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\he goods of an enemy found in the vessels of a Chap.vi. friend, are lawful prize." This fresh insult might 1795. therefore be passed over in silence.
While a hope remained that the temperate forbearance of the executive, and the unceasing manifestations of its friendly dispositions towards the French republic, might induce the minister of that nation to respect the rights of the United States, and to abstain from violations of their sovereignty, an anxious solicitude not to impair the harmony which he wished to maintain between the two republics, had restrained the president from adopting those measures respecting Mr. Genet, which the conduct of that gentleman seemed to require. He had seen a foreign minister usurp within the territories of the United States some of the most important rights of sovereignty, and persist, after the prohibition of the government, in the exercise of those rights. In asserting this extravagant claim, so entirely incompatible with national independence, the spirit in which it originated had been pursued, and the haughty style of a superior had been substituted for the respectful language of a diplomatic character. He had seen the same minister undertake to direct the civil government, and to pronounce, in opposition to the decisions of the executive, in what departments the constitution of the United States had placed certain great national powers. To render this state of things more peculiarly critical and embarrassing, the person most instrumental in producing it, had, from his arrival, thrown himself into the arms of the people, stretched out
Chap. vi. to receive him, and was emboldened by their fa1793. vour, to indulge the hope of succeeding in his endeavours either to overthrow their government, or to bend it to his will. But the full experiment had now been made; and the result was a conviction not to be resisted, that moderation would only invite additional injuries, and that the present insufferable state of things could be terminated only by procuring the removal of the French minister, or by submitting to become, in his hands, the mere servile instrument of hostility against the enemies of his nation. From every quarter, information was continually received of fresh aggressions on the principles established by the government; and while the executive was thus openly disregarded and contemned, the members of the administration were reproached in all the papers of an active and restless opposition, as the violators of the national faith, the partisans of monarchy, and the enemies of liberty and of France. The unwearied efforts of that department to preserve that station in which the various treaties in existence had placed the nation, were incessantly calumniated* as infractions of those treaties, and ungrateful attempts to force the United States into the war against France.
The judgment of the president was neverhastily formed, but, once made up, it was seldom to be shaken. Before the last letter of Mr. Genet was communicated to him, he seems to have been impressed with the necessity of taking decisive Chap. vi. measures respecting that minister. A letter of 1793^ the 25th of July, addressed to the secretary of state, contains the following passage. "As the official conduct of that gentleman (Mr. Genet) relatively to the affairs of this government, will have to undergo a very serious consideration, (so soon as the special court at which the attorney general is now engaged will allow him to attend with convenience) in order to decide upon measures proper to be taken thereupon, it is my desire that all the letters to and from that minister may be ready to be laid before me, the heads of departments, and the attorney general, (whom I shall advise with on the occasion,) together with the minutes of such official oral communications as you may have had with him on the subject of those letters &c. And as the memorials from the British minister, and answers thereto, are materially connected therewith, it will be proper I conceive to have these ready also."
* See Aote, A'o. IX, at the end of the volume.
About this time, it is probable that the difficulties felt by the judges of the supreme court, in expressing their sentiments on the points referred to them, were communicated to the executive. Considering themselves merely as constituting a legal tribunal for the decision of controversies brought before th«jm in legal form, those gentlemen deemed it improper to enter the field of politics, by declaring their opinions on questions not growing out of the case before them. This communication being actually received, or the emergency being too pressing to admit of further
Vol. v. 1. 1 1
Chap. vi. delay, the consideration of a complete system ot
1793. rules to be observed by the belligerents in the ports of the United States was taken up, pending the deliberations on the official conduct of Mr.
ftuirtiaid Genet. These rules were discussed at several
ex««iJe in meetings, and finally, on the third of August, re
reLrton to... • ,. rii*
the powers ccivecl the unanimous approbation of the cabinet. P^wJhc They* evidence the settled purpose of the execusutl^ tive, faithfully to observe all the national engagements, and honestly to perform the duties of that neutrality in which the war found them, and in which those engagements left them full liberty to remain.
At the same time, the question of restoring prizes brought into the ports of the United States by privateers which had been fitted out therein, came on to be reconsidered; and the opinion that restitution should be made was unanimously adopted. Conceiving that this decision ought, in obedience to the exact obligations of neutrality, to have relation to the time when the executive first acted on this subject, it was declared to be the opinion of the president that in cases of this description, occurring since the fifth of June, either restoration of the prizes should be effectuated, or compensation be made. It was also resolved that privateers so fitted out, should not in future find an asylum in the American ports. These resolutions were immediately communicated to the ministers of the powers at war, and the rules which had been adopted were forwarded to the governors of the states.
• See Note, A*. X, at the end of the volume.
As furnishing more efficacious means for check- «iap. Vj. ing practices equally improper in themselves and 1793. embarrassing to the government, it was at the same time determined to transmit these rules, and all others entered into on the same subject, to the respective custom house officers, together with a list of the privateers to be excluded from the ports of the United States. The circular letter conveying these instructions enjoins those officers "to have a vigilant eye upon whatever may be passing within the ports, harbours, creeks, inlets, and waters of their respective districts, of a nature to contravene the laws of neutrality; and upon discovery of any thing of the kind, to give immediate notice to the governor of the state, and to the attorney of the judicial district, comprehending the district of the customs within which any such contravention might happen."
In the same letters, the particular privileges stipulated for France by treaty were also stated, and an equal degree of watchfulness for their preservation was directed.
In the case of the minister of the French republic, after reviewing the whole of his correspondence and conduct, it was unanimously agreed that a letter should be written to Mr. Morris, the minister of the United States at Paris, fen'rajaeM!
. , , . .... the recall of
stating the same to him, resuming the points of Genet,