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conducted into Lynhaven Bay by the Argonaut. The fact is, that the latter vessel sailed from the Chesapeake in order to capture the corvette belonging to the Republic, returned after that expedition, and is even at this moment sheltered there. You assured me, sir, that the most positive orders had been given to prevent future violations of the treaties : notwithstanding that assurance, the outrage is again renewed, and what is more, the English vessels, which should remain in your ports, only to receive succor strictly necessary to enable them to gain the nearest national port, have remained stationary in them. At their return from a cruise on your coasts, where they capture your own vessels, they procure their provisions, their supplies, in the United States ; and may, also, as has just happened, even when driven in by stress of weather, and when asylum is given to them, obstruct your and our commerce. In a word, they appear to be rampart
established to cut off all communication between your country and mine. This contravention of the contract which binds our two nations can no longer be tolerated. I expect, sir, your answer, that I may communicate to the French Republic the motives for a conduct which will afflict it so much the more, as hers is all friendship, all justice, towards the United States.
Accept my respect.
J. H. FAUCHET.
Secretary of State to the Governor of Virginia.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
February 1, 1795. Sır: It is with the greatest regret that I am constrained to transmit to your Excellency the enclosed copy of a letter from the Minister Plenipotenttary of the French Republic. You will find, Sir, that it contains most heavy complaints against the indulgence understood to have been shown, in the ports of Virginia, to British vessels of war, which have made prize of French ships. The files of the Council of State will support me in representing to the minister that I had taken the liberty of urging the Executive of Virginia, on the 3d and 10th of October last, to wipe away a similar imputation on our national faith. Not having been enabled to communicate to him any result, in consequence of those letters, I have felt great embarrassment how to answer him on the present occasion. But, sir, confiding in the patriotism of the Executive of Virginia, and being persuaded that it must be painful to them to tolerate the violation of our treaty with France, in so delicate a part, I shall assure him that the most speedy and effectual measures are recommended to your Excellency.
Of those measures you are the best judge, being upon the spot, and within the reach of the most accurate information. But I cannot for.
bear to add, that as delay must be destructive of the object, it will probably be advisable for your Excellency to send down some confidential officer, who may act with promptness and decision, without encountering the inconvenience of being obliged to send and receive expresses to and from Richmond,
I beg the favor of your Excellency's immediate reply. And have the honor to be, sir, &c.
PAILADELPHIA, the 13th Floreal, 3d year of the French Republic, ( 2d May, 1795, 0. 8.) SIR : On the 24th of February last, I received the copy of the despatch which the Governor of Virginia transmitted to you. Doubtless your object, as well as his, was to prove the exertions made use of to satisfy the reclamations which I have raised against the violation of our treaties, three times repeated in the Chesapeake. I was not a little astonished to see, among the documents you sent me as a proof of those exertions, the proscription pronounced in 1793 against French vessels armed in the ports of the United States. I do not require this order of the Government, to be persuaded of the promptitude with which justice is done to the complaints of English agents.
Since my arrival here, a single allegation from them, whether founded or not, has been sufficient for causing the prizes of our privateers to be arresterl, which our treaties sheltered from every kind of prose. cution; and far from using the same coercive means towards the English, when they send prizes made upon us into your ports, even the severity which your treaties with us impose, has not been exercised towards them. In a word, the militia have as yet been assembleil, only to support the detention of French vessels, or of their prizes. So that, on a single suspicion, the requisitions of the English have been obeyed, and we, with positive facts, have not been able to obtain justice. I waited the effect of the promises made to you by Mr. Brook, in his letter of the 12th of February last. After an anxiety of two months, far from receiving the satisfaction which I had a right to expect, I am informed that a French privateer and two of her prizes have just been carried into Hampton. I hesitated, sir, to testify to you my indignation against this new audacity on the part of the English, at the very moment when their Government is boasting of haying become the friend of your country; and that hesitation arose from the little success produced by my reiterated complaints : I once more
recal them to you, here, Sir, and may this be the last time that I shall fulfil that painful duty.
I claimed the execution of our treaties, violated by the putting into Norfolk of ships which captured American and French vessels laden with provisions, and bound to France, under convoy of the Concord ; far from acceding to my demand, you took the trouble to interpret the treaty in favor of our enemies, and that favorable interpretation could not defend a single vessel of the capturing division, since even in your construction, it had contravened the 17th article of your treaty with France, by taking into Hampton the privateer La Montagne, &c. &c. Governor Lee did not, till after some time, answer the claim of the Consul of the Republic in Virginia, and contented himself with making some vague promises, of which you yourself, sir, have never yet discovered the effect: Mr. Lee, doubtless, supposed that his promise alone should content and satisfy the just claims of the agents of the French Republic, since he has not thought proper to inform his own Government of the measures he was to take for accomplishing his promise given, to fulfil the instructions of the President.
