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2d. When the captains or owners of neutral vessels are disposed to sell their cargoes to the public, they shall be paid for them according to the bargain which they make.
3d.' It is enjoined to all the commandants of naval armaments, fleets, divisions, and squadrons of the Republic, to respect, and to Cause to be respected, upon their responsibility, in favor of the neutral and allied Powers, the rights of nations and the stipulations of treaties, conforming themselves strictly to the terms of the decree of the Convention of the 27th of July, 1793.
4th. In consequence, they are expressly prohibited from turning these vessels from their course, taking from on board of them their captains, sailors, or passengers, other than soldiers or sailors actually in the service of an enemy Power; or of seizing the effects or mer. chandise which shall be found in them.
5th. Are excepted from the probibition contained in the preceding articles
1st. Merchandises belonging to the enemies of the Republic until such enemy Powers shall have declared that the merchandises of the French shall be free on board neutral vessels.
2d. Such merchandises of the neutral Powers also as are deemed contraband of war, and under which are comprised all arms, instruments, and munitions of war, and every kind of merchandise and other effects destined for an enemy's port actually seized or blockaded.
[6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th regulate the manner of proceeding where neutral vessels are brought in upon a presumption of having enemy's goods on board.]
10th. The coinmission of marine shall present without delay a statement of the individuals born subjects of the Powers with whom the Republic is at war, who were taken before the present day upon neutral vessels, that particular arrets may be taken in each case.
11th. The indemnities which are due to the captains of neutral Powers who were detained by an embargo at Bordeaux, shall be liquidated without delay by the Commission of Marine and Colonies, conformable to an arret of the Committce of Public Safety, of the 17th Germinal; and this commission shall render an account in the course of ten days, of the actual state of these demands.
12th. The Commission of Marine is specially charged to receive and adjust the accounts which shall be presented to it by an agent of the United States, for such supplies as the Americans bave furnished to the administration of St. Domingo ; and it shall take the necessary measures to procure to the parties interested the most prompt justice, and shall also present to the Committees of Public Safety, of Finance, Commerce, and Supplies, the result of its operations in these respects.
13. The Commission of Foreign Relations is instructed to deliver a copy of this arret to the Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States of America, in answer to bis memorial of the 9th of Fructidor, (September 3d, last.
MERLIN, THURIOT, CAMBACERES, &C
(TRANSLATION.] Plan of a Decree, reported by M. Villiers to the Council of Five Hun
dred, in its sitting of the vith of January, 1798, translated from @ Paris paper, entitled Journal du Soir, of the same day, enclosed in the triplicate of the Envoy's letter, No. 5, dated January, 8th, 1798.
“1. The character of a vessel, relative to the quality of neuter or enemy, is determined by her cargo.
In consequence, every vessel, loaded in whole or in part with English merchandise, is declared lawful prize, whoever the owner of said merchandise may be.
2. Every foreign vessel which, in the course of her voyage, shall have entered an English port, shall not enter France except in case of distress : she shall depart thence, as soon as the causes of her entry shall have ceased.”
This decree was immediately and unanimously adopted.
(TRANSLATION.] Message to the Council of Five Hundred, of the 15th Nivose, 6th
year, January 4th, 1798. CITIZENS REPRESENTATIVes: On this day, the 15th of Nirose, and and at the very hour at which the Executive Directory addresses this message to you, the municipal adininistrators, the Justices of the Peace, the Commissaries of the Directory, and the Superintendents of the Customs, are proceeding, in all the chief places of the departments, in all the ports, and in all the principal communes of the Republic, to seize the English merchandise now in France, or introduced into its territory in contravention of the law of the 10th of Brumaire, 5th year, (October 31st, 1796.)
Such is the first act by which, now that peace is given to the continent, the war declared long since against England, is about to assume the real character which becomes it. The French will not suffer a Power which seeks to found its prosperity upon the misfortunes of other nations, to raise its commerce upon the ruin of that of other States, and which, aspiring to the dominion of the seas, wishes to introduce, every where, the articles of its own manufacture; and to receive nothing from foreign industry, any longer to enjoy the fruit of guilty speculations.
The English Government bas kept in pay, during the war, the coalesced forces with the produce of its manufactures. It has violated all the principles of the law of nations, in order to shackle the relations of nentral Powers; it has caused to be seized the provisions, corn, and commodities, wbich it supposed to be destined for France; it has declared contraband every thing which it thougit could be useful to the Republic. It desired to starve it. All the tizens call for vengeance.
When it had to fear the capture of vessels sailing under its flag, it corrupted foreign captains to induce them to take on board their vessels English merchandise, and thus to introduce it by stratagem. by fraud, or otherwise, into other States, and especially into the French Republic.
The neutral Powers should have perceived, that, by this conduct, their merchants took part in the war, and that they lent assistance to one of the belligerent Powers.
We serve a party, as well when we procure for it the means of augmenting its forces, as when we unite ourselves to those which it has. The neutral Powers should have perceived that England, by stopping the vessels of other Powers, laden in their respective ports, and destined for France, by permitting articles coming from her own manufactories alone to circulate, aimed at an exclusive commerie, and that it would be necessary to seek reparation for such an at. tempt.
