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departure for a cruise, Mr. Genet was desired, in my letter of July 12th, on the part of the President, to detain her till some inquiry and determination on the case should be had. Yet within three or four days after, she was sent out by orders from Mr. Genet himself, and is at this tive cruising on our coasts, as appears by the protest of the master of one of our vessels maltreated by ber.
The Government, thus insulted and set at defiance by others, determined still to see in these proceedings but the character of the individual; and not to believe, and it does not believe, that they are by instructions from his employers. They had assured the British Minister here, that the vessels already armed in their ports should be obliged to leave them, and that no more should be armed in them. Yet more had been armed, and those before armed had either not gone away, or gone only to return with new prizes. They now inforrned him, that the order for departure should be enforced, and the prizes made contrary to it should be restored or compensated. The same thing was notified to Mr. Genet, in my letter of August 7th; and, that he might not conclude the promise of compensation to be of no concern to him, and go on in his courses, he was reminded that it would be a fair article of account against his nation.
Mr. Genet, not content with using our force, whether we will or not in the military line, against nations with whom we are at peace, undertakes also to direct the civil government; and particularly for the Executive and Legislative bodies, to pronounce what powers may, or may not be exercised by the one or the other. Thus, in his letter of June 8th, he promises to respect the political opinions of the President, till the representatives shall have confirmed or rejected them, as if the President had undertaken to decide what belonged to the decision of Congress. In his letter of June 14th, he says more openly, that the President ought not to have taken on himself to decide on the subject of the letter, but that it was of importance enough to have consulted Congress thereon; and in that of June 22d, he tells the President, in direct terms, that Congress ought already to have been occupied or certain questions, which he had been too hasty in deciding; thus making himself, and not the President, the judge of the powers ascribed by the Executive, and dictating to him the occasion when he should exercise the power of convening Congress, at an earlier day. than their own act had prescribed.
On the following expressions, no commentary shall be made.
June 22. • Les opinions privées ou publiques de M le President, et cette egide ne paroissant pas suffisante.'t
June 22. Le Gouvernement federal s'est emprcssè, poussé par je ne sçais quelle influence.'
Translations of the French passages. * "The philosophical principles proclaimed by the Pr·sident.'
+ The opinions, private or public, of the President, and this F.gis not appearing to you sufficient
* * The Federal Government has been eager, urged by I know not wbat influence.'
June 22. • Je ne puis attribuer des demarches de cette nature qu'à des impressions etrangeres dont le tems et le veritè triompheront.'
June 25. «On poursuit avec acharnement, en vertu des instructions de M. le President, les armateurs Francais.'
June 14. «Ce refus tend à accomplir le systeme infernal du roi d'Angleterre, et des autres rois ses accomplices, pour fairer perir par la famine les republicains Francais avec la liberté.' * *
June 8. • La lache abandon des ses amis.' It
July 25. •En vain le desir de conserver la paix fait-il sacrifier les interets de la France á cet interet du moment; en vain le soif des richesses l'emporte-elle sur l'honneur dans la balance politique de l'Amerique; tous cès menagemens, toute cette condescendance, toute cette humilité n'aboutissent à rien ; nos ennemis en rirent, et les Français trop confiants sont punis pour avoir cru que la nation Americaine avoit un pavillon, qu'elle avoit quelque egard pour ses loix, quelque conviction des ses forces, et qu'elle tenoit au sentiment de sa dignitè. Il ne m'est pas possible de peindre toute ma sensibilité sur ce scandale qui tend à la diminution de votre commerce, à l'oppression du notre, et l'abaissement, à l'avilissement des republiques. Si nos concitoyens ont été trompés, si vous n'etes point en etat de soutenir la souveraineté de votre peuple, parlez ; nous l'avons garantée quand nous etions esclaves, nous saurons la rendre redoutable etant devenus libres.' 1
We draw a veil over the sensations which these expressions excite. No words can render them ; but they will not escape the sensibility of a friendly and magnanimous nation, who will do us justice.
