The Case of the Cincinnatus:
American Neutral Trade in the British Wartime Legal Order

Abstract: Historians have generally agreed that American neutrality during the “French Wars” of the early 1800s was a boon for the country’s shipping industry. This article seeks to analyze the actions of these neutral American merchant-sailors from a global perspective. It illustrates how these merchants also had significant economic impacts in the regions that they operated in. Moreover, since the merchants’ profits and practices often conflicted against British maritime interests, they profoundly influenced the development of British maritime law. Narration and context of one particular voyage of the American ship Cincinnatus help to explore the global history of the trade the ship engaged in, from markets to battlefields to courtrooms.

Wenhao Winston Du
Vanderbilt University
Spring 2019 Issue
(Article PDF)

Painting of ship “America” of Salem (1799)
Source: M.F. Corne. Peabody Museum of Salem (Wikimedia Commons)


Fear and uncertainty pulsed among the crew of the American ship, Cincinnatus, as it rounded the Bulge of Africa on the morning of July 31, 1803. It wasn’t the five French Men O’War (battleships) approaching from the horizon that had caused this panic, nor the fact that one of the ships had fired a warning cannon shot to signal the Cincinnatus to halt. Though certainly intimidating, such encounters were routine and certainly not cause for alarm. Rather, what surprised the crew was the unexpected switch of flags by the approaching warships from French to English. The action indicated that the English ships were raiding potential French shipping. As the ship’s captain, Massachusetts native John Endicott, correctly surmised, this particular switch of flags suggested England and France were, yet again, at war. This boded ill for the Cincinnatus, as it was carrying a cargo of Sumatran pepper that was destined for France.[1] The crew’s livelihoods, if not their lives, were now at the mercy of the boarding Englishmen.

According to depositions by members of the crew, two British officers boarded the Cincinnatus, demanding Captain Endicott explain “whence he came [and] where he was bound.”[2] Summoning his courage, Endicott gave an honest and detailed reply: he had just made a port stop in Isle de France, or modern-day Mauritius, and he was now bound for the French port L’Orient in western France. However, he left out the precise source of the cargo onboard. Dutifully, the Britons informed Endicott that a state of war now existed France and Britain, requesting to see his ship papers for verification. To satisfy their inquiry, Endicott led the British officers into his cabin whereupon he produced the documents. For a long, tense hour, Endicott’s crew waited outside, uncertain of their fates.

Before they entered the cabin, the British captains had strong suspicions of the Cincinnatus’s true allegiance. As they followed Endicott down the cabin stairs, one whispered to the other that he was sure Endicott was a Frenchman.[3] While it is unclear what occurred inside the captain’s cabin, it is apparent that, a quarter hour into his conversation with the British captains, Endicott found an excuse to ring the cabin bell — a previously agreed upon secret signal for one of his shipmates, William Haskell, to immediately destroy the cargo documentation and passports. Haphazardly stuffed into a cloth bag during the precious moments before the British ships had closed in on the Cincinnatus, the papers were weighed down by cannonballs and suspended near the rudder of the ship by rope. As the faint ringing of the cabin bell reached his ears, Haskell furiously cut the rope, and the papers were forever buried beneath the waves.[4] They were never discovered by the British officers, who eventually cleared the Cincinnatus to go on its way freely.

Why were these papers so crucial that they had to be disposed of with such urgency? Why was the ship even headed for port in France instead of Massachusetts? Why didn’t the British captains immediately call for the seizure of the American ship after learning of its destination from Captain Endicott? To even begin to comprehend the inner workings of this interaction calls for a careful examination of the legal, economic, and political context of American merchant trade, especially in the backdrop of the imperial rivalry between the then-superpowers France and England. American neutrality was a paradoxically safe, yet highly tenuous cover. American merchants like those on the Cincinnatus had to react to changing markets in a time of not only globalized trade, but also globalized conflict. At the same time, their actions catalyzed a true counterreaction on part of frustrated Anglicans that set minute, but important distinctions on what qualified as “neutral” trade.

