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In presenting these claims to the notice of Mr. Erving, the special minister of the United States of America, the undersigned minister of state, and chief of the department of foreign affairs, flatters himself, that he will lay them before his government, and endeavour to obtain for the parties interested, that indemnity, which the justice of their claims so evidently calls for; but which the intervention of his majesty's charge des affaires has not, to the present period, been able to accomplish.
The undersigned, in praying Mr. Erving to have the goodness to return to him the enclosures, avails himself of the
opportunity of renewing the continued assựrance of his high consideration. (Signed)
N. ROSENKRANTZ. Copenhagen, February 14th, 1812.
Copenhagen, February 17th, 1812. Sir, I have received your excellency's note of the 14th inst. relating to two claims of Danish subjects, on the government of the United States. I am uninstructed as to those claims otherwise than by that note and by the documents which it inclosed. In these I perceive with great satisfaction, that during a war of two years between the United States and France, at-a time when the Danish commerce was in activity, and the western ocean was covered with American cruisers, the causes of complaint afforded to this country were confined to these cases, one of them a mere question as to the amount of salvage exacted on a recapture, and both of them grounded on the errors or misintelligence of officers employed on foreign stations; that these reclamations do not involve any misconduct of American tribunals, any violation of public law, any offence of neutral rights, or any bad faith or unfriendly disposition in the government of the United States; but on the contrary that in every stage of the claims, a love of justice, a respect for neutral rights, and a frank, generous, and friendly character towards Denmark, has been continually manifested by that government; and finally, that complete satisfaction to the claimants has hitherto been delayed by causes, which, though beyond the controul of the executive, do not forbid the expectation of redress.
I shall have the honour to submit to my government a copy of your excellency's note, adding whatever may be proper on my part to promote the object of it. I renew, &c. (Signed)
GEORGE W. ERVING. To his excellency Mr. De Rosenkrantz, 1st minister of state, &c.
VOL. I. PART I.
I return herewith the printed papers which were enclosed in your excellency's note.
Note, No. 4. [Translation.]
Copenhagen, April 9th, 1812. The undersigned, minister of state of the department of foreign affairs, having laid before his majesty the note which Mr. Erving, the special minister of the United States of America, addressed to him the 4th of November last year, the principal object of which was to claim the revision of several sentences definitively pronounced by the supreme tribunals of admiralty, which the special minister considers ill founded, and in opposition to the principles he maintains ought to serve as a basis to the proceedings on prizes and rules for the judges, authorized to pronounce between the captors commissioned by the Danish government, and the captains and owners of whose vessels have been captured under the flag of the United States, is authorized by the orders of his majesty to make known to Mr. Erving, special minister of the United States, that the king's very particular sentiments of friendship for the United States, and his esteem for the president, cannot influence him to permit a revision of the sentences pronounced, terminating the causes arising from captures made by the cruisers under the flag of the state.
The principles which have formed the basis of the privateer regulations, and which have not been lost sight of in giving the instructions to the tribunals, charged to examine in matter of prizes, are the same as those generally received, and according to which the Danish tribunals of the admiralty judge, and decide on the captures of vessels under other flags than that of the United States.
The special minister will be pleased to find in this assertion, which is founded on the facts he may have made himself acquainted with since his residence here, that the American flag has on all occasions been treated in the maritime tribunals, conformably to the rules established, precisely in the same manner as the neutral flags of Europe.
The undersigned is moreover authorized to observe to Mr. Erving, special minister of the United States, that if permission were given to the captured, who have pleaded before the tribunals which have decided by a definitive sentence between the parties, to make in their favour revision of the causes terminated, the same indulgence should be given to the captors, who might complain of the sentences pronounced against them, and that in this manner the causes arizing from prizes would expe.
rience in definite delays, as prejudicial to the captured as to the captors.
The undersigned, in expressing to Mr. Erving his regret at not being able to grant what the special minister proposed to him, has the honour to renew to him the assurance of his high consideration. (Signed)
Copenhagen, 17th April, 1812. Sir, I have the honour herewith to inclose the reply of Mr. De Rosenkrantz to the last reclamation which I presented to him in the case of the “ Brutus,” copy of which was transmitted with my dispatch No. 16.
With the most perfect respect and consideration, sir, your very obedient servant, (Signed)
GEORGE W. ERVING.
Copenhagen, 16th April, 1812. [Translation.]
The undersigned minister of state, and chief of the department of foreign affairs, has not failed to attend to the reclamations which Mr. Erving, the special minister of the United States of America, made to him under date of the 230 September, 230 November, and 13th December of the last year, in favour of the different American vessels, and specially in that of the Brutus, Fenno, master, captured and brought into a port of Norway.
