Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

There is reason to believe, that the embargo, when it was first laid, ated soine uneasy sensations in the breast of the French Minister, For, it so happened, that at the moment before its operation, pretty considerable shipments of flour were made to the British West Indies, and a snow, called La Camille, laden with flour for France, was arrested near New Castle, on the Delaware, after she had quitted the port of Philadelphia. But you know enough of the history of this business, to declare that the embargo was levelled against Great Briain; and was made general, merely, because if it had been partial against her, it would have amounted to a cause of war, and, also, that it was not continued merely because it was reputed to be injurious to France. My letters to Mr. Fauchet will explain the case of La Ca. mille, and all his complaints about the embargo.

Should our embargó be brought up, the way will be easy for our complaints against the embargo of Bordeaux. At any rate, you will remonstrate against it, and urge satisfaction for the sufferers. You will receive all the papers which have come into the Department of State, relative to those matters; and you will besides, open a correspondence with the Captains, and persons interested, at Bordeaux, in order to obtain more accurate information.

But you will go farther, and insist upon compensation for the captures and spoliations of our property, and injuries to the persons of our citizens by French cruizers. Mr. Fauchet has been applied to, and promises to co-operate for the obtaining of satisfaction.

The dilatoriness with which business is transacted in France, will, if not curtailed in the adjustment of these cases, produce infinite mis. chief to our merchants. This must be firmly represented to the French Republic; and you may find a season for intimating how unfor. tunate it would be, if so respectable a body as that of our merchants, should relax in their zeal for the French cause, from irritation at their losses. The papers on this head, are a statement of French cases, Mr. Fauchet's letters to me, and the documents themselves. .

You know the extreme distress in which the inhabitants of St. Domingo came hither, after the disaster of the Cape. Private charity, and especially at Baltimore, most liberally contributed to their support.

The Congress at length advanced 15,000 dollars, with a view of reimbursement from France. This subject has been broken to Mr. Fauchet here, and he appears to have been roused at the idea of sup, porting by French money French aristocrats and democrats indis. criminately. Both he and his nation ought to be satisfied, that in the cause of humanity, oppressed by poverty, political opinions have nothing to do. Add to this, that none but the really indigent receive a farthing. It was the duty of the French Republic to relieve their colonists laboring under a penury so produced, and as it would have been too late to wait for their approbation before the payments were decreed, it will not be deemed an offensive disposal of French money, that we now make a claim for repayment. If Mr. Fauchet has pow. er upon the subject, an attempt will be made for a settlement with him here ; but that being very "doubtful, it will forward the retribution by discussing it in Europe,

[ocr errors]

You will be also charged with the demands of several American citizens for bills of exchange drawn in the French West Indies on France. The report of a committee of them, Mr. Fauchet's letter, and the vouchers, which you will carry, leave no doubt of your success. But if there should be any difficulty, do not fail to communicate it to the Secretary of State instantaneously. The sooner, therefore, the affair is entered upon the better.”

Whe

No. 45.
Secretary of State to Mr. Monroe, dated July 30, 1794.

