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of July, 1795. In this letter he communicated to the Secretary of State the decree of the committee of publick safety of the *3d Jan. 1795, repealing the 5th article of the decree of the tl5th of November, 1794. The latter violated our treaty by subjecting the property of the enemies of France on board American vessels to capture, and by adding to the list of articles contraband : it was therefore repealed by the former. Mr. Adet seized this occasion to make the following declaration. "You will see, sir, (said he) in both [the decrees] the undisgnised disposition and sincere desire of the French government religiously to observe the engagements it has contracted with its allies, and its readiness to redress infraction* which have never taken place but from the impulse of circumstances." "It is amidst her triumphs that the Republick loves to give this striking mark of its fidelity. Victorious France knows no other concern than that of justice,—no other diplomatic language than that of truth." —To this truth, to this justice, to this fidelity we now make our appeal.
From the style of Mr. Adet's complaint of the British being suffered to arm in our ports, it might be imagined the instances were numerous. None were permitted: the actual armaments were few: and are as old as the year 1793, and were represented by Mr. Genet to the Secretary of State. "What answer (asks Mr. Adet) did the government give to the representations of the minister of the French Republick in this respect? It said that these vessels sailed too suddenly; that it was not able to cause them to be stopped." The answer was given by the Secretary of State in different words. \ " Those from Charleston and Philadelphia have gone off before it mas known to the government, and the former indeed in the first moments of the war, and before preventive measures could be taken in so distant a port." In the case of the Trusty, captain Hale, at Baltimore, the governour of Maryland having been informed that she had been buying guns, had given orders to examine the fact; "but she got off before the officer could get on board, having cleared
* 14th Nivose 3d year. + 25 Brumaire 3d year.
t State Papers, vol. i. p. 112. Jane 30, 1793.
out three or four days before."—I have not observed that Mr. Genet ever renewed his complaint with regard to any of these vessels; whence I suppose he was satisfied with the answer: as indeed he ought to have been. The two English vessels that sailed from Philadelphia escaped even the vigilance of the French consul—*both had departed many days before he had been informed of them. This is stated by the consul himself in his report of the twenty-first of June, 1793, to Mr. Genet. And yet the government is now charged by Mr. Adet with violating the treaty, because it did not stop them!—Although the officers of the United States had been required to be watchful, and to report all illegal armaments in our ports, yet it was natural for the government to expect to derive information from the French consuls, who doubtless were charged by their own govemment.to be particularly vigilant in regard to all attempts at such armaments by the
enemies of the Republick. Mr. Adet remarks, that
"some inhabitants of the United States had aided in these illegal armaments" of the enemies of France : and asks, "what measures were taken against them? Was any search made to discover them—to prosecute them? Never." Yet the very letter from Mr. Genet to the Secretary of State, in which, and its enclosures Mr. Adet has found this subject of complaint, suggests a different conclusion—t " I learn with pleasure (says Mr. Genet) by your letter of the 23d of this month, [June, 1793] that the government of Georgia have caused to be stopped a vessel armed in that state, for the purpose of cruising against the French, and that the persons interested in this vessel will be prosecu/ed."
I shall say but a few words on the subject of the letters of which Mr. Adet complained that they remained unanswered. The first (of September 23th, 1795) contained those reproachful insinuations which were recited in my letter of the 1 st of Nov. last. Why were these introduced hy him if they were not to be applied? An answer was draughted on the subject of his letter, with animadversions on those insinuations: but desiring to avoid irritations, the answer was not sent. It was deemed of the less consc
* State Paper" vol i p. 110. J'Staie Papers, vol. i. p. 110,
quence, seeing in my letter to Mr. Monroe of the 12th of September, 1795, the sentiments and reasonings of the government on that and other subjects relating to France had been fully expressed, to enable him to make immediate communications to the French government itself; and it wns hoped that the information given in that letter, and in others written to him the preceding summer would have furnished materials (and that these materials would have been timely used) for such representations as would have satisfied the French government that the United States, in forming the treaty with Great Britain had only exercised an indisputable right; and neither by that treaty nor any other act had infringed a single article of our treaties with France.