The ordinance of the marine, and the regulation of 1704. have declared lawful prize the vessels and their cargoes, in which is found English merchandise, belonging to enemies. T'hese provisions should be extended. The interest of Europe requires it.
The Directory thinks it urgent and necessary to pass a law, declar. ing that the character of vessels. relative to their quality of neutral or enemy, shall be determined by their cargo, and the cargo shall be no longer covered by the flag: in consequence. that every vessel found at sea, having on board English provisions and merchandise, as her cargo, in whole or in part, shall be declared lawful prize, who soever may be the proprieior of these provisions or merchandise, which shall be reputed contraband, for this cause alone, that they came from England or her possessions.
It would be useful to declare, at the same time, that, except in the case of distress, the ports of the Republic shall be shut to all foreign vessels which, in the course of their voyages, shall have entered hose of England.
The Executive Directory requests you citizens representatives to adopt these measures. No neutral or allied Power can mistake their object, nor complain of them, unless it be already abandoned to EngJand. The infallible effect of the measure is to enhance the value of the produce of their own soil and industry to increase the prosperity of their commerce. to repel every thing that comes from England, and essentially to influence the conclusion of the war.
Such are the motives which induce the Executive Directory to invite you, Citizen Representatives, to take the object of this message into the most prompt consideration
P. BARRAS, President.
Translated extract from the Bulletin des Lois, No. 178. printed at Paris,
and enclosed with the quadruplicate of the Envoy's letter No. 6.
Law Relative to vessels laden with English Merchandise, of the 29th
Nivose, 6th year, [18th January, 1798.]
The Council of Ancients, adopting the reasons for the declaration of urgency, which precedes the resolution hereinafter contained, approves the act of urgency. Here follows the tenor of the declaration of urgency, and of the resolution of the 22d Nivose, [11th January, 1798.] The Council of Five Hundred, after having heard the report of a special committee upon the message of the Executive Directory, of the 15th Nivose, [4th January,) relative to English mercbandise; considering, that the interest of the Republic demands the most prompt measures against all vessels which may be loaded therewith, declares, that there is urgency.
The Council having declared the urgency, resolves as follows:
ARTICLE 1. The character of vessels, relative to their quality of neuter or enemy, shall be determined by their cargo; in consequence, every vessel found at sea, loaded in whole or in part witb merchandise the production of England or of her possessions, shall be declared good prize, whoever the owner of these goods or merchandise may be.
ART. 2. Every foreign vessel which, in the course of her voyage, shall have entered into an English port, shall not be admitted into a port of the French Republic, except in case of necessity; in which case she shall be bound to depart from the said port as soon as the Causes of her entry shall have ceased. Art. 3. The present resolution shall be printed.
BOULAY, (of la Meurthe,) President.
After a second reading, the Council of Ancients approves the above resolutions. The 29th of Nivose, sixth year of the French Republic, (18th January, 1798.]
No. 29.—[TRANSLATION.] Extract from the Registers of the Deliberations of the Executive Direc
PARIS, the 13th Thermidor,
6th year of the French Republic, (July 31, 1798.) The Executive Directory, having heard the Report of the Minister of Marine and the Colonies;
Considering that information recently received from the French Colonies and the Continent of America, leave no room to doubt that French cruisers, or such as call themselves French, have infringed the laws of the Republic relative to cruising and prizes :
Considering that foreigners and pirates have abused the latitude allowed at Cayenne, and in the West Indian Islands, to vessels fitted out for cruising or for war and commerce, in order to cover with the French flag their extortions, and the violation of the respect due to the law of nations, and to the persons and property of allies and neutrals,
DECREES : ART. 1. Hereafter, no letters of marque, authorizations, or permissions to fit our vessels either for cruising, or for war and commerce, shall be issued in the Colonies of America, but by special agents of the Directory themselves, who shall not delegate that power to any one: they shall exercise it only in favor of owners of vessels, whose principles and responsibility are well known to them; and they shall be bound to conform themselves to all the laws relative to cruising and prizes. and especially to those of the 1st October, 1793. (0. S.)
ART. 2. All letters of marque, authorizations, or permissions, granted in the Colonies of America, by the particular agents of the Executive Directory, and all other agents, civil and military, under their orders. to fit out vessels either for cruizing, or for war and commerce, shall be considered as not having been done, after the thirtieth day from the publication of the present Decree in the said Colonies.
ART. 3. All agents and other deputies in the neutral possessions, appointed to decide there upon che validity of prizes taken by the French cruisers, and wbo shall be suspected of having a direct or indirect interest in the vessels fitted out for cruising or for war and commerce, shall be immediately recalled.
ART. 4. The special agents of the Executive Directory at Cay. enno, Saint Domingo, and Guadaloupe, shall studiously take care that the interests and property of vessels belonging to neutrals or allies, be scrapulously respected, and they shall in no case bargain for their cargoes, but by mutual consent, and to the full and entire satisfaction of the contracting parties.
ART. 5. The said special agenst of the Executive Directory, the commanders of all vessels of the Republic, the consuls, vice-consuls,