Research Subjects: Government & Politics



The Acts, Orders in Council, &c. of Great Britain [on Trade], 1793 - 1812

Order in Council.  At the court at Carlton House, the 21st of April, 1812: Present, His Royal Highness the Prince Regent in council.

Whereas, the Government of France has, by an official report, communicated by its Minister for Foreign Affairs to the Conservative Senate, on the 10th of March last, removed all doubts as to the perseverance of that Government in the assertion of principles, and in the maintenance of a system not more hostile to the maritime rights and commercial interests of the British empire, than inconsistent with the rights and independence of neutral nations, and has thereby plainly developed the inordinate pretensions which that system, as promulgated in the decrees of Berlin and Milan, was from the first designed to enforce:

And whereas His Majesty has invariably professed his readiness to revoke the orders in council adopted thereupon, as soon as the said decrees of the enemy should be formally and unconditionally repealed, and the commerce of neutral nations restored to its accustomed course:

His Royal Highness the Prince Regent, anxious to give the most decisive proof of His Royal Highness's disposition to perform the engagements of His Majesty's Government, is pleased, in the name and on the behalf of His Majesty, and by and with the advice of His Majesty's privy council, to order and declare, and it is hereby ordered and declared, That if, at any time hereinafter, the Berlin and Milan decrees shall, by some authentic act of the French Government, publicly promulgated, be absolutely and unconditionally repealed, then, and from thenceforth, the order in council of the seventh day of January, one thousand eight hundred and seven, and the order in council of the twenty-fifth day of April, one thousand eight hundred and nine, shall, without any further order, be, and the same are hereby declared from thenceforth to be, wholly and absolutely revoked: And further, that the full benefit of this order shall be extended to any ship or cargo captured subsequent to such authentic act of repeal of the French decrees, although, antecedent to such repeal, such ship or vessel shall have commenced, and shall be in the prosecution of a voyage which, under the said orders in council, or one of them, would have subjected her to capture and condemnation; and the claimant of any ship or cargo, which shall be captured or brought to adjudication, on account of any alleged breach of either of the said orders in council, at any time subsequent to such authentic act of repeal by the French Government, shall, without any further order or declaration on the part of His Majesty's Government on this subject, be at liberty to give in evidence in the High Court of Admiralty, or any Court of Vice-Admiralty before which such ship or cargo shall be brought in for adjudication, that such repeal by the French Government had been, by such authentic act, promulgated prior to such capture; and upon proof thereof, the voyage shall be deemed and taken to have been as lawful as if the said orders in council had never been made; saving, nevertheless, to the captors such protection and indemnity as they may be equitably entitled to in the judgment of the said court, by reason of their ignorance, or uncertainty as to the repeal of the French decrees, or of the recognition of such repeal by His Majesty's Government at the time of such capture.

His Royal Highness, however, deems it proper to declare, that should the repeal of the French decrees, thus anticipated and provided for, prove afterwards to have been illusory on the part of the enemy, and should the restrictions thereof be still practically enforced or revived by the enemy, Great Britain will be compelled, however reluctantly, after reasonable notice, to have recourse to such measures of retaliation as may then appear to be just and necessary.

And the right honorable the Lords Commissioners of His Majesty's Treasury, His Majesty's principal Secretaries of State, the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, and the Judges of the High Court of Admiralty and Courts of Vice-Admiralty, are to take the necessary measures herein as to them shall respectively appertain.



Placed on the Napoleon Series April 2003


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