Portrait of John Jay (1794)
Source: Gilbert Charles Stuart, The National Gallery of Art (Wikimedia Commons)

American Neutrality In Context

Historians have generally agreed that American neutrality during the “French Wars” of the early 1800s was a boon for its shipping industry. In his work, So Great a Proffit, Historian James Fichter documents how the wars left the Americans as the only viable neutral shipping agent between European countries and their colonies in the East Indies, a situation that gave rise to “the first millionaires in American history.”[5] The economic historian Cathy Matson concurs, noting that “England and France were forced to suspend their mercantile regulations” in order to meet their empires’ respective trade demands, especially when it came to Pacific commodities like “pepper, salt, tea, and coffee.”[6]

Previous scholarship regarding the freedom and restrictions of American commerce, especially in the East Indies routes, has largely focused on raw numbers and important treaties, but somewhat glosses over the undeveloped state of international law at the time of the conflict.  historian Holden Furber, writing in the 1930s, goes to great lengths to document the impacts of Jay’s Treaty on American commerce. Zeroing in on the few obscure provisions governing trade between Britain and the US, Furber argued that the treaty’s implication meant the “East India Company was powerless to prevent the Americans from carrying on … an ever-increasing trade in the Indian seas, little of which was in accord with the original intent of Article XIII [of Jay’s Treaty].”[7] More recently, James Fichter paints a picture of American merchants during the 1800s as a fearless group, emboldened by a few key treaties, who were “unconcerned with national boundaries; they bought what they could sell anywhere, not just what they could sell in the United States.”[8] Few historians of the field have delved into the possibility that the global environment American traders and ship captains found themselves in was rarely so clear cut.[9] The neutral trade they practiced, during and between the Anglo-French conflicts of the time, were full of ambiguities.

It is important to understand that the early nineteenth century was an era when codification of international regulations of international laws had only just begun in earnest. At the time, enforcement of particular statutes still offered much leeway to ship captains and admirals. In the case of piracy and slave-trading, for example, historians have argued that the legal murkiness, from uncertain jurisdictions to broad terms of law, allowed British agents and naval officers “to direct policy in action.”[10] Historians Lauren Benton and Lisa Ford document an instance in 1822 when a British captain and his crew attacked and captured two ships in port merely based on hearsay that they were in port awaiting delivery of slaves. After the attack, however, the captain and his crew only found evidence pointing to the contrary.[11]

If, as the historical evidence suggests, the vitality of American shipping during the first decade of the nineteenth century was significant and central to the sustenance of European colonies,[12]  then it would have certainly been a catalyst for legal development as well. As this article proceeds to document, American trade operating under this cloak of neutrality rubbed against British wartime interests. It profoundly impacted the development of British maritime law, especially when the merchants’ routes were thrown into question during times of war. Using the Cincinnatus as a microcosm, this paper illustrates a story of how profit-seeking American merchants not only traversed the world, but also acted as lawyers who weaved and navigated their way through the dominant British legal order.

The Cargo of Pepper: The American East Indies Trade

Before it had encountered the English warships in 1803, the Cincinnatus had first sailed from its home port of Salem in May 1802 to the coast of Sumatra, where it arrived in October of that year. There, it loaded up on a cargo of largely pepper, though with some amount of coffee, which likely acted as a small hedge.[13] Pepper, as a singular commodity, was one of the most highly valued and sought after in the Western nations. The Cincinnatus was not the only ship, American or not, that was a member of this lucrative industry. In his Remarks on the Northwest Coast of Sumatra, the Massachusetts sailor Nathaniel Bowditch documents how American purchases of Sumatran pepper were large enough to move the local market. In 1803, not long after the Cincinnatus departed from the island, the price was “10 to 11 dollars per pecul,” an increase from a price of eight due to the demand caused by a constant “near thirty sail of American vessels on the coast.” The industry was large and employed thousands of natives, some of whom even spoke English well and were happy to make contracts with the American sailors. [14]

