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Cution of the wat. General Pinckney said there was a difference between the cases; that such prizes were now actually in the power of the French; without our confent; we could not prevent it, or get them out ; but the granting or not granting a loan was in our power. He repeated his observation ; and General Mar. Thall said, that the property for which money was due to American citizens from the French government, was taken into the porfeffion of that government without any co-operation on the part of the United States.
No act of any fort was performed by our government, which in any degree contributed to place those funds in the hands of France, nor was there any consent towards it; but in the case proposed, the act would be the act of the government: the government could itself place funds in the hands of France, and thereby furnisha means which might be employed in the prosecution of the war. This was the distinction between the cases, and in a question of neutrality it appeared to us to be ali important. The minister then proceeded to state the case of our assuming the debt of our citizens, and of paying the money in that manner ; but General Pinckney and Mr. Gerry told him we were positively forbidden to assume the debt to our own citizens, even if we were to pay the money directly to them. He seemed surprised at this. General Pinckney observed, that, contrary to usage, we had deemed it proper, in the existing state of things, to stale candidly our powers to him, that he might know certainly that we could not secretly, or under any disguise whatever, make a loan which might be used during the war. . M. Talleyrand said, he must resume his position, that there was a difference which he must infilt upon, between a loan payable immediately and a loan payable in future ; and he still ingifted there was no difference between a loan payable in future and a credit for the money which might be due to .our citizens. Mr. Gerry observed, that his colleagues had juftly stated the dirtinction between the debt which will be due to the citizens of the United States from France, in case of her recognising the claims which we fhall make in their behalf, and a debt which might arise from a loan by the government of the United States to that of France, during the war. The one is the result of an arrest of their property, without their consent; the other would be a voluntary act of the United States, and a breach of their neutrality. There is an additional objection to the latter ; if the United States should make such a loan, it would give too much reason to fupe pose that their government had consented, in a collusive manner, to the capture of the vessels of their citizens, and had thus been farnishing France with supplies to carry on the war. Our ina Aructions are express, not to stipulate for any aids to France, ei. ther directly or indirectly, during the war. l'ol. VII Nn
With respect to a secret stipulation, a loan cannot be made without an act of the legillature : but if the executive were adequate to it, we have had an instance of an injun&tion of secrecy on the members of the Senate, on an important subject, which one of the members thought himself warranted in publishing in the newspaper; and of frequent instances of fecrets, which have otherwise escaped: secrecy, in this instance, might therefore be considered, if the measure was in itself admissible, as being im. practicable. General Marshall observed, that we had considered the subject with great solicitude, and were decidedly of opinion, that we could not, under any form, make a loan which could be used during the war; that we could not tell what our government would do, if on the spot; but were perfectly clear, that, without additional orders, we could not do what France requested. Mr. Gerry observed, that the government and nation of the United States, as well as ourselves, were earnestly solicitous to restore friendship between the two republics ; that, as General Marshall kad stated, we could not say what our government would do, if on the spot; but if this proposition met the wishes of the government of France, General Marshall and himself had agreed immediately to embark for the United States, and lay before our government the existing state of things here, as it respected our nation, to enable them to determine whether any, and what other measures on their part were necessary. M. Talleyrand made no observations on this proposition ; but inquired whether we expected soon to receive orders. Mr. Gerry mentioned an answer he had received to a letter sent by him in November; and General Marshall slated, that our first dispatches were sent on board two vessels at Amsterdam, on the 20th of November; from which M. Talleyrand could form as just an idea as we could, when an answer might be expected: but he did not think it probable one would arrive before a month to come. General Marshall told him, we knew that our governinent had not received our dispatches on the 8th of January, and we could not tell when they might be received. He asked whether our intelligence came through England. General Marshall answered, that it did not ; and General Pinckney said, that American papers as late as the 8th of January mentioned the fac?.
There was some converfation about the time when these instructions might be expected; and General Marshall suggested a doubt whether our government might give any instructions. He asked, with some surprile, whether we had not written for instructions? And we answered, that we had not: and Mr. Gerry said that we had stated facts to our government, and conceived that nothing more was necessary. General Pinckney observed, that the government knowing the facts would do what was proper; and that our applying or not applying for inftructions would
not not after their conduet. M. Talleyrand then inquired whether we had not sent any one to the United States. General Pinckney faid, No: and Mr. Gerry added, that soon after our arrival we had made propositions to send one of our number, which were not accepted. And General Marshall further added, that those who had communicated with us, had told us we should be ordered out of France immediately; and we had supposed that we should be ordered out before our letiers could reach the government. Mr. Gerry then observed, that the government of France must judge for itself; but that it appeared to him, that a treaty on liberal principles, such as those on which the treaty of commerce be. tween the two nations was first established, would be infinitely more advantageous to France than the trifling advantages the could derive from a loan. Such a treaty would produce a friendship and attachment, on the part of the United States to France, , which would be folid and permanent, and produce benefits far fuperior to those of a loan, if we had powers to make it. To this observation M. Talleyrand made no reply. We parted without any sentiment delivered by the minister on the subject of our going home to consult our government.
