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necessity and comfort are imported in exchange for provisions and for the raw materials which are the growth of the country, and which its inhabitants are accustomed to raise.
It is at any time extremely difficult, nor is it practicable without great loss, to change suddenly the habits of a whole people, and that course of industry in which their population and their real interests have engaged them. An agricultural cannot suddenly, and at will, become a manufacturing people ; the United States cannot instantaneously, on the mere passing of a decree, transfer to the manufacture of articles heretofore imported, such a portion of their labour as will at the same time furnish a market for the surplus commodities, and a supply for the wants of the cultivator of the soil. It is therefore scarcely possible for them to surrender their foreign commerce.
Independent of the right they possess in common with others to search for and choose the best markets, it is believed that the supplies they need could with difficulty, in the actual state of the world, be completely furnished, without the aid of England and its posfellions. . It is not pretended that France manuta&tures at present for foreign consumption, nor do the underligncd suppose ihat there exists a market where the citizens of the United States can obtain in exchange the articles they need and are accustomed to consume, if those coming out of England and its polfeflions be entirely excluded. A variety of other considerations, and especially the difficulties individuals must encounter in suddenly breaking old and forming new connexions, in forcing all their commerce into channels
not yet well explored, in trading without a sufficient capital to countries where they have no credit, combine to render almost impoflible an immediate difTolution of commercial intercourse between the United States and Great Britain.
If then the decree complained of thall be executed on American veltels, it can only increase grievances already but too considerable, and transfer the carriage of English manufactures for American consumption, from their own to British bottoms, sailing under the protection of a convoy. Instead of wounding England, it will probably aggrandize its marine, by facrificing the reinnant of that of the United States, and by destroying that system of policy by which they have heretofore sought to give their own vessels that portion of their own carrying trade, which would otherwise be enjoyed by British merchants.
You have made some general animadverfions on the government of the United States, which the undersigned feel themselves bound briefly to notice.
You have charged that government with giving instructions not in the fincere intention of arriving at pacific results, and yet the undersigned have offered to change those clauses in the treaty
of 1778, which have become inconvenient to France, and to repair any injuries which may have been committed.
You have charged that government with omitting nothing to prolong and augment the unisunderstanding between the two republics ; but does not the fact, that the undersigned are now in Paris, furnith persuasive evidence to the contrary?
You have charged it with searching to justify, by deceitful appearances, the prejudices with which it surrounds at pleasure the name of the republic, and the fyftem of exasperation and separation pursued in this respect with the ftrangelt obftinacy. But has not this republic, in terms the most cordial, been again and again entreated to enter into a candid investigation of the mutual complaints of the two nations? Have not these entreaties been unnoticed, whilst the ministers deputed to make them have remained unaccredited ?
You have charged it with wishing to feize the first favourabie occasion for confummating an intimate union with a power, towards which a devotion and a partiality are profeffed which have long constituted the principle of the conduct of the federal government; but whilst no devotion or partiality has been exprefled for any nation except France, have not the United States made, and are they not ftill making the most extraordinary efforts to restore the broken relations between the two republics?
In a letter discussing the important interests of two great nations, the underligned are unwilling to introducc what relates perfonally to themselves.
This unwished-for tafk has been rendered a duty, by ascribing to them opinions and relations which exist in imagination only, and by adducing those fupposed opinions and relations as proofs of an indisposition, on the part of the government which has deputed them, towards that accommodation which has been fought so unremittingly through all those difficulties and impediments with which the pursuit has been embarrailed.
You are pleased to add, that these intentions are so little difgnifed, “ that nothing seems to have been neglected at Philadelphia, to manifest them to every eye. It is probably with this view that it has been judged proper to send to the French republic, persons whose opinions and relations are too well known to hope from them difpofitions fincerely conciliatory."
The opinions and relations of the underligned are purely American, unmixed with any particle of foreign tint. If they possess a quality on which they pride themselves, it is an attachment to the happinefs and welfare of their country; if they could at will Select the mcons of manifesting that attachment, it would be by effecting a sincere and real accommodation between France and the United States, on principles promoting the interests of both, and consistent with the independence of the latter.
It requires no assurance to evince that every real American must with sincerely to extricate his country from the ills it fuffers, and from the greater ills with which it is threatened; but all who love liberty, must admit that it does not exist in a nation which cannot exercise the right of maintaining its neutrality. If “opinions and relations, such as these, are incompatible with “difpofitions fincerely conciliatory," then indeed has the federal government chosen unfit instruments for the expressions of its pacific disposition.
You contrast the conduct observed by the United States, under: analogous circumstances, towards the cabinet of St. James's, with that which is observed towards this republic. You say, that on that occasion there was a solicitude to send to London ministers well known to poffefs sentiments conformable to the objects of their mission; that the republic has a right to count upon a fimilar deference; and that if a like attention has not been observed with respect to it, it is too probable that it must be attributed to the views already indicated.
