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May 20 1812: Russell to Castlereagh


On May 20, 1812, Jonathan Russell presents to Lord Castlereagh the French Decree that the American Representative in Paris, Joel Barlow, had obtained from the Duke of Bassano. The Decreewas dated April 18, 1812, and was more than likely a forgery or, at least, was post dated. Nevertheless, Russell uses it to try to get the British to repeal the Orders in Council. Russell writes a letter to Castlereagh enclosing the Decree.

Mr. Russell to Lord Castlereagh.
18, Bentinck Street, May 20, 1812.
The undersigned, charge des affaires of the United States of America, has the honor to transmit to Lord Castlereagh authentic copies of a decree purporting to be passed by the Emperor of the French on the 28th day of April, 1811; of a letter addressed by the French Minister of Finances to the Director General of the Customs, on the 25th day of December, 1810; and of another letter of the same date from the French Minister of Justice to the President of the Council of Prizes.
As these acts explicitly recognise the revocation of the Berlin and Milan decrees in relation to the United States, and distinctly make this revocation to take effect from the 1st day of November, 1810, the undersigned cannot but persuade himself that they will, in the official and authentic form in which they are now presented to His Britannic Majesty's Government, remove all doubt with respect to the revocation in question, and, joined with all the powerful considerations of justice and expediency so often suggested, lead to a like repeal of the British orders in council, and thereby to a renewal of that perfect amity and unrestricted intercourse between this country and the United States which the obvious interests of both nations require.
The undersigned avails himself of this occasion to assure his lordship of his highest consideration. JONATHAN RUSSELL.
The Right Hon. Lord Viscount Castlereagh, &c.Note.—For the enclosures, see correspondence between Mr. Barlow and the Duke of Bassano, communicated herewith.

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