American pepper purchases were of significant consequence to economic as well as political developments in the region. Indeed, by the time the Cincinnatus’ crew had sailed off Sumatra, “the natives of Sumatra were at war with other, in consequence of the Americans procuring pepper at the petty ports and thereby depriving the Rajah’s of the larger ports of their revenue.”[15] The highly-cited A History of Islamic Societies gives a concurring (though more nuanced) account, noting that American and British purchases on the island at the time “created a boom in the highland economy that disrupted traditional trading systems” and consequently eroded traditional Islamic morality, spurring a fundamentalist backlash and bitter civil war by 1803.[16] This aspect of American trade parallels a contemporary economic effect documented on the Sulu archipelago, in which British bulk purchases of Southeast Asian commodities such as bird’s nests led to piracy and regional conflict as certain groups subjugated others for enslaved labor.[17]

American trade in the Dutch East Indies assumed significant proportions by 1797. In The Economic Growth of the United States, economic historian Douglas North asserts that these new routes accounted for earnings that were “probably a higher proportion of total income in the carrying trade.”[18] Emory Johnson concurs, noting that “commerce with the Far East subsequently became an important source of wealth to American traders.”[19]

According to James Fichter’s estimates for the years that import data were available, US merchants imported 62 million pounds of pepper, 54 million pounds of which came on US vessels, and re-exported 56 million pounds of pepper elsewhere, often in Europe.[20] The reason for this re-exportation was often simply a matter of better profit, and it would also be the same reason why the Cincinnatus, originally home-bound towards Salem when it left Sumatra, would end up sailing towards France.

Photo of Painted Portrait of Captain Joseph Peabody
Source: James Notman, Stevens-Coolidge Place Collection (Massachusetts Digital Commonwealth)

Isle of France: Strategic Trade Routes

After having spent months at sea on the homeward journey, Endicott’s ship was running low on provisions by early May 1803. Therefore, the Cincinnatus headed towards a port that would welcome it – L’Ile de France, or modern-day Mauritius, a hundred miles west of Madagascar near the African continent.[21] There, Endicott encountered the French merchants Messrs. Pitot, Leclerio, and Icery, who offered to buy his pepper cargo for twenty sous (one French franc or livre) per pound, a price Endicott gladly obliged. The catch, however, was that the contract was to be fulfilled in France in the L’Orient, where Endicott and his crew would deliver the pepper at their own risk, and where two other agents, Messrs. Dugray and Cossin, would actually pay for the cargo.[22]

“Ile de France, as a strategic point off the coast of Africa, was frequently contested during wartime, and American ships were thus helplessly sucked into the conflict.”

The Cincinnatus was not the lone American ship to stop in Ile de France. During the period from 1793 to 1810, 521, or over half of the 748 foreign vessels that stopped at the French port, were American,   vessels counted in total by a meticulous French observer.[23] American ships were practically the lifeblood of the island. “Nearly all the supplies of the Isle of France come from us,” the American Amasa Delano noted at the onset of the French Revolutionary War.[24] Indeed, Ile de France, as a strategic point off the coast of Africa, was frequently contested during wartime, and American ships were thus helplessly sucked into the conflict. Years earlier in 1801, the American Captain Crowninshield of the ship America was embargoed in the Isle of France for thirty days, on account of two English warships blockading the port.[25] This would repeat shortly after the Cincinnatus left the island’s harbor in 1803, when England had, yet again, declared war on France.