If, unfortunately, the cases shall exhibit a contrast, it is not to be found in the characters the United States have thought proper to employ, or in the conduct of their government, otherwise than by the superior attention manifefted towards this republic, and never thown to any other nation, in deputing to it, with ample powers, three envoys extraordinary and ministers plenipotentiary from the three great divisions of the United States. The ministers sent to the cabinet of St. James's greatly deserved the confidence of their country; but they did not poiïess sentiments more conform able to the objects of their mission than those de-puted to this republic. They did not wish more ardently to effect reconciliation ; nor is it believed that any persons who could have been deputed to that cabinet, weuld have submitted to greater sacrifices in order to obtain it. Had their application for compensation for past injuries, and security againt their future commillion, been only met by requisitions, a compliance with which would involve their nation in ills of which war perhaps might not be the most confiderable ; had all attempts to remove unfavourable impressions failed, and all offers to make explanations been rejected; can it be believed, that other ministers (the first having been ordered out of the nation) would have waited fix months unaccredited, soliciting permission to display the upright principles on which their government had acted, and the amicable sentiments by which it was animated ?
The underligned are induced, Citizen Minister, to pray your attention to these plain truihs, from a conviction that they manifest unequivocally the friendly temper of the federal government, and the extreme reluctance with which the hope of an accommodation with France would be relinquished. Vol. VII.
The underligned observe, with infinite regret, that the disposition manifested to treat with the minister who might be selected by this governinent, is not accompanied with any assurances of receding from those demands of money heretofore made the confiderations on which alone a cessation of hostility on American commerce could be obtained, to which the undersigned have not the power to accede, with which the United States would find it extremely difficult to comply, and a compliance with which would violate that faith pledged for the observance of neutrality, and would involve them in a disastrous war with which they have no concern. Nor do you answer to the applications which have been made for compensation to the citizens of the United States for property which shall be proved to have been taken contrary to the law of nations and existing treaties, otherwise than that you are willing to discuss cases where there has been a departure from certain principles, which principles, in fact, involve almost every case.
You have signified, Citizen Minister, that the Executive Directory is disposed to treat with one of the envoys, and you hope that this overture will not be attended, on the part of the underligned, with any serious difficulty. Every proposition of the Executive Directory is considered with the most minute and respectful attention.
The result of a deliberation on this point is, that no one of the undersigned is authorized to take upon himself a negotiation evidently entrusted by the tenour of their powers and instructions to the whole. nor are there any two of them who can propose to withdraw themselves from the task committed to them by their government, while there remains a possibility of performing it.
It is hoped that the prejudices said to have been conceived against the ministers of the United States will be diffipated by the truths they have stated.
If in this hope they shall be disappointed, and it should be the will of the Directory to order passports for the whole or any num. ber of them, you will please to accompany such passports with letters of safe conduct, which will entirely protect from the cruisers of France, the vessels in which they may respectively fail, and give to their persons, suite, and property, that perfeš security to which the laws and usages of nations entitle them.
They pray you, Citizen Minister, to receive the renewal of their assurances of profound respect and consideration. (Signed) CHARLES COTESWORTH PINCKNEY.
Melage from the President to Congress.
Gentlemen of the House of Representatives, WHILE I congratulate you on the arrival of General Marshall, one of our late envoys extraordinary to the French republic, at a place of safety, where he is justly held in honour, I think it my duty to communicate to you a letter received by him from Mr. Gerry, the only one of the three who has not received his congé : this letter, together with another from the minister of foreign relations to him, of the third of April, and his answer of the fourth, will show the situation in which he remains, his intentions, and prospects.
I presume that, before this time, he has received fresh instructions (a copy of which accompanies this message) to consent to no loans; and therefore the negotiation may be considered at an end.
I will never send another minister to France, without assurances that he will be received, respected, and honoured, as the representative of a great, free, powerful, and independent nation. United States, June 21/1, 1798.
My dear Sir,
Paris, 16th April 1798. THIS I expect you will receive by my colleague General MarThall, who carries with him the last letter of Mr. Talleyrand to the American envoys, and their answer. On the day when we fent the answer, I received a letter from the minister, a copy of which, and my answer, is enclosed. I have not sent these to the secretary of state, because I have not time to prepare a letter to accompany them. Indeed I expected my paflport with my colleagues; but am informed the Directory will not consent to my leaving France: and to bring on an immediate rupture, by adopting this measure contrary to their wishes, would be, in my mind, unwarrantable. The object of Mr. Talleyrand, you will perceive, was to resume our reciprocal communications, and again to discuss the subject of a loan. I thought it best, in my answer, not merely to object to this, but to every measure that could have a tendency to draw me into a negotiation. I accepted of this mission, my dear Sir, to support your administration, and have brought myself into a predicament * which you must assist
* I allude to my painful residence here as a political cipher.
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