of the enemy? be adopted, she would bereafter have a But if they were to wait till the American larger share of this trade than beretofore, goverument should insist upon those prigbecause she would not only supply herselfciples, hy. wbich the law of natious is upwith colonial produce, but absolutely have held, they might wait till doomsday, as, & monopoly of all the continental markets, whatever might be their feelings, the come against the colonial produce of this country. mercial people would attend to their com. It was impossible for bim, with the docu. mercial interests. Since the publication ments he had, to state to what extent this of this decree, which had been ai first genewould take place, but certainly Franceral as to all nations, some communication would be put in a better situation than this had taken place between the American niicountry; and the house would be able to nister in this country and the French gojudge of this question, when aware, that the vernment, in consequence of which some object of the French government, as stated practical relaxation of the decree bad taken in her decree, was to annihilate the trade place. This was one ground why we and commerce of this country. It might should look upon America with jealousy ; assist in forming his judgment, to look at and it was an aggravation that she bad, by the amount of colonial produce imported a secret understanding with the French into, and exported from America in the government, coutrived to take her shipping last year. The gross amount of its imports out of the operation of the decree, that was of the value of 75 millions of dollars, was at first general, and placed herself in a of which 28 millions of dollars value bad situation of connivance with the French been re-exported to Europe, the greater government. An American agent might part of France, by fictitious changes or have represented to the French governownership. However, it was contrived; ment, how little it could gain by the exethe ainount of the export he took from an cution of the decree, so far as America was official American docunient, and the pro- concerned ; that France had not the power duce reached the ports of France, wherein of intercepting American vessels, and a revenue was collected upon it, that ena. therefore as she could not gain much, that bled France to carry on the war against this she might ihe niore readily take from the country; and all this from our forbearance, Americans the necessity of vindicating relative to neutrals. If they were to look their own rights, by resisting the execuonly to the question of insurance, they tion of the decree, and leave their neutral could find that a cargo from a French flag still to cover French colonial produce. colony to a port of the mother-country, It was not surprising that the deputies of without some protection of convoy, can be Hamburgh, and the Hans Tawas, had insured on the same terms as a vessel from failed in their mission to the French ruler; Jamaica to Great Britain, whose squadrons but when the case of America had been cover the ocean. By these means the re- stated to him, it was too obvions not to venue of France was fed as effectually as awaken him to a sense of the policy of at. in time of peace, and the French go-tending to it. If it should not also awaken vernment enabled to carry on the war with his majesty's government to a sense of so much facility and effect. But the learned what they ought to do, parliament ought gent, opposite had said, that we had no to make them alive to the measures which right to interfere until we should have as- should be adapted in consequence of the certained whether America would submit aggressions of the French government, and to the aggression of France. Did the hon. the supineness of his majesty's ministers. geut. mean to say, that, until the American Ou all these grounds he should support