By the time the Cincinnatus sailed away from the Isle of France in 1803, British forces had already begun exerting pressure on the island. The colonial prefect of the island noted that year that “[t]he admission of neutrals into these colonies, in times of war, [is] a necessity.” He went on, “since the war, only Americans have come here, who are nearly all linked to the English, and there is no other means of supplying the colony.”[26] During the last quarters of 1803, it was only the Americans who carried on the trade with French colonies like Ile de France most closely, and it was only they who could supply it.[27]

Battle of Grand Port at Isle de France (1810)
Source: Pierre Julien Gilbert, Musée national de la Marine de Paris (Wikimedia Commons)

A Lawful Prize? Legal Precedents for Seizure

From 1799 and 1800, when Britain and France had been at war, there had been unparalleled prosperity by the American merchant class.[28] With the renewal of conflict worldwide in 1803 (until passage of the Embargo Act under President Jefferson in 1807), US shipping took advantage of this renewed opportunity for a windfall. However, this was also a potentially risky windfall. During the previous war between Britain and France, both sides seized American shipping when it was found to be on behalf of the other. Seizures by the French in 1796, for example, led to an undeclared sea war between America and France.[29] The period of war beginning in 1803 was no exception, and clearly not a free-for-all for American merchants acting as neutrals. The American Secretary of State estimated that between 1803-7 the British had seized 528 American ships, while the French seized 389.[30]

However, in 1803 Britain seemed very keen not to anger American interests. On June 24, 1803, Britain had declared that “direct trade between neutrals and colonies of enemies not to be interrupted.”[31] Of course, this excluded contraband and the running of naval blockades, but this new legal framework meant that the resumption of war that began in 1803 was an unparalleled boon to American sailors. James Monroe, writing to Madison on July 1, 1804, remarked that “The truth is[,] that our commerce never enjoyed in any war, as much freedom, and indeed favor from this govt [sic] as it now does.”[32] Such was the context when the Cincinnatus ran into the British ships in 1803.

The first mystery around the Cincinnatus occurrence is, why were the British officers so interested in knowing whether Endicott was French? Despite the existing Anglo-American treaties, there were still grounds for the taking of American ships after 1795. One of these grounds was disputed ownership of a vessel. This loophole in British tolerance was allowed, since French ship owners, not surprisingly, tended to switch their flags to protect their ships from wartime seizure.

Various practices in enforcement could have allowed the British captains to at least temporarily seize Endicott’s ship. If the British could prove Endicott was actually French, the case of the famed Philadelphia merchant Stephen Girard’s ship Sallie would have held, in which British courts counted Girard as French because he was born a Frenchman (despite being an American citizen). Conversely, if the British could prove Endicott and his crew had spent significant time on French soil, the case of the Betsey would have held, in which the British Admiralty courts decided that because the part-owner George Patterson of Baltimore had been a short-term inhabitant of a French island, the vessel was a lawful prize.[33]

The next mystery surrounds the destruction of papers on the Cincinnatus. At the time, destruction of evidence occurred quite often on the part of American merchants. In the contemporary War in Disguise, published in 1805, British Admiralty lawyer James Stephens documents that the British Order of 1798 during the previous war period, which in particular called for the detention of vessels of heading to French colonies or land[34], led Americans to pretend a British destination. In reality, the Americans only came into British port to get a sense of which enemy port they should proceed to for the highest prices. In case a British cruiser came nearby, Americans destroyed or concealed such papers that disclosed their destination.[35] In other cases, the excuse of captured American captains was often that they had intended importation to America, but news of better markets had caused them to alter course. [36] According to Stephens, American ships going into a non-British port would even preemptively destroy their old papers and replace them with fraudulent new ones to skirt British wartime rules.[37]

The publication of War in Disguise, or, The Frauds of the Neutral Flags was a prime illustration of how the economic activities of American merchant-sailors posed new legal challenges that the British legal system wrangled with. The book, by calling for a complete clamp-down by the British Navy on American trade with countries Britain was at war with, “caused a great and immediate furore in legal and political circles” and was printed multiple times on both sides of the Atlantic.[38] An immediate response was given by Gouverneur Morris, an American ambassador to France, who accused James Stephens of proposing “to make war [with the United States]; not in disguise, but open and flagrant, as it is unprovoked and unjust.”[39] This was a conversation that even James Madison would weigh in on, invoking Hugo Grotius to make his own contributions to the international legal debate.[40]

