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bers and crews, who are generally replaced by boys and inexperienced hands, in order to be conducted to ports, exposes them to much injury, and sometimes total loss; the confinement of our sailors taken out of those vessels, the seais upon their cargoes, and above all, the sending the papers to the Commission of Marine, at Paris, involves the most unwarrantable hardships and delays, and, I am sorry to add, that all our vessels experience some of those difficulties ; even, indeed, such as arrive with cargoes on account of the Republic: months elapsing before the captains can get their clearances and papers, many of which are often lost or mislaid."
Mr. Monroe to the Secretary of State, dated Paris, 20th February,
Sir: Immediately after my last, of the 16th February, was concluded, I demanded, and had a conference with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, upon the communication given in that letter.
I represented to him that the information he had given me of the intention of the Directory to appoint an Envoy Extraordinary to repair to the United States to declare to our Government the dissatisfaction of this, in respect to our treaty with Great Britain, and other acts which they deemed unfriendly to them, had penetrated me with the deepest concern, because I feared, from a measure so marked and conspicuous, the most serious ill consequences, both to them and to us. I stated to him that such a mission was calcolated to make an impression in America and throughout the world; not that they were deeply dissatisfied with us, but even the issue of war and peace was suspended on the issue of the mission; that their and our enemies would rejoice at the event, while their and our friends would behold the spectacle with horror; that the mission itself would place both Republics in a new dilemma, and from which they could not well both extricate themselves with honor ; something was due, in the opinion of the world, to the character of the mission; its sucCess must be brilliant, or the Public would be disappointed; and this might induce them to iusist on terms they would not otherwise lave thought of, and which would increase the mutual embarrassments; that, as soon as the mission was known to foreign powers, they would commence their intrigues to make it the means of separating us; that all were interested in our separation ; none in our union ; so that our separation was an evil equally to be deprecated by both parties; that the success and terror of their arms might diminish the number of their active enemies, but, as we had never confided in the friendslip of any Power but that of France, so I was satisfied they had no real friend except America; that Republics could never count a pon the friendship of monarchies ; il they did count upon it, they would always be deceived; there might be, but peace and friendship did not always mean the same thing.
I observed further, that France had gained credit by her late conduct towards us, for which England had seized our vessels and harassed our trade; she had pui sued an opposite and more magnanimous policy, and which had produced, and would continue to produce, a correspondent effect, by increasing our resentment against England, and attachinent to France, but as soon as the latter should attempt to assuine an hostile and menacing deportment towards us. this motive diminishes, and the argument it furnished, loses force ; that, by this, however, I did not mean to be understood as advising that well founded complaints, if such existed, or were thought to exist, should be withheld; on the contrary, I was of opinion they should always be brought forward, as well to obtain redress, where it was wished and could be given, as to make known, in a friendly manner, the sentiments which each entertained of the conduct of the other, in cases that were interesting to it; that, on my own part, I was always ready to enter into such explanations when required, and would do it in the present instance with pleasure, since, by being possessed of our view of the subject, they would be better able to decide whether complaint was well or ill founded, and, of course, how far it merited to be considered in that light. In short, I used every argument that occurred to divert the Government from the measure proposed. assuring bim, in the most earnest manner, that I was satisfied it would produce no good effect to France; on the contrary, it would produce much ill both to her and to us.
The minister replied, that France bad much cause of complaint against us, independently of any treaty with England; but that by this treaty ours was annihilated ; that he considered our conduct in these respects, as absolutely unfriendly to them ; under which impression, it was their duty so to represent it to us, that the mode which was proposed of making such representation, had been deemed mild and respectful, and such as ought not to give offence ; he admitted, however, that the objections I had stated against it were strong and weighty with him, and that he would immediately make them known to the Directory, and by whom, he doubted not, all suitable attention would be paid to them. Since this, I have not seen him, but proprse seeing him again either to-day or to-morrow, on this subject, and, after which, I will immediately apprise you of the state in wbich it may be.
This affair has given me great concern, because it opens a new era upon us, and whose consequences, unless the measure itself be prevented, may be of a very serious kind. I shall do every thing in my power to prevent it, and, in any event, cominunicate to you, and with the utmost despatch, every incident that turns up connected with it.
So far, my object has been to break the measure in question, after which, if effected, I sball most probably be called on for explanalions of the treaties complained of; in which case, I shall, of course, avail myself in the best manner possible, of those communications which have been heretofore received from your Department.
I am, Sir, with great respect and esteem,
Summary exposition of the complaints of the French Government
against the Government of the United States. March 9, 1796. FIRST COMPLAINT. The inexecution of treaties.
1. The courts of justice of the United States have taken, and continue daily to take, cognizance of prizes, which our privateers' conduct into their ports, notwithstanding the express clause of the treaty which probibits it. Our ministers have proposed different arrangements to put bounds to this usurpation. The Federal Government had, itself, proposed measures in this respect : the first propositions were not accepted, and the last measures have fallen into disuse. The disgusts, the delays, and the losses, which result to our marine from a like state of things, are palpable. They almost deprive the Republic of the advantage it ought to derive from this article of the treaty.
2. The admission of English vessels of war into the ports of the United States against the express stipulation of the 17th article of the treaty; that is to say, when they have made prizes upon the Republic or its citizens. The weakness with which the Federal Government yielded this point in the beginning, tended to increase the pretensions of Great Britain ; so that, at present, the ports of the United States have become a station for the squadron of Admiral Murray, which, for two years past, has been stationed there to make excursions thence upon the American commerce, and destroy our property. This division carries its audacity even farther, by conducting its prizes into those ports.
