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In testimony whereof, I have caused the seal of the United States to be hereunto affixed.
Given under my hand at the city of Plailadelphia, the 22d
day of June, in the year of our Lord 1797, and of the independence of the United States of America the twentyfirst.
John ADAMS. By the President of the United States,
TIMOTHY PICKERING, Secretary of State.
Department of State, April 3, 1998. THE names designated by the letters W. X. Y. Z. in the following copies of letters from the envoys of the United States to the French republic, are, in the originals, written at full length, in ciphers. For the same reason that single letters are thus taken to designate certain persons named in the letters, other wonis descriptive of them are omitted.
Paris, 017. 22, 1797. ALL of us having arrived at Paris on the evening of the 4th instant, on the next day we verbally and unofficially inforined the minister of foreign affairs therewith, and itcfired iu know when he would be at leisure to receive one of our secretaries with the oscial notification. He appointed the next day at two o'clock ; when Major Rutledge waited on him with the following letter :
« Citizen Minister, « The United States of America being desirous of terminating all differences between them and the French republic, and of re. ftoring that harmony and good underítanding, and that coinmercial and friendly intercourse, which from the common cement of their political connexion, until lately, have so happily sublisted, the Prelident has nominated, and by and with the advice of the Senate, has appointed us, the underligned, jointly and suverally, envoys entraordinary and ministers plenipotentiary to the French republic, for the purpose of accomplishing these great objects. In pursuance of such no'rination and appointinent, and with such vicw, having come to Paris, we with, Citizen Minister, to wait on you at any hour you will be plealed to appoint, to present the ei py of our letters of crederce; and whillt we evince our sincere 2.1 ardent delire for the speedy restoration of friendship and har: In ury between the iwo republics, we fatter ourselves with your
concurrence in the accomplishment of this desirable event. We
" JOHN MARSHALL.
To this letter the minister gave a verbal answer, that he wculd fee us the day after the morrow (the 8th) at one o'clock. Accord. ingly at that hour and day we wailed on the minister at his house, where his office is held, when, being informed he was not at home, the secretary general of the department told Major Rut. ledge, that the miniter was obliged to wait on the Directory, and requested he would suspend our visit till three o'clock; at which hour we called. The minister we found was then engaged with the Portuguese minister, who retired in about ten minutes, when we were introduced, and produced the copy of our letters of credence, which the minister perused and kept. He informed us, « that the Directory had required him to make a report relative to the situation of the United States with regard to France, which he was then about, and which would be finished in a few days, when he would let us know what fteps were to follow.” We asked if cards of hospitality were in the mean time necessary? He said they were, and that they should be delivered to us; and he immediately rung for his secretary, and directed him to make them out. The conversation was carried on by him in French, and by us in our own language.
The next day the cards of hospitality were sent to us and our secretaries, in a style suitable to our official character.
On Saturday the 14th, Major Mountflorence informed General Pinckney, that he had a conversation with Mr. Olinond, the private and confidential secretary of the minister of foreign af. fairs, who told him, that the Directory were greatly exafperated at fome parts of the President's speech at the opening of the last session of Congress, and would require an explanation of them from us. The particular parts were not mentioned. In another conversation on the same day, the secretary informed the major, that the minister had told him it was probabls we should not have a public audience of the Directory till such time as our negotiation was finished ; that probably persons might be appointed to treat with us; but they would report to hiin, and he would have the direction of the negotiation. The major did not conceal from Mr. Osmond his intention to communicate these conversations to us.
In the morning of October the 18th, Mr. W , of the
, called on General Pinckney, and informed him, that a Mr. X. who was in Paris, and whom the general had feen
- , was a gentleman of considerable credit and reputation
, and that we might place. great reliance on him,
In the evening of the same day, Mr. X, called on General Pinckney, and after having sat some time : : ; whispered him, that he had a message from M. Talleyrand to communicate, when he was at leisure. General Pinckney immediately withdrew with him into another room ; and when they were alone, Mr. X. said, that he was charged with a business in which he was a novice; that he had been acquainted with M. Talleyrand
, that he was sure he had a great regard for [America) and its citizens; and was very desirous that a Teconciliation should be brought about with France; that to effectuate that end, he was ready, if it was thought proper, to suggest a plan, confidentially, that M. Talleyrand expected would an. · swer the purpose.