The case of the Cincinnatus does not fit cleanly into these previously documented circumstances: after all, Endicott actually did honestly inform the British captains where he was headed. This seems perplexing: why would Endicott say that he was headed to a French port — as if he was begging to be seized, yet then destroy the pieces of evidence apparently proving the destination? A potential explanation is offered by the subtle legal distinctions between navigation, trading, and cargo carrying. In particular, it was perfectly fine for a neutral ship to go to an unblockaded enemy port under certain conditions. Under the Rule of 1756, a British rule of war, it was permissible for a neutral to trade with the enemy during war, it was just not permissible for a neutral to trade for the enemy (i.e. carry enemy cargo) without British approval.[41][42] Therefore, while Endicott could reply honestly to the British that he was headed to a French port, he could not let the British find the contract he had made in Ile de France (Mauritius). Otherwise, his pepper of cargo could be construed as being French: Endicott technically already sold the pepper at Ile de France by signing the contract (the trading with), and in effect, his current leg of the voyage could be construed as merely carrying (the trading for). Thus, when Endicott’s shipmate William Haskell cut the rope to drop the contract papers into the sea, he also cut the Gordian knot of a possible legal tangle – without the French papers, the only papers left would ostensibly have been any receipts or contracts from Sumatra, leaving the pepper undisputedly American.

“When Endicott’s shipmate William Haskell cut the rope to drop the contract papers into the sea, he also cut the Gordian knot of a possible legal tangle.”

The Journey Continues?

While one may attribute it to pure New England sincerity, it still seems strange why Endicott did not lie outright to the British officers. As an explanation, Endicott’s original honesty was perhaps a cue to get information about the war. It was standard procedure for the British Navy to inform neutrals about which French ports were blockaded. Indeed, after the incident, Endicott had a long discussion with his crewmates whether to continue on their journey to the French port despite its blockade.

Though they eventually decided not to, it was not unimaginable for Endicott to run a blockade to chase profits in a French port. American ships running blockades, even in spite of British forewarnings, was generally quite common. During the previous conflict between Britain and France, American ships often violated the order of 1798, which required neutrals coming from enemy colonies to bring cargoes directly to their home countries. In 1800 and 1801, American ships were seized for trying to enter or leave the British-blockaded port of Cadiz, Spain.[43]

Such blockade running also occurred during the renewed conflict. In 1805 in Ile de France, the very island on which the Cincinnatus had made its original French contracts, American ships eluded a British blockade by sailing in the night.[44] This was also the case for certain European ports, where American ships ran blockades even when directly informed of them. One ship, The Shephardess, tried to evade a British blockade of Havre and the Seine in Europe, even after being warned by the British Cruiser Pluto.[45] Another ship, The Harriet, similarly attempted to enter Havre after having been informed by another British ship of the blockade, and was captured and condemned.[46]

At the end of the journey, having chosen to go directly home instead of to France, the Cincinnatus’ crew still believed they would have gotten a better price for their pepper in Europe.[47] This was likely true, since most of the revenue such merchants got were from actual re-exportation anyway, as a loophole on international laws. The prevailing theory of English courts was the Polly decision, the precedent that a ship landing its goods in a US port made them US goods, and thus could not be interfered with until a radical change in British-American treaties. Of course, this did not stop British courts from enforcing their own country’s interest around the loophole. In the case of the Mercury, an American vessel carrying Havana sugar going from Charleston to Hamburg, a British court ruled that since the sugar had not been reloaded or duty paid for, the touching at Charleston was for the mere purpose of giving the voyage “the color and appearance of having begun there.”[48]

Americans often pursued profit and gave the discretionary ability for captains to do so. The re-export trade, especially with regard to the far east, was encouraged by the various tariff laws that gave lower duties on tea, cargo from American ships, and allowed for the fact that goods imported and then re-exported within twelve months were entitled to drawbacks of all except one percent of the amount paid.[49] As Stephens, writing in 1805, makes apparent in War in Disguise, this was actually a ploy within a long series of cat-and-mouse games that American merchants played with British wartime orders regarding neutrality.[50]


After returning to its home port of Salem, Massachusetts with 307,824 pounds of pepper and 10,460 pounds of coffee, the Cincinnatus would make two more documented voyages to Sumatra (one immediately in 1804, and another in 1807) under the former first mate and rope-cutter William Haskell, and additional voyages to Havana after that.[51] But its encounter with British ships in 1803 illustrates how America’s position as a neutral trader had been exposed to a variety of fluctuations at a time of globalized trade and globalized conflict, and how sailors like Endicott and Haskell navigated them.

