Page:Henry Adams' History of the United States Vol. 4.djvu/89

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The Orders in Council of Nov. 11, 1807, gave an impulse so energetic to the history of the United States; they worked so effectually to drive America into a new path, and to break the power and blot out the memory of Virginia and Massachusetts principles,—that every detail of their history was important. Englishmen were little likely to dwell on acts of which even at the time England was at heart ashamed, and which she afterward remembered with astonishment. To Americans alone the statesmanship of Spencer Perceval and George Canning was a matter of so much interest as to deserve study.

At the close of the year 1806 American merchants might, as always before, send cargoes of West Indian produce to any port on the continent not blockaded, provided they could satisfy British cruisers and courts that the cargo was in good faith neutral,—not French or Spanish property disguised. Jan. 7, 1807, Lord Howick issued the Order in Council which, under pretence of retaliation for Napoleon's Berlin Decree, cut off the coasting rights of neutrals. After that time the American merchant might still send a ship to Bordeaux; but if the ship, finding no