Speaking of Britain, he says, “En vain ses agens ont ils surpris à un peuple, que nous adons enfanté à la liberté, des stipulations, contraires à ses vrais intérets, et aux notres, nous saurons maintenir l'equilibre par des justes reprisailles.

No. 95.

French Minister of Marine and of the Colonies, to Citizen Boyerfonfrede,

Copy 957.

BUREAU OF INVALIDS, PARIS, the 10th Floreal,

i l'ear 5—(30th April, 1797.) L. PRIZES. The Minister of the Marine and of the Colonies to Citizen Boyer.

fonfrede : The solution of two questions upon the arrête of 12th Ventose, (3d March.)

CITIZEN : I have examined the two questions which you proposed to me in your letter of the 7th ultimo. These questions are reduced to two : 1st. Are those American ships, not having on board the ship's roll (röle d'equipage) prescribed by the 9th article of the regulation of the 26th July, 1778, good prize ? 2d. In this casc, are the ships only lawful prize ? Upon the first question the Executive Directory has often given judgment, in the most formal manner, for the captors, particularly shown by its arrête of the 12th Brumaire (30 November) last, approving a report made to it by the Minister of Justice, relative to the capture of the ship Royal Captain, and this decision is, in every respect, conformable to the treaty of the 6th February, 1778, to which the Americans can and should refer. Indeed, the 25th and 27th articles of that treaty require all American vessels to have on board a (passeport or lettre de mêr) passport or sea-letter, made out accord. ing to the form therein contained. In consulting this form, we discover that the Captain is bound to remit to the officers of maritime affairs, at those ports where he shall land, a list, signed and witnessed, containing the names and surnames, the places of birth and abode of the crew. This list is nothing else but a rôle d'équipage. Every American ship must have a (passeport) passport and a (rôle d'équipage) ship's rollI mean a (liste d'équipage) crew list.

Whereas, without these papers, she ought to be confiscated, because this (passeport) passport is the only paper on board admitted as a proof of the ownership of the vessel, and because the list exacted is the only paper which can afford sufficient proof that the crew are not composed of the subjects of an enemy's country, or of the proportion determined by the 9th article of regulation abore cited.

The second question resolves itself into two very plain principles the one, that every vessel which has on board neither (passeport) passport or (rôle d'équipage) ship's roll, is considered an enemy; the other, that, by the terms of the 7th article, book 3, page 9, of the decree of 1681, goods the property of neutrals, and even of Frenchmen, found in an enemy's vessel, are good prize ; so that no doubt remains that the cargo of every American vessel, which shall not have on board either (passeport) passport or (liste d'équipage) crew list, in due form, is justly subject to confiscation. This opinion, as I have already said, is in conformity to that wbich has been decided by the Executive Di. rectory, and the Minister of Justice is of the same opinion, whom I have particularly consulted on these two questions.


No. 96.

Mr. C. C. Pinckney to the Secretary of State, dated May 6th, 1797.

"Dear Sir: At length, after numberless vexations to our country. men, and unjust seizures of their property, the French Government bave explicitly avowed what they require of us. They now openly attack our national independence, and declare these seizures shall be continued, unless we break a treaty, sanctioned by the constituted authorities of our country. In a letter from Citizen Merlin, the Minister of Justice, to our Consul General, at Paris, a copy of which I have this minute received, he says, “As soon as your Government, restored to itself and to its true friends, and become just and reasonable, shall annul the extraordinary treaty it entered into on the 19th November, 1794, with our most implacable enemies, the French Republic will cease to avail itself of the dispositions of this treaty, so much in favor of England, and so prejudicial to her; and I pledge myself that it will not be cited, in order to support unjust pretensions. In a post. script, it appears that the Executive Directory authorized this letter. I, hcrewith, enclose you a copy of it. It is dated the fourth of Floreal, (23d of April, 1797,) but, from the date, when the copy expedited to me, I believe it was not received by the Consul before the 27th or 28th of April. I have not seen a copy of the Consul's letter, which occasioned the answer of the Minister of Justice, except as it is quoted in the answer. I wrote to Major Mountflorence on the 10th of April, and mentioned to him that I conceived the 33d article of the treaty of 1786, between France and England, was only inserted pro majori cautela; and, if it had not been there, no right could have accrued to condemn vessels for the want of sea-letters; that the article in our treaty justified the bringing such vessels into port, for the purpose of examining whether the vessels were neutral, or not, and not for the purpose of condemning them, if they were found to be really neutral; that we altogether denied that we had granted Great Britain any right, or favor, in that part of our treaty which relates to the capturing of enemy's, or contraband goods on board of our vessels : for she was already in possession of that right, independent of the treaty, under the law of nations.' To you I need not make any comment on the Minister's mode of reasoning in his letter. The ship Three Bro. thers, Captain Lendal Smith, of Portland, Massachusetts, was taken up the Straights by a French privateer, commanded by Captain Le Rais, of Marseilles, and sent into Malaga, where she is detained, and, probably, both vessel and cargo will be condemned; for this the French Consul assigns two reasons-one is the wartof the rôle d'équipage, signed by a public officer; the other is the want of a Bill of Lading for the cargo-which consisted of staves, beef, flour, codfish, sal mon, and plank, belonging to the Captain and owner of the vessel.”


No. 07. Mr. C. C. Pinckney to the Secretary State, dated Rotterdam, May 9th,

- 1797.

{EXTRACT.) “ I received accounts to-day, that the Juliana, from Norfolk, in Virginia, is taken and carried into Havre; and that the Juno, Ra inbow, and Charlotte, all three from Charleston, and the Hebe, fi om Savannah, are captured and carried into Nantz, and, in all probabil lity, will be condemnd for want of a rôle d'équipage,' certified by a public officer, agreeably to the regulation prescribed by France."