Unfortunately for the merchants that engaged in this trade, this sort of occupation was seen as almost unpatriotic by some of their countrymen. In New York, Clement C. More circulated a pamphlet entitled Inquiry into the Effects of the Foreign Carrying Trade upon Agriculture Population and Morals of the Country. He argued that agriculture and manufacture should be the chief occupations of the American people, instead of this sort of carrying trade for other nations that inevitably embroiled the United States in new conflicts.[52] More was remarkably prescient. As exemplified by works like War in Disguise in 1805, American sailors’ actions caught the attention of British parliament and prize courts, influencing considerable changes in the British legal outlook. Such progress catalyzed the controversial Essex decision by British Admiralty courts, cited by historians as a leading cause of the War of 1812, in which an American ship was found to have violated the Rule of 1756 by “trading for” the French despite its intermediate stop in an American port.

By 1812, British imperial policy declared preventing neutral trade during wartime became a matter of “its most ancient, essential, and undoubtable maritime rights.”[53] This proclamation considerably stretched Hugo Grotius’ writings regarding neutrals, the prevailing legal consensus at the time, which stated that “nothing can justify us taking or applying the property of [a neutral] to our own use, beyond the immediate demands of that emergency.”[54] As this article concludes, while the actions of American ships like the Cincinnatus were independent and profit-seeking, together they not only illustrate America’s unwitting involvement when it came to various conflicts (whether local, like in Sumatra, or global in the case of England and France), but also offer an economic interpretation to the legal underpinnings of British law at the beginning of the long nineteenth century.

Authors Note: I would like to thank Professor Lauren Benton for her patient advising and expert suggestions as I developed this paper. For interested scholars, the primary source cited in this paper, the Deposition of William Haskell and Hezekiah Wilkins of the Ship Cincinnatus, is available here.

About the Author: Wenhao Winston Du is the former Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Vanderbilt Historical Review from 2018-2019. He graduated Vanderbilt University in May 2019, Phi Beta Kappa, with a major in History and minor in Computer Science. His interests lie in understanding the complex interconnections that govern the history of our globalized world.


[1] Deposition of William Haskell and Hezekiah Wilkins, 29 November 1803. MH000483-000485 in Joseph Peabody Papers. Peabody Essex Museum (Salem, Massachusetts).

Note: This episode is also documented on George Granville Putnam. Salem Vessels And Their Voyages: A History Of The Pepper Trade With The Island Of Sumatra. (Salem, Massachusetts: Essex institute, 1922). 61.

[2] Deposition of William Haskell and Hezekiah Wilkins, 29 November 1803.

[3] Deposition of  William Haskell and Hezekiah Wilkins, 29 November 1803.

[4] Deposition of  William Haskell and Hezekiah Wilkins, 29 November 1803.

[5] James R. Fichter, So Great a Proffit: How the East Indies Trade Transformed Anglo- American Capitalism.  (Cambridge, MA: 2010). 83, 111.

[6] Cathy Matson. “The Revolution, the Constitution, and the New Nation.” Chapter in The Cambridge Economic History of the United States, edited by Stanley L. Engerman and Robert E. Gallman (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996). 1:363–402. doi:10.1017/CHOL9780521394420.010.

[7] Holden Furber, “The Beginnings of American Trade with India, 1784-1812.” The New England Quarterly 11, no. 2 (1938): 250.