Soon after, I had a new opportunity of reiterating to the Executive of the United States my hitherto fruitless complaints against the violation of our treaties. An English vessel which had put into Hampton quit that port, on the information of a pilot, in order to go and cap. ture !'Esperance, a corvette of the Republic, and an American vessel which appeared in the opening of the bay; she again entered the bay with the corvette, re-armed her there, and sent her out on a cruise. I protested against this audacious infraction, and was still answered by promises ; and these promises are not yet fulfilled. The Argonaut is also permitted with impunity to defy your magistrates, who doubtless required her to go out, that being their duty. Further, the Thetis, on returning from her piracies against your own vessels, is permitted to repair completely in your ports the considerable damages which she received in the ardor of her pursuit, whilst the 17th article of our treaty is formally opposed to it, as well as to the asylum which you allowed in general to Admiral Murray's division : for, in a word, Sir, all the vessels composing this division, have taken French and American vessels, under the single pretext that they were laden with French property. Whether the allegation as to the latter be true or false, the captors should be driven from your ports. If they have robbed you, one does not receive brigands in the house they have pilləged. If they have seized our property, our treaty is pointed in that respect.
After so many useless efforts, Sir, you must be sensible of the pain I experience, in tracing to you a picture so different from that offered by the French Republic, whenever justice towards you is in question, even though her interests are compromitted. It was when a terrible war was incessantly devouring her, that she rigorously fulfilled her treaties with you ; in this instance she demands but justice, and cannot obtain it. On the contrary, she sees her enemies admitted to an
intimacy with you, at the moment in which your commerce and your sovereignty are alike insulted by them ; at the moment when, adding derision to injustice, they despoil you anew upon the seas; when they promise to indemnify you for former acts. This reflection, Sir, becomes much more grievous, when we see posted up under your eyes, the official legalization of a proclamation, which prohibits your commerce with our colonies, and suspends to you alone the law of nations. I know, Sir, what respect imposes on me as to what immediately interests your affairs and your relations as a People. But I cannot entirely pass in silence transactions to which the Republic is no stranger, because they are directed against her; and that to subscribe by an excess of courtesy to such orders, were to quit the nella tral position which the Americans profess. Examine, I pray you, Sir, whether this neutrality can be said to exist, when, on the one hand, you can no longer maintain your treaties, and on the other you are obliged to abandon your relations exclusively to the discretion of England, who doubtless will soon declare all the universe blockaded, except her possessions. What account do you conceive I cau render the French Government, of the means you take for rendering your neutrality respectable? Yet on that my instructions insist, and it is on that more especially, that France is uneasy, I shall not remind you of the conversations which I have had the honor of having with you on this subject; still less should I call to your recollection the verbal promises which you have repeatedly made, especially at a certain period, of a more honorable state of things. You know what on the faith of the Government we are to expect from a negotiation which creates much noise. All America now knows the result of this measure. The same acts which produced it, still exist, since it has taken a form, which at first was not announced, but from which, moreover, more had been expected. I hasten, Sir, to quit a subject which I begun but with pain, and with respect to which I know my obligations. I return to what occupies me more immediately. I hope, therefore, Sir, that the Executive of the United States will not be satisfied under its treaty concluded with England, since eyery thing proves that that mean is insufficient. I likewise hope that your ports will henceforward be shut against vessels which enter them in contravention of the treaties uniting our two nations. I also hope, that the President, who has so often promised me through you, that he would support the treaties at all events, will give orders that his intentions, upon which I have not the shadow of a doubt, be finally fulfilled; in a word, I hope that my claims, so often and so many times repeated, will be attended to, so much the more as they are just, and as for several months I have not ceased to present then to the cold impartiality of your Government.
Accept, Sir, &c.
J. H. FAUCHET.
:) Sir: It is now twenty-one days since I had the honor of writing to youl, and eight since you promised an answer to my letter. It gives me pain to be obliged to remind you of this promise. An event announced in the Gazettes proves how much the complaints I have made required an immediate attention. If against the tenor of the treaties which I have hitherto invoked in vain, an English fleet employed upwards of ten months at the entrance of your ports, intercepting French property, real or supposed, and even frequently conducting prizes into your bays, had not received a constant asylum in the United States, with the liberty of supplying themselves with provisions and of repairing their vessels, they could not have again taken French vessels in the Chesapeake.
I experience unpleasant sensations, sir, when I observe that such accidents are repeated on your coasts, only as the sequel to the violation of our treaties, notwithstanding my reiterated representations, and notwithstanding the religious punctuality with which the French Re. public keeps her engagements, with a nation to whom she has not ceased to testify attachment.
Accept, Sir, my esteem.
J. H. FAUCHET.
PHILADELPHIA, the 20th Prairial,
[EXTRACT.] 66 Were the bistory of the prizes brought into the United States by privateers since the present hostilities, brought into view, you would sce the various cases in which sometimes the Governors, sometimes the Courts of Justice, sometimes both, having taken cognizance. You would doubtless be puzzled, amidst all these, to find the part of the 17th article of our treaty, which specifies that we may bring our prizes into the ports of the United States, without the officers of the admit alty taking cognizance of them.
Besides, sir, you have not observed that my complaints have been