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When on the 13th Floreal, 3d year, the fame minister ex. prefled himtelf in these terms, in a letter to the secretary of state : * You have alledged, Sir, that the executive government of the United States cannot interfere in the affairs of which the tribunals have taken cognizance. In admitting this objection for all the business now in suit, I do not the less think that your government could, by general measures, bring back the jurisdiction of the American tribunals, concerning prizes made by our veíTels, within the limits prescribed by cur treaties, which make part of the supreme law of the land : it might make known that the facility, with which your courts of Admiralty adinit, without distinction, all the chicanery which our enemies create against us in the present war, is evidently contrary to the spirit of the treaty.” The government paid no attention to these reflections, and the answer of the secretary of state merely notices the particular fact which had occasioned the note of citizen Fauchet.
What was the undersigned minister plenipotentiary able to obtain in the affair of the Callius and of the Vengeance?Nothing.
The government of the United States must have seen, however, by the claims which the ministers of the Republic addressed to it, and by the great number of facts of which it has had a knowledgez how much the execution of the measures of the president, and of the law of the 5th of June, 1794, was contrary to the 17th article of the treaty; how much the agency of the tribunals, who ought not to have any cognizance of the validity or invalidity of prizes, tending to annul that article, and to deprive the Republic of the advantages which it assures to her. In fact, was it not evident that, when the powers at war with the Republic had the privilege, in virtue of the law of the 5th of June, 1794, of causing to be arrested the privateers and their prizes, of detaining them in the ports of the United States, of ruining them by confiderable costs, by the exceffive expenses which they occafioned them, they drew from that privilege an immense advantage, to the detriment of France? Doubtless it was but of little import to them that sometimes the privateers obtained justice in the last resort, if they detained the privateers for a length of time, and if they by that means sheltered from their pursuit the commerce
of the enemy of France.
The neutrality of the United States in this case was altogether to their advantage ; and the federal government, on seeing this Itate of things, should, out of respect to its neutrality and to treaties, folicit from the Congress the means of conciliating the duties of the former with the obligations of the latter,
The government very well knew how to folicit the law of the 5th of June, 1794. When the law was to bear on France 5
alone, when it gave the tribunals a right which has been abused, and which enables them to decide upon prizes, why, on seeing the inconveniences of this law, has it not endeavoured to remedy them ? Should it wait to be solicited on this head ? Should it not anticipate all claims? And, when those were presented by the ministers of the Republic, should it not do justice?
Besides, if the government had been impartial, as it has pretended to be, it would not have adopted that flow and circuitous mode, so favourable to the enemies of France, for deciding the cafes relative to its neutrality; it would have preferred the meafure proposed by Mr. Jefferson, on the 25th of June, 1793, to the minister of the Republic; these measures were simple; they were in conformity with the duties of neutrality, and the interests of the Republic.
The federal government had decided questions which interested its neutrality, upon informations furnished by the state governors and the agents of the Republic; the prizes remained in the hands of the French consul until this decision took place: the ftipulations of the 17th article of the treaty of 1778 were not vinlated; and the government at the same time satisfied the obligations of duty and justice. In vain would it say that it had not this power. Notwithstanding the law of the 5th of June, 1794, giving to the tribunal the right of taking cognizance of cases in which neutrality had been violated, did not the president on the 21st of June, 1794, decide, that the ship William, taken out of the limits of the waters of the United Siates, should be delivered to the captors? And on the 3d of July, 1794, did he not decide, that the Pilgrim had been taken in the waters of the United States, and that of course the should be given up to the owners ? In these cases the president not only decided on matters, the cognia zance of which had been consigned to the tribunals, but likewise gave a retrospective effect to his own decision upon the protecting line of the United States, which was not notified to the minister of the Republic till the 8th of November, 1793.
Not satisfied with permitting the 17th article of the treaty to be violated by its agents and tribunals, the federal government also fuffered the English to avail themselves of advantages interdicted to them by that article. They armed in the ports of the United States, brought in and repaired their prizes, and, in a word, found in them a certain asylum.
The English privateer Trusty, Captain Hall, was armed at Baltimore to cruize against the French, and failed, notwithstanding the complaints of the conful of the Republic. At Charlestown, one Bermudian vessel, feveral English vessels, and one Dutch vessel, from the 24th of May to the 6th of June, 1793, took in cannon for their defence, and failed without opposition. M m 2
What answer did the government give to the representations of the minister of the French Republic in this respect ? He said that these vessels failed to suddenly, it was not able to have them arrested, But the treaty was not the less violable. Some inhabilants of the United States had aided in these illegal arınaments : what measures were taken against them? Was any search made to discover them, to prosecute them? Never; and yet the government of the United States no sooner learned that, in consequence of the implied ftipulation which the treaty of Versailles seemed to contain, the French were no sooner in the ports of the United States, than the most energetic orders were sent for stopping these armaments. Even citizens of the United States were imprisoned upon suspicion that they had participated in them. The minister cannot omit citing here the following passage of a letter from the secretary of state, Edmund Randolph, to Mr. Hammond, dated 2d June, 1794.
“On a suggestion that citizens of the United Ştates had taken part in the act (he speaks of the armaments in the United States, one, who was designated, was instantly committed to prison for prosecution ; one or two others have been since named and committed in like manner; and should it appear that there were still others, no measures would be spared to bring them to justice.” What more could the American government do in favour of the English, if they had a similar treaty, to that with France, and had been fole poileffors of the advantages assured to her by positive stipulations ?