It is known to Mr. Erving, that the causes of the vessels mentioned in the list of the 13th December, have all been decided in favor of the captured, with the exception of the Maryland, now waiting a decision, and of the Brutus, which as well as the others have been reported to the king.
It is with regret that the undersigned is obliged to inform the special minister, that his majesty, after having examined into this affair, has thought proper to leave to the supreme tribunal of the admiralty the pronouncing of the sentence, conformably to the principles' and instructions prescribed to this tribunal by the regulations concerning privateers, and the ordinances regulating the proceedings before the supreme tribunal, and that this tribunal considers itself authorized to condemn both vessel and cargo for the reasons expressed in the sentence.
The decision of the king having been acted upon before the note of Mr. Erving, under date of the 10th instant, reached the
undersigned, as the special minister will see by the date of the annexed copy of sentence, he has not been able to make use of the reiterated reclamations of Mr. Erving.
The undersigned flatters himself to be able shortly to inform the special minister, that the cause of the ship Maryland has been decided favourably.
He has the honour to renew to him the assurance of his high consideration. (Signed)
Copenhagen, April 18th, 1812. Sir, I have the honour herewith to inclose copy of what I propose to send to Mr. de Rosenkrantz, in reply to his note of the 9th instant.
With the most perfect respect and consideration, sir, your very obedient servant, (Signed)
GEORGE W. ERVING. P. S. I shall leave with Mr. Forbes the documents belonging to the claims here, and the claimants’ letters ; but I think it most proper upon the whole to transmit to you the original notes of Mr.de Rosenkrantz, and they are therefore herewith inclosed.
G. W. E.
Mr. Erving to Mr. de Rosenkrantz.
Copenhagen, April 18, 1812. The undersigned, special minister of the United States of America, has had the honour to receive the note which his excellency Mr. de Rosenkrantz, first minister of state, and chief of the department for foreign affairs, addressed to him on the 9th instant, by order of his sovereign, in reply to the reclamation made by the undersigned, on the 4th November, 1811, against certain sentences of Danish tribunals, passed in preceding years, on vessels and cargoes the property of American citizens.
It appears that his majesty has not thought proper to authorize the minister of state to enter into discussion with the undersigned upon any of the various subjects which that reclamation embraces ; to contest or to acquiesce in any of the doctrines upon which it is basised ; to offer any
of the various injuries which it complains of, or to propose any correction of the abuses and malversations which it points out as the sources of those injuries.
It is, therefore, the duty of the undersigned formally to de. clare, that the government of the United States cannot rest sa
and to protect.
tisfied with such a mode of treating rights which it holds sacred, and will never sacrifice, and with such a rejection of the just claims of its injured citizens, which it will never cease to assert
The president will certainly receive with satisfaction the sen timents of particular friendship towards the United States, and of esteem for himself, which his Danish majesty has been pleased to profess; sentiments which he will readily reciprocate. Such sentiments he was eager and sincere in advancing ; but he will, at the same time, receive with surprise as well as with peculiar concern, the declaration with which these professions are accompanied, refusing a reparation for the wrongs which he has complained of; wrongs which, unredressed, cannot but be considered as being but little in accord with such sentiments.
These, his impressions, must be rendered still more forcible by the recollection that a suitable redress for similar wrongs
has never been altogether withheld by any of the belligerent powers with which the United States have occasionally found themselves in collision ; but, on the contrary, that each of the chief belligerents has, heretofore, furnished a signal example wherein the firm and temperate voice of justice has prevailed over an erroneous policy ; each has attended to, and respected, the remonstrances of the United States, satisfied their demands, and amply compensated the losses which the temporary adoption of false principles, or the misconstruction or malapplication of acknowledged principles, had brought upon their citizens ; thus recognizing the sovereignty of just laws and the indefectibility of the neutral rights which spring from them: nor can the president be now reconciled to any infringement of these, to the cruizing regulations of Denmark in those points which may offend them, or to the decisions of any tribunals, in as far as they may have the same tendency, by the only apology which his majesty has authorized the minister of state to offer for the wrongs complained of, viz. that these regulations and these decisions are founded upon the same principles which direct the conduct of Denmark towards neutral European powers, and that in cases wherein those powers have been thereby affected, no revision or retrospect has taken place : for, without entering into the enquiry whether there does or does not exist a European power neutral with regard to Denmark, and with which she can possibly come into collision on such subjects, without pointing out the difference between the neutral position of the U.States and that of any European power, or examining in any degree the conduct of Denmark towards the European powers, neutral or otherwise, it is sufficient to observe, that the United States have not made com