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ry to call the severity of the tribunals to the fraudulent maneuvres of every ship owner calling himself a neutral, American, or other, on board a vessel in which shall be found, as has frequently been done during the present war, either maritime papers (papiers de mer) in blank, though signed and sealed; or papers in form of letters containing the signatures of individuals in blank; or of double passports, or sea letters which indicate different destinations to the vessel ; or double invoices, bills of lading, or any other ship papers which assign to the whole, or to a part of the same merchandise, different proprietors or different destinations.
8th. From the regulations of the present decree, that of the 9th Frimaire last, (29th November, 1795,) concerning the freights and demurrage, is referred to what relates to the demurrage only.
The present decree shall be inserted in the bulletin of the laws. The Ministers of the Marine and of the Colonies, of Justice, and of Foreign Relations, are charged with its execution, each one in what concerns him.
Mr. C. C. Pinckney Minister to France, to the Secretary of State,
dated Amsterdam, March 19th, 1797.
(EXTRACT.] “ I hope I shall be in time for the vessels by which I sent No. 10 and its duplicate, to transmit the enclosed copies of the report of the Minister of Justice to the Executive Directory on the condemnation of Captain John Bryant's vessel for the want of a sea letter, which report the Directory have approved and confirmed.”
Secretary of State to Mr. C. C. Pinckney, Minister to France, dated Department of State, April 4th, 1797.
[EXTRACT.] 66 The depredations of the French in the West Indies are continued with increased outrage ; and we have advices of captures and condemnations in Europe which apply to no principle heretofore known and acknowledged in the civilized world. You say that a late emigrant, now at Paris, has assured the French Government that America (meaning the United States) is not of greater consequence, nor ought to be treated with more respect, than Geneva or Genoa.' But is it possible that the Directory should credit his opinion ? And must we be obliged to think that such an idea of our weakness regulates the
conduct of the French towards this country? You know how ill. founded is the emigrant's opinion, and have the means of appreciating the motives which influence the Directory. You do not name the emigrant; we conjecture that you mean Talleyrand Perigord.”
No. 91. Mr. C. C. Pinckney to the Secretary of State, dated Amsterdam, April
[EXTRACT.) “I received accounts from Paris this that no official answer had yet been given by the Minister of Foreign Relations to the reply drawn by Major Mountflorence, respecting the necessity of having the Rôle d'équipage, or Seamen's Articles, signed by a public officer. That gentleman writes me word that he does not expect any thing will soon be done in this business; for, in a conversation which he had with one of the officers of that Department," he acknowledged that they were puzzled how to answer it, and he did not know what measure to adopt; that it was, undoubtedly, the intention of the French Government to proceed against us with as much harshness and rigor as they could do, consistent with their own construction of the treaties; but that the arrété had gone too far, and they did not know how to recede.” Although I cannot communicate, officially, with the Directory, or its Ministers, I will embrace measures to have them informed how strongly America feels and reprobates the hostile conduct of France in the capturing of our vessels; and that this conduct, and the improper behavior of Mr. Adet, has united all parties in America; and that, if the present measures are persisted in, and our present grievances unredressed, that such an alienation in the sentiments of America will take place, that the name and character of a Frenchman will be as much, and as generally, hated, in our country, as it was formerly greatly and affectionately esteemed. I have received information that they are in possession of your letter to me, of the 26th of December, as printed in an English paper; but the effect it has had upon them I am not yet informed of."
No. 92. Secretary of State to Mr. C. C. Pinckney, Minister to France, dateil
Department of State, April 8th, 1797.
[EXTRACT. ] « Although no official account has been published of the ignominis eus treatment you received from the French Government, yet the facts are pretty well understood, by various ways of intelligence, throughout the United States, and have excited a proper sensibility. These
expressions are strengthened by the unexampled atrocities committed by the French agents and privateers in the West Indies, to say nothing of the flagrant depredations in the European seas, sanctioned by the Tribunals of France, and by her Consuls in the ports of Spain. I am satisfactorily informed that some of the latter are concerned in the privateers, with French commissions, equipped in the ports of Spain; and the report of Mr. Mountflorence, which you transmitted, shows that the merchants, in the ports of France, who constitute the Tribunals of Commerce in which our captured vessels are tried, and on the most frivolous and shameful pretences condemned, are often, if not commonly, owners of the privateers, on whose prizes they decide. The indignant reflections, which such proceedings naturally excite, need not be mentioned. Accounts of the French captures, piracies, and robberies, in the West Indies, would fill a volume. Î'hey are become so common, as, while they increase the general resentment, excite no surprise. One of the most recent instances is that against the Brigantine America, owned by Messrs. Norris & Hall, of Phila. delphia, as stated and published in our newspapers, by the master, Thomas Town, Junr. He sailed from St. Thomas's, a Danish Island, on a voyage to Port de Paix, or Cape Francois, two ports in possession of the French, in St. Domingo. He arrived at Port de Paix, with his cargo of dry goods and cash, the cash amounting to 16,919 dollars. A guard was immediately put on board his vessel, which was searched, and the money found. They despatched him to Cape Francois, to the Commissioners ; where it was decreed to take, forci. bly, his cash and property. He refused to deliver his cash ; they iminediately ordered the guard to break the lock of his state room, and robbed him of the whole of it. And they forcibly took from his mate thirty-two Half-Joes, the proceeds of his adventure."
blyancois, to the Cothe money found put on board hinting to 16,911,
No. 93. Letter of Captain Scott to the Consul General of the United States, at
at Paris, dated Roscoff, 9th April, 1797. (Ěnclosed to the Secretary of State, in Mr. Pinckney's letter of the 28th April, 1797.)
