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jects, for debts contracted before the peace, and still remaining due to them from citizens or inhabitants of the United States ; various causes have hitherto prevented any determinations ; but the business is now resumed, and doubtless will be prosecuted without interruption.
« Several decisions on the claims of the citizens of the United States for losses and damages, sus- . tained by reason of irregular and illegal captures, or condemnations of their vessels, or other property, have been made by the commissioners in London, conformably to the 7th article of the treaty;
-the sums awarded by the commissioners have been paid by the British government; a considerable number of other claims, where costs and damages, and not captured property were the only objects in question, have been decided by arbitration, and the sums awarded to the citizens of the United States, have also been paid.
" The commissioners appointed agreeably to the 2 1 st article of the treaty with Spain, met at Philadelphia in the summer past to examine and decide on the claims of our citizens, for losses they have sustained in consequence of their vessels and cargoes having been taken by the subjects of his Catholic Majesty, during the late war between Spain and France-their sittings have been interrupted, bot are now resumed,
6. The United States being obligated to make compensation for the losses and damages, sustained by British subjects upon the award of the commissioners, acting under the sixth article of the treaty with Great Britain, and for the losses and damages sustained by British subjects, by reason of the capture of their vessels and merchandize, taken within the limits and jurisdiction of the United States, and brought into their ports, or taken by vessels i originally armed in the ports of the United States,
upon the awards of the commissioners acting under the 7th article of the same treaty, it is necessary that provision be made for fulfilling these obligaa tions. .
" The numerous captures of American vessels by the cruisers of the French Republic, and of some by those of Spain, have occasioned considerable expenses, in making and supporting the claims of our citizens before their tribunals. The sums required for this purpose, have in divers instances been disbursed by the consuls of the United States. By means of the same captures, great numbers of our seamen have been thrown ashore in foreign countries, destitute of all means of subsistence, and the sick in particular have been exposed to grievous sufferings. The consuls have in these cases also advanced monies for their relief: For these advan. ces, they reasonably expect reimbursement from the United States. The consular act relative to sea. men requires revision and amendment ; the provisions for their support in foreign countries, and for their return, are found to be inadequate and ineffectual. Another provision seems necessary to be added to the consular act, some foreign vessels have been discovered sailing under the flag of the United States, and with forged papers. It seldom happens that the consuls can detect this deception, because they have no authority to demand an inspection of the registers and sea letters.”
“ Gentlemen of the House of Representatives, “ It is my duty to recommend to your serious consideration, those objects which by the constitution are placed particularly within your sphere, the national debt and taxes.
“ Since the decay of the feudal system, by which the public defence was provided for, chiefly at the
expense expense of individuals, the system of toans ' has been introduced, and as nonātion can raise within the year by taxes sufficient sums for its defence, and military operations in time of war, the sums : loaned, and debts contracted, have nécessarily-become the subjects of what have been called funding... systems. The consequences arising from the con." tinual accumulation of public debrs in other coun. tries, ought to admonish us to be careful to prevent their growth in our own. The national defence : may be provided for, as well as the support of good vernment; but both should be accomplished as much as possible by immediate taxes, and as little } as possible by loans. The estimates for the service of the ensuing year will by my direction be laid be-::: fore you...
:::::....: ** Gentlemen of the Senate, and Gentlemen of zing the House of Representatives,
aq .85 We are met together at a most interesting pe-. riod, the situations of the principal powers of Eu-, rope are singular and portentous, connected with some by treaties and with all by commerce, no im- ** portant event there can be indifferent to us; such circumstances call with peculiar importunity' not less for a disposition to unite in all those measures on which the honour, safety, and prosperity of our country depend, than for all the exertions of wis-.. dom and firmness.
“ In all such measures you may rely on my zealous and hearty concurrence. cm.
::. .:6 JOHN ADAMS."
INSTRUCTIONS Ta Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, John Marshall,
and Elbridge Gerry, Envoys Extraordinary, and Ministers Plenipotentiary to the French Republic, communicated to the Senate, on the oth of April, 1798,
Department of State, July 15, 1797.
IT is known to you, that the people of the United States of America, entertained a warm and sincere affection for the people of France, ever since their arms were united in the war with Great Britain, which ended in the full and formal acknowledgment of the Independence of these States. It is known to you, that this affe&tion was ardent, when the French determined to reform their government, and establish it on the basis of liberty ; that liberty in which the people of the United States were born, and which, in the conclusion of the war abovementioned, was finally and firmly secured. It is known to you, that this affection rose to enthusiasm, when the war was kindled between France and the powers of Europe, which were combined against her, for the avowed purpose of restoring the monarchy; and every where vows were heard for the success of the French arms. Yet, during this period, France expressed no wish that the United States should depart from their neutra-, lity. And while no duty required us to enter into the war, and our best interests urged us to remain at peace, the government determined to take a neutral station : which being taken, the duties of an impartial neutrality became indispensably binding. Hence, the government early proclaimed to our citizens, the nature of those duties, and the consequences of their violation.
The minister of France, Mr. Genet, who arrived about this time, by bis public declaration, confirmed the idea, that France did not desire us to quit the ground we had taken. His measures, however, were calculated to destroy our neutrality, and to draw us into the war.
The principles of the proclamation of neutrality, founded on the law of nations, which is the law of the land, were afterwards recognized by the National Legislature, and the obser
vance of them enforced by specific penalties, in the act of Con. gress, passed the fifth of June 1794. By these principles and laws, the acts of the Executive, and the decisions of the courts of the United States were regulated.
A government thus fair and upright in its principles, and just and impartial in its conduct, might have confidently hoped to be secure against formal official censure: but the United Ştates have not been so fortunate. The acts of their government, in its various branches, though pure in principle, and įmpartial in operation, and conformable to their indispensable rights of sovereignty, have been assigned as the cause of the offensive and injurious measures of the French Republic. For proofs of the former, all the acts of the government may bę vouched; while the aspersions so freely uttered by the French ministers, the refusal to hear the minister of the United States, specially charged to enter on amicable discussions on all the topics of complaint, the decrees of the Executive Directory, and of their agents, the depredations on our commerce, and the violences against the persons of our citizens, are evidences of the latter. These injuries and depredations will constitute an important subject of your discussions with the government of the French Republic; and for all these wrongs, you will seek redress.
In respect to the depredations on our commerce, the principal objects will be, to agree on an equitable mode of examining and deciding the claims of our citizens, and the manner and periods of making them compensation. As to the first, the seventh article of the British, and the twenty-first of the Spanish Treaty, present approved precedents to be adopted with France. The proposed mode of adjusting those claims by conimissioners appointed on each side, is so perfectly fair, we cannot imagine that it will be refused. But when the claims are adjusted, if payment in specie cannot be obtained, it may be found necessary to agree, in behalf of our citizens, that they shall accept public securities payable with interest at such peo riods as the state of the French finances shall render practicable. These periods, you will endeavour, as far as possible, to shorten.
Not only the recent depredations, under colour of the de. crees of the Directory of the second of July 1796, and the second of March 1797, or under the decrees of Their agents, or the illegal sentences of their tribunals, but all prior ones not already satisfactorily adjusted, should be put in this equitable train of settlement. To cancel many, or all of ihe last mentioned claims might be the effect of the decree of the Executive Directory of the second of March last, reviving the decree of the gıb of May 1793 : but this being an ex post facto regulation, as well as a violation of the treaty between the United States and France, cannot be obligatory on the former.