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cions, and to restore that cordiality which was at once the evidence and pledge of a friendly union ;" the President of the Directory addressed the recalled minister in the following terms; “ In presenting to-day to the Executive Directory your letters of recall, you give to Europe a strange spectacle. France, rich in her liberty, surrounded with the train of her victories, strong in the esteem of her allies, will not abase herself by calculating the consequences of the condescensions of the American government to the suggestions of its ancient tyrants. The French republic hopes, moreover, that the fucceffors of Columbus, Raleigh, and Penn, always proud of their liberty, will never forget that they owe it to France. They will weigh in their wisdom the magnanimous good will of the French people with the crafty caresses of Certain perfidious persons, who meditate to bring them back to their ancient Navery. Allure, Mr. Minister, the good American people, that like them we adore liberty; that they will always have our esteem, and that they will find in the French people that republican generofity, which knows as well how to grant peace as to cause its sovereignty to be respected.”
The change of a minister is an ordinary act for which no government is accountable to another, and which has not heretofore been “ a Itrange spectacle” in France, or in any other part of Europe. It appears to be a measure not of itself calculated to draw on the government making such change, the strictures ar the reseniments of the nation to which the minister is deputed. Such an effect, produced by so inadequate a cause, could not fail to command attention, while it excited surprise.
This official speech, addressed by the government of France to that of the United States, through its minister, charges that government with condescensions to the suggestions of its ancient tyrants, speaks of the crafty caresses of certain perfidious persons who meditate to bring back the succellors of Columbus, Raleigh, and Penn, to their ancient flavery, and desires the minister to affure, not his government, but the good people of America, that they will always have the esteem of France, and that they will find in the French people that republican generosity which knows as well how to grant peace as to cause its sovereignty to be respected.
That a minister should carry any assurances from a foreign government to the people of his nation, is as remarkable as the difference between ihe manner in which his government and his peo; le are addressed. His government are charged with condescension to the suggestions of the ancient tyrants of his country, but the people are considered as loving liberty, and they are to be assured of the perpetual esteem of France. This esteem they are to ucigh againit the crafty caresses of those perfidious persons who meditate to bring them back to their former llavery.
When this speech, thus addressed directly to the government and people of the United States, in the face of Europe and the world, came to be considered in connexion with other measures ; when it came to be considered in connexion with the wide-Spreading devastation to which their commerce was subjected, with the cruel feveritics practised on their seamen, with ihe recall of the minister of Franee from the United States, and the very extraor. dinary manner in which that recall was signified by him both to the government and people, with the refusal even to hear the messenger of peace, deputed from the United States for the fole purpose of conciliation; it could not fail to make on the American mind a deep and a serious impression. It was considered as a fact too important to be held from the Congress, by that department of the government which is charged with the duties of maintaining its intercourse with foreign nations, and of making communications to the legislature of the Union. The President, therefore, did communicate it in the following words: “ With this conduct of the French government it will be proper to take into view the public audience given to the late minister of the United States on his taking leave of the Executive Directory. The speech of the President discloses sentiments more alarming than the refusal of a minifter, because more dangerous to our independence and union, and at the same time studiously marked with indignities towards the government of the United States. It evinces a dispofition to separate the people of the United States from the government; to persuade them that they have different affe&tions, principles, and intereits, from those of their fellow-citizens, whom they themselves have chosen to manage their commnon concerns; and thus to produce divisions fatal to our peace. Such attempts ought to be repelled with a decision which shall convince France and the world, that we are not a degraded people, humiliated under a colunial spirit of fear and sense of inferiority, fitted to be the miserable instruments of foreign influence, and regardless of national honour, character, and interest.
“ I should have been happy to have thrown a veil over these transactions, if it had been possible to conceal them ; but they have patled on the great theatre of the world, in the face of all Europe and America, and with such circumitances of publicity and folemnity, that they cannot be disguised, and will not soon be forgotten; they have inflicted a wound in the American breast. It is my finccre défire, however, that it may be healed.”
It is hoped that this cominunication will be viewed in its true light, that it will no longer be considered as a denunciation of the Executive Directory, but as the statement of an all-important saat by one department of the American government to another, the making of which was enjoined by duties of the highest obligation.
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The undersigned have now, Citizen Minister, passed through the complaints you urge against the government of the United States. They have endeavoured to consider those complaints impartially, and to weigh them in the scales of justice and of truth. If any of them be well founded, France herself could not demand more readily, than America would make, reparation for the injury sustained. The President of the United States has said, “ If we have committed errors, and these can be demonstrated, we shall be willing to correct them; if we have done injuries, we shall be willing, on conviction, to redress them.” Thefe difpositions on the part of the government have been felt in all their force by the undersigned, and have constantly regulated their conduct.
The undersigned will not resume, Citizen Minister, the painful talk of re-urging the multiplied injuries which have been accumulated on their country, and which have been in fome degree detailed in their memorial of the 17th January laft. They cannot, however, decline to remonftrate against a measure which has been announced since that date. The Legislative Councils of the French republic have decreed that,
ist. “ The condition of ships, in every thing which concerns their character as neutrals or enemies, shall be determined by their cargo; consequently every vessel found at fea, laden in whole or in part with merchandise coming out of England, or its posfeffions, shall be declared good prize, whoever may be the proprietors of such commodities or merchandise.”
