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ving doubts and obviating objections, aided by occasional changes of the members, this has not only been avoided, but I have the additional pleasure to assure you, that it was finally accomplished without the least difficulty, and without exciting the animosity of any one.
After my late communications to the committee of public safety, in which were exposed freely the objects of Mr.Jay's mission to England, and the real situation of the United States with Britain and Spain I had reason to believe that all apprehension on those points was done away, and that the utmost cordiality had now likewise taken place in that body towards us. I considered the report above recited and upon which the decree was founded, as the unequivocal proof of that change of sentiment, and flattered myself that in every respect we had now the best prospect of the most perfect and permanent harmony be. tween the two republics. I am sorry however to add that latterly this prospect has been clouded by accounts from England, that Mr. Jay bad not only adjusted the points in controversy, but concluded a treaty of commerce with that government : some of those accounts state that he had also concluded a treaty of alliance offensive and defensive. As I knew the baneful effect which these reports would produce, I deemed it my duty, by repeating what I had said before of his powers, to use my utinost endeavors informally to discredit them. This however did not arrest the progress of the report, nor remove the disquietude it had created : for I was finally applied to directly by the committee in a letter which stated what had been heard, and requested information of what I knew in regard to it. As I had just before received one from Mr. Jay, announcing that he had concluded a treaty and which contained a declaration that our previous treaties should not be affected by it, I thought fit to make his letter the basis of my reply. And as it is necessary that you should be apprized of whatever has passed here on this subject, I now transmit to you copies of the several papers, and which comprise a full statement thereof up to the present time. .
I cannot admit for a moment that Mr. Jay has exceeded his powers, or that any thing has been done which will give just cause of complaint to this republic: I lament, however, that he has not thought himself at liberty to give me correct information in that respect, for, until it is known that their interest has not been wounded, the report will certainly keep alive suspicion, and which always weakens the bonds of friendship. I trust therefore you will deem it expedient to advise me on this head as soon as possible.
I apprized you in my two last letters of an informal communication between the diplomatic members of the committee and myself, upon an interrogatory of theirs, whether it would be possible for France to obtain aid from or within the United States for the purchase of supplies, and of my effort upon that occasion to interest this government in support of our claims with Britain and Spain, and to which I was stimu. lated by intelligence that Mr. Jay's negotiation had failed, and that we were on the point of war, or actually engaged in it with Britain, as likewise by the knowledge that Spain was covertly seeking a sepa
hat it was not their owtrary, that regards the point in
rate peace. I was satisfied that if France would embark in our cause in the present state of things, and which I found her well disposed to do, and without the prospect of much aid in return, that the objects in each instance would be secure.—I therefore thought it eligible in that state of things, and with that view, to leave the door open for a communication with you upon the subject. But as soon as I understood that Mr. Jay had adjusted the points in controversy with that nation, the object on my part was at an end : I was aware that if his adjustment was approved, we could render no such service, indeed I doubted whether in peace the government possessed power to render it. I called therefore immediately upon those members with whom the previous communication had been, and suggested the same to them. They had anticipated the idea, and were prepared to answer it by a peremptory assurance that it was not their wish to create embarrassment in this or any other respect; on the contrary, that regard should be shewn in all cases to our actual situation, and with respect to the point in ques. tion, that the minister about to depart should be instructed not even to mention it. if you forbade it. So that this business stands upon a footing, as indeed it always did, whereby, under a particular state of things, some benefit may be derived from it, and no detriment under any.
The operations of this government continue to progress in the same course that they have done for some time past. During the time of Robespierre, a period of the administration which is emphatically called the reign of terror, much havoc was made, not only on the rights of humanity, but great confusion was likewise introduced in other res. pects in the affairs of the government. It has been the systematic effort of the administration to repair this waste and heal the bleeding wounds of the country, and in this, great progress has been made. By the same report which proposed the execution of the violated articles of the treaty of amity and commerce with the United States, it was likewise proposed to open wide the door of commerce to every citizen, (excluding them from navigation only,) and which was adopted : so that at present any person bringing productions into any port in this republic, may sell them to whom he pleases, and generally with astonishing profit; the agents of the public stand upon the ground of other persous : they are preferred only by out-bidding them. In my judgment no region of the world presents such an opening to the enterprises of our countrymen as this does. The restraints upon their own navigation operate in the degree as a bounty to ours, and the government and citizens of France seem equally pleased to see ours preferred to that of any other nation. The restraints likewise which are imposed in other countries on account of the war upon a commerce with French citizens, produce in other respects the same effect. 'Tis the interest of the latter to employ our countrymen in ordinary mercantile transactions, and especially with foreign nations, whereby they get into their hands a great proportion of the whole trade of the republic. The profits which those of the theatre have already made and continue to make surpass what you have any idea of. I sincerely wish that this was more generally known, that more might be induced to embark in it, not only for the purpose of diffusing more generally the immediate emolument, but for the more important one of gaining an interest in the commerce of this republic, which may be of lasting advantage to the United States. Before the revolution the English possessed this advantage, as they did in most other countries ; but now that interest is annihilated, and if the Americans step in, aided as they will be by the preference of the Government and People in their favor, they may occupy the ground and retain it forever afterwards.”