However, in contempt of these very ftipulations, the Argonaut, an English thip of war, in January, 1795, conducted into Lynn. haven Bay the French corvette L'Esperance, which she had taken upon the coast; she there had her repaired, in order to send her on a cruize. Letters were in consequence written by the secretary of state to the governor of Virginia and to Mr. Hammond.. What was the result? Nothing. On the 29th of May, 1793, the federal government had not yet done any thing positive as to the acts which produced the complaint of the minister of the Republic, The secretary of state announced, “That these facts shall be examined, and that if they are verified, the federal government will not be in the rear of its obligations." To that has the reparation demanded by the Republic been limited.
What are we to think of these delays, when we see the officers of the government acting with so much activity against the French, on the flightest suspicion that they have violated the neutrality, when, in his letter of the 29th of April, 1794, the secres fary of state answers the complaints of the English minifter-“We have received na intelligence of the particular facts to which you reser; but, to prevent all unnecessary circuity in first inquiring into them, and next transmitting to this city the result, the
proper proper instructions will be given to act without further directions." How did the federal government conduct itself towards the antuma of 1794? The English frigate Terpsichore took the privateer La Montagne into the port of Norfolk. The French vice-consul clained the execution of the treaty of the governor of Virginia. The governor answered him, that he would have the necessary investigation made, and would afterwards take the proper measures.
The predecessors of the undersigned then interposed with the federal government, and the secretary of state affured him that he wrote to the governor of Virginia to have justice rendered, But this justice was limited to investigations made with such Now. ness, that five months after this affair was not finished; and, on the 24th of February, 1795, the secretary of state contented himself with sending to the predecessor of the undersigned the dir. patches of the lieutenant-governor, dated roh O&tober, 1794, by which he announces, that he ordered the commandant of the militia of Norfolk to make the necessary inquiries for enabling the executive of Virginia to render to the Republic the justice which it had a right to expect. The result of these inquiries is not known. However, the fact about which the minister, Fauchet, complained to the secretary of state was notorious, and painful researches were not necessary to convince himself of it. Do we not find in this proceeding a formal desire to elude the treaties, and to favour the English?
If the government of the United States had wished to maintain itself in that impartiality which its duties prescribed, if it wished freely to execute the treaties, it would not have waited, every time that the English infringed them, for the minister to solicit its justice: should it not have given instructions fo precise that the governors of the States and subaltern officers of the federal government might know what duties they had to fulfill, in order to maintain the execution of treaties? Why have the most energetic orders (such as the secretary of state, Randolph, mentions) been given, when the support of the neutrality inviolate, in favour of the English, came in question? Why have the measures taken by the federal government operated with so much flowness when Frarice was interested? Why, in fine, have the multiplied claims of her ministers never produced the redress of the grievances of which they complained ?
When the predecessor of the undersigned minister plenipotentiary claimed the execution of the 17th article of the treaty, interdicting the entry into the American ports of English vessels which Thould have made prizes upon the French, when he cited this fimple and formal ftipulation-“On the contrary, neither asylum nor refuge shall be given in the ports or harbours of France, or of
The United States, to vėssels which shall have made prizes of the French or Americans; and should they be obliged to enter, by tempest or danger of the sea, all proper means thall be used to make them depart as soon as possible,” the secretary of state, in order to avoid thutting the Ainerican ports against the English, interpreted this article in their favour. « But it would be uncandid to conceal from you the construction which we have hitherto deemed the true one. The first part of the 17th article relates to French thips of war and privateers entering our ports with their prizes; the second contracts the situation of the enemies of France, by forbidding such as thall have made prizes of the French ; intimating, from this connection of the two clauses, that veliels forbidden are those which bring their prizes with them. It has been considered that this section of the treaty was impartially destined to the withholding of protection or succour to the prizes themselves ; had it been otherwise it would have been superfluous to have prohibited from failing what they have taken in the ports of the United States."
He said, moreover, that in letter of the 29th of May, 1795, “ But, on the 3d of August, the president declared his construction of that treaty to be, that no public armed vessels were thereby forbidden from our waters, except those which should have made prizes of the people or property of France coming with their prizes.” But how is it posible to find, in the stipulations of the treaty, the fenfe given to them by the government of the United States? This exprellion of the treaty, “ which thall have made prizes,” is general, and applies to all capturing veffels, whether they enter the ports of the United States with prizes, or enter thein alone after having made prizes. It is evident that the government adds to the letter of the treaty in this circumstance; and it is not astonishing that it admits a construction of the treaty, when it expects to find a meaning disadvantageous to France, and in other instances opposes all construction, when this would be favourable to the Republic. But has it the right of conftruing the treaty, of changing, of its own accord, the sense of a clear and precise ftipulation, without the consent and concurrence of the other contracting party? Doubtless not, especially when, by to doing, it wounds her interests. · The secretary of state, by the 22d article, pretends to support his conttruction of the 17th article. What does this 22d article contain? A prohibition of the enemies of France and of the United States from arming in the respective ports of the two powers, of selling their prizes, or of discharging all or a part of their cargo there. This article, therefore, applies to the prizes ; while the 17th applies to the capturing vessels. Did it not exist, the enemies of France or of the United States might fend their prizes into the respective ports of the two powers, without con