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ore the administration of Roberpierre. The appeals were made to the directory, which appointed commissioners to examine and decide of their validity: but these abused the powers committed to them in so glaring and scandalous a manner, and the directory appeared so remiss in calling them to account for their criminal behaviour, that the legislature thought itself bound to take the cognizance of these matters from the executive power, which, either through want of time or of inclination, did not pay them sufficient attention, and to appoint, for their investigation, a committee of its own members.

The public were not dissatisfied at the scrupulous vigilance of the councils over the directory, and at the spirit with which they animadverted upon their conduct, and restrained their powers when it was necessary for the safety of individuals. The number of which the directory consisted, though seeming ly calculated to keep the active rulers of the state sufficiently divided among themselves, to prevent any one of them from engrossing the supreme authority, had not, however, in the opinion of many, provided against the combination of the members collectively, to grasp at sovereign power, and to overrule, through the weight and dignity attached to their office, the proceedings of the other departments of the It was therefore no less incumbent on these to repress the first attempts of that body, to exceed the limits of their constitutional. powers, than upon the parliaments of Great Britain to keep a vigilant eye on the conduct of the monarch and his ministers, and on the statesgeneral of Holland, to watch the steps of an aspiring stadtholder.


Such were the opinions of the discerning part of the public; nor did many scruple to avow their apprehensions, that, in consequence of the numerous appointments to places of trust and profit, confided to the directory, it would soon or late arrive at so great a power, as to form a party strong enough to con trol the legislature itself.

Whether this were effected through influence, or through force, the result would be the same: and the nation would be obliged to submit to absolute sway, like others that are governed despotically, by the crown and its agents, through the purchased and servile acquiescence of its representatives.

These surmises were not without foundation. The stateliness assumed by the directory, in its intercourse with foreign states, sufficiently indicated the lofty ideas they entertained of their importance, and how readily they would raise themselves to the summit of personal grandeur and uncontrolled power, in the management of all public affairs. unless their ambition were obviated by timely checks, which could not be too expeditiously employed against men who exhibited so early a dispo sition to aspire at an undue extension of their authority.

This loftiness of the directory had suffered no small degree of humilia tion from the spirited conduct of the government of the united states of America. Full of the idea, that these owed their independence to France, the French bore with impatience and indignation that so great a benefit should be overlooked, and that, in this struggle for liberty with so

many powers combined in against them from every quarter Europe, they should be forsaken by that people, in whose cause they



had acted with so much zeal and


But that which principally exas perated the French government was the treaty that had been lately negociated between England and the American states, by their envoy in London, Mr. Jay. It was represented as so contrary to the treaties in force between them and France, as to amount almost to a denunciation of the amity subsisting between those two powers.

The resentment of the French hardly knew any bounds. The language held at Paris portended nothing less than the most signal revenge for what was termed an act of the basest ingratitude and per fidy. Instead of that cordiality which had taken place between the French and American governments, a distant and suspicious intercourse secceeded; and if the public voice of the people of France had been listened to, a rupture could not have failed to ensue.

It was retorted, on the part of the Americans, that as soon as the French republic had been established, it began to entertain a design to introduce a system perfectly similar to its own, into the United States, without consulting them, and in defiance of the constitution already settled among them. To this end, they commissioned their resident, Genet, to use all manner of artifice and intrigue, in order to pervert the dispositions of the commonalty, and to seduce them from their attachment and obedience to the existing government. He had carried his misconduct so far, as personally to insult the president of the congress, and endeavour to set him and that body at variance with the people. This agent of the French republic, had indeed been recalled

by his employers, but the seeds of mischief he had sown had produced their intended effect, in the divisions that had embroiled the Americans, and destroyed that unanimity of sentiments from which they had derived such internal tranquillity.

To these complaints the French replied, that the treaty of commerce with England had cancelled all pretensions of amity from America to France. It violated, in a positive and hostile manner, the treaty entered into by the French, in favour of the Americans, in the year 1778, by which the states agreed to guarantee the possessions of France in the West Indies: whereas, by the present treaty with England, the very furnishing of provisions to the French islands was allowed to be an illegal trade. Such a falling off from their professions of friendship and attachment to France, at a time when they ought to have been realised by actions, after having been so reiteratedly expressed in words, displayed in glaring colours the contemptible interestedness of the Americans, and proved them to be void of all principles but those of avarice and gain, and that to these they would sacrifice all consideration of honour and magnanimity.

Recriminations of this nature grew louder and more rancorous than ever, on the intelligence that the government of the united states had formally ratified this treaty. But fresh motives of inveteracy arose from the discoveries contained in a letter, written by the president of the congress to the American ambassador at Paris. This letter, which was dated from Philadelphia, the 22 of December, 1795, had been dispatched in a vessel that was wrecked on the coast of France. It was preserved with other papers,


and carried to the directory, by whom it was considered as indubitable proof of the inimical disposition of the American government to the French republic.

