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France: Decrees on Trade 1793-1810

Copy of the decree of the National Convention of the 9th of May, 1793, 2nd year of the republic of France.


The National Convention, after having heard the report of their Marine Committee; considering that the flag of the neutral Powers is not respected by the enemies of France; that two cargoes of flour arrived at Falmouth in Anglo-American vessels, and purchased before the war for the service of the marine of France, have been detained in England by the Government, who would not pay for them, except at a price below that at which flour had been sold:

That a vessel from Papenburg, called the Therisia, commanded by Captain Hendrick Kob, laden with divers effects belonging to Frenchmen, has been conducted to Dover, the 2nd of March last, by an English cutter:

That a privateer of the same nation has carried into the same port of Dover, the 18th of the same month, the Danish ship Mercury, Christianlund, Captain Freuchen, expedited from Dunkirk on the 17th with a cargo of wheat for Bordeaux:

That the ship John, Captain Shkleley, laden with near six thousand quintals of American wheat, bound from Falmouth to St. Malo, has been taken by an English frigate, and conducted to Guernsey, where the agents of the Government have simply promised to pay the value of the cargo because it was not on account of the French;

That one hundred and one French passenger of different professions, embarked at Cadiz, by order of the Spanish minister, in a Genoese ship called the Providence, Captain Ambrose Briasco, bound to Bayonne, been shamefully pillaged by the crew of an English privateer:

That the divers reports which are successively made by the maritime cities of the republic announce that these same acts of inhumanity and injustice are daily multiplied and repeated with impunity throughout the seas:

That, under such circumstances, all the rights of nations being violated, the French people are no longer permitted to fulfil, towards the neutral Powers in general, the vows which they have so often manifested, decrees as follows:

Art. 1.� The French ships of war and privateers may arrest and bring into the ports of the republic, the neutral vessels which shall be laden wholly, or in part, either with articles of provision belonging to neutral nations, and destined for an enemy's port, or with merchandises belonging to an enemy.

Art. 2. The merchandise belonging to an enemy shall be declared good prize, and confiscated to the profit of the captors; the articles of provisions belonging to neutral nations, and laden for an enemy's port, shall be paid for according to their value in the place to which they were destined.

Art. 3.� In all cases the neutral vessels shall be released as soon as the unlading of the articles of provision arrested, or of the merchandises seized, shall have been effected.� The freight thereof shall be paid at the rate which shall have been stipulated by the persons who shipped them.� A just indemnification shall be allowed, in proportion to their detention, by the tribunals who are to have cognizance of the validity of the prizes.

�Art. 4.� These tribunals shall be bound to transmit, three days after their decision, a copy of the inventory of the said articles of provision or merchandise, to the Minister of Marine, and another to the Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Art. 5.� The present law, applicable to all the prizes which have been made since the declaration of war, shall cease to have effect as soon as the enemy Powers shall have declared free and not seizable, although destined for the ports of the republic, the articles of provision belonging to neutral nations, and the merchandises laden in neutral vessels, and belonging to the Government or citizens of France.


American State Papers: Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States. Class I.: Foreign Relations. Selected and edited under the authority of Congress. Washington, DC: Gales and Seaton, 1832-1861.

Placed on the Napoleon Series March 2003


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