Mr. Monroe to the Secretary of State, dated February 12th, 1795
[EXTRACT.] “ You have already seen, by the course of my correspondence, that however difficult it was to succeed, yet, at certain times, we were completely possessed of the confidence of this Government, and that at those times I had the good fortune to accomplish some objects of im. portance to us. But it is likewise my duty to inform you, that I was at the same time enabled to penetrate more accurately into what would most probably be its policy towards us, in case we continued to pos. sess that confidence unimpaired; and I now declare, that I am of opinion, if we stood firmly upon that ground, that there is no service within the power of this Republic to render, that it would not render us, and upon the slightest intimation. In the interval, between the period of those communications which were made by me to the committee, explanatory of our situation with Britain, Spain, &.c. and the arrival of the intelligence of Mr. Jay's treaty, the indications of this disposi. tion were extremely strong; for, at that time, I bad reason to believe that it contemplated to take under its care, and provide for, our protection against Algiers, for the expulsion of the British froin the western posts, and the establishment of our right with Spain, to the free navigation of the Mississippi, to be executed in the mode we should prefer, and upon terms perfectly easy to us; terms, in short, which sought only the aid of our credit, to obtain a loan from our own banks, for an inconsiderable sum, to be laid out in the purchase of provisions within our own country, and to be reimbursed, if possible, by themselves. But by that intelligence this disposition was checked, though not changed, for it is with the course of opinions as with that of bodies, and which are not easily to be forced in an opposite direction, after they have decisively taken a particular one. I mention this for your information, not indeed in relation to the past, but the future measures of the Executive, for I am still inclined to believe that if the arrangement with England or the negotiation with Spain should fail, it is possible, provided a suitable attempt be made here before a peace is closed with those Powers respectively, to accomplish the whole through the means of this Government, and upon terms which would, perhaps, require on our part no offensive movement, or other act which would rightfully subject us to the imputation of a breach of neutrality; well satisfied, I am, that the full weight of its fortunes might be thrown with decision into our scale, and in a manner that would enable us to turn those fortunes to the best account in negotiation."
No. 55. Mr. Jay, Minister United States at London, to Mr. Monroe, dated
London, 19th February, 1765.
SIR: On the 5th of the month, I had the honor of writing to you a letter in answer to yours of the 17th ultimo, by Mr. Purviance, who is still here waiting for an opportunity to return, and who will be the bearer of that letter.
You will receive this by Col. Trumbull, who, for some time past, has been waiting for an opportunity to go through Paris to Stutgard, on private business of his own. He did me the favor to accompany me to this country as my Secretary. He has been privy to the negotiation of the treaty between the United States and Great Britain, which I have signed ; and having copied it, is perfectly acquainted with its contents. He is a gentleman of honor, understanding, and accuracy, and able to give you satisfactory information relative to it. I have thought it more advisable to authorize and request him to give you this information personally, than to send you written extracts from the treaty, which might not be so satisfactory. But he is to give you this information in perfect confidence, that you will not impart it to any person whatever, for, as the treaty is not yet ratified, and may not be finally concluded in its present form and tenor, the inconveniences which a premature publication of its contents might produce, can only be obviated by secresy ; in the mean time, I think myself justifiable in giving you this information in question, because you are an American Minister, and because it may not only be agrecable, but perhaps usefal.
I have the honor to be,
to the Republic of France.
Mr. Monroe to the Secretary of State, dated
PARIS, 6th March, 1792.
[EXTRACT.] “P. S. 9th. Since writing the above, I have been explicitly assured by Mr. Pelet, a member of the Diplomatic section of the Committee of Public Safety, that, in confidence, Mr. Jay's treaty contained nothing which would give uneasiness here ; they had expressly instructed their agent, now negotiating with Spain, to use his utmost effort to secure for us the points in controversy between the United States and that Power; in consequence, I thought proper to send in a short supplemental note, explanatory of the several objects of that controversy, and which I likewise enclose herein, with the report of Mr. Mountforence, by whom it was delivered. What the success of their endea. yours in our behalf may be, is uncertain; but we cannot expect the conclusion of their own treaty will be long delayed on that account.”
Secretary of State to Mr. Monroe, dated
PHILADELPHIA, March 8th, 1795.
[EXTRACT.] “I have the pleasure to inform you, that the President much approves your attention to our commerce; and the merchants who are immediately interested, and to whom I have communicated your measures, think them judicious.”
No. 58. Mr. Monroe to the Secretary of State, dated April 14th, 1795.
(EXTRACT.] “I was lately favored with a letter from Mr. Jay, of the 5th of February, by which I was informed that the bearer, Col. T'rumbull, who had copied and knew the contents of his treaty with the English Government, was instructed to communicate the same to me becauso I was an American Minister, and in which character it might be useful to me, but that I must receive it in strict confidence and under an injunction to impart it to no other person whatever. As I had explicitly stated to Mr. Jay, in my letter by Mr. Purviance, the only terms upon which I could receive the communication, and which I had