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Extract from the Regifter of the Deliberations of the Commiffion delegated by the French Government to the Leeward Islands.
THE commiffion, confidering that the ports of the Windward Ilands, as well as Port-au-Prince, St. Marc, L'Arcahay the Mole, and Jeremie, given up to the English, occupied and defended by the emigrants, are in a flate of permanent fiege, and ought not to enjoy the fame advantages as the ports of the different English colonies, poffeffed by that power before the war, and from other titles;
Confidering that is against all principle to treat a horde of rebels, without country, without government, and without a flag, with the fame refpect which polished nations obferve to one another during war;
That it is notorious that the different places of the colony given up to the English no more belong to them than La Vendée, in which the English minifter had in like manner ftipendiary troops, regiments in his pay, wearing the fame uniform as the troops of the king of England;
The revolted cities of La Vendée were, as well as thofe of the colony, garrifoned by emigrants; its coafts equally protected by English veffels, and that nevertheless it never entered into the head of a reasonable man to think that it ought to be allowed to merchants of neutral nations, to fupply thefe brigands with food, who were only occupied in rending the bofom of their country;
Confidering that in virtue of the 11th article of the treaty of alliance, concluded at Paris on the 6th of February 1778, between the United States and France, this first power engaged itself to defend the poffeffions of France in America in cafe of war, and that the government and commerce of the United States have ftrangely abused the tolerance of the French republic, in turning to her detriment the favours which were granted to her, of entering and trading in all the ports of the colony;
That in permitting any longer to neutral veffels to carry warlike and other provifions to men evidently in a state of rebellion, is to VOL. VII.
wish to prolong civil war, and the evils and crimes that are the effects of it:
The commiffion has decreed, and do decree, as follow:
ARTICLE Ift. The captains of veffels of war and French privateers are authorized to capture and to conduct into the ports of the republic, all neutral veffels destined for the ports of the Windward and Leeward islands of America given up to the English, occupied and defended by emigrants.
2d. The faid veffels are declared good prize, and shall be fold for the benefit of the captors.
3d. The arret of the 7th Frimaire, taken conformably to the refolution of the Executive Directory of 14th Meflidor, fhall be put in force until it fhall be otherwife ordered.
Done at the Cape, 6th Nivofe (26th Dec.), 5th year of the
Declaration of General La Fayeite, previous to his Release from Imprisonment.
Olmutz, July 26, 1797.
THE commiffion with which the Marquis de Chasteller is entrufted, appears to relate to three points:
1. His Imperial Majesty wishes to afcertain the true state of our fituation at Olmutz.-I am not difpofed to prefer any complaint upon the fubject; the detailed circumftances refpecting it may be found in the letters received or fent back, which were tranfmitted by my wife to the Auftrian government; and if his Imperial Majefty is not fatisfied by reading over the orders fent in his name from Vienna, I am willing to give the Marquis de Chasteller any information he may defire.
2. His Majesty the Emperor and King wishes to be affured that, upon my releafe, I fhall immediately fet out for America. I have frequently fignified this to have been my intention. But, as an anfwer, under the prefent circumftances, might feem to admit the right of exacting fuch a condition, I do not judge it proper to comply with this demand.
3. His Majesty the Emperor and King does me the honour to fignify to me that the principles which I profefs, being incompatible with the fecurity of the Auftrian government, it is his pleasure that I fhould not re-enter his dominions without his fpecial permiffion. I have duties from which I am not at liberty to withdraw myself, I am under obligations of duty to the United States;
above all, I am under obligations of duty to France; and I can contract no engagements inconfiftent with thofe rights which my country holds over me. With thefe exceptions, I can affure the General Marquis de Chafteller, that it is my invariable refolutión never to fet foot on any territory fubject to his Majesty the King of Bohemia and Hungary; confequently I, the undersigned, engage myfelf to his Majelty the Emperor and King, never at any time to enter into any of his hereditary dominions, without having firft obtained his fpecial permiffion, provided this engagement is not understood to contravene the right my country holds over me. (Signed) LA FAYETTE,
Declaration of the Second State Prifoner, General Latour Maubourg, previously to his Releafe.
GFNERAL de Chafteller has informed me of the inclination of his Imperial Majefty to fet me at liberty, and added to this intimation, that he was charged to demand a written answer of me to the following points:
ift. Whether it was true that my captivity has been rendered worfe by ill treatment, or whether I had only to complain of the inconveniences peculiar to ftate prifoners?
2d. Where I intended to go after my release?
3d. My affurance not to enter the dominions of his Imperial Majefty without his express leave.
Without giving to the Auftrian government any right over my perfon, and without fubmitting to the right which it has arrogated to itself over unarmed Frenchmen, who had nothing to do with the provinces fubject to the Emperor's domination, I deem it incumbent on me to declare, and do declare,
That I have not been ill-treated, either by words or actions, by the perfons who were charged to guard me, nor would I have fuffered them to do it with impunity. Meanwhile I must add, that excepting the captain, who now has the inspection over the state prifons, moft of the officers who were his predeceffors in that fervice, performed it with peculiar rudeness and neglect, of which it was the natural confequence, that the prifoners were in want of every thing. Thofe officers, fince General Spleny paid very little attention, totally difregarded our wants (perhaps they followed in this refpect the orders which they had); whence it happened, that from October 1794, the epoch of the arrival of General D'Arco, till the month of January 1797, when that fervice was transferred to Count Machelicot, I was left utterly deftitute of all I wanted, and in general in fuch a condition as apparently furprised that officer on his arrival, and which he has ameliorated as much as his inftructions would permit.
