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Letter X.

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asserted, that America would be totally ruined by six months of war; that the people would not pay the taxes necessary to carry it on; that the President, for only barely talking of war, would be put out of his chair; that the "American Navy," as it was called by way of ridicule, would be "swept from the ocean in a month;" and, that, in short, a war with America was a thing for Englishmen to laugh at ; a subject of jest and mockery.

This was the style and tone of the hireling press in London, and, with very few exceptions, the country prints followed the stupid and insolent example. Events have already shown how false all these assertions were; and now, as is its usual practice, this same corrupt press is pouring forth new falsehoods, with a view of urging on the war, and of reconciling the people to its calamities.



During the two years that I was imprisoned in Newgate, for writing and publishing an article upon the flogging of certain English Militia-men, at Ely, in England, under the superintendence of German troops, and for which writing and publishing I, besides, paid your Royal Highness a fine of a thousand pounds, in behalf of your Royal Sire; during that time I endeavoured, in various ways, to expiate my offence, but in no way more strenuously than in trying to dissuade you from yielding to advice, which, as I thought, would, if followed, produce a war with the American States. That consequence, which I much dreaded, and which I laboured with so much earnestness to prevent, has unhappily taken place; and, though it may be of no service; though my efforts may still be unavailing; nay, though I may receive abuse instead of thanks for my pains, I cannot refrain; the love I bear my own country, and the regard I shall ever bear a great part of the people of America, will not suffer me to refrain from making one more trial to convince your Royal Highness, that the path of peace is still fairly open with that country, and that pacific measures are the only measures which ought even now to be pursued.

It was my endeavour to show your Royal Highness the real state of the case. I said, that the people of America, though wisely averse from war, as the great source of taxation and loss of liberty, would, neverthe less, submit to its inconveniences rather than submit to the terms which it was recommended, in our hireling prints, to impose upon them. I begged your Royal Highness to disbelieve those, who said that the American Government dared not go to war, and that Mr. Madison would not be re-elected. I besought you to reflect upon the consequences of rushing into a war with that country, amongst which consequences I included the forming of a great Naval force on the other side of the Atlantic, and the not less fearful measure of manning a French Fleet with American Sailors. Ŏur hired press affects to turn into jest a proposition said to have been made by the Presi

In one of my Letters to your Royal Highness, I endeavoured to convince you, that it was to the base, the prostituted press, of England, that we were likely to owe this war; I pointed out to your Royal Highness the means resorted to by that press in order to deceive the people of Eng-dent for the building of twenty frigates. land; and, I expressed my apprehensions, If he has made that proposition, however, that those means would succeed. That and, if the war continue only a year, your press, that vile and infamous press, which Royal Highness will find that the twenty is the great enemy of the liberties of Eu- frigates are launched upon the ocean. The rope and America as well as of England, ignorant and saucy writers in London, who was incessant in its efforts to cause it to be live up to their lips in luxury, and whose believed, that, in no case, would the Ame- gains are not at all dependant upon the rican Government dare to go to war. It prosperity of the country; these men care A

not how the people suffer. Their object is none of whom are clad in rags; none of to prolong the war, which suits the views whom are without meat upon their table of all those with whom they are connected. daily; not one soul of whom would condeThey assert whatever presents itself as like-scend to pull off his hat to any human being. And this is the nation, a nation, too, descended from ourselves, that the hirelings of the London press represent as destitute of resources!

ly to promote this object, and, therefore, they take no pains to ascertain whether the building of twenty frigates is," or is not, a matter of easy execution in America. If they did, they would find, that the Americans have the Timber, the Iron, the Pitch, the Hemp, all of the produce of their own country; all in abundance; all, of course, cheap; and, as to dock-yards, and other places to build ships, inquiry would teach these ignorant and insolent men, that, in many cases, the Timber grows upon the very spot where the ship is to be built, and that to cut it down and convert it into a ship is to do a great benefit to the owner of the land.

