Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

French fugitives from thence; and one of them given to a vessel at his instance, exported a large quantity of powder, doubtless without his privity.

The government suppressed the prosecution against consul Juteau, of Boston, as Mr. Fauchet desired. Whatever irritation may have been occasioned by the attorney of the District, was owing to no instruction from the President.

The demand for dismantling Cooper's vessel was inevitable, as she had been fitted out in our ports; and wheresoever in any case restitution of vessels was required from us, the rules of our neutrality fully justified it.

We restored the ship William, of Glasgow, and the damages during her detention have been assured to the agent of the captors.

The steps adopted, and promised, for executing the consular convention in the apprehension of deserters, are as much as could be done or expected.

The government has, indeed, differed from Mr. Fauchet in the con. struction of the treaty ; not holding themselves bound to exclude British ships of war, except when they came in with prizes.

The General Executive has given every instruction in his power to prevent French prizes to British vessels coming into our ports. Mr. Fauchet bas expressly by letter approved our conduct in one instance. But this subject is fully detailed in my letter of the 29th ultimo, a copy of which is now forwarded to you.

I presuine that the dissatisfaction at the arms taken from the Favorite, in New York, and the omission to salute the French ships of war, have been completely expiated.

The tonnage duty was remitted to French vessels which had been injured by the British.

It was impossible to rescue from the law William Talbot, who was charged with being a citizen of the United States, and accepting a privateering commission from France. These are the most material of Mr. Fauchet's transactions with the government, except, indeed, the abolition of the embargo ; the whole of which business you witnessed yourself, and can shew to have arisen from wery different motives, than those of disregard to France.

Although it was requested that Mr. Genet's successor should be charged with commercial powers, yet it is not known, or believed, that he brought any. No writing from him announced it : nor yet any conversation with me, unless indeed in November or December last, when Macpherson's Blues were coming into town, and he and I wero together looking out at them from his eastern window. He then made some casual observations respecting Mr. Jáy's negotiation, and said something indefinite as to our treaty of commerce. My answer was, that I should be ready to receive his overtures. It would have been indelicate to ask him, formally, whether he had such powers ; but a distant hint was given by me to him two or three months after his arrival upon the subject, and, from his reply, I did not infer whether he had or had not them. I am rather disposed to conclude, that he had them not ; because he was appointed minister during the reign of Robespierre, who, as we have seen, almost extinguished commerce, and when a decree was in force assuming into the hands of government all trade. 2. Regulations on the part of the British government, with respect to the commerce of the two countries, which, if reciprocally adopted, would materially injure the interests of the two nations ; and an overture from Mr. Jefferson, as far back as November 1791, to conclude or negotiate arrangements which might fix the commerce between the two countries on principles of reciprocal advantage.

If Mr. Fanchet bad been ready, we should have proceeded sincerely and without procrastination.

If, then, in the circumstances attending the proposition of a com. mercial treaty from Mr. Genet, or in the conduct of the United States towards France since, nothing improper can be found, we ought to consider whether in those of the late treaty with Great Britain a source of blame can be detected.

The message in which the President nominated Mr Jay as Envoy Extraordinary to His Britannic Majesty, was dated on the 16th of April, 1794, and is the text. the exainination of which, will develop the total matter, previous to Mr. Jay's departure.

6. The cominunications" says the message, which I have made to you, during your present session, froin the despatches of our Minister in London, contain a serious aspect of our affairs with Great Britain.

The first of these communications was to Congress on the 5th December, 1793 ; in which are the following passages : “ The vexations and spoliation, understood to have been committed on our vessels and commerce, by the cruizers and officers of some of the belligerent Powers, appeared to require attention. She proofs of these, however, not having been brought forward, the description of citizens supposed to have suffered, were notified, that, un furnishing them to the Executive, due measures would be taken to obtain redress of the past, and more effectual provisions against the future. Should such documents be furnished, proper representations will be made, with a just reliance on a redress proportioned to the exigency of the case.”