3. The consular convention, which makes a part of our treaty, is equally unexecuted in two of its most important clauses : The first, which grants to our consuls the right of judging, exclusively, all controversies which take place between French citizens, has become illusory, from a defect in the law which gives to our consuls the means of executing their judgments. The consequences of this defect tend to annihilate the prerogatives of our consuls, and, by means thereof, to injure, essentially, our merchants. The second gives to our consuls the right of arresting our marine deserters. The inexecution of this part of the convention affects, beyond all expression, our maritime service, whilst our vessels are stationed in the American ports. The judges charged by the law to deliver mandats of arrest, have lately required the presentation of the original register of the equipage, in despite of the 5th article of the treaty, which admits, in the tribunals of the two powers, copies certified by the consuls. Particular local considerations oppose, in a thousand circumstances, the presentation of the original register, and, under these circumstances, the sailors always make their escape.
4. The arrestation, in the port of Philadelphia, in the month of August, 1795, of the Captain of the corvette Cassius, for an act committed by him on the high seas. This measure is contrary to the 19th article of the treaty of commerce, which stipulates, .. I'bat the commandants of public and private vessels shall not be detained in any manner.” It violates, moreover, the right of nations the most common, which puts the officers of public vessels under the safeguard of their flag. "The United States had sufficient proof of the respect which the Republic entertained for them, to have counted upon its justice on this occasion. The Captain has been imprisoned, though the Consul of the Republic supported the action; and, with difficulty, has he been released. The corvette, though regularly armed at the Cape by the General Lavaud, has been arrested (as, it appears, she still is,) under the pretext that, eight months before she sailed from Philadelphia, she was suspected of having been armed in that port.
SECOND COMPLAINT. The impunity of the outrage made to the Republic, in the person of its Minister, the Citizen Fauchet, by the English vessel, the Africa, in concert with the Vice Consul of that nation.
The arrestation, in the waters of the United States, of the packetboat in which the Minister sailed ; the search made in his trunks, with the avowed object of seizing his person and papers, merited an example. This insult was committed on the first of August, 1795, and after which this vessel (the Africa) blocked up, the rest of that month, at Newport, the Frigate Medusa of the Republic; nor was that vessel ordered to depart till after this frigate had sailed, and which order was given for a new outrage committed against the United States, by a menacing letter; and, for a participation in which last insult, the exequatur of the English Consul was withdrawn.
THIRD COMPLAINT. The treaty concluded in November, 1794, between the United States and Great Britain. It would be easy to prove that the United States, in that treaty, have sacrificed, knowingly and evidently, their connexion with the Republic, and the rights, the most essential and least contested, of neutrality.
1. The United States have not only departed from the principles that were consecrated by the armed neutrality during the war of their independence; but they have also given to England, to the injury of their first allies, a mark the most striking of a condescension without limits, in abandoning the rule which the rights of nations, their treaties with all other Powers, and even the treaties of England with most of the maritime Powers, have given to contraband. To sacrifice exclusively to this Power the objects which are necessary for the equipment and construction of vessels-is not this to depart evidently from the principles of neutrality ?
2. But they have even gone further. They have consented to ex.
tend the denomination of contraband even to provisions. Instead of restricting it, as all treaties have done, to the case of an effective blockade of a port, as forming the only exception to the complete fredom of this article, they have tacitly acknowledged the pretensions of England to extend the blockade to our colonies, and even to France, by the force of a proclamation alone. This abandonment of the independence of their commerce is incompatible with their neutrality, as Mr. Jefferson has acknowledged, by his letter of the 7th September, to the Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States at London, upon the subject of the order of the 8th June, 1793. After this confession ; after, above all, the tyrannical edicts of the King of Great Britain, whereby the commerce, as well as the national honor, of the United States bare suffered so much, there was reason to hope a different result from the negotiation of Mr. Jay. It is evident, by the clause which limits the continuance of this desertion of nentrality to the term of this war, that Mr. Jay did not hesitate to sacrifice our colonies to Great Britain, during the continuance of these hostilities, by which their lot will be decided. It is submitted to Mr. Monroe to judge in wha point these concessions accord with the obligation, by which the United States have contracted to defend our colonial possessions, and with the duties, not less sacred, which the great and inestimable benefits they derive from their commerce with those Islands, bind them to observe.
CH. DE LA CROIX. Paris, 19th Ventose, 4th year of the
Republic- March 9th, 1796.)
Nr. Redon, Commissioner of the Marine and of the Colonies of France,
to Mr. Monroe, dated Paris, 7th Fructidor, 3d year of the Republic, (Jugust 24th, 1795.)
CITIZEN : The frankness which has always been and shall be the basis of the political and commercial transactions between the French Republic and that wbich you represent, commands me to awaken your solicitude upon occurrences, which would tend insensibly to loosen the bonds which unite the two nations, if, as I cannot believe, you should hot concur with the agents of the French government in putting a stop to the multiplied abuses, of which the ports in the channel, and even the great ports of equipment, offer daily examples.
Some captains, furnished with American papers, frequent habitual. Is those ports, and the shortness of the intervals wbich occur between their different trips, give ground to strong suspicions against them. Most frequently they arrive in ballast, or with the semblance of a cargo, which they evade selling. Lately one arrived at Fecamp, contradicted himself in his declarations ; in fine, every circumstance induces a helief that the real end-that the only end of the conduct they pur