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her like you give to say to the minister'in confequem of her anded with intrange fpecharectory
cions, and to restore that cordiality which was at once the evi. dence and pledge of a friendly union ;” the President of the Direciory addreised the recalled minister in the following terms; “ In presenting to-day to the Executive Directory your letters of Tecall, you give to Europe a strange spectacle. France, rich in her liberty, surrounded with the train of her victories, strong in the esteem of her allies, will not abase herself by calculating the consequences of the condescensions of the American government to the suggestions of its ancient tyrants. The French republic hopes, moreover, that the successors of Columbus, Raleigh, and Penn, always proud of their liberty, will never forget that they owe it to France. They will weigh in their wisdom the magnanimous good will of the French people with the crafıy carelles of certain perfidious persons, who meditate to bring them back to their ancient slavery. Allure, Mr. Minister, the good American people, that like them we adore liberty; that they will always have our esteem, and that they will find in the French people that republican generosity, which knows as well how to grant peace as to cause its sovereignty to be respected.”
The change of a minister is an ordinary act for which no government is accountable to another, and which has not heretofore been " a Itrange spectacle" in France, or in any other part of Europe. It appears to be a measure not of itself calculated to draw on the government inaking such change, the strictures ar the reseniments of the nation to which the minister is deputed. Such an effect, produced by so inadequate a cause, could not fail to command attention, while it excited surprise.
This official speech, addressed by the government of France to that of the United States, through its minister, charges that government with condescentions to the suggestions of its ancient tyrants, speaks of the crafty careiles of certain perfidious persons who meditate to bring back the successors of Columbus, Raleigh, and Penn, to their ancient llavery, and desires the minister to affure, not his government, but the good people of America, that they will always have the esteem of France, and that they will find in the French people that republican generosity which knows as well how to grant peace as to cause its sovereignty to be respected.
That a minister should carry any assurances from a foreign government to the people of his nation, is as remarkable as the diffi rence between ihe manner in which his government and his peo; le are addretted. His government are charged with condescension to the suggestions of the ancient tyrants of his country, but the people are considered as loving liberty, and they are to be assured of the perpetual esteem of France. This esteem they are to ucigh againit the crafty caresses of those perfidious persons who meditate to bring them back to their former llavery.
When this foeech, thus addreifd direct'y to the government and people of the Coited States, in the face of Europe and the world, came to be considered in consex on with other trea:ures; when it cane to be contiered in connerion with the wide-ipstading devastarica to which their commerce was fubiested, wih the cruel feveritics pradised on their seamen, with ite recall of the minister of France from the loited States, and the very extraor. dinary manner in which that recall was fignibed by him both to the government and people, with the re!uial even to hear the messenger of peace, deputed from the Cnited States for the fole purpose of conciliation; it could not fail to make on she American mind a deep and a serious impression. It was confidered as a fad too important to be held from the Congress, by that department of the government which is charged with the duties of maintaining its intercourse with foreign nations, and of making communications to the legislature of the Union. The President, therefore, did communicate it in the following words: “ With this condud of the French government it will be proper to take into view the public audience given to the late minister of the United States on his taking leave of the Executive Directory. The speech of the President discloses sentiments more alarming than the refusal of a minister, because more dangerous to our independence and union, and at the same time studiously marked with indignities towards the government of the United States. It evinces a disposition to separate the people of the United States from the government; to persuade them that they have different affections, principles, and interests, from those of their fellow-citizens, whom they themselves have chosen to manage their common concerns; and thus to produce divisions fatal to our peace. Such attempts ought to be repelled with a decision which shall convince France and the world, that we are not a degraded peo. ple, humiliated under a colunial spirit of fear and sense of inferiority, fitted to be the miserable instruments of foreign influence, and regardless of national honour, character, and intereit.
“ I should have been happy to have thrown a veil over these transactions, if it had been possible to conceal them ; but they have passed on the great theatre of the world, in the face of all Europe and America, and with such circumstances of publicity and folemnity, that they cannot be disguised, and will not foon be forgotten; they have inflicted a wound in the American breast. It is my sinccre desire, however, that it may be healed."
It is hoped that this cominunication will be viewed in its true light, that it will no longer be considered as a denunciation of the Executive Directory, but as the statement of an all-important fact by one department of the American government to another, the making of which was enjoined by duties of the highest ob' gation.
3 H 2
The undersigned have now, Citizen Minister, passed through the complaints you urge against the government of the United States. They have endeavoured to consider thofe complaints impartially, and to weigh them in the scales of justice and of truth. If any of them be well founded, France herself could not demand more readily, than America would make, reparation for the injury sustained. The President of the United States has faid, “ If we have committed errors, and these can be demonstrated, we shall be willing to correct them; if we have done injuries, we shall be willing, on conviction, to redress them.” Thefe dispofitions on the part of the government have been felt in all their force by the undersigned, and have constantly regulated their conduct.
The undersigned will not resume, Citizen Minister, the painful task of re-urging the multiplied injuries which have been accumulated on their country, and which have been in some degree detailed in their memorial of the 17th Jannary laft. They cannot, however, decline to remonstrate against a measure which has been announced since that date. The Legiflative Councils of the French republic have decreed that,
ist. “ The condition of ships, in every thing which concerns their character as neutrals or enemies, shall be determined by their cargo; consequently every vessel found at fea, laden in whole or in part with merchandise coming out of England, or its poffessions, shall be declared good prize, whoever may be the proprietors of such commodities or merchandise.”