We see in them, neither the portrait of ourselves, nor the pencil of our friends, but an attempt to embroil both; to add still another nation to the enemies of his country, and to draw on both a reproach, which it is hoped will never stain the history of either. The written proofs, of which Mr. Genet was himself the bearer', were too unequivocal to leave a doubt, that the French nation are constant in their
S'I cannot ascribe measures of this nature, but to extraneous impressions, over which time and truth will triumph.'
I'They pursue, with rage, the French privateers, by order of the President.'
*This refusal tends to accomplish the infernal system of the King of England, and other Kings, bis accomplices, to destroy by famine, French freemen and free. dom.'
#1•The cowardly abandonment of their friends.'
+ + In vain the desire to preserve peace, leads you to sacrifice the interests of France, to this interest of the moment; in vain the thirst of riches preponderates agains' honor, in the political balance of America ; all this management, all these condescensions, all this humiliation, end in nothing : our enemies laugh at it, and the French, too confident, are punished for having believed that the American nation had a flag; that it had some respect for its laws; some conviction of its force ; and that it had some sentiment of jis dignity. It is not possible for me to paint to you all my sensibility at this scandal, which tends to the diminution of your commerce, to the oppression of ours, and to the debasement and vilification of Republics.'
If our fellow citizens have been decrived, if you are not in a condition to maintain the sovereignty of your people, speak : we have guaranteed it when we were slaves, we know not how to render it respectable, beirg become free.'
friendship to us. The resolves of their National Convention, the letters of their Executive Council, attest this truth, in terms which renders it necessary to seek, in some other hypothesis, the solution of Mr. Genet's machinations against our peace and friendship.
Conscious, on our part, of the same friendly and sincere disposition, we can, with truth, affirm, both for our Nation and Government, that we have never omitted a reasonable occasion of manifesting them : For I will not consider as of that character', opportunities of sallying forth from our ports, to waylay, rob, and murder, defonceless mer. chants and others, who have done us no injury, and who were coming to trade with us, in the confidence of our peace and amity. The violation of all the laws of order and morality, which bind mankind together, would be an unacceptable offering to a just nation. Recurring then only to recent things, after so afflicting a libel, we recollect, with satisfaction that, in the course of two years, by unceasing exertions, we paid up seven years arrearages and instalments of our debt to France, which the inefficacy of our first form of Government had suffered to be accumulating ; that, pressing on still to the entire fulfilment of our engagements, we have facilitated to Mr. Genet, the effect of the instalments of the present year', to enable him to send relief to his fellow citizens in France, threatened with famine ; that, in the first moment of the insurrection, which threatened the colony of St. Domingo, we stepped forward to their relief, with arms and money ; taking freely on ourselves, the risk of an unauthorized aid, when delay would have been denial; the wretched fugitives from the catastrophe of the principal town of that colony, who, escaping from the swords and flames of civil war, threw themselves on us, naked and houseless, without food or friends, money or other means, their fa. culties lost and absorbed in the depth of their distresses; that the exclusive admission to sell here the prizes made by France on her enemies, in the present war, though unstipulated in our treaties, and unfounded in her own practice, or in that of other nations, as we believe; the spirit manifested by the late grand jury, in their proceedings against those who had aided the enemies of France with arms and implements of war; the expression of attachment to his nation, with which Mr. Genet was welcomed, on his arrival and journey from South to North, and our long forbearance, under his gross usurpations and outrages of the laws and authority of our country, do not bespeak the partialities intimated in his letters. And for these things, he rewards us by endeavours to cxcite discord and distrust between our citizens, and those whom they have entrusted with thoir government; between our nation and his. But none of these things, we hope, will be found in his power. That friendship which dictates to us to bear with his conduct yet awhile. Jest the interest of his nation here should suffer injury, will lasten them to replace an agent, whose dispositions are such a misrepresentation of theirs, and whose continuance here is inconsistent with order, peace, respect, and that friend. ly correspondence, which we hope will cver subsist between the two nations.
His Government will see too, that the case is pressing. That it is Impossible for two sovereign and independent authorities, to be going on within our territory, at the same time, without collision.
They will foresee, that if Mr. Genet perseveres in his proceedings, the consequences would be so hazardous to us, the example so ho. miliating and pernicious, that we may be forced even to suspend his functions, before a successor can arrive to continue them. If our ci. tizens have not already been shedding cach others blood, it is not owing to the moderation of Mr. Genet, but to the forbearance of the Government.
