« PrejšnjaNaprej »
Fifth Congress of the United States,
AT THE SECOND SESSION.
ESOLVED by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
United States of America, in Congress assembled, That the Secretary of State be, and he hereby is authorized and directed to cause to be printed a number of copies, not exceeding ten thousand, of the instructions to the envoys extraordinary and ministers plenipotentiary of the United States to the French Republic, and of all the dispatches hitherto received from them, and which have been communicated by the President of the United States to both Houses of Congress; and to cause the same to be distributed, gratis, throughout the United States, and particularly in such parts thereof wherein the dissemination of information, through the medium of news-papers, is most obftruéted.
President of the Senate,
President of the United States,
In the House of Representatives of the United States,
Monday, the 2d of April, 1798. RESOLVED, That the President of the United States be requested to communicate to this House, the instructions to, and dispatches from the envoys extraordinary from the United States, to the French Republic, mentioned in his message of the nineteenth ultimo. Extract from the Journal.
JONATHAN W. CONDY, Clerk.
Message of the President of the UNITED States, to both
Houses of CONGRESS.
Gentlemen of the Senate, and
Gentlemen of the House of Representatives,
IN compliance with the request of the House of Representatives, expressed in their resolution of the second of this month, I transmit to both Houses, those instructions to and dispatches from, the Envoys Extraordinary of the United States to the French Republic, which were mentioned in my message of the nineteenth of March last, omitting only fome names, and a few expreffions descriptive of the persons.
I request that they may be considered in confidence, until the members of Congress are fully possessed of their contents, and shall have had opportunity to deliberate on the confequences of their publication; after which time I submit them to your wisdom.
Envoys Extraordinary and Minifters Plenipotentiary, from the United States of
T America 'entertained a warm and sincere affection for the people of France, ever since their arms were united in the war with Great Britain, which ended in the full and formal acknowledgement of the Independence of these States. It is known to you, that this affection was ardent, when the French determined to reform their government and eftablish it on the basis of liberty; that liberty in which the people of the United States were born, and which in the conclusion of the war above mentioned was finally and firmly secured. It is known to you, that this affection rose to enthusiasm, when the war was kindled between France and the powers of Europe, which were combined against her for the
Reed 5-31 - 32 taul
79 T 20VTE72
(4) avowed purpose of restoring the monarchy; and every where vows were heard for the success of the French arms. Yet during this period Fra
rance expressed no wish that the United States should depart from their neutrality. And while no duty required us to enter into the war, and our best interefts urged us to remain at peace, the government determined to take a neutral station : which being taken, the duties of an impartial neutrality became indispensably binding. Hence the government early proclaimed to our citizens the nature of those duties and the consequences of their violation.
The minister of France, Mr. Genet, who arrived about this time, by his public declarations, confirmed the idea, that France did not desire us to quit the ground we had taken. His measures, however, were calculated to destroy our neutrality and to draw us into the war.
The principles of the proclamation of neutrality, founded on the law of nations, which is the law of the land, were afterwards recognized by the National Legislature, and the observance of them enforced by fpecific penalties, in the act of Congress passed the fifth of June 1794. By these principles and laws the acts of the executive and the decisions of the courts of the United States were regulated.
A government thus fair and upright in its principles and just and impartial in its conduct, might have confidently hoped to be secure against formal official censure : but the United States have not been so fortunate. The acts of their government, in its various branches, though pure in principle and impartial in operation, and conformiable to their
indifpenfible rights of sovereignty, have been afligned as the cause of the offensive and injurious measures of the French Republic. For proofs of the former, all the acts of the government may be vouched; while the afperfions fo freely uttered by the French ministers, the refusal to hear the minister of the United States specially charged to enter on amicable discussions on all the topics of complaint, the decrees of the Executive Directory and of their agents, the depredations on our commerce and the violences against the persons of our citizens, are evidences of the latter. These injuries and depredations will constitute an important subject of your discussions with the government of the French Republic ; and for all these wrongs you will seek redress.
In respect to the depredations on our commerce, the principal objects will be, to agree on an equitable mode of examining and deciding the 'claims of our citizens, and the manner and periods of making them compensation. As to the first, the seventh article of the British and the twenty-first of the Spanish treaty present approved precedents to be adopted with France. The proposed mode of adjusting those claims, by commissioners appointed on each side, is so perfectly fair, we cannot ima. gine that it will be refused. But when the claims are adjusted, if payment in specie cannot be obtained, it may
be found necessary to agree, in behalf of our citizens, that they shall accept public securities, payable with interest at such periods as the state of the French finances shall render practicable. These periods you will endeavour as far as possible to shorten.
Not only the recent depredations, under colour of the decrees of the Directory of the second of July 1796 and the second of March 1797, or under the decrees of their agents, or the illegal fentences of their tribu. nals, but all prior ones, not already fatisfactorily adjusted, fhould be put