2dly. “ No foreign vessel, which in the course of its voyage fhall have entered into an English port, shall be admitted into any port of the French republic, but in the case of neceflity; in which case fuch vefsel shall be obliged to depart from such port so soon as the cause of entry shall have ceased.”
This decree too deeply affects the interests of the United States to remain unattended to by their ministers. They pray you, therefore, Citizen Minister, to receive their respectful representations concerning it.
The object of the decree is, to cut off all direct intercourfe between neutrals and Great Britain, or its poffeffions, and to prevent the acquisition, even by circuitous commerce, of thofe articles which come from England or its domivions.
The right of one nation to exchange with another the surplus produce of its labour, for those articles which inay supply its wants or administer to its comfort, is too essential to have been ever claired among those admitted to be in any degree doubtful. It is a right, in ceding which a nation would cede the privilege of regulating its own interests and providing for its own welfare. When any two nations shall choose to make war on each other, they have never been considered, nor can they be considered as thereby authorizing theinselves to impair the essential rights of those who may choose to remain at peace. Consequently these rights, the free exercise of which is ellential to its interests and welfare, must be retained by a neutral power, whatever nations may be involved in a war.
The right of a belligerent to restrain a neutral from aslifting his enemy by supplying him with those articles which are defined as contraband, has been universally submitted to; but to cut off all intercourse between neutrals and an enemy, to declare that any single article which may have come from the possessions of an enemy, whoever may be its owner, fhall of itfelt be sufficient to condemn both vessel and cargo, is to exercise a control over the condud of neutrals which war can never give, and which is alike incompatible with their dignity and their welfare.
The rights of belligerents are the same. If this might be exercised by one, so might it be exercised by every other. If it might be exercised in the present, so it might be exercised in every future war. This decree is, therefore, on the part of France, the practical assertion of a principle which would destroy all direct or circuitous commerce between belligerent and neutral powers, which would often interrupt the business of a large portion of the world, and withdraw or change the employment of a very contiderable portion of the human race.
This is not all. It is the exercise of a power which war is not admitted to give, and which, therefore, may be assumed in peace as well as war.
It ellentially affects the internal economy of nations, and deranges that course of industry which they have a right to pursue, and on which their prosperity depends.
To acquiesce, therefore, in the existing state of things, under a principle so extensive and so pernicious, is to establish a precedent for national degradation which can never cease to apply, and which will authorize any measures which power may be disposed to practise.
France, therefore, will perceive that neutral governments, whatever may be their dispositions towards this republic, are impelled by duties of the highest obligation, to remonstrate against a decree, which at the same time invades their interests and their independence, which takes from them the profits of an honest and lawlul industry, as well as the inestimable privilege of conducting their own affairs as their own judgments may direct.
It is hoped that the remonftrances of the United States on this subject will derive additional force from their sublifting engagements with France, and from a situation peculiar to themselves.
The twenty-third article of the treaty of amity and cominerce of the 6th of February 1778, is in these words: “ It shall be lawful for all and singular the subjects of the most Christian King, and the citizens, people, and inhabitants of the said United Sta:cs,
po fail with the being ma from any porty with the awful forned
20 fail with their ships, with all manner of liberty and security, po diftin&tion being made who are the proprietors of the mere chandises laden thereon, from any port to the places of those who now are, or hereafter ihall be at enmity with the mcft Chriftian King or the United States. It shall likewise be lawful for the subjects and inhabitants aforesaid, to sail with the ships and merchandises afore-mentioned, and to trade with the same liberty and security from the places, ports, and havens of those who are ene. mies of both or either party, without any opposition or disturbe ance whatsoever, not only directly from the places of the enemy before mentioned to neutral places, but also from one place belonging to an enemy, tú another place belonging to an enemy, whether they be under the jurisdiction of the said prince, or under several. And it is hereby ftipulated, that free tips thall also give a freedom to goods, and that every thing thall be deemed to be free and exempt which shall be found on board the thips belonging to the subjects of either of the confederates, although the whole lading, or any part thereof, should appertain to the enemies of either; contraband goods being always excepted. It is also agreed, in like manner, that the faine liberty be extended to persons who are on board a free ship, with this effect, that alihough they be eneinies to both or either party, they are not to be taken out of that free ship, unless they are soldiers, and in actual service of the enemy.”
The two nations contemplating and providing for the case when one may be at war, and the other at peace, folemnly ftipulate and pledge themselves to each other, that in such an event the subjects or citizens of the party at peace may freely trade with the enemy of the other, may freely fail with their ships in all manner of security, to and from any port or place belonging to such enemy. Not only goods coming from the hostile territory, but the very goods of the enemy himself, may be carried with safety in the vessels of either of the contracting parties.
You will perceive, Citizen Minister, without requiring the underligned to execute the painful task of drawing the contrast, how openly and entirely the decree of the Councils opposes itself to the treaty between France and the United States.
In addition to the hitherto unceded rights of a sovereign and independent nation, in addition to the right ftipulated by coinpact, the undersigned will respectfully submit other considerations growing out of the peculiar situation of the United States, mani. festing the particular hardships the decree coinplained of must impole on them. · In possession of a rich, extensive, and unfettled country, the labour of the United States is not yet sufficient for the full culti. vation of its soil, and consequently but a very finall portion of it can have been applied to manufactures. Articles of the first