SIR: I wrote to you by last post; since which I am returned to Roscoff, and find the unloading of the brig John completed, and her cargo stored in the town. I have been under the necessity of writing this morning to Mr. Diort, to demand some assistance for myself and crew to subsist on until we know how we are to be disposed of; as all, but myself, are entirely destitute of every means; as what few things they saved, they have nearly all sold, to pay for their living since our condemnation, rather than be separated ; but I found them, yesterday, on my return, commencing their march for Brest, to be disposed of, I suppose, as English prisoners. I feel very anxious for the letter in answer to Mr. Diort, as our Government must, surely, make some provision for its citizens, thus unwarrantably distressed and turned out of their employ, to starve, or go a privateering, in a foreign
country. In perusing the copy of my first letter, I am happy to find I was so minute and particular, in relating my exact situation, as Mr. Diort informed me yesterday, you had forwarded a copy of it on to Congress. The more I reflect upon my condemnation, Sir, the more I am astonished. There must, surely, be some great flow (flaw somewhere, or something very much misunderstood; it appears a piece of injustice, I hope almost unprecedented. America, surely, can have no idea of the risk her navigation is exposed to. This valuable cargo Sir, I had in charge, must certainly be accounted and paid somewhere, as it is, I am confident, American property, and free from all deception. You will, I hope, excuse the freedom with which I write, as, from being at the fountain head of Government, you are, no doubt, best acquainted with the disposition of the two nations towards each other, and what, in this most difficult situation, is most proper to be done. But, I think, I see so much mischief and injustice depending and waiting our citizens, if they are thus to carry off the brig and cargo, that I shudder for the consequences that may ensue, as I am given to understand that expresses were immediately despatched, to different ports, with instructions to masters of privateers, in consequence of my condemnation. The event is clear. In a little time the harbors of France will be full of American vessels; and, if government appears to justify this judgment on me, in consequence of my ship's articles being agreeable to the laws of Congress, and, like the American ships, fuli of prizes. But, if there is a possibility of annulling, or even molifying this most cruel decision, it will have a most happy effect, in deterring these sea-plunderers from depredating on our commerce and navigation.
I am confident that you will exert yourself for our interest, (and God knows we, at present, need some powerful advocate and assistance,) and will, therefore, I hope, overlook my zeal, if I have stated, what perhaps you clearly foresee, and, as I before observed, you are best acquainted with what steps now to take, my motives, arising from a wish, not only to obtain, if possible, justice for myself, and those concerned with me, but as well to save from similar distress, trouble, and perplexity, thousands of Americans, and to preserve the prosperity, if not the peace, of our country. Relying on your endeavors and best advice, I am, &c.
JAMES SCOTT, JUNR.
No. 94. Mr. C. C. Pinckney to the Secretary of State, dated, The Hague, 28th
[EXTRACTS.] “I have removed to this place for a short time to see it and the Bata. vian Convention; but particularly to converse more fully and freely than epistolary correspondence would admit, with Mr. Adams on the situation of our affairs relative to France. I ain excecdingly sorry that my letters must continue to be filled with unpleasant details of the op, pression which our countrymen and their property suffer from the unfriendly and tyrannic conduct (call it what you please) of that Republic with regard to us. The American sloop Charlotte, Captain John Vincent, mentioned in my postscript to the triplicate and quadruplicate to No. 11, has been condemned by the tribunal of commerce of Dunkirk, upon the same principle as the condemnation in Bryant's case. An appeal has been brought by Mr. Coffyn, but in the present tem per of France I have very little hopes of its success. The expense in this, as well as in Byant's case I am informed will be one hundred and fifty livres, besides the lawyer's fees and charges. The expense, however, is trivial in comparison with the object. The consular agent at Dieppe has notified the capture of the American ship Sally, Captain Davis, bound from Guernsey to Dieppe. The tribunal of commerce of Calais has condemned lately the American Cutter Lark, Captain Davidson, belonging to Mr. Alexander Black, because the rôle d'équipage," or seamcn's articles, was not signed by a public officer. This vessel was not captured on her passage, but sailed voluntarily into Calais with passengers.
The Brig Leopard of Newbury port, William Hasket, Master, from Norfolk in Virginia bound to Rotterdam, has been captured by the French Privateer Lazare Hoche, and sent into Brest. An American Brig D. of New York, Andrew Foster Master, bound from London to New York, has been captured by the French Lugger, Jean Barre, of St. Malo, Captain Le Compte, and sent into Morlaix : The John, of Boston, James Scott Master, belonging to Messrs. Loring, Jonathan P. and John Hall, of Boston, has been captured also and sent into the same port, by a schooner of St. Malo, having on her stern - The Star of Boston.” In this enclosure, I transmit you a copy of the condemnation of these two vessels, a copy of Captain Scott's letter to Mr. Diot, our consular agent at Morlaix; copies of Captain Scott's two letters to our Consul General at Paris, and Captain Foster's and Mr. Diot's letter to the same gentleman. They will evince the distressing consequence of the cruel arrête of the 12th Ventose, and will bear -honorable testimony to the humane and generous conduct of Mr. Diot, which I trust will be properly noticed by our Government.”
- The Captain of the Vengeur, who it is reported is at New York, has attached the moneys due from the French Government to the citi. zens of America for his indemnification. The officers of the Treasury, though not about to pay, doubted whether an attachment would lie, but the Directory sent a mandate supporting the attachment. Major Mountflorence informs me the tribunal of commerce would not give kim a day in Court on the subject, and he is now obliged to apply to the civil tribunal of the Department. I likewise send you in this enclosure the circular letter of the Minister of Justice to the Tribunals of Commerce. It appears very much like urging the speedy condemnation of our ships, and is so understood. The following is a most curious paragraph when we consider it as coming from the pen of the Minister of Justice.