It is well known, that, if the authority of the laws had been resorted to, to stop the Little Democrat, its officers and agents were to have been resisted by the crew of the vessel, consisting partly of American citizens. Such events are too serious, too possible, to be left to hazard, and what is worse than hazard, the will of an agent, whose de. signs are so mysterious. Lay the case then immediately before his Government ; accompany it with assurances, which cannot be stronger than true, that our friendship for the nation is constant and unabating ; that, faithful to our treaties, we have fulfilled them in every point, to the best of our understanding ; that if, in any thing, however, we have construed them amiss, we are ready to enter into candid explanations, and to do whatever we can be convinced is right; that, in opposing the extravagances of an agents whose character they seem not sufficiently to have known, we have been urged by motives of duty to ourselves, and justice to others, which cannot but be approved by those who are just themselves; and, finally, that, after independence and self-government, there is nothing we more sincerely wish, than perpetual friendship with them. I have the bonor to be, &c.,
THOMAS JEFFERSON. Note. A copy of the preceding letter was sent enclosed by the Secretary of State to Mr. Genet.
No. 34. (No. 38, Mr. Morris to the Secretary of State, dated Paris, 10th Oc
EXTRACT. “ I am very anxious that Consuls and Vice Consuls should be appointed in all the ports. My countrymen are incessantly applying to me from every quarter, about property taken from them. I am desired from abroad to claim such property. The Courts chicane very much here, under the pretence that claimants do not produce proper authority from the owners, &c. I have decidedly refused to lend my name on such occasions, because I am certain that I should be there. upon represented as a party interested, and of course my representations against the iniquitous proceedings, which are but too frequent,
would be disregarded. It happens, also, that I am called upon to name proper agents in the ports where there is no Consul. In such cases, I must take the recommendation of a banker, and incur the risque of placing a person interested in a capture, as protector of the property taken.
The state of public affairs here involves me in another very disagreeable predicament. My fellow citizens are aggrieved, and apply for redress, to which they are justly entitled, and which they are led to expect with the greater certainty, as every public act breathes warm attachment to the United States. On the other hand, it is frequently impossible to obtain redress, because the Government, omnipotent in some cases, is in others not merely feeble, but enslaved—I am forced to see that my demands must embarrass, and finally irritate them. The Ministers, who ought to be accountable agents of public authority, are placed in such direct subordinance to the Comité de Salut Public, that even the common routine must await their fiat, and they are unaccountable and swayed by the terror of an insurrection, which may be excited at any moment, should they displease the leaders of this city. Consequently, while they see and lament the consequences of many acts, they are obliged to commit them. A knowledge of this, reduces me to the necessity of choosing between national and particular interests. In preferring the former, the latter become clamorous, and I am sure that I shall be represented as an idle and unprofitable servant. To this inevitable evil, I must submit; but another has arisen out of it which, gives me concern. In assigning to complainants the reasons why their expectations must be disappointed, I have been obliged to state things, which being repeated and misrepresent. ed, have-produced a disagreeable effect in the minds of those who are to decide on the applications I make. This will appear more clearly from an example.
On the 20th of August, a deputation of four ship captains, chosen by their brethren of Bordeaux, called on me with a representation of the injustice they experienced in being prevented from sailing with their cargoes, &c. Their suffering was occasioned by one of those decrees, which being commanded by the popular cry in a time of violence, the legislature, tho’ it may perceive the impolicy, dare not repeal them. The deputation, as is natural, had flattered themselves with immediate and ample redress, It was my duty to moderate their expectations, and to explain the difficulties. Interest is often blind, and seldom just. My moderation was ill suited to thcir wishes, and my letter to the Minister, of which a copy is enclosed, seemed to them rather an abandonment of their cause, than the prosecution of the only redress which appeared to me attainable and in the only way by which it might be effected. I had cautioned them particularly not to ask too much, because they would thereby run the risk of not obtaining what they asked, or if they should obtain it, of seeing their hopes blasted in the bud by a repeal of an indulgent decree. What had past respecting the article of our treaty, favorable to the wavigation of ncutral vessels, was an instance so clear of the influence whirl