EXTRACT. & The cases of spoliation and vexation from the French cruisers on our trade, I again most earnestly recommend to your anxious attention. Mr. Fauchet has promised to forward a recommendation of them to his government. You will do well, to press the principle, without delay; and, if doubts are entertained as to facts, put the subjects into a train for the most early decision. The French Repcblic will surely never suffer us to be plundered by their citizens; and that we have greatly suffered by their plundering, the papers accompanying this letter, if they be true, manifest. We are less disturbed at the conduct concerning the embargo.at Bordeaux. If the account brought hither lately by one of the captains who were detained there, be genuine, the promise of compensation bas been illusory only. You are therefore, again charged, to make this also your special and immedi. ate business ; and to press the rights of our citizens in a manner, which indicates that we cannot waive the justice due to us. In short, sir, it is the express instruction of the President, that you diligently inquire into every inconvenience, to which our trade has been subjectcd, and to remonstrate strongly upon them, and represent the facts to us fully and minutely. Had not Mr. Morris so strenuously pressed the affair of the Ship Laurens, of Charleston, which is committed to your care, I would here repeat all the circumstances. But these may be obtained as well from Mr. Morris, as from the French a chives. The decrees upon which the conduct of the French Republic was found. ed, in this case, which I note particular y on account of those decrees, have also been remonstrated against, by Mr. Morris; and I question whether much matter can be added to his observations. But such of those decrees as tend to the condemnation of the Laurens, are gross violations of our rights. You, no doubt, will have resumed this subject, immediately on your arrival ; and you are at liberty to speak in a firm and decisive tone, taking care to avoid offence, or in any degree to weaken the friendship between the two countries. As you carried with you a statement from this department, relative to the spoliations of our trade, and copies of Mr. Fauchet's letters respecting them, I do not repeat them here. But these will assist you, in the demands which you are to make on the French Government."

No. 46.

i

led

Mr. Monroe to the Secretary of State, dated

PARIS, August 25, 1794.

EXTRACT. " At the same time I had reason to believe, it was the general desire I should be received, as soon as possible, and with every demonstration of respect, for the country I represented. Upon the most mature consideration therefore, I thought it incumbent on me to make an effort, to break though these difficulties, and expedite my reception. The convention, I knew, possessed the sovereign authority of the na. tion; and, I presumed, that, by addressing myself to that body, and especially in the present state of things, I should not only avoid the censure of any subordinate department, but, perhaps, relieve them from an unpleasant dilemma, and, at the same time, make an experiment of the real disposition of this country towards my own. The latter consideration I deemed of some importance, as it would ascertain to me a fact, wbich might have influence upon my conduct on other occasions. I therefore addressed a letter to the President of the Convention, of which the enclosed No. 1. is a copy, and was happy to find it was well received ; for it was immediately taken by a member present to the Committee of Public Safety, by whom a report was made in two hours afterwards to the Convention, and a decree adopted by the latter body of which, No. 2. is a copy, for my reception, by the Convention itself, at two, the following day. I deemed it my duty to avail myself of this opportunity, to dissipate, if possible, by the documents in my possession, impressions which had been made, and were still making, of the unfriendly disposition of the American Government, towards the liberty and happiness of the French nation. At the same time therefore that I presented my credentials, I laid be. fore the Convention the declarations of the Senate, and House of Representatives, as conveyed to me by the President, through the Secre. tary of State, with an assurance that I was authorized to declare that the President was actuated by similar sentiments. The communication was received in a manner very interesting, and wbich furnished at the same time the strongest proof of the affection entertained by the French nation for the United States of America. The inclosed No. 3 is a copy of my address to the Convention, and of the President's answer. Every department has since shown the strongest disposition to prove its attachment to their ally, hy embracing every opportunity wbich the slightest incident has offered. A few stores brought for the accommodation of my family, in the ship in which I sailed, were arrested in Havre, because no declaration was rendered of them by the captain. This was casually heard by the committee of public safety, and without any intimation from me, by their order, restored. But being desirous more formally to certify their regard, the commissary of Foreign Affairs announced to me yesterday that

he was instructed, in the name of the Republic, to appropriate a hou se for my use, as Minister of the United States, of such accommoda jons, and in such part of the city, as I would designate. The inclosed No. 4 is a copy of his letter and of my reply. These latter acts, it is true, may be deemed, in some measure, acts of ceremony : so far', however, as they furnish any indication of the disposition of this country towards our own, it is a favourable one.

I found here many of my countrymen, captains of vessels, who had been taken at sea and brought in, in derogation of the treaty. I in. tend immediately to make an effort, to have that decrec rescinded, and compensation rendered for the injury sustained.”

No. 47.

Mr. Monroe to the Secretary of State, dated Paris, 15th Sept. 1794.

