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I beg, sir, to call your particular attention to that branch of the treaty, as well as to the correspondent rules of the President of the United States, communicated to you in the governour's letter of the 5th of December last; trusting that you will pursue measures, which will effectually prevent, under those circumstances, hostile vessels from receiving comfort or succour, contrary to solemn stipulations. I have the honour to be, &c.'
No. 60. From Lieut. Colonel Willis Wilson, to the Governour of
Virginia. Portsmouth, January 3, 1795. Sir, I beg leave to enclose your excellency a copy of a note from the British consul, to the collector of the customs of this port: The collector it seems, thought himself unwarranted to do any thing in the business. I was applied to by an officer of the customs, respecting the consul's request, or demand,--and conceived it my duty to give orders to the commandant of the forts, not to suffer the frigates to pass until your excellency's orders were had thereon-It is also my duty for the sake of tranquillity, peace and order, to make known, that the commanders of his Britannick majesty's ships have rendered themselves very obnoxious to the citizens of these two towns, as well as others, by lawless depredations on their property and tyrannical impressments of native seamen—that there now lie at our wharves, three French ships of war, with crews to amount of six or seven hundred men, the British ships in question, if allowed to come up, must also lay at the wharves, to go through their repairs; consequently the necessary subordination cannot be had, by the officers of either party, over their seamen ; I am therefore very apprehensive, in such a case, of dangerous consequences. In short, I think it very imprudent in the British to throw themselves in a port where there will be so great a majority of people with whom they are at war: for it is not in the power of all neutral ports to keep order, or protect their neutrality-I am sure it is not the case with this. II therefore they are entitled to repairs in our ports, I humbly conceive Yorktown, or any other port where there
may not be so large a concourse of French citizens, a much more eligible place for them.
I will be very thankful to your excellency for advice, whether the brigadiers have an existing command over the respective counties, or whether that command is vested in the lieutenant colonels and the brigadier generals confined to the brigades? I have the honour to be, &c.
WILLIS WILSON, Lt. Col.
No. 61. Mr. Hamilton, British Consul at Norfolk, to Mr. Lindsay,
Collector of the Customs. British Consul's office. Nor. folk, January 2, 1795.
Sir,—His majesty's ships Thetis and Cleopatra having received some damage, it will be necessary for them to have repairs, before they can again proceed to sea-I have to inform you, that both ships are expected here the first fair wind for that purpose, and I presume they will be permitted to pass the forts into this harbour. I am with respect, sir, &c.
No. 62. From the Lieutenant Governour of Virginia, to Lieutenant
Colonel Willis Wilson, commandant of the militia of Norfolk county. In Council, 7th January, 1795,
SIR,—The letter which you addressed to the governour the 3d instant, has been received by me, and submitted to the consideration of the council of state. The board conceived, that ships of war circumstanced as those mentioned by the British consul, may be permitted to enter our ports and to make the necessary repairs to fit them for sea; provided they have not made prizes of the subjects, people, or property of France, and coming with their prizes into the ports of the United States. If any circumstances should occur, which may be subversive of the tranquillity of the place, the law gives you ample powers to call forth the militia for the suppression of it. I have the honour to be, &c.
JAMES WOOD., VOL. 1.10
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· No. 63.
CIRCULAR. The Secretary of State to the Governours of the several
States. Department of State, April 16, 1795. Sir,--As it is contrary to the law of nations, that any of the belligerent powers should commit hostility on the waters, which are subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the United States ; so ought not the ships of war, belonging to any belligerent power, to take a station in those, wuters, in order to carry on hoslile expeditions from thence. I do myself the honour, therefore, of requesting of your excellency, in the name of the President of the United States, that as often as a fleet, squadron, or ship of any belligerent nation shall clearly and unequivocally use the rivers or other waters of
as a station in order to carry on hostile expeditions from thence, you will cause to be notified to the commander thereof, that the President deems such conduct to be contrary to the rights of our neutrality; and that a demand of retribution will be urged upon their government, for prizes, which may be made in consequence thereof. A standing order to this effect may probably be advantageously placed in the hands of some confidential officer of the militia ; and I must entreat you to instruct him to write by the mail to this department immediately upon the happening of any case of the kind. I have the honour to be, &c.