As we were taking our l'eave of M. Talleyrand, we told him that two of us would return immediately, to receive the instruc. tions of our government, if that would be agreeable to the Direcpory; if it was not, we would wait fome time, in the expectation of receiving instructions,
Letter from the French Minifter of Foreign Affairs to the American :
Paris, 28th Ventofe, 6th Year (18th March 1798). THE undersigned minister of the French republic for foreign
affairs has laid before the Executive Directory the memorial which he has received from the coinmissioners and envoys extraordinary of the United States of America, dated the 28th of Nivose lalt. -The Directory, desirous of convincing the United States of the real difpofitions with which it is animated in regard to them, has directed the underñigned to communicate to the commissioners and envoys extraordinary the following observations:
The first thing with which the mind is necessarily struck in the memorial of the commissioners and envoys extraordinary is the method which they have thought proper to pursue in the state. ment of the points that are in controversy between the two states, The Executive Directory, ani!nated with the most conciliatory dispositions, impressed with a sense of the interests that ought to draw the two nations towards each other, and eager to concur in ike well-known wish of the people of both countries to maintain Nn 2
a perfect intimacy between them, had reason to expect that the envoys would have come forward with similar dispositions on the part of their government, with minds actuated with the same views, and impressed with the same wishes. How great, after such an expectation, must have been the surprise of the Executive Directory, when the undersigned communicated to them a memorial, in which the commissioners and envoys extraordinary, reversing the known order of facts, have studiously passed over, as it were, in filence, the just motives of complaint of the French government, and disguised the real cause of the misunderstanding which is prolonging itself between the two republics, so that it should appear from that partial and incorrect statement, that the French republic has no real grievances to complain of, no just Ieparations to require, while the United States should alone have a right to complain, alone be entitled to demand satisfaction?
The motives which have induced the preference given to this mode of proceeding have not escaped the Directory. Actuated by a proper sense of the dignity of the republic, whose interests it is entrusted with, and wishing eventually to guard against the
views that might have pointed out such a conduct, it has given it · in charge to the undersigned to dispel those delusive appearances,
which indeed mult vanilh before a candid statement of facts, and as soon as the real intentions of the Directory shall have been solemnly made to appear in opposition to those views which could only be unjustly attributed to them by taking advantage of their filence.
It is an incontestable truth, which is entirely kept out of view in the meinorial of the commissioners and envoys extraordinary, that France is entitled to a priority of complaints and grievances; that those complaints and grievances were real as well as numerous long before the United States had the least foundation for either, and consequently before any of the facts which the envoys have so elaborately and minutely discussed had taken place.
It is a no less incontestable truth, that all the grievances exhibired by the commissioners and envoys extraordinary, with some exceptions, which the undersigned was ready to discuss, are a necessary consequence of the measures which the prior conduct of the United States had rendered juftifiable on the part of the French republic, and which her treaties with the said United States authorized in certain cases, which it depended upon the general government of the union to bring or not into existence.
It is foreign to my purpose to enumerate the complaints which the French governinent had reason to make against the federal governinent since the commencement of the war excited against the French republic by a power jealous of its prosperity and of its regeneration. Those deiails are contained in the numerous official cominunications made at Philadelphia by the ministers of the
republic; republic; they have been recapitulated by the predeceffor of the underligned, in a note dated 19th Ventose, 4th year, addreiled to the minister plenipotentiary of the United States at Paris, and particularly detailed in the official note of Citizen Adet, dated at Philadelphia, 25th Bruinaire, sth year. Complaint was made in the above note of the non-execution of the only clauses of the treaties concluded in 1778, in which France had ftipulated fome advantages in return for the efforts which she had engaged to make for the common utility, and of insults which had been offered to the dignity of the French republic. I
In fact, from the commencement of the war, the American tribunals clained the right of taking cognisance of the validity of • prizes carried by French cruisers into the ports of the United States. It resulted from this pretension, contrary to the letter of the treaty of commerce of 1778, that the property of the citizens of the republic was unjustly detained ; that the French were entirely discouraged from cruising in the American seas against an enemy who was reviving the most barbarous laws of that mode of warfare, in order to insult and annihilate the American commerce even before the eyes of the federal government.
Nor was that government satisfied with favouring the enemies of the French republic in a point of so much importance, a point, indeed, out of which some abuses might have arifen, but which the French government showed itself disposed to prevent; they went so far as to grant to the ships of the enemy, contrary to the plain letter of the above mentioned treaty, an asylum in the ports of the United States after having captured property or vessels belonging to French citizens. Soon after, a national loop of war, at anchor in the port of Philadelphia, was seized, and her commander arrested by order of the government. In like manner the person of the ex-governor of Guadaloupe was arrested by process from the American tribunals, to answer a complaint founded upon facts relative to his administration ;, and the Executive Directory were obliged to threaten making use of reprisals before that affair could take the course which was al. figned to it by the law of nations. During the whole space of time of which a review has just now been taken, the French government endeavoured in vain to determine the government of the United States to procure to the agents of the French republic the legal means of carrying into execution the articles of the conSular convention of 1788, which granted privileges to our commerce and navigation, the principle of which was eltablithed by the treaties of 1778; and nothing could be obtained in this refpect, but fruitless references to the tribunals. In general all matters which, with a truly conciliatory difpofition, might have been settled in the way of negotiation, were habitually reterred to the judicial authorities, who, whether they were or not under a