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May France be enabled, in the end, therefore, to boast also of having a navigation act; may it henceforward be the basis of her policy, as it is about being that of her commerce May she soon become more rich, more flonrishing, more happy, than she has been under the most brilliant reigns of her despots, and never treat with foreign Powers, without her constitution in one hand, and her navigation in the other; and astonished Europe will, doubtless, see her mercbants become one day, her only ambassadors, like those of London and Amsterdam formerly, negotiating at foreign courts, the most important interests of their country; and, after having weighed the destinies of the two worlds, and secured the prosperity and glory of their country, resuming the peaceable pursuits of commerce.
The following is the project of the decree :
Copy of the Act of Navigation of the French Republic, referred to in the
foregoing. The National Convention, after having heard the report of their committees of marine, of commerce, and of public safety, considering that the French nation has the incontestible right of securing, by every method, the prosperity of her agriculture, commerce, and industry; that nothing bas a more direct tendency to this end than a navigation act; and that, in the solemn declaration of this act, she only makes use of the same right which she acknowledges to belong to all other nations, decrees as follows:
Article 1. That no foreign commodities, productions, or merchandises, shall be imported but directly by French vessels, or those belonging to the inhabitants of the country of which they are the growth, produce, or manufacture, or to the inhabitants of the country of the ordinary ports of sale and first exportation ; the officers and three fourths of the crew of a foreign vessel being of the country whose flag the vessel bears; the whole on pain of confiscation of the vessel and cargo, and a fine of three thousand livres, jointly and severally against the owners, consignees, and agents of the vessel and cargo, the captain and lieutenant of the vessel.
2. That foreign vessels shall not transport from one French port to another French port any commodities, productions, or merchandises, of the growth, produce, or manufacture of France, the colonies or possessions of France, under the penalties declared in Article Ist.
3. That, after the 10th of August next, no vessel shall be reputed French, nor enjoy the privileges of a French vessel, unless such yessel shall bave been built in the colonies or possessions of France, or declared a good prize taken from an enemy, or confiscated for con. travention of the laws of France, and unless the officers and tlıree fourths of the crew are Frenchmen.
No. 123. Mr. T. Pinckney, Minister to Great Britain, to the Secretary of State.
LONDON, July 5, 1793. DEAR SIR: The enclosed copy of additional instructions to the commanders of British men of war and privateers will show the fur. ther embarrassment to which our commerce will be subjected in the present war. These instructions, though dated the 8th of June, were not finally issued to the Admiralty till the 28th. Lord Grenville justifies them from the authority of the writers on the law of nations, particularly 2d Vattel, 72. 73. and urges that, by the doctrine there laid down, they have not gone so far as they would have been justi. fied in proceeding, considering the prospect they have of reducing their enemy by such means, the instructions not extending to all kinds of provisions, nor to confiscations of those kinds that are mentioned. That the existing circumstances justifying them in considering grain as among contraband articles, they come within the proclamation issued by the President. That the French government are in fact the only importers of grain into that country. That the measure was so guarded by directing the property to be paid for, together with the freight, that the owners could suffer no loss, a liberal price being al. ways allowed in these cases, and he was hopeful the matter would be so conducted as to give satisfaction to the parties concerned. I urged every argument that suggested itself to me, in support of the neutral rights which I contended were injured in this instance, pointed to inconveniences that would attend the execution of the instructions, and urged that the case put by Valtel, of a well-grounded hope of reducing the enemy by famine, did not exist, provisions being now cheaper in the ports of France than in those of England. Lord Grenville, on being asked, said Spain would pursue the same line of conduct; and upon its being objected that even their late convention with Russia did not extend to this object, he answered that, though it was not expressly montioned, it was fully understood by both parties, to be within the intention of it. At the close of the conversation, I told him I should transınit these instructions to you, accompanied by his reasons in their justification. Lord Grenville spoke in high terms of approbation of the answers to Mr. Hammond's memorials which he received by the packet. I have the honor to be, &c.
THOMAS PINCKNEY. The Secretary of State.
Second year of the Republic. } · SIR: I have already frequently had the honor of conversing with you on the revolting treatment which the English vessels of war use
on the high seas towards American vessels. I have informed you of the severe visits to which they subject them, and of the seizures they make on board of them, and under the protection of the flag of the United States, of the persons and property of the French citizens. • Tlie reports of all the navigators attest the truth of these facts, and the complaints enclosed present new proofs. I request you, sir, to communieate them to the President of the United States, and to be so obliging as to inform me of the measuros he has taken, or those he proposes to take, to cause our enemies to respect the flag of the United States as much as we ourselves do, and to have delivered to our fellow citizens the property, of which they have unjustly been de. prived.
I must observe to you, sir, that, as the English will probably continue to carry off with impunity our citizens, and their property, on board of American vessels, without embarrassing themselves with the philosophical principles proclaimed by the President of the United States, the engagements we have contracted with you, placing us in the most disadvantageous position, with respect to our enemies, in depriving us of the privilege of using, at every point, with regard to them, the right of reprisals, it is as necessary for your as for our interest, that we should agree quickly to tako other measures. I expect immediately, sir, a positive answer from the Federal Government on this subject; and I hope that it will comport with the dignity and justice of the American People, wbo ought not to require, if they are not at present in a situation to compel the English to justice, whom they bave formerly conquered, that we should expose ourselves and them longer, hy a misplaced complaisance, to the insults of that nation, towards whom generous proceedings generally lead only to new outrages.
