« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
those of the particular states were called to interfere ; and therefore, it will not be thought extraordinary, if the executive of Virginia was unprepared with arrangements to give instant effect to the stipulation of the 17th article of the treaty of 1778, forbidding an asylum to armed vessels of the enemies of France and their prizes. What delay took place seems to have been the result of accident; cer. tainly not of design. And by letters from this department, the executives were earnestly pressed to take the necessary order for prompt execution, in future, of this part of the treaty. But why should the French ministers complain with such energy, that a British ship of war, with her prize, remained in one of our ports, during perhaps twenty or five and twenty days; when against the earnest requests and orders of the Executive, the French privateers, armed in our ports in violation of the laws, long continued to keep on our coast and enter our harbours, thence on favourable opportunities to cruise against their enemies? The Columbia, or Carmagnole, continued such her unlawful acts for more than a year.
After all the zealous remonstrances of Mr. Fauchet, now renewed by Mr. Adet, about the captures of the French corvette l’Esperance, by the British ship Argonaut, who went with her prize into Lynnhaven bay, what were the facts ? The governour of Virginia went personally to the French consul at Norfolk, for information concerning this declared violation of the treaty—but “received none which appeared to justify the uneasiness occasioned by that event, he charging no circumstance as ima proper in the captors ; but rather seemed to consider the introduction of the prisoners made on that occasion, so soon into a place where the exchange would be effected, as an alleviation of the misfortune of losing the vessel.”
The captain of the French corvette himself was desired to give evidence in the case; he promised, but failed to appear. He was called upon a second time to give information, but discovered an unwillingness to do it ; observing that he had given to the consul a circumstantial account of the transaction on his arrival. The governour having heard that a respectable pilot by the name of Butler was acquainted with the circumstances of this affair, he directed his deposition to be taken; it was taken, and imported, that admiral Murray himself purchased the prize l'Esperance, and manned and fitted her in Lynnhaven bay for å cruise. But Butler's deposition was afterwards taken on the part of the British, in which he contradicted all the material facts recited in the former deposition; for which he accounted by saying, that he could neither write nor read, and that there had been inserted in his first deposition what he had never said. Under these circumstances it was desirable to obtain further information. This was furnished by the British minister, in the extract of a letter from admiral Murray, which bears every mark of candour and humanity, and of respect for the United States. It is as follows. “ The French sloop of war l'Esperance was brought into-Lynnhaven bay on the 11th of January (a few days after my arrival there) by captain Ball, who had captured her fifteen leagues from the shore: the weather being very tempestuous, a lieutenant with a sufficient number of men only to navigate her (not being half the complement the French had in her) were sent on board from the Resolution and Argonaut; and so soon as the weather permitted those ships to supply her with water and provisions, I sent her to sea, that I might give no umbrage to the American States. An additional reason for bringing l’Esperance into Lynnhaven bay, was out of humanity to the French prisoners, whom, having had a long voyage, I sent to Norfolk as soon as prudence would permit: otherwise they must have been kept prisoners on board the whole winter, and sent to Halifax in the spring: nor was she equipped or armed then, in any manner whatever; nor did the lieutenant receive any commission for her whilst in Lynnhaven bay; and when at sea only an acting order to command her, which is customary, and absolutely necessary in all captures; otherwise if retaken by the enemy, he might be considered as a pirate."
Eighth, “ It might be said that it applauded their (the English) audacity; all submission to their will; it allowed the French colonies to be declared in a state of blockade, and its citizens interdicted the right of trading to them."
If among the multitude of such complaints as Mr. Adet has exhibited, any one could excite surprise, this charge is calculated to produce it. Here a formal charge is made against the government of the United States, that it did not control in another independent nation the right of judging
of its own affairs--that it did not forbid and effectually prevent the officers of a foreign power, the British admirals and commanders in the West Indies, declaring certain French colonists to be in a state of blockade! But the official legalization of a proclamation had been posted up under our eyes, prohibiting our commerce with the French colonies, and suspending to us alone the law of nations !" The answer to Mr. Fauchet from the Secretary of State represents this matter differently. The British consul general at Philadelphia, by a publication on the 10th of April, 1795, gave notice that he had received official communications that the islands of Guadaloupe, Marigalente and Desirade were by proclamation issued by his Britannick majesty's general and vice admiral commanding in the Wes Indies, declared to be in an actual state of blockade; ana that neutral (not singly American) vessels were thereby prohibited, from attempting to enter any ports or places in those islands with supplies of any kind, under the penalty of being “ dealt with conformably to existing treaties, and as warranted by the established laws of nations." And while existing treaties (our treaty with Great Britain had no operative existence till six months after the consul's advertisement) and the laws of nations were avowed to be the rules by which the property of neutrals was in this case to be adjudged, had they reason to complain? If any neutral vessels attempted io enter any of those ports which were not in reality in a state of blockade, and yet were captured, could they be condemned ? Certainly not by the rules which the British prescribed to themselves, “ treaties and the laws of nations." But if the British commanders proclaimed untruths, and issued arbitrary orders for capturing neutral vessels; and their cruisers and courts of admiraliy executed them arbitrarily; could the American government prevent them? We could demand of the British government satisfaction for injuries to our own citizens consequent on such orders : and if any such were sustained, the arrangements for making reparation are now in execution. But admitting that any ports in the French colonies were in fact blockaded ; who should notify it to neutral nations accustomed to trade with those ports ? Certainly the officers of that power whose fleets and armies formed the blockade: and in the United States, no mode of giving universul notice could be so effectual as a publication in handbills and newspapers.