2dly. “ No foreign veffel, which in the course of its voyage fhall have entered into an English port, shall be admitted into any port of the French republic, but in the case of neceflity; in which cafe such velel shall be obliged to depart from such port so soon as the cause of entry shall have ceased."
This decree too deeply affects the interests of the United States to remain unattended to by their ministers. They pray you, therefore, Citizen Minister, to receive their respe&tful representations concerning it.
The object of the decree is, to cut off all direct intercourfe between neutrals and Great Britain, or its possessions, and to prevent the acquisition, even by circuitous commerce, of thofe articles which come from England or its dominions.
The right of one nation to exchange with another the surplus produce of its labour, for those articles which inay fupply its wants or administer to its comfort, is too essential to have been ever claffed among those admitted to be in any degree doubtful. It is a right, in ceding which a nation would cede the privilege of regulating its own interests and providing for its own welfare. When any two nations shall choose to make war on each other, they have never been considered, nor can they be considered as thereby authorizing theinselves to impair the essential rights of those who may choose to remain at peace. Consequently these rights, the free exercise of which is ellential to its interests and welfare, must be retained by a neutral power, whatever nations may be involved in a war.
The right of a belligerent to restrain a neutral from affifting his enemy by supplying him with those articles which are defined as contraband, has been universally submitted to; but to cut off all intercourse between neutrals and an enemy, to declare that any single article which may have come from the pofTeflions of an enemy, whoever may be its owner, fhall of itselt' be sufficient to condemn both vessel and cargo, is to exercise a control over the conduct of neutrals which war can never give, and which is alike incompatible with their dignity and their welfare.
The rights of belligerents are the same. If this might be exercised by one, so might it be exercised by every other. If it might be exercised in the present, so it might be exercised in every future war.
This decree is, therefore, on the part of France, the practical affertion of a principle which would destroy all direct or circuitous commerce between belligerent and neutral powers, which would often interrupt the business of a large portion of the world, and withdraw or change the employment of a very contiderable portion of the human race.
This is not all. It is the exercise of a power which war is not admitted to give, and which, therefore, may be assumed in peace as well as war.
It ellentially affects the internal economy of nations, and deranges that course of industry which they have a right to pursue, and on which their prosperity-depends.
To acquiefce, therefore, in the existing state of things, under a principle fo extensive and so pernicious, is to establish a precedent for national degradation which can never cease to apply, and which will authorize any measures which power may be disposed to practise.
France, therefore, will perceive that neutral governments, whatever may be their dispositions towards this republic, are impelled by duties of the higheft obligation, to remonftrate against a decree, which at the same time invades their interests and their independence, which takes from them the profits of an honest and lawful industry, as well as the inestimable privilege of conducting their own affairs as their own judgments may direct.
It is hoped that the remontrances of the United States on this fubject will derive additional force from their subsisting engagements with France, and from a situation peculiar to themselves.
The twenty-third article of the treaty of amity and cominerce of the 6th of February 1778, is in these words: “ It shall be lawful for all and singular the subjects of the most Christian King, and the citizens, people, and inhabitants of the said United States,
to fail with their ships, with all manner of liberty and security, no distinction being made who are the proprietors of the mer. chandises laden thereon, from any port to the places of those who now are, or hereafter thall be at enmity with the most Christian King or the United States. It shall likewise be lawful for the subjects and inhabitants aforesaid, to fail with the thips and merchandises afore-mentioned, and to trade with the same liberty and security from the places, ports, and havens of those who are ene. mies of both or either party, without any opposition or disturbance whatsoever, not only directly from the places of the enemy before mentioned to neutral places, but also from one place belonging to an enemy, tú another place belonging to an enemy, whether they be under the jurisdiction of the said prince, or under several. And it is hereby ftipulated, that free ships thall also give a freedom to goods, and that every thing shall be deemed to be free and exempt which shall be found on board the ships belonging to the subjects of either of the confederates, although the whole lading, or any part thereof, should appertain to the enemies of either; contraband goods being always excepted. It is also agreed, in like manner, that the saine libetty be extended to persons who are on board a free thip, with this effect, that although they be eneinies to both or either party, they are not to be taken out of that free ship, unlefs they are soldiers, and in actual service of the enemy.
The two nations contemplating and providing for the case when one may be at war, and the other at peace, folemnly ftipulate and pledge themselves to each other, that in fuch an event the subjects or citizens of the party at peace may freely trade with the enemy of the other, may freely fail with their thips in all manner of security, to and from any port or place belonging to such enemy. Not only goods coming from the hostile territory, but the very goods of the enemy himself, may be carried with safety in the vefrels of either of the contracting parties.
You will perceive, Citizen Minister, without requiring the undersigned to execute the painful task of drawing the contrast, how openly and entirely the decree of the Councils opposes itself to the treaty between France and the United States.
In addition to the hitherto unceded rights of a sovereign and independent nation, in addition to the right ftipulated by compact, ihe undersigned will respectfully submit other considerations growing out of the peculiar situation of the United States, mani. festing the particular hardships the decree coinplained of must impole on them.
in possession of a rich, extensive, and unsettled country, the labour of the United States is not yet sufficient for the full cultivation of its foil, and consequently but a very small portion of it can have been applied to manufactures. Articles of the first