General Pinckney said, he should be glad to hear it. M. X. replied, that the Directory, and particularly two of the members of it, were exceedingly irritated at some pallages in the President's Speech, and desired that they should be softened ; and that this step would be necessary previous to our reception : that besides this, a sum of money was required for the pocket of the Direcfory and ministers, which would be at the disposal of M, Talley. rand; and that a loan would also be insisted on. M. X. said, if we acceded to these measures, M. Talleyrand had no doubt that all our differences with France might be accommodated On ins quiry, M. X. could not point out the particular passages of the speech that had given offence, nor the quantum of the loan; but mentioned that the douceur for the pocket was twelve hundred thousand liyres, about fifty thousand pounds sterling. General Pinckney told him, his colleagues and himself, from the time of , their arrival here, had been treated with great slight and disrespect; that they earnestly wished for peace and reconciliation with France ; and had heen entrusted by their country with very great powers to obtain these ends, on honourable terms: that with regard to the propositions made, he could not even consider of them before he had communicated them to his colleagues : that after he had done so, he should hear from him. After a communication and consultation had, it was agreed, that General Pinckhey should call on M. X. and request him to make his propofie tions to us all; and for fear of mistakes or misapprehension, that he should be requested to reduce the heads into writing. Accordingly, on the morning of October the 19th, General Pinckney called on M. X. who consented to see his colleagues in the even ing, and to reduce his propositions to writing. He said, his VOL. VII. Bb
communication was not immediately with M. Talleyrand, but through another gentleman, in whom M. Talleyrand had great confidence. This proved afterwards to be M. Y.
i .. At fix in the evening M. X. came, and left with us the first set of propositions; which, translated from the French, are as fol
lows: " A person who possesses the confidence of the Directory, · on what relates to the affairs of America, convinced of the mutual advantages which would result from the re-establishment of the good understanding between the two nations, purposes to employ all of his influence to obtain this object. He will aslift the commissioners of the United States in all the demands which they may have to make from the government of France, inasmuch as they may not be contradictory to those which he proposes himself to make, and of which the principal will be communicated confidentially. It is desired that in the official communications there • Thould be given a softening turn to a part of the President's speech • to Congress; which has caused much irritation. It is feared that
in not satisfying certain individuals in this respect, they may give • way to all their resentment. The nomination of commissioners “ will be consented to on the same footing as they have been named
in the treaty with England, to decide on the reclamations which individuals of America may make on the governinent of France,
or on French individuals. The payments which, 'agreeably to - the decisions of the commissioners, shall fall to the share of the
French government, are to be advanced by the American governimént itself.' It is desired that the funds which by this means
shall enter again into the American trade, should be employed in - new supplies for the French colonies. · Engagements of this nature on the part of individuals reclaiming will always hasten, in all probability, 'the decifions of the French commissioners: apd perhaps it may be desired that this claufe should make a part of the instructions which the government of the United States Mould give to the commissioners they may choose. .
• The French government defires, befides, to obtain a loan from · the United States; bur so that that should not give any jealoufy to the English government, nor hurt the neutrality of the United Stateś. - This loan shall be masked, by ftipulating, that the government of the United States consents to make the advances for the payment of the debts contracted by the agents of the French government with the citizens of the United States; and which are already acknowledged, and the payment ordered by the Directory, but without having been yet effectuated. There should be delivered a note to the amount of these debts. Probably this note inay be accompanied by ostensible pieces, which will guarantee to the 'agents the responsibility of the United States, in Cafe'any umbrage Thould cause an inquiry. There Thall also be
first taken from this loan-certain sums, for the purpose of making the customary distributions in diplomatic affairs.”
The person of note mentioned in the minutes, who had the confidence of the Directory, he said, before us all, was M. Talleyrand. The amount of the loan he could not ascertain precisely, but understood it would be according to our ability to pay. , -The suin which would be considered as proper, according to the diplomatic usage, was about twelve hundred thousand livres, He could not state to us what parts of the President's speech were excepted to, but said he would inquire and inform, us. He agreed to breakfast with Mr. Gerry the morning of 21st, in order, to make such explanations as we had then requested, or should think proper to request : but on the morning of the 20th, M. X. called, and said, iħat M. Y. the confidential friend of M. Tal. leyrand, instead of communicating with us through M. X. would fee us himself, and inake the necessary explanations. We apa pointed to meet him the evening of the 20th, at seven o'clock, in General Marshall's room. At leven, M. Y. and M. X. entered; and the first mentioned gentleman, being introduced to us as the confidential friend of M. Talleyrand, immediately stated to us the favourable impressions of that gentleman towards our country, impressions which were made by the kindness and civilities he had personally received in America : that, impressed by his solicitude to repay these kindnesses, he was willing to aid us in the present negotiation by his good offices with the Directory, who were, he said, extremely irritated against the government of the United States, on account of some parts of the President's speech, and who had neither acknowledged nor received us, and consequently have not authorized M. Talleyrand to have any communications with us. The minister, therefore, could not see us himself, but had authorized his friend M. Y. to communicate to us certain propofitions, and to receive our answers to them--and to promise on his part, that if we would engage to consider them as the basis of the proposed negotiation, he would intercede with the Directory to acknowledge us, and to give us a public audience. M. Y. stated to us explicitly and repeatedly, that he was clothed with no authority; that he was not a diplomatic character; that he was not he was only the friend of M. Talleyrand, and trusted by him ; that with regard to himself, he had and that he earnestly withed well to the United States. He then look out of his pocket a French translation of the President's speech, the parts of which objected to by the Directory were marked agreeably to our request to M. X. and are contained in the’exhibit A. Then he made us the second set of propositions, which were dictated by him and written by M. X. in our preB b 2