Perhaps, Sir, the resources of America are estimated according to the salaries which their public functionaries receive; and, measured by this standard, our new enemy must, indeed, appear wholly unable to contend against us for a single day; for the President, the Vice President, the Secretaries of State, the Treasury, War, Navy, and all their clerks; that is to say, the whole of the Officers of the Executive Government, do not receive more than about half the amount of Lord Arden's sinecure, And, then, as to the pecuniary means: as stated in the report to the House of Comto hear the language of our hirelings, one mons in 1808. Nay, the Apothecary to our would imagine, that the people of America Army does, according to the same report, were all beggars; that the country contain- receive, in clear profits, annually, as much ed scarcely a man of property; that there as twice the amount of the Salary of the were no such things as money, house goods, President of the United States. Our Chief cattle, or manufactures. They must, in- Justice, in salary and emoluments, as stated deed, confess that the country grows corn; in the Reports laid before Parliament, rebut, somehow or other, they would have us ceives annually a great deal more than Mr. believe, that there are, in America, no Madison, Mr. Monroe, Mr. Gallatin, and means; no resources. They cannot dis- the Secretaries of War and the Navy in guise from us the fact, that there are fine America, all put together. I shall, percities and towns; that there is a commer-haps, be told, that our public functionaries cial marine not far behind our own in point ought to receive more than those in Ameof magnitude; that the exports from the rica. That is a point which I shall leave country amount annually to more than half for others to dispute. I content myself as much as our exports, and that they con- with stating the facts; but, if I am told, sist of articles of first necessity; that the that we ought not to measure the salaries country contains all the articles of useful of our functionaries by the American standmanufactory, and that manufactures are ard, I must beg leave, in my turn, to promaking great progress; nay, that they have test against measuring the expenses of war arrived at great perfection; that the coun- in America by the standard of war expenses try is stocked with sheep, that great source in England. I must insist, too, that the of a nation's wealth, and that to so high a resources of a country are not to be measur degree have these animals succeeded, that ed by the standard of the salaries of its pubmany single proprietors have already flocks lic functionaries. I should take quite a of more than a thousand head. These facts different standard for the measuring of the the hired press cannot disguise from us; resources of America. We know, that, or, at least, from those amongst us, who upon a population of ten millions, in Great are not wilfully blind. Upon what ground, Britain, a revenue of about eighty millions then, Sir, would they have us believe, that of pounds is now annually raised; and America is destitute of resources? The that, in these ten millions of people we inthings which I have here spoken of, are clude, at least, two millions of paupers. things of which national riches consist: Now, then, if they raise but a tenth part as they form the means of making national much upon the eight millions of Americans, exertions; of sending forth fleets and ar- who have no paupers amongst them, their mies. And, we ought to bear in mind, eight millions will be four times as much that America, that this new enemy of ours, as was ever yet raised in the country in any has a population of more than eight mil-one year; and, it is, I think, not too much lions of souls; none of whom are paupers; to suppose, that an American will bear a

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war with America. I then said, and in the most distinct terms and without any hesitation, that America would never be content without a complete abandonment, on our part, of the practice of seizing persons on board her ships upon the high seas. I formed this opinion upon the general tone of the American prints; upon the declaration of the Congress; and especially upon information contained in letters received from friends in America, in whose hearts, strange, as it may appear to some, my imprisonment in Newgate seems to have revived former, feelings towards me. These letters, writ-, ten by persons (be it observed) strongly attached to England, for no others did I ever number amongst my friends; these letters assured me, that the people of America; not the government; not "a faction," as, our hirelings have called them; that the people of America, from one end of the country to the other, cried for war in preference to longer submission to the stopping, of their vessels on the high seas, and taking, persons out of them, at the discretion of our officers. Upon this information, coming, in some cases, three hundred miles from the Atlantic coasts, I could safely rely; and, therefore, I did not hesitate to pro

This, Sir, is a view of the means and resources of America very different, perhaps, from the views which some persons might be disposed to present to your Royal Highness; and, if this my view of the matter be correct, it surely becomes us to be very cautious how we force these resources into action, and set them in array against

us, backed, as they will be, with the im-nounce, that the repeal of the Orders in placable hatred of the American people. Council alone would not preserve peace; If, indeed, the honour of England required nor, was I a little surprised to hear Mr., the setting of these resources at defiance; Brougham declare, that if that measure did if England must either confess her disgrace, not satisfy America, he, for one, would must basely abandon her known rights; support a war against her.and we wis must knuckle down to America, or brave the consequences of what I have been speaking of; I should then say, in the words of the old Norman proverb (adopted by the French in answer to the Duke of Brunswick's proclamation)," let honour be "maintained, happen what will.”

The question, then, is now reduced to this: Does the honour of England demand, that she insist upon continuing the practice of which America complains, and agains which she is now making war? To an swer this question, we must ascertain, whether the practice of which America complains be sanctioned by the usages of nutions:" whether the giving of it up would be to yield any known right of England; because, in the case of the affirmative, to yield would be to make a sacrifice of our honour, rather than which I agree that we ought to continue the war to the last extremity, it being much less disgraceful to submit to actual force, than to submit to menaces.

tenth part as much taxes as an Englishman, in the prosecution of a war declared by the vote of representatives freely chosen by the people at large. Eight millions of pounds sterling, raised for three or four successive years, would build a navy that I should, and that I do, contemplate with great uneasiness; for, as I once before had the honour to state to your Royal Highness, the Americans are as good sailors as any that the world ever saw. It is notorious that the American merchant ships sail with fewer hands, in proportion to their size, than the merchant ships of any other nation; the Americans are active in their persons; they are enterprising: they are brave; and, which is of vast consequence, they are, from education and almost from constitution, SOBER, a virtue not at all less valuable in an army or a fleet than it is in domestic life.