On the subject of the impresses of our seamen, mentioned in Mr. Adet's letters of March and April 1796, I shall only acid, that nothing was more notorious than that those impresses had excited universal resentment in the United States, and been the subject of repeated remonstrance from our government to the British court. Thus in Mr. Pinckney's note to lord Grenville in August, 1793, which was published here that year, in the same collection of state papers with Mr. Jefferson's letter of September 7th* which Mr. Adet has quoted, and on the 5th page next succeeding it, we find the following: "Under this head, it may be observed that for want of arrangements being made for the security of American seamen in the ports of this country (England) they are subject to the various hardships Mr. Pinckney has so frequently detailed to lord Grenville." And in the next page, in his letter to Mr. Jefferson, Mr. Pinckney says, "the protection afforded our seamen remains also on the same footing; they (the British government) profess a willingness to secure to us all real American seamen, when proved to be such; but the proof they will not dispense with." To remove as far as possible the embarrassments arising from this cause, and more effectually to protect our seamen, was the object of a bill pending in Congress, and the subject of publick debate, at the time I received Mr. Adet's letters. Thi* bill was passed into a law.
•Mr. Adet by mistake dates it September 13$h.
All these acts demonstrated that the government did not assent, but on the contrary that they resisted the impressment of American seamen: and this resistance has been continued; consequently we cannot be charged on this ground with a violation of our neutrality.
Among the former subjects of complaint not now renewed by Mr. Adet, is that against the government for permitting the purchase and exportation of horses, by British agents, in the course of the last winter and spring. The correspondence on this subject is lengthy; and yet the question lies within a very narrow compass.
Perhaps no rule is now better established, than that neutral nations have a right to trade freely with nations at war; either by carrying and selling to them all kinds of merchandise, or permitting them to come and purchase the same commodities in the neutral territory; in the latter case not refusing to one power at war what it permits another to purchase; with this exception in respect to articles contraband, that if the cruisers of one of the belligerent powers meet at sea with neutral vessels laden with such articles destined to the ports of their enemies, the neutral vessels may be captured, and the contraband goods will be lawful prize to the captors : but the residue of their cargo and the vessels themselves are to be discharged.
But if there were any doubt on this point under the law of nations, there can be none in relation to France and the United States; because this matter is specially regulated by their treaty of commerce. This treaty, so far from restraining the trade of either party remaining neutral, while the other is engaged in war, provides regulations agreeably to which it should be conducted.
The 12th and 13th articles authorize either party that is at war, to stop the neutral merchant vessels of the other destined to the ports of an enemy, upon just grounds of suspicion, concerning the voyage or the lading. If ou examining the ship's papers, it appears there are any contraband goods on board, " consigned for a port under the obedience of his enemies," she may be carried into Port, and the contraband articles may by regular proceedings in the admiralty, be confiscated: "saving always a9 well the ship itself as any other goods found therein, which V this treaty are to be esteemed free; neither may they Vol. u, 23
be detained on pretence of their being as it were infected by the prohibited goods, much less shall they be confiscated as lawful prize." It further provides, that if the master of the neutral ship shall be willing to deliver the contraband goods to the captor, and the latter receives them, then is the neutral ship to be forthwith discharged and allowed freely to prosecute her voyage. The 23d article goes further—if the neutral ship shall have on board the enemies of the other, " they are not to be taken out unless they are soldiers in actual service."
These articles are so explicit, it may seem strange that a doubt should arise concerning them; I presume no doubt did arise: for Mr. Adet, overlooking these provisions of the treaty, demanded that the government should stop the exportation of horses by the British, upon the principle that it was a neutral duty required by the law of nations. An answer was given to his demands, in which the regulations of our treaty with France were particularly brought into view, as well as the rules of the law of nations. Mr. Adet, however, after some time renewed his claims; but again kept the treaty out of sight. An answer was given to these renewed claims; and we heard no more on the subject until the French privateers in the West Indies began to capture American vessels which had horses on board: you will find among the documents on this subject the copy of a decree of the citizens Victor Hugues and Lebas, the special agents of the executive directory in the Windward Islands, condemning an American vesseJ 'uid her entire cargo for having a small number of horses on board,—not bound to their enemy's but to a neutral port. And these special agents ground their decree on the advice they received from Mr. Adet, under the date of 14th Messidor, being July 2d, 1796. This vessel and cargo were thus condemned without the sight of a single paper belonging to her: the master had them in his pocket. ;ind would have brought them home, but for the recollection of the interpreter, some hours after the sentence of condemnation had been passed. These citizens exercise indeed a very brief authority. The process in the case of a second. American vessel, which to complete her lading had taken on board nineteen horses, but which was also bound to a neutral port, was in this form. The captain having come before one of the agents, he without any prc