« The British government having undertaken, by order to the commanders of their armed vessels, to restrain generally our commerce in corn and other provisions to their own ports and those of their friends, the instructions, now communicated, were immediately forwarded to our Minister at that Court ; in the mean time, some diseussions on the subject took place between him and them. These are: also laid before you ; and I may expect to learn the result of his special instructions, in time to make it known to the Legislature during their present session."

“ Very early after the arrival of a British Minister here, mutual explanations on the inexecution of the treaty of peace were entered into with that minister. These are now laid before you, for your information."

From the documents accompanying this message, of December 5th, 1793, these subjects emerge, as depending for adjustment between the United States and Great Britain :

1. The inexecution of the 7th article of the treaty of peace in carrying away negroes and other property of American inhabitants, and the not withdrawing the garrisons from the posts within the United States,

[ocr errors]

3. The ascertainment of the river intended by the Treaty as the river St. Croix.

4. The additional instructions of the 8th of June, 1793, which rendered provisions to a certain degree contraband ; and the letter to Mr. Pinckney, from this Department. in consequence thereof..

5. Other measures of the British government, in violation of neutral rights.

6. The exposure of American seamen to impressment; and,

7. The British complaints of infraction of the fourth, fifth, and sixth articles of the treaty, relative to the omission of Congress to enforce them; the repealing of laws which existed antecedent to the pacification ; the enacting of laws subsequent to the peace, in contravention of the treaty; and the decisions of the State courts upon ques. tions affecting the rights of British subjects.

The despatches transmitted to Congress from Mr. Pinckney, on the 22d January, 1794, manifest a continuation of the same unfriendly spirit in the British government.

With the message of February 24, 1794, was sent to Congress a letter from Mr. Pinckney, forwarding his conversation with Lord Grenville, concerning British agency in fomenting the Indian war, and Algerine hostility.

On the 4th of April 1794, was conveyed to Congress Mr. Pinckney's letter, enclosing the instructions of the 6th of November, 1793.

In addition to this involved and injurious state of things between us and Great Britain, it had been collected and reported to Congress, from the papers respecting spoliation, “ that the British privateers plundered the American vessels ; threw them out of their course, by forcing them, upon groundless suspicion, into ports, other than those to which they were destined ; detained them even after the hope of a regular confiscation was abandoned ; by their negligence, while they held the possession, exposed the cargoes to damage, and the vessels to destruction, and maltreated the crews ;" that our occasional trade to the British West Indies was burthened unnecessarily; that our vessels were captured in going to the French West Indies ; and that the proceedings in the British Vice-admiralties were rigorous ; transgressed strict judicial purity, and heaped the most intolerable and fruitless expenses upon our citizens, who defended their property before them.

It makes no part of my object to compare the various schemes which were circulating to face those public distresses ; nor to prove the superiority of the policy adopted by the Executive to commercial reprisals, sequestration, and the stoppage of intercourse. It is enough to say, that his policy is affirmed to be, to pursue peace “with

unremitted zeal before the last resource, which had so often been the scourge of nations, and could not fail to check the advanced prosperity of the United States, should be contemplated.”

By what means did the President expect to execute the work of peace through the agency of Mr. Jay? By announcing to the world our solicitude for a friendly adjustment of our complaints, and a reluctance to hostility ; by sending a man who, going directly from the United States, would carry with him a full knowledge of the existing temper and sensibility of our country ; and would thus be taught to vindicate our rights with firmness, and to cultivate peace with sincerity. The Senate therefore did probably anticipate what might be the objects of this mission, when they confirmed the nomination. For'the President details no powers, and founds his nomination upon the information possessed by themselves.