TRANSLATION. Joseph Fauchet, Minister Plenipotentiary of the French Re
publick near the United States, to Mr. Randolph, Secretary of State of the United Slates. Philadelphia, the 13th Floreal, 3d year of the French Republick, one and indivisible, (20 May, 1795, 0. S.)
Sir,--On the 24th of February last, I received the copy of the despatch which the governour of Virginia transmit
ted to you. Doubtless your object as well as his was to prove the exertions made use of to satisfy the reclamations which I have raised against the violation of our treaties, three times repeated in the Chesapeake. I was not a little astonished to see among the documents you sent me as a proof of those exertions, the proscription pronounced in 1793 against French vessels armed in the ports of the United States. I do not require this order of the government to be persuaded of the promptitude with which justice is done to the complaints of English agents.
Since my arrival here, a single allegation from them, whether founded or not, has been sufficient for causing the prizes of our privateers to be arrested, which our trea-, ties sheltered from every kind of prosecution ; and far from using the same coercive means towards the English, when they sent prizes made upon us into your ports, even the severity which your treaties with us impose, has not been exercised towards them. In a word, the militia have as yet been assembled only to support the detention of French vessels or of their prizes. So that on a single suspicion, the requisitions of the English have been obeyed, and we with positive facts have not been able to obtain justice. I waited the effect of the promises made to you by Mr. Brooke in his letter of the 12th of February last. After an anxiety of two months, far from receiving the satisfaction which I had a right to expect, I am informed that a French privateer and two of her prizes have just been carried into Hampton. I hesitated, sir, to testify to you my indignation against this new audacity on the part of the English, at the very moment when their government is boasting of having become the friend of your country: and that hesitation arose from the litile success produced by my reiterated complaints : I once more recall them to you here, sir, and may this be the last time that I shall fulfil that painful duty.
I claimed the execution of our treaties violated by the putting into Norfolk of ships which captured American and French vessels laden with provisions and bound to France, under convoy of the Concord; far from acceding to my demand, you took the trouble to interpret the treaty in favour of our enemies, and that favourable interpretation could not defend a single vessel of the capturing division, since even in your construction it had contravened the
17th article of your treaty with France, by taking into Hampton the privateer la Montagne, &c. &c. Governour Lee did not till after some time answer the claim of the consul of the Republick in Virginia, and contented himself with making some vague promises, of which you yourself, sir, have never yet discovered the effect: Mr. Lee doubtless supposed that his promise alone should content and satisfy the just claims of the agents of the French Republick, since he has not thought proper to inform his own government of the measures he was to take for accomplishing his promise given to fulfil the instructions of the President.
Soon after I had a new opportunity of reiterating to the Executive of the United States my hitherto fruitless complaints against the violation of our treaties, an English vessel which had put into Hampton, quit that port, on the information of a pilot, in order to go and capture L'Esperance, a corvette of the Republick, and an American vessel which appeared in the opening of the bay ; she again entered the bay with the corvette, re-armed her there, and sent her out on a cruise. I protested against this audacious infraction, and was still answered by promises; and these promises are not yet fulfilled : The Argonaut is also permitted with impunity to defy your magistrates, who doubtless required her to go out, that being their duty. Further, the Thetis on returning from her piracies against your own vessels, is permitted to repair completely in your ports the considerable damages which she received in the ardour of her pursuit, whilst the 17th article of our treaty is formally opposed to it, as well as to the asylum which you allowed in general to admiral Murray's division : for in a word, sir, all the vessels composing this division have taken French and American vessels under the single pretext that they were laden with French property. Whether the allegation as to the latter be true or false, the captors should be driven from your ports. If they have robbed you, one does not receive brigands in the house they have pillaged. If they have seized our property, our treaty is pointed in that respect.
After so many useless efforts, sir, you must be sensible of the pain I experience in tracing to you a picture so different from that offered by the French Republick whenever justice towards you is in question, even though her