No. 125. Secretary of State to Mr. Genet, dated Philadelphia, July 12, 1793.
Sir: The President of the United States, desirous of having done wlat shall be strictly conformable to the treaties of the United States and laws, respecting the several representations received from yourself and the Minister Plenipotentiary of Great Britain, on the subject of vessels arming or arriving within our ports, and uf prizes, has determined to refer the question arising thereon to persons learned in the laws. As this reference will occasion some delay, he will expect from both parties, that in the mean time the Little Sarah, or Little Democrat, the ships Jane and William, in the Delaware, the Citoyen Genet and her two prizes, the Lovely Lass and Prince William Hen. ry, and the brig Fanny, in the Chesapeake, do not depart until his ultimate determination shall be made known. You may be assured, sir, that the delay will be as short as possible, and the object of it
being to obtain the best advice possible on the sense of the laws and treaties respecting the several cases, I am persuaded you will think the delay well compensated.
I have the honor to be, &c.
Secretary of State to Mr. Genet, dated Philadelphia, July 24, 1793,
Sır: Your favor of the 9th instant covered the information of Sils vat Ducamp, Pierre Nouvel, Chouquet de Savarence. Gaston de Nogere, and G. Beustier, that being on their passage from the French West Indies to the United States, on board merchant vessels of the United States, with slaves and inerchandise of their property, these vessels were stopped by British armed vessels, and their property takeu out as lawful prize.
I believe it cannot be doubted, but that, by the general law of nations, the goods of a friend found in the vessel of an enemy are free, and the goods of an enemy found in the vessel of a friend are lawful prize. Upon this principle, I presume, the British armed vessels have taken the property of French citizens found in our vessels, in the cases above mentioned, and I confess I should be at a loss on what principle to reclaim it. It is true that sundry nations. desirous of avoiding the inconveniences of having their vessels stopped at sea, ransacked, carried into a port and detained, under pretence of having enemy goods on board, have, in many instances, introduced, by their special treaties, another principle between them, that enemy bottoms shall make enemy goods, and friendly bottoms friendly goods; a principle much less embarrassing to commerce, and equal to all parties in point of gain and loss; but this is altogether the effect of particuJar treaty controlling, in special cases, the general of the law of nations, and therefore taking effect between such nations only as have so agreed to control it. England las generally determined to adhere to the rigorous principle, baving in no instance, as far as I recollect, agreell to the modification of letting the property of the goods follow that of the vessel, except in the single one of her treaty with France. We have adopted this modification in our treaties with France, the United Netherlands, and Prussia, and therefore as to them, our vessels cover the goods of their enemies, and we lose our goods when in the vessels of their enemies. Accordingly, you will be pleased to recollect, that in the late case of Holland and Mackie, citizens of the United States, who had laden a cargo of flour on board a Britisb vessel, which was taken by the French frigate Ambuscade, and brought into this port; when I reclaimed the cargo, it was only on the ground that they were ignorant of the declaration of war when it was shipped. You observed, however, that the 14th article of our treaty had provi
ded that ignorance should not be pleaded beyond two months after the declaration of war, which term had elapsed in this case, by some few days; and finding that to be true, though their real ignorance was equally true, I declined the reclamation, as it never was in my view to reclaim the cargo nor in yours to offer to restore it by questioning the rule established in our treaty, that enemy bottoms make enemy goods. With England, Spain, Portugal, and Austria, we have no treaties; therefore we bave nothing to oppose to their acting according to the general law of nations, that enemy goods are lawful prize, though found in the bottoms of a friend. Nor do I see that France can suffer, on the whole: for though she loses her goods in our vessels, when found therein by England, Spain, Portugal, or Austria, yet she gains our goods when found in the vessels of England, Spain, Portugal, Austria, the United Netherlands, or Prussia; and I believe I may safely affirm, that we have more goods afloat in the vessels of these six nations, than France has afloat in our vessels, and consequently, that France is the gainer and we the loser, by the principle of our treaty ; indeed, we are losers in every direction of that principle--for when it works in our favor, it is to save the goods of our friends, when it works against us, it is to lose our own, and we shall continue to lose while the rule is only partially established. When we shall have established it with all nations, we shall be in a condition neither to gain nor lose, but shall be legs exposed to vexatious searches at sea. To this condition we are endeavoring to advance; but as it depends on the will of other nations as well as our own, we can only ob. tain it when they shall be ready to concur.'
I cannot therefore but flatter myself, that, on revising the cases of Ducamp and others, you will perceive, that their losses result from the state of war, which has permitted their enemies to take their goods, though found in our vessels, and consequently, from circumstances over which we have no control. .
The rudeness to their persons practised by their enemies, is cer. tainly not favorable to the character of the latter. We feel for it as much as for the extension of it to our citizens, their companions, and find in it a motive requiring measures to be taken, which may pre. vent repetitions of it. I have the honor to be, &c.
PHILADELPHIA, July 25, 1793.
Second year of the Republic of France. SIR: I receive daily new complaints on the insults which the English are pleased to commit against the flag of the United States.