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due. Monroe was welcomed in France with lively satisfaction, and for the moment cordiality reigned.
The Genêt episode, therefore, passed. It had threatened to drag the United States into the general war of Europe either directly through sympathetic attraction Close of the for France, or indirectly by the use of her soil, episode citizens, and waters for the military purposes of that country. It had threatened to divide the United States into two warring factions. Instead, it left her resolute in the possession of a well-developed policy, and still presenting a united front to a divided Europe.
1F.J. Turner, Correspondence of the French Ministers to the United States, 1791–1797, Amer. Hist. Assoc., Report, 1903, vol. ü.
THE JAY TREATY
WAILE relations with France were thus assuming a quiet tone, a new episode was taking shape. In 1793 it seemed that Changed con
we might be stampeded into war with England ditions
by our French sympathies; in 1794 it looked as if England might force us into war by her aggressions. In 1793 it was a question of our obligations as neutrals, in 1794 of our rights as neutrals.
The trade between France and her West India colonies constituted perhaps two-thirds of her sea-borne commerce. The French
It provided France with her breakfast, coffee, West Indies
sugar, and chocolate. In return, France supplied not only manufactured goods, but also, until the demoralization of agriculture in 1793, grain. The French fishermen of Brittany, moreover, caught on the banks of Newfoundland the short cod and mackerel which fed the slaves of San Domingo, Guadaloupe, and Martinique, while the best were taken across the ocean to serve the lenten fare of the French at home. Should these branches of trade be cut off, it would cause financial loss and inconvenience in France, it would cause starvation in the colonies. In fact, the Revolution increased the needs of trade, since for a time France ceased to be able to feed herself and so became an importer of foodstuffs.
The protection of this trade was the underlying function of the French navy. While, however, the French fleet was strong
and efficient, it was less powerful than that of Neutral trade
England. Except in the war of the American Revolution, when it joined forces with Spain, it proved unequal to the task, and direct trade in French vessels was
generally in time of war so insecure as to be impracticable. To meet this situation, it had been the custom of France in such emergencies to open the colonial trade to neutral nations, and the Dutch, protected by their English treaties, had enjoyed the lion's share. The natural convenience of the American granaries, however, the hunger of San Domingo, and the seamanship and commercial spirit of the American colonists often overcame the obstacles of legality and enmity. During the Seven Years' war colonial vessels laden with grain often dropped down to the vicinity of the French islands, and, by collusion with the authorities, allowed themselves to be captured, their cargoes being ostensibly seized but actually paid for.1
For these precarious advantages the new war promised to substitute a legal and extensive trade. Almost simultaneously with the declaration of hostilities France
The United opened her colonial ports. The Dutch no longer had their treaties with England; in fact, French West they may scarcely be said to have had a merchant marine. To the Americans, therefore, possessing as they did the world's most important neutral marine, was offered the opportunity not only of provisioning the islands, but of serving
as intermediaries between the colonies and the mother country, in addition to supplying the latter with provisions. Our merchants were quick to take advantage of the situation. They carried our products to the islands, exchanged them for island products, and carried the latter to France, or brought them back to the United States and then took or sent them to France. In 1791 we exported 2,000,000 pounds of coffee and 1,200,000 pounds of sugar; in 1793, 34,000,000 pounds of coffee and 18,000,000 pounds of sugar. Merchants throve, ship-owners turned their capital with unprecedented rapidity, shipyards were pressed to complete
States and the
1 T. L. Stoddard, The French Revolution in San Domingo (Boston, 1914); A. T. Mahan, Influence of Sea Power upon the French Revolution and Empire, 1793–1812 (10th ed., 2 vols., Boston, 1898), vol. i. ch. iv., vol. ii. chs. vii.-viü.
new vessels, sailmakers and ropemakers were busy; farmers opened new fields to supply the demand for grain, salt pork, hemp, butter, and other staple articles; fishermen enlarged
> their ventures and their catches to supply what the Bretons could no longer furnish. In part, but not mainly, the sympathy for France was due to the general prosperity which resulted from the outbreak of hostilities.
To England the situation was doubly distasteful, first because it was of advantage to France, and second because English atti it served to build up the American merchant tude
marine, the only one, since the fall of the Dutch, which endangered the supremacy of her commercial fleet, upon which rested her naval power, her colonies, and her wealth. Her navy was of little use to her if American vessels, in an impenetrable armor of neutrality, could serve all the customary routes of French commerce. It was not thus that the first Pitt had made commerce flourish by means of war. England had never shown a disposition to stand passive before an international opinion, which had been formulated by Dutch publicists, was without the backing of effective force, and could hardly be dignified by the name of international law. She had rather, as a result of her experience, devised a variety of practices which furnished her navy with weapons as effective against neutrals as against enemies, and she was prepared to use them.
The first of these was the principle that enemies' goods at sea might be seized and confiscated even when carried in “ Free ships, neutral ships. There was a growing sentiment free goods"
that "free ships” should make "free goods." This had been one of the declarations of the Armed Neutrality, and was embodied in all the commercial treaties of the United States. England's practice, however, was the older, and she refused to recognize the new idea as having the force of law.) Neutrals could escape the consequences of her rule by becoming the actual owners of the cargo, but to do so involved a large capital. Such a purchase, moreover, was
looked upon as collusive; hence, being subject to examination in the English admiralty courts, the practice involved no little risk.
A second difference in England's policy had reference to contraband. It was universally admitted that for a neutral to carry war material to a belligerent was law
Contraband ? less, and justified the seizure of the material in question, the freight, and possibly the ship itself. There was, however, disagreement as to what constituted war material. ? The weaker maritime powers thought that the term should be narrowly interpreted; England, on the contrary, except when bound by treaty, as in the case of Russia, held for a broad interpretation. On June 8, 1793, she issued an order in council authorizing the seizure of “all ships laden with corn, flour, or meal.” This measure she defended as being not only within her rights but in retaliation for a similar French decree of May. The French claimed that their decree had been of a special rather than a general character and had already been withdrawn when the British order had been issued. Failing to secure the withdrawal of the latter, the French in July renewed their decree, and provisions became seizable by both parties. In September, however, the British ordered that provisions so seized be paid for and the vessels released. The provision trade continued to grow, but its fortunes were checkered and its success a gamble. It should be observed that while Great Britain and France were ostensibly pursuing the same policy, it was, of course, the British
which made the most seizures and won the most hatred.
Another point upon which England maintained a position at variance with that of most nations was regarding blockade. All nations recognized that a vessel endeavor
Blockade ing to enter a port publicly blockaded incurred the risk of capture and confiscation. The continental school of international law held that in such cases the blockade must be properly announced, and that it must be effectively main