But, Sir, the question is: does the honour of England require the making of this perilous experiment? In my opinion it does not; and I now, with the most anxious hope, that, at last, they may be attended with some effect, proceed respectfully to submit to your Royal Highness the reasons upon which this opinion is founded.

The dispute with regard to the Orders in Council I look upon as being at an end; for, though all is not quite clear in that respect, an arrangement seems to be matter of little difficulty. But, as I am sure your Royal Highness will do me the honour to recollect, I took the liberty to warn the public, the very week that the Orders in Council were done away, that that measure alone would do nothing towards preventing

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My opinion is, however, decidedly in the negative; and I will not disguise from your Royal Highness, that I never felt surprise more complete (to give my feelings no stronger appellation) than that which f experienced at reading the following passage in the letter of Lord Castlereagh to Mr. Russell of the 29th of August last; I cannot, however, refrain on ons

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impunity in deception, or, rather, encouragement to deceive, which such writers have so long experienced in England, I will not take upon me to determine; but, know well, that it is a most audacious falsehood; I know that America has never expressed even a wish to make us give up "the right of search ;" and, if her government were to attempt to accomplish such an end by war, I am quite sure that it would soon lose the support of the people. But," the right of search" is not, and never has been, for a moment, by any writer on public law, considered as a right to search for persons, except, indeed, military persons, and those, too, openly employed in the enemy's service. "The 66 right of search" is a right, possessed by a belligerent power, to search for and to seize as good prize, any articles contraband of war, such as guns, powder, and the like, which may be on board of a neutral ship going to an enemy's port; because, by carrying the said articles, the neutral does, in fact, aid the enemy in carrying on the war. This right has been further extended to any goods, belonging to an enemy, found on board a neutral vessel; because, by becoming the carrier of his goods, the neutral does, in fact, screen his goods, as far as possible, from capture, and does thereby also aid the enemy. This is what is called "the right of search;" a right, however, which, as far as relates to goods, has been often denied by neutral powers, and which we actually gave up to the threats of Russia, Sweden, and Denmark, towards the end of the last American war.

But, of this right, of no part of this right, do the Americans now complain. They yield to the exercise of this right in all its rigour. But, they deny that we have any right at all; they deny that we have a pretence to any right to stop thefr vessels upon the high seas, and to take out of them any persons whatever, unless, indeed, military persons in the service of our enemy; and, I repeat it, Sir, that I know of no usage of nations; that I know of no ancient usage of our own even; that I know of no law, maxim, principle, or practice, to sanction that of which the Americans complain, and in resistance of which they are now armed and at war; and, therefore, I am of opinion, that to abandon this practice would be no dishonour to England.

Lord Castlereagh talks of our right to impress British seamen from the mer


arisen from sheer ignorance, or from that" chant ships of a foreign state." Im

single point from expressing my surprise; namely, that, as a condition, preliminary even to a suspension of hostilities, the Government of the United States should "have thought fit to demand, that the Bri-I "tish Government should desist from its "ancient and accustomed practice of im"pressing British seqmen from the mer"chant ships of a Foreign State, simply on the assurance that a law shall hereafter "be passed, to prohibit the employment "of British seamen in the public or com❝mercial service of that State. The *British Government now, as heretofore, " is ready to receive from the Government "of the United States, and amicably to "discuss, any proposition which professes "to have in view either to check abuse in "exercise of the practice of impressment, ❝or to accomplish, by means less liable to "vexation, the object for which impress"ment has hitherto been found necessary, but they cannot consent to suspend the "exercise of a right upon which the naval "strength of the empire mainly depends, "until they are fully convinced that means " can be devised, and will be adopted, by "which the object to be obtained by the "exercise of that right can be effectually ❝ secured."

Being no Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, I shall, I trust, be excused if I am found to underst and less of the "ancient ❝and accustomed practice" of Great Britain as to this matter; but, Sir, I have never before heard, except from the London news-papers, that Great Britain did ever, until now, attempt to take persons of any description out of neutral vessels sailing upon the high seas; and very certain I am, that such a practice is not warranted, nay, that it never was thought of, by any of those authors who have written upon public law. I do not recollect a single instance in which we have exercised what is here called a right; and, if in the abandonment of the practice, we give up no known right of England, such abandonment can be no dishonour; unless, which would be a monstrous proposition, it be regarded as dishonourable to cease to do any thing, because the doing of it has been the subject of complaint and the object of resistance.

The men who conduct the London newspapers, and whose lucubrations are a sore affliction to their native country, have long been charging the Americans with a wish to make England give up her "right of "search." Whether this falsehood has

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