[At least as early as 1796 the French government conceived
the idea of forcing its English enemy to cry for peace by ruining her commerce.
This became a cherished policy of Napoleon after he had given up the idea of
FROM OUR IMPERIAL CAMP AT
November 21, 1806
Napoleon, emperor of the French and king of
2. That she regards as an enemy every individual belonging to the enemy's state, and consequently makes prisoners of war not only of the crews of armed ships of war but of the crews of ships of commerce and merchantmen, and even of commercial agents and of merchants traveling on business.
3. That she extends to the vessels and commercial wares, and to the property of individuals, the right of conquest which is applicable only to the possessions of the belligerent power.
4. That she extends to unfortified towns and commercial ports, to harbors and the mouths of rivers, the right of blockade, which, in accordance with reason and the customs of all civilized nations, is applicable only to strong places. . . . That she has declared districts in a state of blockade which all her united forces would be unable to blockade, such as entire coasts and the whole of an empire.
this monstrous abuse of the right of blockade has no other aim than to prevent
communication among the nations and to raise the commerce and the industry of
That it is a natural right to employ such arms against an enemy as he himself
makes use of, and to combat in the same way as he combats. Since
The provisions of the present decree shall continue to be looked upon as embodying the fundamental principles of the empire until England shall recognize that the law of war is one and the same on land and on sea, and that the rights of war cannot be extended so as to include private property of any kind or the persons of individuals unconnected with the profession of arms, and that the right of blockade shall be restricted to fortified places actually invested by sufficient forces.
We have consequently decreed and do decree that which follows.
ARTICLE I. The
All commerce and all correspondence with the
III. Every individual who is an English subject, of whatever state or condition he may be, who shall be discovered in any country occupied by our troops or by those of our allies, shall be made a prisoner of war.
warehouses, merchandise, or property of what-ever kind belonging to a subject
in English goods is prohibited, and all goods belonging to
VI. No vessel coming directly from England or from the English colonies, or which shall have visited these since the publication of the present decree, shall be received in any port.
VII. Any vessel contravening the above provision by a false declaration shall be seized, and the vessel and cargo shall be confiscated as if it were English property.
The present decree shall be communicated by our minister of foreign affairs to
the kings of