Definitions for orders in council

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  1. Orders in Council

    The Orders in Council were a series of decrees made by the United Kingdom in the course of the wars with Napoleonic France which instituted its policy of commercial warfare. Formally, an "Order in Council" is an order by the King or Queen at a meeting of the Privy Council, roughly equivalent to an Executive Order in the United States, by which the British government decrees policies. However, especially in American history, the term "Orders in Council" is also used collectively to refer to the group of such decrees in the late-18th and early-19th centuries which restricted neutral trade and enforced a naval blockade of Napoleonic France and its allies. The Orders in Council are important for the role they played in shaping the British war effort against France, but they are also significant for the strained relations—and sometimes military conflict—they caused between the United Kingdom and neutral countries, whose trade was affected by them. In Europe, restrictive British trade policy led to the formation of the Second League of Armed Neutrality, and deteriorating relations with other neutral powers, notably Denmark and Russia. In the Atlantic, the Orders in Council were one of the main sources of tension between the United Kingdom and the United States which led to the War of 1812. In total, the collective "Orders in Council" refers to more than a dozen sets of blockade decrees in the years 1783, 1793, 1794, 1798, 1799, 1803–1809, 1811, and 1812; in practice, it is most often associated strictly with the decrees of 7 January 1807, 11 November 1807, and 26 April 1809 which were most inflammatory to the Americans. The Order in Council of 23 June 1812, in a belated attempt at reconciliation with the Americans, repealed those three decrees, but two days later as the news was still crossing the ocean, the United States declared war on the British.

The Nuttall Encyclopedia

  1. Orders in Council

    are issued by the British Sovereign, with the advice of the Privy Council, and within limits defined by Parliament. In cases of emergency these limits have been disregarded, and Parliament subsequently asked to homologate the action by granting an indemnity to those concerned.

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