[8] Fichter, 158

[9] Anna Cornelia Clauder, American Commerce as Affected by the Wars of the French Revolution and Napoleon, 2nd ed. (Clifton, New Jersey: Augustus M. Kelley, 1932).

[10] See, e.g., the Piracy Act of 1825.

Lauren Benton and Lisa Ford, Rage for Order: The British Empire and the Origins of International Law, 1800-1850 (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2016). 121.

[11] No. 9 extract of a letter from Captain Grace of His Majesty’s ship Cyrene, to Commodore Sir Robert Mends, 25 October 1822, British and Foreign State Papers, 10:545, as cited in Benton and Ford 117-9.

[12] Ole Feldbaek, “Dutch Batavia Trade via Copenhagen 1795-1807: A Study of Colonial Trade and Neutrality”, Scandinavian Economic History Review, 21 no. 1 (1973): 46-56.

[13] Clauder, 20 documents the case of a time when an American ship captain deviated from his pepper buying instructions and brought coffee, a lucky break at a time when he got to the port and found that the pepper prices had plunged.

[14] Nathaniel Bowdith, “Remarks on the North West Coast of Sumatra,” reprinted in George Granville Putnam. Salem Vessels and Their Voyages: A History Of The Pepper Trade With The Island Of Sumatra. (Salem, Massachusetts: Essex institute, 1922). 49-50

[15] George Granville Putnam. Salem Vessels and Their Voyages: a history of the pepper trade with the island of Sumatra. (Salem, Massachusetts: Essex institute, 1922). 15

[16] Ira M. Lapidus, A History of Islamic Societies, 3rd ed. (New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2014). 445-6.

[17] See James Francis Warren, “Trade for Bullion to Trade for Commodities and ‘Piracy’: China, the West, and the Sulu Zone, 1768-1898,” in Stefan Eklöf Amirell and Leos Müller, Persistent Piracy: Maritime Violence and State-Formation in Global Historical Perspective (London: Palgrave Macmillan UK, 2014). 152-174.

[18] Douglass Cecil North. The Economic Growth of the United States, 1790-1860. (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1961). 42

[19] Johnson, 131

[20] Fichter, 85, on figures compiled from data found passim in American State Papers: Commerce and Navigation, vols I and 2 (Washington, DC: Gales and Seaton, 1832).

[21] According to the depositions, the ship landed in port on the eleventh or twelfth of May.

Deposition of  William Haskell and Hezekiah Wilkins.

[22] Ibid.

[23] Auguste Toussaint, Early American Trade with Mauritius (Port Louis, Mauritius: Esclapon, 1954), 78-86, as cited by  Fichter 156.

[24] Amasa Delano, A narrative of voyages and travels, in the northern and southern hemispheres: Comprising three voyages round the world, together with a voyage of survey and discovery, in the Pacific Ocean and oriental islands (Boston, 1817), 200. Cited by Fichter 168.

[25] The port captured multiple Danish and Hamburg vessels bound into the Isle of France.

Putnam, 15.

[26] Original Text: “L’admission des neutres dans ces colonies, en temps de guerre, devient de nécessite. Depuis la guerre. disait-il, il n’est venu ici que des Américains, qui sont preque tous en relation avec les Anglais, et il n’y a pas d’autre moyen  d’approvisionner la colonie.”

Centre des Archives d’Outre Mer, Aix-en-Provence, register 102, as cited in Prentout, Henri. L’Ile de France sous Decaen 1803-1810: essai sur la politique coloniale du premier empire, et la rivalité de la France et de l’Angleterre dans les Indes Orientales. Hachette, 1901. 203-204.

[27] Paraphrased Text: “Dans son rapport sur les trois derniers trimesters de l’an XII, le préfet exprimait les mémes idées, disant que c’étaient les Américains qui faisaient le commerce le plus suivi avec ses colonies, et qu’eux suels pouvaient en assurer l’approvisionnement.” Here the year 7 comes from the French revolutionary calendar, which corresponds mostly to 1803.

