Зображення сторінки

noise and smoke, with so little execution, as a Blurderbuss.

This is the first time, I believe, that a Preface ever turned its eyes backwards, and talked about the title till there was no room left to say a word about the book. Indeed the book stands in little need of commendation, or of any thing else, except what I am determined shortly to bestow on it, in a manner worthy of its merits.


[ocr errors][merged small]





The following note was published in Bacbe's Gazette

of 31st October 1796, without the approbation or consent of the American Government.



HE undersigned minister plenipotentiary of the French Republic, in conformity to the orders of his government, has the honour of transmitting to the secretary of state of the United States, a resolution taken by the executive directory of the French Republic, on the 14th Messidor, 4th year, relative to the conduct which the ships of war of the Republic are to hold towards neutral vessels. The flag of the Republic will treat the flag of neutrals in the same manner as they shall suffer it to be treated by the English.

The sentiments which the American government have manifested to the undersigned minister plenipotentiary, do not permit him to doubt, that they will see in its true light, this measure, as far as it may concern the United States, that it is dictated


by imperious circumstances, and approved by justice.

Great Britain, during the war she has carried on against the Republic, has not ceased using every means in her power to add to that scourge, scourges still more terrible. She has used the well known liberality of the French nation to the detriment of that nation. Knowing how faithful France has always been in the observance of her treaties“ knowing that it was a principle of the Republic to respect the flag of all nations, the British government, from the beginning of the war, has caused neutral vessels, and in particular American vessels, to be detained, taking them into their ports, and.. dragged from them Frenchmen and French property.-France, bound by a treaty with the United States, could find only a real disadvantage in the articles of that treaty, which caused to be respected as American property, English property found on board American vessels. They had a right under this consideration, to expect, that America would take steps in favour of her violated neutrality. One of the predecessors of the undersigned, in July 1793, applied on this subject to the government of the United States, but he was not successful. Nevertheless, the National Convention,who by their decree of the gth May, 1793, had ordered the seizure of enemy's property on board neutral vessels, declaring at the same time, that the measure should cease when the English should respect neutral flags, had excepted, on the 23d of the same month, the Americans from the operation of this general order. But the convention was obliged soon to repeal the law which contained this exception so favourable to Americans. The manner in which the English conducted themselves the manifest intentions they had to stop the exportation of provisions from America to France, rendered it unavoidable.


the vexatory measure

The national convention, by this, had restored the equilibrium of neutrality which England had destroyed-had discharged their duty in a manner justified by a thousand past examples, as well as by the necessity of the then existing moment. They might, therefore, to recal the orders they had given to seize enemy's property on board American vessels, have waited till the British government had first definitively revoked the same order, a suspension only of which was produced by the embargo laid by Congress the 26th of March, 1791. But us soon as they were inforined, that, under orders of the government of the United States, Mr. Jay was directed to remonstrate against ders, by the law of the 13th Nivôse, 3d year, to the ships of war of the Republic, to respect American vessels; and the committee of public safety, in their explanatory resolve, of the 14th of the same month, hastened to sanction the same principles. The national convention and the committee of public safety had every reason to believe, that this open and liberal conduct would determine the United States to use every effort to put a stop to the vexations imposed upon their commerce, to the injury . of the French Republic. They were deceived in this hope—and though the treaty of friendship, commerce, and navigation, between Great Britain and the United States had been signed six weeks before France adopted the measure I have just spoken of, the English did not abandon the plan they had formed, and continued to stop and carry into their ports all American vessels bound to French ports, or returning from them.

This conduct was the subject of a note, which the undersigned addressed, on the 7th Vendémiaire, 4th year, [29th September, 1795, 0. S.] to the




« НазадПродовжити »