No. 98.

Letter from various Masters of vessels, condemned by France,

C. C. Pinckney, dated Malaga, 15th May, 1797.

to Mr.

SIR: The subscribers, citizens of the United States, after compli: menting your Excellency on your safe arrival at Paris, beg leave to represent to you our critical circumstances.

Every one of us are masters of vessels, the property of ci. tizens of the United States, and we see, to our great concern, almost ev ery day. some of our ships brought in and condemned by the Frerich. These are condemned now upon a frivolous, bot upon an unjustifiable princi. ple. In peace, as well as in war, a vessel, whose papers are not in proper order, is liable to be condemned ; but our case is quite con. trảry : for our ships are condemned because our papers are as they ought to be, according to the maritime laws of our country. The French Consuls, very unreasonably interfering with the maritime

laws of the United States, pretend that our shipping papers should be certified by a public Notary, or some other officer, in America, and their signature to be legalized by the French Consul resident there; this instance is unprecedented in all former wars. But, however wrong this their pretension may be, the more unjustifiable is it, by their not giving our countrymen a warning for it, and a proportioned time, so that every owner and master of a vessel should have a chance of conforming themselves to this, though unreasonable and unprecedented, innovation. Be pleased to consider what a great number of American vessels, especially East Indiamen, that navigate the ocean, unaware of all these proceedings, thinking themselves secure under the sanction of neutrality! What a ruin will fall upon our trade, if, by being not provided with a formality they have no idea of, they should be taken ! Even the Algerines, though Barbarians, bave given a proper time to ships of the United States to provide themselves with proper Mediterranean passports ; why should nut a civilized nation imitate their example ? Our situation is still worse than that of an open war: for then every one would know what may happen to him, and would conduct hiriself in consequence. Even a man could endea. vor to defend his property by force of arms, and, in case of a reverse, he would enjoy the benefit of a cartel. But now, if we should attempt to keep off, by force, a French privateer, although unjust and unwarrantable his depredations, it would be looked upon as a breach of neutrality. Therefore, tamely surrendering our vessels, under the good faith of neutrals, the ships are brought in, plundered, and condemned. What is still worse, the crew are turned on shore with only their clothes, and nothing else to keep them from starving, so that many of our best seamen are forced, through want, to enter on board those very privateers they have been taken by, and help them in plundering their own countrymen. In an open war, a prisoner has a daily allowance from his enemy, and a cartel for returning him to his family; but, in our present circumstances, we can have but distant hopes of seeing home again. Please to measure, Sir, these, our circumstances, by your feelings; and we earnestly beg you, Sir, not to stifle, or suppress, those sentiments of philanthropy that will, undoubtedly, on this occasion, spring from your sensibility, and patriotic heart, in favor of your distressed countrymen; and be pleased, then, following their dictates, to endeavor to bring about a speedy relief.

That your Excellency may be successful in this circumstance, as well as in every other that will offer for the advantage and honor of the nation you so worthily represent, are the sanguine wishes of,

Your humble servants, the subscribers, John Monroe, master of ship Lark, of Boston, Increase Blake, schr. Laurel,

Boston. Francis Elliot, brig Abbey,

Philadelphia. Alex'r Ross, Jr. brig Greyhound, Boston. Lendal Smith, ship Three Brothers, Portland-condemned. Joseph Russell, ship Rebecca, Haverhill.

Gideon Snow, brig Betsey,

Boston. Peleg Tupper, schr. James,

Kingston. Daniel Stone, schr. Rebecca,

Boston. John B. Story, Speedwell, Boston. Arthur Smith. brig Rover,

Baltimore. Robert Mathews, brig Ninun,

New-York. Sam'l Brooks, brig Mercury, Boston-condemned. Phil. Brum, brig Despatch, Philadelphia-condemned Wm. Bradshaw, ship Polly,

Salem-condemned. Ambrose Atkins, schr. Orrongton,

. condemned. Gilbert Stowland, brig Two Friends, Boston—condemned. Henry Lader, sloop Peggy, Bristol, Mr. F. S. cond'd. Thomas McIntire, brig Despatch. Philadelphia.. John Monroe, in behalf of Captain Wm. Billings, he being absent,

and his ship, the Nancy, of Philadelphia, left under my care.

No. 99. Mr. Montgomery, American Consnl at Alicant, to Mr. Anjubault,

French Consul at Carthagena, dated May 24th, [1797 ;] ( enclosed to the Secretary of State, in a letter from Mr. C. C. Pinckney.)

Sir: I have received advice from Captain John Craft, of the Pomona. Captain William Plummer, of the Telemachus, Captain Wil. liam Mayford, of the Eliza, and Captain James Alwood, of the schooner Abigal, belonging to citizens of the United States of America, that, on the 18th instant, in less than an hour after they got under way in the bay of Alicant, they were boarded by the boats of three French privateers, two of which were then under Spanish colors, who forcibly put a number of armed men on board each vessel, and took the command from the above Captains, steering a course for this barbour, and they arrived the day following, where I further learn they are detained by you for the examination of their papers. .

As a time has elapsed more than sufficient for such purpose, they being in the best order, even agreeably to the decree of the French Convention, respecting the rôle d'équipage, I am to request that you immediately deliver up the papers, and discharge the vessels in question, that they may proceed on their intended voyages to America, and, in default of your complying therewith, I protest against you in par. ticular for every damage that may possibly accrue from such irregular proceedings.

I flatter myself, however, that when you shall have duly considered this business of a very serious nature, you will not oblige me to bave recourse to our superiors, and will prevent the mischief that may arise from it,

I have the honor to be, sir,
Your most obedient,


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