Centre des Archives d’Outre Mer, Aix-en-Provence, register 104, as cited in Prentout, 204.

[28] North, 37

[29] North, 37.

[30] It appears much of the seizures occurred during the latter half of the period, not during the start of war.

Emory R. Johnson et al., History of Domestic and Foreign Commerce of the United States (Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Institute, 1915), vol. II. 29. Also cited in North 37.

[31] American State Papers: Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States (Washington: Gales and Seaton). Volume 1; Volume 3, 263.

[32] “To James Madison from James Monroe, 1 July 1804,” Founders Online, National Archives, last modified March 30, 2017, [Original source: The Papers of James Madison, Secretary of State Series, vol. 7, 2 April–31 August 1804, ed. David B. Mattern, J. C. A. Stagg, Ellen J. Barber, Anne Mandeville Colony, Angela Kreider, and Jeanne Kerr Cross. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2005, pp. 402–405.]

[33] Anna Cornelia Clauder, American Commerce as Affected by the Wars of the French Revolution and Napoleon, 2nd ed. (Clifton, New Jersey: Augustus M. Kelley, 1932). 49

[34] American State Papers: Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States (Washington: Gales and Seaton). Volume 1; Volume 3, 263.

[35] Clauder, 80.

[36] James Stephen. War in Disguise, or, the Frauds of Neutral Flags. Printed: New York: Re-printed by C. Whittingham, and sold by J. Hatchard, 1805. 54.

[37] Stephens, 50.

[38] Stephen C. Neff, “James Stephen’s “War In Disguise”: The Story Of A Book.” Irish Jurist (1966-), New Series, 38 (2003): 344.

[39] Gouverneur. Morris, “An answer to war in disguise.” Also Remarks upon the New Doctrine of England, Concerning Neutral Trade (New York, I Riley &Company, 1805).

[40] See James Madison, An Examination Of The British Doctrine Which Subjects To Capture A Neutral Trade Not Open In Time Of Peace. 1806. (In particular, pages 168-176 offer Madison’s interpretations of Grotius as he argues against the new British legal doctrine.)

[41] Neff, 334-5.

[42] This was originally formulated in 1756 to deal with Dutch ships working with the French colonies.
On the origin of the Rule of 1756 see K. Kulsrud, Maritime Neutrality to 1780: A

 History of the Main Principles Governing Neutrality and Belligerency to 1780 (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1936). Cited in Neff, 334.

[43] Clauder, 50

[44] Appeals before Lords. Comm. in Prize Causes, Case of Lapwing. New York Ships As cited in Clauder, 54.

[45] Christopher Robinson, Decisions in High Court of Admiralty,  Vol. V, London ed. Case of Shepherdess. Cited in Clauder 54-55.

[46] High Court of Admiralty. Admiralty Court, Miscellanea, Bundles 465, 473. Notes of cases appealed to court, 1803-1807, involving blockades and Rule of 1756. Cited in Clauder, 55.

[47] Deposition of Haskell et al.

[48] Robinson, 2. 186-206. Cited in Clauder, 77.

[49] Law of Sept 1, 1789, amended Dec. 31, 1792. US Statues at Large, Vol. I, 55-65 cited in Clauder 18-19

[50] Stephen, 56-69, 94-106. As cited by Neff, 337.

[51] William Crowninshield Endicott and Walter Muir Whitehill. Captain Joseph Peabody; East India merchant of Salem (1757-1844). (Salem, Massachusetts: Peabody Museum. 1962). 84.

[52] Clauder, 88.

[53]British Declaration, respecting the conditional revocation of the Orders of the Council of 1807 and 1809, 21 April 1812, British and Foreign State Papers, vol. VIII. 506-7

[54] Grotius states that neutrals were those “against whom no rights of war can exist.”
Hugo Grotius, The Rights of War and Peace: Including the Law of Nature and of Nations, translated by A.C. Campbell (New York: M.W. Dunne, 1901), 377.

The Case of the Cincinnatus:
American Neutral Trade in the British Wartime Legal Order
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