EXTRACT. “ As soon as I could command a moment's leisure, I applied my. 'self to the immediate duties of my station. I found many of my country. men here laboring under embarrassments of a serious kind, growing out of the war; and was soon furnished with like complaints from others in several of the seaports. Correct information, upon every point, was my first object; for, unless I knew the nature and extent of the evil, I could not seek a remedy. I encouraged, therefore, by my letters, these representations, as the only means by which I could acquire it; nor was it difficult to be obtained for the parties interested had been too deeply affected, and long delayed, to be remiss upon the present occasion. In the course of a few weeks, I believe most of the complaints, which bad been occasioned by the war, and especially where the parties were present, either in person or by attorney, were laid before me. By analysing them, including those which were committed to me from your Department, whilst in Phila. delphia, I found they might be classed under the following heads:

1. Those who were injured by the embargo at Bordeaux.
2. Those who had claims upon the Republic, for supplies rendered

to the Government of St. Domingo.
3. Those who had brought cargoes in for sale, and were detained,
. by delay of payment, or some other cause,
4. Those who had been brought in by the ships of the Republic,

in derogation of the treaty of ainity and commerce, and

were subjected to like detention and delay. 5. Those who liad been taken at sea, or elsewhere, and were con

fined, in derogation of the treaty of amity and commerce, or

rights of citizenship in the United States. Upon the two first leads, and, indeed, upon the two latter, so far as compensation to the injured parties was in question, I had no difficulty how to act. Your instructions had fully marked the course to

be taken. I, therefore, required that compensation be made as soon as possible, and upon just principles, according to the contract, where such was the case, and the fair estimated value, where it was not. But the two latter involved in them something more than the mere adjustment of existing claims, and which closed the scene when that was made. They grew out of measures, which, if suffered to continue, might create like injuries every week, and which would require a like interposition on my part. I, therefore, considered it my duty, not only to require a full indemnity to the claimants, as in the other instances, but to mount to the source of the evil, and seek a remedy commensurate therewith.

I fonnd that the delays, above spoken of, did not proceed from interest, or design, on their part: from interest they could not-for they not only disgusted and often injured the claimants, but, likewise, exposed the Governments to considerable loss upon account of demurrage. And, if there was no motive of interest, there could be none for design. They proceeded, in fact, from the system of trade adopted here; by which the whole commerce of the country was taken into the hands of the Republic itself. The regulation was such that none but the officers of the Government could purchase; nor could any contract be concluded and executed, in any of the seaports, or elsewhere, than in Paris. This threw every case into the hands of a Board of Commerce in this city, who were, otherwise, borne down with an immense weight of the most extensive and complicated duties. The defect in our arrangement, too, bad increased the embarrassment; for, as we had no Consul here, every Captain, or Supercargo, became his own negotiator; and, as they were, generally, ignorant of the city, the language, and the prices last given, they were badly calculated for the purpose. Every new cargo formed a distinct negotiation; and, as there was no systém, on the part of the venders, who wished, as was natural, to make the most of their voyage, they usually asked an extravagant price for it, in the first instance. This occasioned a kind of traffic between the parties, and which, frequently, terminated in the disgust of both, and particularly of the venders, who, after they were wearied out with the clerks in the Department, and whose duty it was to receive them generally, assigned the business over to some agent, and who, as he was not clothed with any public character, could neither be inuch respected by the French Government, nor possessed, in any high degree, of the confidence of his employers. Such was the state of our trade in the Republic, and such the cause of the delay. As soon, therefore, as I understood it, I considered it my duty to bring the subject before the Government, and desire, on its part, a suitable remedy; and, if the person lately appointed, does not soon arrive, I shall deem it equally necessary to nominate some' one as Consul, provisionally, to take charge of the business on ours. And, if he does arrive, I am, by no means, certain, it will remedy the difficulty, for reasons I shall, hereafter, explain.

I had more difficulty in determining how to act on the fourth point. I was not instructed to desire a repeal of the decree, and did not know

« ForrigeFortsett »