Page:English Caricaturists and Graphic Humourists of the nineteenth century.djvu/100

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42
ENGLISH CARICATURISTS.

America and England. and the American representative, having, on the 20th of May, transmitted to the English Court a copy of a French decree of the 20th of April, by which the decrees of Milan and Berlin were declared to be no longer in force, so far as American vessels were concerned, the Regent declared that, although he could not accept the terms of the decree as satisfying the conditions of his own declaration of the 23rd of April, yet, with the view of re-establishing friendly relations, he revoked the Orders in Council of 7th January, 1807, and April 26th, 1809, so far as regarded American vessels and American cargoes. Of this repeal, be it observed, the United States Government took no notice, it might be in consequence of the very reasonable proviso annexed to the Regent's concession, that unless the Government of the United States revoked their exclusion of British armed vessels from their harbours, while those of France were admitted, and their interdiction of British commerce, while that of France was allowed, the order was to be of no effect.

A very old English proverb tells us that "a stick is never wanting to beat a dog;" and where one nation wishes to fasten a quarrel on another, and the opportunity be favourable, there will be no difficulty in finding an excuse. There were other causes of discontent; in particular our claim to search not only for English goods, but for British seamen serving on board neutral vessels; and as the sovereignty of the seas depended on upholding these assumptions, our Government was as strenuous in enforcing them as the French emperor was bent on the maintenance of his continental system.

The Americans, however, were anxious for a war with this country, and in particular, the opportunity seemed eminently favourable for attempting the conquest of Canada. A motion in the House of Representatives, for the indefinite postponement of a bill for raising 25,000 additional troops, was rejected by a majority of 98 to 29. An outrageous bill, specially intended as an insult to England, was introduced into the same House about the end of April, "for the protection, recovery, and indemnification of American seamen," the first clause of which declared that every person who, under pretence of a commission from a foreign power, should impress upon