Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

"ary, 1778." The new minister for foreign affairs, M. Desforgues, accompanies this new decree of July 1st, with the following expression—" 1 am "very happy in being able to give you this new "proof of the fraternal sentiments of the French "people for their allies, and of their determination "to maintain to the utmost of their power the "treaties subsisting between the two republics;" yet this decree proved as unstable as the former; on the 27th of July it was repealed.

"The next decree on this subject was that of the joint committee of the 15th of November, 1794, already mentioned. Then followed the decree of the Committee of Public Safety of the 4 th of January, 1795, (14 Nivdse, 3d year) repealing the 5th article in the decree of the 15th November preceding, and in effect the articles in the original decree of the 9th of May, 1793, by which the treaty with the United States had been infringed. It is not necessary for the secretary to add, that the decree of the 4th January, 1795, has been repealed by the decree of the Executive Directory of the 2d of July, 1796, under colour of which are committed the shocking depredations on the commerce of the United States which are daily exhibited in the newspapers. The agents of the Executive Directory to the Leeward Islands (Leblanc, Sonthonax, and Raimond) on the 27th of November passed a decree forthe capturingall American vessels bound to or from British ports. The secretary presumes this is not an arbitrary, unauthorized act of their own, but that it is conformable to the intentions of the Executive Directory; the privateers of the French republic in Europe, having captured some American vessels on the same pretence; and the consul of the republic at Cadiz having explicitly avowed his determination to condemn American vessels on that B b 4 ground, grourd, pleading the decree of the Directory for his authority. WASHINGTON'S RETIRING.

"The secretary has already intimated that the decree of the 15rh November 1794, was not followed by the extensively good effects expected from it. By a communication from Mr. Skipwith, of the 10th of last September (the latest communication from him, in answer to the secretary's request for information) it appears that the claims for detention of 10^ American vessels by the embargo at Bourdeaux remained undetermined: no funds having been appropriated for the payment of them; and that none of the bills drawn by the colonial administration in the West Indies had been paid to him: the treasury having tendered payment in assignats at their nominal value, and afterwards in another species of paper, called mandats, which had suffered a great depreciation even before thev were put into circulation; both of which modes of payment were refused to be accepted. The progress made by Mr. Skipwith in the adjustment of other claims, so far as known to the secretary, will appear in the annexed statement, copies of which were transmitted ten months ago to the officers of the principal collectors of the customs, from the department of state, for the information of our mercantile citizens.

"That nothing might be left undone which could be accomplished by the executive, the attention of General Pinckney, the present minister of the United States to France, was particularly. directed to the subject of these claims; but the interval which has elapsed since his departure, has not admitted of any interesting communication from him on this, business.

"In connection with other spoliations by French armed vessels, the secretary intended to mention

those

•those committed under a decree, dated the first of August 1796, issued by Victor Hugues and Lebas, the special agents of the executive directory to the Windward Islands, declaring all vessels loaded with contraband articles of any kind, liable to seizure and confiscation with their entire cargoes; without making any discrimination in favour of those which might be bound to neutral, or even to French ports. This decree has been enforced against the American trade without any regard to the established forms of legal proceedings, as will appear from the annexed deposition of Josiah Hempstead, master of the brigantine Patty of Weathersfield, a copy of the decree also is annexed.

"The secretary has receiveda printed copyof another decree of the same special agents to the Windward Islands, dated ihe 13th Pluvoise, 5th year, answering to February 1st, 17Q7, authorizing the capture of all neuTal vessels destined to any of the Windward or Leeward Islands, in America, which have been delivered up to the English, and occupied or defended by emigrants, naming Martinique, St. Lucie, Tobago, Demarara, Berbice, and Esequibo; and to leeward, Port-au-Prince, St. Marc, L'Arcahaye, and Jeremie; declaring such vessels and their cargoes to be good prize, as well as all vessels cleared out vaguely for the West Indies-, a copy of this last decree, will be added to this report as soon as it shall be translated. All which is respectfully submitted.

"TIMOTHY PICKERING."

[ocr errors][merged small]

WE are come to the epocha, when General Washington retired from public life; I shall, therefore, insert his farewel address to the people of the United States, which appeared in September last; and -shall place after it some of those publications, which, while they tend to throw some light on his character and conduct, will prove to my readers, that his "grateful fellow citizens" did not always look upon him as a God.

"To the People of the United Statbs.
"Friends and Fellow Citizens,

"The period for a new election of a citizen, to administer the executive government of the United States, being not far distant, and the time actually arrived, when your thoughts must be employed in designating the person, who is to be cloathed with that important trust, it appears to me proper, especially as it may conduce to a more distinct expression of the public voice, that I should now apprize you of the resolution I have formed, to decline being considered among the number of those, out of whom a choice is to be made.

"I beg you, at the same time, to do me the justice to be assured, that this resolution has not been taken, without a strict regard to all the considerations appertaining to the relation, which binds a dutiful citizen to his country; and that, in withdrawing the tender of service which silence in my situation might imply, I am influenced by no diminution of zeal for your future interest; no deficiency ency of grateful respect for your past kindness; but am supported by a full conviction that the step is compatible with both.

"The acceptance of, and continuance hitherto in the office to which your suffrages have twice called me, have been an uniform sacrifice of inclination to the opinion of duty, and to a deference to what appeared to be your desire. I constantly hoped, that it would have been much earlier in my power, consistently with motives I was not at liberty to disregard, to return to that retirement, from which I had been reluctantly drawn. The strength of my inclination to do this previous to the last election, had even led to the preparation of an address to declare it to you; but mature reflection on the then perplexed and critical posture of our affairs with foreign nations, and the unanimous advice of persons entitled to my confidence, impelled me to abandon the idea.

"I rejoice, that the state of your concerns, external as well as internal, no longer renders the pursuit of inclination incompatible with the sentiment of duty, or propriety; and am persuaded whatever partiality may be retained for my services, that in the present circumstances of our country, you will not disapprove my determination to retire.

"The impressions with which I first undertook the arduous trust, were explained on the proper occasion. In the discharge of this trust, I will only say, that I have with good intentions, contributed towards the organization and administration of the government, the best exertions of which a very fallible judgment was capable. Not unconscious, in the outset, of the inferiority of my qualifications, experience in my own eyes, perhaps still more in the eyes of others, has strengthened the motives to diffidence of myself; and every day the increasing

« ZurückWeiter »