This letter, on a cool perusal, contained, however, no hostile designs against France. Its contents were chiefly complaints of arbitrary proceedings of the British ministry respecting the trade of the United States. He directed Mr.Morris, who had quitted his embassy at Paris, and acted as American agent at London, to lay before the English ministry the imprudence, as well as the unjustifiableness of those proceedings, at a time when Great Britain ought to be particularly socitous to retain the good will of the Americans, in order to induce them to receive favourably the treaty of commerce just concluded, but which met with a multitude of opponents, on account of the harsh measures that had been so unseasonably taken against the commerce and navigation of the United States. It was with difficulty he had stemmed the torrent of discontent and resentment that had arisen on this occasion, and prevented the party, that favoured the French, from carrying matters to extremities. His own views, in which he was seconded by the better sort, were peace and neutrality. These would, in the course of a few years, raise the United States to a condition of prosperity and power, that would render them formidable to all the world, and secure to them tranquillity at home, and respect from


Such was the general tenour of this famous letter, the interception of which was looked upon as so timely an occurrence for the interest

of France, by admonishing it to place no confidence in the Americans. But without the medium of this letter, the most judicious of the French were convinced that the interest of the Americans would lead them to act a neutral part in the contest between France and England, and that it would be highly impolitic in either of these to insist upon their acting any other.

The French government did not however relinquish the hope of a future connection with the United States. They grounded this expećtation. on the numbers of people there, who testified an aversion to all political ties with England, and whose republican disposition inclined them to espouse the cause of all who opposed the government of kings. They also relied on achange of men and measures in the American administration. The presidency, it was intimated to them by their American partisans, would, on a new election, be filled by another incumbent, less averse to an alliance with France than the present. These and other representations of a similar tendency, from the same quar, ter, induced the French government to dissemble the resentment it bore to the American for its partiality to England, and to extend it no farther than to treat the subjects of the united states, employed in their commerce and navigation, in the same manner in which these were treated by the English.

These misunderstandings, between France and the states of America, had, in some degree, been suspended by the recall of Mr. Morris from his French embassy, and replacing him by a man whose principles were more conformable to their own, and his person, therefore, more accepta


ble. This was Mr. Monroe, who was received with great respect and cordiality. But when this gentle. man was recalled, and Mr. Pinkney appointed his successor, which was in November, 1796, the directory refused to admit him in that capacity, and suspended, at the same time, their own ambassador in America, Mr. Adet, who was ordered to lay before that government the complaints of the republic against its proceedings, and the determination to issue orders to the French ships of war to act towards the trading vessels of neutral states in the same manner that those states permitted themselves to be treated by the British navy.

In support of this determination, the directory alleged the seizure of French property, by the English, on board of American vessels, in the very ports of the United States, and through the connivance of their government. Such had been the regard paid to America, by the convention, at the commencement of this war, that while it declared lawful prize all English property found in neutral vessels, the shipping of the United States was excepted from this declaration. But the conduct of the English, in seizing the American ships laden with provisions on French account, had compelled the convention, through mere necessity, to rescind this act of indulgence, and to use the right of retaliation, by seizing English property in American vessels.

It was farther stated, by Mr. Adet, that American sailors were pressed into the service of the English, without reclamations being made, or even marks of disapprobation being manifested on the part of the American government. These and other

acts of partiality, amply justified the measures taken by the directory. When the United States thought proper to enforce the respect due to their flag by the English, the French would also treat it with the same degree of respect.

These remonstrances of the French resident were answered by stating to him, that, according to the terms of the treaty of 1778, neutral property had been declared secure in American vessels: but that no such stipulations were contained in the present treaty between England and America. But the propriety of this answer was pronounced inadmissible by the French. It was absurd, they said, that any state should assent to the continuance of a treaty, when they found it was to be converted into an instrument of the deepest injury to their interests. For the Americans to insist on the validity of such a treaty was an insult to the understanding of the French, to which it could not be expected they were either so unwise, or so pusillanimous, to submit ; nor could the Americans reconcile to any principle of justice, or of honour, the breach of that article in the treaty with France, by which they had bound themselves to guarantee the French colonies, in the West Indies, against the attempts of the English.

The reciprocal jealousies excited by these various transactions were greatly heightened by the motives which were understood in France to have influenced the recall of Mr. Monroe from his embassy, and the nomination of Mr. Pinkney in his stead. These were the reputed partiality of the one to the French, and the contrary disposition of the other. When the former took leave of the directory, they did not omit

this opportunity of declaring their sentiments on the situation of affairs between France and America. They assured him, that whatever differences had arisen between the ruling powers of both countries, the French still retained their esteem for the people of the United Provinces, of whose warmth and good will to the republic of France they were thoroughly convinced, as well as of their disinclination to coincide with the measures adopted by their go vernment. They were not less careful in testifying their highest regard for his personal merit, and their warmest gratitude for the attachment he had unvariably displayed to the cause of liberty and the prosperityof France.

Such, however, was their resentment of the connection between the

English and the American governments, that they determined to gra tify it, by treating the American minister with rudeness, if not with indignity. Not satisfied with hav、 ing denied him the assumption of that character, they would not suffer him to remain at Paris as a private one. Herein they were, by many of their own people, severely censured, as having, without necessity, affronted an individual, come to them on a respectable mission, and widened thereby the breach between them and the state which he repre sented. Prudence, it was ought to have enjoined a contrary behaviour. They should have sought to have kept the door of reconciliation open, instead of striving to shut it in this arrogant and contemptuous manner.



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