Unacquainted as I am with the code of the ftate prifons, I do not know whether the freatment which I have borne for these three years paft tallies with that code; but what we have heard about the mode of treatment in the juftly abhorred Baftille, and what I have read during my imprisonment in Pruffia of the treatment in the French prifons, under the barbarous domination of Marat and Robespierre, even my captivity in Pruffia, all this had not prepared me for thofe rigours, which I would not deem poffible, efpecially under the fceptre of a prince whofe humanity and virtue I have fo often heard praifed, had I not had fo long and fo cruel experience of them.
2. I do further declare, That it is my intention, as foon as I fhall have my liberty, to go to Hamburgh, and to remain there till the news which I expect from my family thall have enabled me to take a farther refolution, and till my impaired health at least be fo far recovered, that I can put it into execution.
3. With pleafure I renew here the promife which I have fo often made to myself, never to travel in the hereditary dominions of his Imperial Majefty, ftill lefs to fettle in them. But as a thoufand circumftances may difconcert the plan I have previously taken to go to North America, and to leave room for no pretext to treat me a second time as a ftate prifoner, for having fulfilled my duties to my country, I deem it neceffary to make an exception in this promife. I therefore except formally the cafe, little probable at the bottom, where the fervice of my country, which I was forced to quit, and which will ever be dear to me, or the fervice of the state where I might in future fix my abode, and which fhould have received me, fhould impofe on me the imperious law to pay no regard to that promife.
Olmutz, July 25th, 1797.
Declaration of the third State Prifoner, Bureau de Pufey, previously to his Releafe.
GENERAL the Marquis de Chafteler has fummoned me, in the name of his Majefly the Emperor and King of Bohemia and Hungary, to expofe the complaints which I might have to make, as well against the individuals appointed to guard me, as of the rigours of my captivity, with exception of the meafure which the duty of fecuring my perfon renders neceffary. I answer to this, as I do not know the measure of the regulations of fecurity and rigour which the Court of Vienna thinks neceffary to keep in fafe cuftody its ftate prifoners, I cannot answer the queftion asked me otherwife than by a faithful narrative of the hard treatment which has fallen to my lot ever fince I have been here.
I declare, therefore, that from the 18th of May 1794, to this present day, I have not been permitted, for a single moment, to
quit the room in which I was fhut up on my arrival; that I was confequently deprived of every other motion but that which I could make in that room; that I could breathe no other fresh air but what entered by the windows, doubly barred with iron; an air frequently fo infectious and unwholefome, that the evil exceeded by far the benefit of the enjoyment. I do further declare, that out of the fmall number of books which I brought with me, about twelve were taken from me, under the pretence of being fufpicious; the fame happened with as many maps, which chiefly reprefented America; farther, with all the letters from my family, which I had received in Pruffia by the channel of the government of that country, till now not a fingle one of thefe articles has been returned to me. I declare, that during the first fourteen weeks of my imprisonment at Olmutz, I was not allowed to receive intelligence from any of my relations, who were then all under the axe of the Jacobins in France, and were obliged the more to tremble as they had the misfortune to belong to me; I was not even allowed to fend them a proof of my ftill being in existence.
I declare, that a fervant who had been proposed to me, without my withing for him, at my departure from Luxemburg to Wefel, and who of courfe accompanied me, was feparated from me on my arrival at Olmutz; that fix weeks after I only could fee him for a few moments, afterwards only every fortnight, each time for about an hour, then twice a week; at lalt, during the laft twenty-one months, he was allowed to pafs three hours every day in attending on my perfon.
I declare that I have been conftantly refufed the use of paper, pen and ink, pencils, compaffes, and other inftruments of that kind; nay, and whole months, from the end of November 1794, to the end of July 1795, a small flate was taken from me, which Iufed for calculations, and in my mathematical ftudies.
I declare, that I have been conftantly deprived of all fmal! articles of furniture, even of those most indifpenfable with regard to Our common daily wants, fuch as watch, fciffars, knife, fork, and razor. Farther, that with regard to my wearing apparel, I was for several months in the most horrid ftate. To fpeak the truth, I afked for none; not that I fufpected the government would refufe me what was most neceffary in that refpect; but in the first place, because my drefs spoke for itfelf; and 2dly, because I preferred this privation, to the humiliating difcuffion on which I fhould have been obliged to enter on that account. I only once touched flightly on this fubject, with regard to Major Chermack, an officer to whofe care the prifoners were then entrusted, a man of a favage and brutal character, and incapable of conceiving the most common duties towards prifoners, before whom men of that fort think they ought to show themselves the prouder the more unfertunate the former are. I farther declare, that, excepting the faid