It has been, or may be, objected : 1. That the Senate did not contemplate the making of any treaty whatsoever. 2. That a treaty of commerce, especially, was very distant from their mind. 3. That the declarations to the Minister of the French Republic here, and the instructions to our own Minister at Paris, induced a persuasion, that the President had not vested in Mr. Jay powers as extensive as a treaty of commerce : and, 4. That the treaty with Great Britain is justly offensive to France. • 1. Recapitulate the several heads of intelligence in the power of the Senate, when the nomination was assented to. Scarcely one of them could, in the ordinary course of proceeding, be accommodated without an agreement; some expressly struck at the inexecution of the past treaty. Upon others, no treaty had ever existed : though overtures for that purpose had been repeated by the United States. That a treaty would spring from such mission, and the extinction of our differences, is too clear to be in need of further elucidation

And why should not a treaty be concluded with Great Britain ? Was it because she had despoiled us ? The objection would lie with equal strength against even a treaty of peace. It would forbid a treaty of peace even with Algiers. The fact is. that treaties are proposed by one nation, and accepted by another, only because they can be mutually hurtful by positive enmity, or by the withholding of some benefit. We are in no danger of being corrupted by inporting foreign vices, if treaties merely, and not our own propensities, should favor them,

2. A treaty of commerce with Great Britain has, for many years, been anxiously pushed by the United States : witness the powers given, by the old Congress, to Mr. Adams, to negotiate it; witness the clamors against her for declining it ; witness the argument drawn from thence for a more energetic Government, which should inspire a dread of reprisal ; witness the bill which passed the House of Representatives, at an early session, discriminating between nations having no commercial treaty with us, and those which had. What, too, was the report of the late Secretary of State, but a plan for forcing the British Government into a treaty of commerce? Has he not clearly unfolded this sentiment? What were the commercial proposi

tons, but emanations from the same system ? The want of a commercial treaty was the single circumstance which propped up the severity of the proposed distinction of duties, and carried through one of the resolutions.

Exclusively of these various acts, the facilities to our commerce, both European and West Indian, which would flow from such a treaty, rendered it very desirable.

Perhaps, for a treaty of commerce, alone, an Envoy would not have been thought of. But, surely, to include in one general arrangement, controversies as well as useful compacts, was the saving of one negotiation at least. Some of our vexations on the water were owing to the non-existence of the customary appendages to a commerrial treaty. Past spoliations might have been compensated without a treaty ; but a treaty was the best assurance of the future. In a word, the Senate must have been sensible of many particulars being comprehended by the general outlines of the nomination,

When the President nominates Ministers, he may, if be pleases, restrict himself to the name, the grade, and the prince, or state. He might, for example, have nominated Mr. Jay thus: “I nominate John Jay as Envoy Extraordinary to his Britannic Majesty.” The Se. nate, in their turn, might have rejected him. But, if they had approved bim, the President would have been at liberty to employ him in any negotiation with that King. Their power being ample on the completion of the treaty, they are not a necessary constitutional party in the concoction of it, unless the President should find it expedient to reqnest their intermediate advice. It would be superfluous to discuss how far he might have limited himself by the terms of the nomina. tion; as, I again contend, and hope I have shewn, that he did not limit himself.

3. We cannot foresee the representations which Mr. Fauchet is understood to be meditating to the French Republic. But, as the duties of nation towards nation did not compel us to divulge to the French Minister more, in regard to the treaty with Great Britain, than that our treaties with France were forbidden, by the instructions to the Envoy, to be infringedso did the President approve that the restriction should be communicated to him. This was conformable with the truth, and wears no deceptive countenance.

Your own instructions speak thus : “ To remove all jealousy, with « respect to Mr. Jay's mission to London, you may say, that he is po"i sitively forbidden to weaken the engagements between this country " and France. It is not improbable, that you will be obliged to en" counter, on this head, suspicions of various kinds. But you may “ declare the motives of that mission to be to obtain immediate com“pensation for our plundered property, and restitution of the posts. “ You may intimate, by way of argument, but without ascribing it to " the Government, that, if war should be necessary, the affections of “ the People of the United States towards it, would be better secured " by a manifestation that every step had been taken to avoid it; and " that the British nation would be divided when they found that we

« ForrigeFortsett »