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©pinion which has weight with me, which is, that it is impossible for me among the constructions given to that part of the treaty to discover the intention of the two contracting parties." By the treaty of alliance, France re linquished her former neighbouring possessions to the northward of the United States in which she had ports of great convenience during her wars. By the treaty of amity and commerce signed the same day, she conceived that she assured to herself some advantages as an indemnification in the ports of the United States themselves of which she had in part deprived her enemies. This latter treaty has never said that there should be given an asylum to capturing vessels coming rcith their prizes, it says that asylum shall not be given to any vessel having made prizes. Permit me, sir, to say that this is not a construction but an addition which you give to the treaty, which are different things. According to this addition it were sufficient when I complained of the repairs made to the Thetis, to reply that she had a right to them.
From these forced constructions it results that the belligerent powers raise pretensions which were not looked for, and acknowledge themselves that the meaning of our treaties appears to them obscure. The correspondence which took place on this subject between you and the minister of Great Britain, is very important to consult on this point. Have not yon yoHrself been struck with this avowal of Mr. Hammond, that the treaty specifies only the conduct to be observed towards the capturing vessels, and says nothing <of the prizes? What trouble had you in urging your construction when you answered him—" I hope, sir, that you will not interpret the article so literally as to pretend that it refuses asylum to capturing vessels only, for it excludes every vessel which shall have made prizes on the French," without doubt, sir, that is the true construction, every thing becomes clear when that is maintained; the capturing vessel as well as her prize are not admitted into your ports.
As to the rest, sir, as you have observed, a difference of opinion between the agent of a power and the government to which he is sent, is not by any means conclusive. I adhere with all my heart, with you to the principles contained in the part of Mr. Jefferson's letter which you cite; but I observe that there is no reason to make me the reproach you seem to insinuate. I ought to insist on my manner of construction, and present it to you under all its forms as long as you do not inform me that the President cannot admit my observations. Now you have done so, I should content myself with referring them to the French government. ,
I have gone over in detail the different points stated in our correspondence; let us return to that part of your letter which considers the neutrality of the United States.
I conceived, sir, that the respect and circumspection with which I had touched on this question, would have spared me the bitter reflections which your letter appears to contain on that matter. However great may be my desire to enter into details for my own defence, yet I shall wave them, from the same motives which dictated my first letter. But, sir, if these sentiments had not been with me so weighty, I could at least take off the veil which you seem willing to leave over the measures of the English, and refute the application of the principle upon which you ground the silence of the government of the United States on the Bubject of these measures. I might make it doubtful whether the arbitrary proclamations of the English government and generals were but the ordinary obstructions with which neutral commerce is assailed in all wars. I might iu like manner hesitate to admit that the federal government had not sufficient grounds to demand their revocation. But that would lead against my inclination into an examination of the cases in which a neutral power should actually acknowledge the legality of an interruption of its commerce, such as those of a place blockaded and contraband. I should also be obliged to examine whether the principles with which the English government endeavour to support itself arc consecrated by the law of nations, or whether they are not rather established to serve on the present occasion: whether in changing the language the cabinet of London has changed its measures; whether the successive orders of the 8th June and 6th November, 1793, and of the 8th January, 1794, are not variations of the same system, to which the depredations still exercised on your commerce, are the sequel; whether in a word it is true that the United States are suffering with all neutral nations under the same insults, or particularly sacrificed to exclusive vexations. In enumerating these things, I only remind you of what has already comt to your knowledge, and trace facts against which I know jou are not less indignant than France against whom they are specially directed. The history of your neutrality would perhaps prove my assertion, that it has been a prey to the arbitrary conduct of Great Britain, and would have served as a justification of what I might and should represent on the subject.
