« ZurückWeiter »
Such was the object of Mr. Jay's mission to London ; such was the object of a negotiation, enveloped from its origin in the shadow of mystery, and covered with the veil of dissimulation. Could the executive directory have any other idea of it, on examining its issue, on seeing all the efforts made by the American government to conceal the secret from every eye?
In his message to the senate of the 16th April, 1794, the president declared, that Mr. Jay was sent to London only to obtain a redress of the wrongs done to the United States; at the same time the secretary of state communicated to the predecessor of the undersigned, a part of the instructions to Mr. Jay, reminding him of the intention of the Americun government not to deviate from its engagements with the Republic of France. The French minister, deceived by this communication, contributed ingenuously to deceive his government. The American minister in France removed the fears of the French government, as to the mission of this envoy extraordinary, and represented it as the only means of obtaining indemnification for the losses which the American commerce had sustained. What has this negotiation produced ? A treaty of amity and commerce, which deprives France of all the advantages stipulated in a previous treaty.
In fact, all that could render the neutrality profitable to England and injurious to France is combined in this treaty. Her commercial relations with the United States are entirely broken, by the abandonment of the modern public law on contraband, a law which England had consecrated in eleven treaties, and which the Americans had also consecrated in their treaties with France, Holland, Sweden, and Prussia. From the new arrangements adopted by the United States with regard to Eng
land, the free carriage of the articles for the equipment and armament of vessels, is granted exclusively to that power.
By the 23d article of the treaty of Versailles, the United States have the liberty of freely carrying on commerce with the enemies of France. The 24th article of the treaty with Holland, the 10th article of the treaty with Sweden, and the 13th article of the treaty with Prussia, contain the same stipulation. This last article gives even n:ore extensive rights to the United States, by permitting them to carry to the enemies of this power, all the articles that are enumerated in the list of such as are contraband of war, without their being liable to confiscation. But by the 18th article of the treaty of London, the articles for arming and equipping vessels are declared contraband of war. The government of the United States has therefore, by this stipulation, granted to the English a right which they had refused, in consequence of the modern public law, to other nations with whom they have made treaties ; that of seizing on board their vessels, articles proper for the construction and equipment of vessels. The English, then, according to that, enjoy the exclusive commerce of articles proper for the construction of vessels; yet prior to the treaty concluded between John Jay and Lord Grenville, the United States had the right of carrying on commerce with every power : the partiality of the American government in favour of England, has therefore been such, that not only the interests of France, but also those of other states, hare been sacrificed to her.
In vain will it be objected that France, having the right by her treaty of 1778, to enjoy all the advantages in commerce and navigation, which the United States have granted to England, is not injured by the stipulations of the treaty of
1794, relative to contraband of war, as they become common to her. But the right secured to her by the second article of the treaty of 1778, does not at all extend to the allies whoin the success of her arms, and the just resentment, inspired by the ambition of England, have definitively given and shall give to her in Europe. These dispositions change, during the course of the war, the situation of the United States, towards England and the belligerent powers allied to France; the interest of these powers is common to France ; and from the moment that is injured, France is injured also.
After having assured to the English the carriage of naval stores, the federal government wished to assure to them that of meals; in a word, it desired to have commerce only with England. Thus, it stipulates, by the 18th article, that the American vessels, laden with grain, may be seized under the frivolous pretext, that it is extremely difficult to define the cases wherein provisions, and other articles which are generally excepted, could be classed in the list of contraband of war: thus it stipulates in article 17, that the American vessels may be arrest
the single suspicion, either that they have merchandise belonging to the enemy, or that they carry to him articles contraband of war. The United States, in their treaty with France, have made stipulations entirely opposite to those just cited ; whilst her vessels of war are bound to respect the American flag going to English possessions, the English drag into their ports American vessels going to the ports of France; subject them to decisions more or less arbitrary; and often condemn them on account of the name, alone, of their owners. By which means all the commercial relations between the United States and France, are entirely suspended. What American will venture
to send vessels into French ports ? What commerce will he venture to undertake with the French
possessions, when it will be certain that his funds, either in going to, or returning from them, run the greatest hazard? Would he not rather prefer trafficking with a country, to which his vessels might go without being exposed to other risks than those of the sea ? Would he not prefer Great Britain to France, for his speculations ? In virtue of the treaty of London, and by the course of things, would not the commerce of the United States pass entirely to England, during the present war ?
After having consented to such conditions, the American government cannot pretend to impartiality; it cannot say that it has maintained an equal neutrality between France and England, since it has granted to Great Britain advantages denied to France. But every one of these advantages granted to England, was a real wrong to the Republic; and if it is not maintained, without sporting with all principles, that a government may consider itself as neutral, in granting to a belligerent power, advantages which it refuses to another, it is clear that the government of the United States, after having made its treaty with Great Britain, ceased to be neutral, when it opposed itself to the participation by France, in the favours granted to the English.
In consequence, the undersigned minister plenipotentiary again declares, that the executive directory has just ordered the vessels of war and privateers of the Republic, to treat American vessels in the same manner, as they suffer. the English 'to treat them.
Were the treaty of London out of the question, the measure the executive directory now takes, would not be less conformable to justice. The undersigned minister plenipotentiary has developed
to the secretary of state, in his note of the 6th Brumaire last, principles which leave no doubt in this respect, and which the answer of the secretary of state is far from destroying. (No 5.) But the stipulations of treaties now come to the support of general principles. The Republic calls for the execution of the second article of the treaty of 1778, which says, “that France and the United States, mutually engage not to grant any particular favour, as to navigation or commerce, which shall not immediately become common to the other party.” The government of the United States having, by the treaty of London, sacrificed to England the freedom of their flag, the property of the enemies of England, and naval stores; France, by her treaty, is authorized to claim the same advantage, to make use of it, and the United States have no right to complain.
Certainly it would have been more conformable to the designs of France, to her principles, to see the American flag floating without interruption upon the seas, to see the commerce of the United States enjoy that liberty, that freedom, which should belong to neutral nations : but, in order to that, it was necessary that the American government should know how to maintain that neutrality; it was necessary that it preserved it free from violation by Great Britain : and if now the execution of the measures which the directory is obliged to adopt, give rise to complaints in the United States, it is not against France they should be directed, but against those men who by negotiations contrary to the interests of their country, have brought the French government to use the prerogatives granted to the English
When, after having suffered to be violated the treaties which unite it to France, the government of the United States has associated itself with