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side of Spain, who was sure to lose. He too would delay, but would grant the permission if the issue were forced.
John Adams alone struck the note of absolute neutrality which was to characterize American diplomacy. Already Adams and in 1782 he had written Livingston: "America neutrality
has been long enough involved in the wars of Europe. She has been a football between contending nations from the beginning, and it is easy to foresee, that France and England both will endeavor to involve us in their future wars. It is our interest and duty to avoid them as much as possible, and to be completely independent, and to have nothing to do with either of them, but in commerce." He therefore advised refusal. Should the troops be sent without permission, we could remonstrate.2
Fortunately the real issue had already been decided by the defeat of Mirabeau in the debate of May 20–22 in the
National Assembly of France. Louis XVI and War averted
his advisers had hoped by war to turn the rising tide of revolution into patriotism. In that case the King needed to retain the right of making peace and war, and to this end Mirabeau exerted himself. When, however, the Assembly voted that it alone possessed the right, the chance that France might join Spain passed, and Spain was forced to seek terms of England.3
The treaty between them, signed October 28, 1790, was of importance to the United States both immediately and Nootka Sound subsequently. The third and sixth articles treaty
allowed freedom of trade and settlement on the coasts of the Pacific, “in places not already occupied," north of “the parts occupied by Spain,” that is, practically above San Francisco bay. Although this relaxation of
1 Alexander Hamilton, Works (ed. J. C. Hamilton, 7 vols., New York, 1850–51), iv. 48-69, September 15, 1790.
2 John Adams, Works, viii. 9, 497-500, August 29, 1790.
3 F. M. Fling, Mirabeau and the French Revolution, N. Y., 1908. Albert Sorel, L'Europe et la révolution française (8 vols., Paris, 1885–1904) ü. 61,
Spanish control applied specifically to England, the Americans profited by it. Already frequenting the coast for its furs and gingseng, they would in the long run at least have been annoyed by Spanish interference, had it not been for this treaty. As it was, in the next year Captain Gray sailed, the first white man, into the great river of the region and named it after his ship, the Columbia, thus establishing the first link in the chain of claims which was to bring Oregon to the United States.
It is plain that, when the end of Washington's first term approached in 1793, the diplomatic situation did not warrant his withdrawal with the sense of leaving a task Uncompleted accomplished. Nearly everything was still unsettled, and he consented to serve again in hope of carrying the various problems to solution. Nevertheless, the government was feeling the good influence of improved stability, the administration had determined its policy on some important questions, and on most others its individual members had begun to find themselves.
THE ESTABLISHMENT OF NEUTRALITY
Thus prepared, the United States was in the spring of 1793 overtaken by a hurricane of diplomatic disturbance which
was to blow with increasing violence for twentyDawn of the French two years.
The revolution which began to Revolution
take form in 1789 was, in the minds of its leaders, only accidentally French. Its ideals were equally applicable to all nations in which the people were oppressed by their rulers. This international character of its professions, which it retained to the end, was at the beginning in some degree actually true. It was welcomed by liberals in all countries. It crossed the channel into England. As Wordsworth wrote,
“Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive,
When the Bastile fell Lafayette sent its keys to Washington, a recognition of the indebtedness which the cause of revolution owed to America. French fashions for the first time invaded our country; and civic feasts, liberty caps, and the salutation of "citizen” and “citizeness" became common in our streets.
As one wave of radicalism succeeded another in France, each raising the tide of revolution higher toward the final
fury of the Terror, the enthusiasm of the more War between France and moderate cooled, died, and turned to opposiEngland
tion. By 1793 England had become in effect a unit in resisting the spread of Revolution, and for the majority of Englishmen Revolution had come to be embodied in France. The inoculation of humanity was not able to cope with the traditional antipathies of French and English.
France continued to fight for the ideal of “Liberty," but England had come to personify for her the forces of oppression. In February, 1793, she anticipated a declaration of war on the part of England by declaring war with that country herself.
In America sentiment divided. Jefferson liked the French, as had Franklin. He had played a part in the beginning of their revolution and knew many of their American leaders. He had a French cook, and he intro- sympathies duced from France the revival of classic forms of architecture. Himself as peaceful as a Quaker, he was not troubled over a little blood-letting. He had said at the time of the Shays Rebellion that the tree of liberty must from time to time be watered by the blood of patriots and tyrants; it is its natural manure.” Serene in his belief in the ultimate triumph of right and reason, he looked without flinching upon the excesses of the Terror, and maintained his sympathy with the fundamental purpose of the movement. Hamilton, on the other hand, to whom civilization seemed based upon the slow and precarious triumph of informed intelligence over brutish ignorance, saw the whole structure tottering in France with the successes of the sans culottes, and imperilled in the world at large. Between the two was every shade of opinion, and in fact many were more radical than either. To the danger that would inevitably come to the United States of being drawn into the vortex of any war between France and Great Britain was added the peril of being divided within itself over the issue. It was probably fortunate that at this crisis both opinions were represented in the cabinet, and it was incalculably advantageous that the government was presided over by Washington's force, prestige, and balance.?
France, taking arms against the “impious hand of tyrants,' --the governments of England, Prussia, Austria, Holland,
1C. D. Hazen, Contemporary American Opinion of the French Revolution, Baltimore, 1897.
and Spain, did not lose sight of America. Even in the kaleidoscopic whirl of Paris Americans were conspicuous.
Thomas Paine sought to become the essayist French hopes of the United of the new revolution, as he had been of the States
American; John Paul Jones was ready to repeat his naval triumphs in its behalf; the poet, Joel Barlow, dabbled now in land speculation, now in politics. Brissot de Warville, “who ruled the council,” had in 1788 completed a voyage through America. When, therefore, the French republic was proclaimed, September 22, 1792, there
was a reasonable hope on the part of its leaders that it would find sympathy and support from the sister republic across the
The two countries were bound together by the intimate treaties of 1778 and 1788; the United States owed France money, the hastened payment of which would ease her finances; the American merchant marine could be useful to France in many ways and would find such occupation profitable. To announce the new republic, to realize these advantages, to replace the existing treaties by a still closer one, by “a true family compact” on a “liberal and fraternal basis,” Edmund C. Genêt, an enthusiastic patriot, only twenty-eight years of age and yet trained for many years in the foreign office under Vergennes, was sent as minister to the United States. 1
But Genêt was not to be a mere diplomatic representative, as that term is now understood. French ministers during the
Revolution felt themselves commissioned, not Genet's task
from government to government, but from people to people. They embodied revolution; their functions were unlimited; and in this case Genêt's instructions definitely launched him into colossal enterprises. All America was his province. Miranda was now high in the counsels of the French; Dumouriez wrote to Lebrun, November 30, 1792, of the “superb project of General Miranda” for revolu
1 McMaster, History of the People of the United States (8 vols., New York, 1883–1913), ü. 89–141.