In fact, from the evidently precarious situation of the neutrality of America, and from the vexations to which she is subjected, could I not show that this neutrality is in a violent situation to which the United States cannot consent; from this violent situation would I not have reason to infer the necessity of an energetick and vigorous reaction, and of a solemn reparation, which by giving to America what her honour requires, would have manifested towards the French Republick the inclination and intentions of your government? I would have remarked that these reparations had been announced at a certain period, but that if publick report were believed they appeared as far off as ever. From this contradiction between the promises and the performance of them, this consequence seems to arise, that the United States had not yet estab-" lished their neutrality upon as respectable a footing as France desired and had instructed me to demand: I was going to conclude that your government had not done in this respect every thing in its power, and I feared lest this backwardness should arise from a lukewarmness towards its ancient ally, who has not ceased, on the contrary, to testify to it how much she desired to see the bands which connect the two countries brought closer together. This idea suggests to me a reflection, that the friendship professed by the United States towards our Republick, and of which they have on several occasions repeated assurances, does not permit them to alter their situation towards our most mortal enemies, to our disadvantage and amidst hostilities, the origin of which undoubtedly take date from the independence of America.
These remarks which I have long revolved in my mind, led me, sir, accidentally to speak to you of the treaty, in my letter of the 2d of May; but feeling all the circumspection which the silence observed on that act prescribed, I only presented doubts to you, and did not even imagine that the manner in which I wrote to you would have givjen rise to a controversy between us. Besides, sir, it would be superfluous for me at present to commence such a subject with you. I therefore close by appealing, specially to the attention of the federal government upon points which truly interest the French Republick, to wit—the energetick and liberal execution of her treaty with the United States, and the support of their neutrality upon a respectable footing towards and against all. I conceive it my duty to point out a thing as infinitely desirable; which is that nothing definitively be concluded as to the treaty submitted for the ratification of the Senate, until my successor who is momently expected shall have communicated to you the instructions which without doubt he has received upon that important subject. I conjure you, sir, to submit this reflection immediately to the President.
I have but one word more to say, sir, on the close of your letter, in which you recur to contrasts between the present and the past. I cannot believe that the President had me in view when you insinuate on his part that endeavours are still making to injure the harmony existing between the two nations. I do not think that any one has ever given greater evidence than myself of a sincere desire of cultivating it. Still less can I admit, notwithstanding some of your expressions, that your object was to inspire me with fear as to the manner in which I have conducted. You know very well, sir, that a publick man who from any personal considerations whatsoever should compound with his duty would be unworthy the confidence of his country.
Accept, sir, &c.
3Mr. Randolph, Secretary of State, to Mr. Fauchet,” Minister Plenipotentiary of the French Republick. Department of State, June 13, 1795.
Sir, I have not been able to acknowledge sooner your letter of the 8th instant, which I had the honour of receiving on the same day.
* It appears that after this letter had been draughted, and while it was transcribing, Mr. Adet was received as the minister plenipotentiary of the French Republick, to whom in consequence it was sent.
If the plan, pursued in mine of the 29th ultimo, be more extensive than the one proposed in yours of the 2d, you will ascribe the enlargement of it to my solicitude to remove every dissatisfaction, felt by the minister of our ally. A part, however, of that plan being to collect with fidelity the facts applicable to your various charges, and to comment upon them with candour, I shall not relinquish it, in now replying to the old or new matter of your last letter. But I must be pardoned, if I pass over without much stress, any general declarations, which are not susceptible of a precise argument. For how shall I defend our government against undetailed insinuations, like these: “That positive engagements, which give France a right to certain privileges, have been neglected or executed with indifference: that other rights, common to all, have become doubtful, for you by too much submission to the acts of other powers: that you could cite a great number of examples: that it will be easy, more at leisure to have a collection made of them in the different consulates: that almost all the prizes have been subject to artifices: that one of the most disagreeable parts of your functions has been to reply to the just complaints of your injured fellow citizens,” &c. Let me, therefore, recur to your instances of our delinquency. These are, 1st, That the courts of admiralty have always yielded to the importunity of your enemies for an interference with your prizes: 2d, That in the affair of citizen Talbot, which is not yet terminated, our tribunals have contested a French prize upon a question of the validity of a commission, delivered by a governour of Guadaloupe, which falls within neither of my two principles: 3d, That the privateer le Citoyen de Marseilles armed and commissioned at the Cape, having arrived in the United States, armcd and commissioned, and having again gone out from hence. sent prizes into New York and Charleston, the former of which were sold without opposition, and the latter have been seized and adjudged illegal : 4th, That government did not adopt as decisive measures for preventing the unjust chicaneries practised upon French prizes, as for maintaining its own rules resecting armaments and the augmentation of force within the United States: 5th, That there was a tardiness as to the Terpsichore, and she ought not to have been admitted