Ninth, “It eluded all the advances made by the Republick for renewing the treaties of commerce, upon a more favourable footing to both nations; it excused itself on the most frivolous pretexts ; whilst it anticipated Great Britain, by soliciting a treaty in which, prostituting its neutrality, it sacrificed France to her enemies; or rather looking upon her as obliterated from the map of the world, it forgot the services she had rendered it, and threw aside the duty of gratitude, as if ingratitude were a governmental duty."
Of the advances referred to, the first were made by Mr. Genet. These you will see in the printed correspondence between him and Mr. Jefferson. Mr. Genet's letter is dated the 23d of May, 1793, in which he informed the government that he was authorized to propose a treaty on a 66 liberal and fraternal basis."* Mr. Jefferson's letter to Mr. Morris our minister at Paris, dated the 23d of August, 1793, assigns the reason for postponing the negotiation.t 66 The Senate (says he) being then in recess, and not to meet again till the fall, I apprized Mr. Genet, that the participation in matters of treaty, given by the constitution to that branch of our government, would of course delay any definitive answer to his friendly proposition. As he was sensible of this circumstance, the matter has been understood to lie over till the meeting of the Senate." Congress were not to meet until December; consequently there was no necessity of precipitating the business. But with the best dispositions to form new commercial arrangements, mutually more beneficial than those of the treaty of 1778, the unwarrantable conduct of Mr. Genet, from the moment he landed at Charleston, until the date of his letter on the subject of the negotiation, was sufficient to excite caution in the American government. He had there violated the sovereignty of the United States. I “ By authorizing the fitting and arming of vessels in that port, enlisting men, citizens and foreigners, and giving them commissions to cruise and commit hostilities on nations at peace with us," and with whom we had extensive com* State Papers, vol. i. p 67.
+ Ibid, p. 156. † Mr. Jefferson to Mr. Morris, Augn:t 16, 1793, State Papers, vol. i.
mercial connexions. “These privateers were taking and bringing prizes into our ports, and the consuls of France were assuming to hold courts of admiralty on them, to try, condemn, and authorize their sale as legal prize.” Nevertheless, the government really desirous of forming a new and more advantageous commercial treaty with France, instructed the minister of the United States at Paris, to mani. fest the same to the executive of France, and to suggest for this purpose that the powers of Mr. Genet be renewed to his successor. It is true, that in his letter dated the 30th of September, Mr. Genet had renewed the proposition of negotiating a commercial treaty: but how was it possible for the government to undertake a negotiation with that minister, after “ the correspondence which had taken place between the Executive and him,” (a corres. pondence on his part replete with insults), “and the acts which he had thought proper to do, and to countenance in opposition to the laws of the land ?" After the government had instructed our minister at Paris, to desire Mr, Genet's recall, and to declare to the government of France, “The necessity of their having a representative here, disposed to respect the laws and authority of the country, and to do the best for their interest which these would permit: and when it was only an anxious regard for those interests, and a desire that they might not suffer, which induced the Executive in the mean time to receive his communications in writing, and to admit the continuance of his functions so long as they should be restrained within the limits of the law, as theretofore announced to him, or should be of the tenour usually observed towards independent nations by the representative of a friendly power residing with them ?" Under such circumstances what answer could the Executive return to Mr. Genet, more proper, and more marked with attention to France, than that his letter " would be considered with all the respect and interest which its object necessarily required ?”
It is probable that the powers to negotiate a commercial treaty were not renewed to Mr. Genet's successor; certainly they were not communicated to our government.
We come now to the fresh overtures of a commercial negotiation made by Mr. Adet.
The first notices of them are found in memoranda of facts dated the 27th and 29th of June, 1795, and subscribed VOL. II.