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i a declaration of neutrality or not? . What shall.
“Question III. If received, shall it be absolutely, or with qualifications, and if with qualifications, of what kind ?
“Question IV. Are the United States obliged by good faith to consider the treaties heretofore made with France, as applying to the present situation of the parties ? May they either renounce them, or hold them suspended, until the government of France shall be established ? .:“Question V. If they have the right, is it.. expedient to do either? And which is
“Question VI. If they have an option, would it be a breach of neutrality to consider the treaty still in operation ?
“Question VII. If the treaties are to be considered as now in operation, is the guarantee in the treaty of alliance applicable to the defensive war only, or to war either offensive or defensive?
"Question VIII. Does the war in which France is engaged appear to be offensive or defensive on her part? Or of a mixed and equivocal character ? :
“Question IX. If of a mixed and equivocal character, does the guarantee in any event apply to such a war?
-56 Question X. What is the effect of a guarantee, such as that to be found in the treaty of alliance between the United States and France ?
; "Question XI. Does any article in either of the treaties prevent ships of war, other than privateers, of the powers opposed to France, from coming into the ports of the United States, to act as convoys to their own merchantmen? Or does it lay any other restraint upon them more than would apply to the ships of war of France ?
" Question XII. Should the future Regent of France send a minister to the United States? ought he to be received ?
« Question XIII. Is it necessary or advisable to call together the two Houses of Congress, with a view to the present posture of European affairs? If it is, what should be the particular objects of Euch a call ?" ;
On some of these questions he had already made up his mind, as appears from his communications to Mr. Morris, but he thought it expedient to take a view of the whole subject... - At the proposed meeting, the Cabinet unanimously recommended to the President to issue a proclamation of neutrality, forbidding the citizens of the United States to engage in any act of hostility against either of the belligerent powers, or to carry to either of them articles, contraband of war, and requiring them to refrain from all acts, unfriendly towards nations with whom the United States were at peace. This proclamation, the Executive immediately issued.
It was unanimously recommended to the President to receive a minister from the French Re. public. The Cabinet was also united in the opi- , nion, that it was inexpedient to call Congress together. On the other questions the usual difference of sentiment existed. The Secretary of State and the Attorney General conceived that the changes in the government of France made no essential difference in the relation of the two nations ; but that in all respects the intercourse should proceed on principles established with the monarchy. The Secretaries of the Treasury and of War, admitted the right of a nation to change the form of its government at will, but denied its right to involve other nations in all the consequences of alterations they might be disposed to make. The convulsions of France they thought threatened dangers to nations in alliance with her, and they maintained that the United States were at liberty to suse pend the operation of treaties with that country, when it was necessary for their own safety. .
Messrs. Jefferson and Randoph also contended that it was inexpedient to come to any decision respecting the application of the article of the guarantee to the present government. Messrs. Hamil- . ton and Knox were of opinion that France being the aggressor, the war on her part was offensive, that the guarantee respecting only defensive war, did not apply to the present state of things.
The President again required the reasons in writing of each opinion, and after due investigation, established those maxims for the support of neutral rights, which he firmly, but temperately maintained through the succeeding period of his administration; and which, amidst conflicts that prostrated the stablest pillars of old European go
vernments, preserved his country from the miseries of war. i In the state of the public sentiment which we have noticed, Mr. Genet landed April 8th, at Charleston, South Carolina, as the Minister of republican France. Ardent in the constitutional temperament of his mind, inflamed with the zeal of a new convert to the doctrine of liberty and equality, 'he conceived that the enlightened world felt an high interest in the revolution of his country, and that every man of virtue was disposed to espouse her cause. His reception at Charleston was calculated to increase his most sanguine views. From the Supreme Magistrate of the state, and from every class of citizens, he received warın expressions of enthusiastic devotion to the new Republic. Taking these as evidence of the general disposition of the American people, he did not wait to present his official letter to the Executive, and to be accredited by him ; but availing himself of the favourable situation of Charleston to fit out privateers against the West Indian trade, he presumed to authorise the arming of ships in that port, and to give commissions to cruise against the commerce of a nation with whom the United States were at amity. Prizes taken by these priyateers were brought into American harbours, and French consuls were opening courts of admiralty to condemn them.
From Charleston Mr. Genet travelled by land to Philadelphia, receiving in every part of his way, the same ardent declarations of attachment to France. Although the unwarrantable conduct
of Mr. Genet at Charleston was well known in Philadelphia, yet his entrance into the city was rendered pompous and triumphal, and “ crowds flocked from every avenue of the city, to meet the republican Ambassador of an allied nation.” On the day after his arrival, addresses were presented to him from particular societies, and from individual citizens, in which they expressed their exultation at the victories of France, and declared that in their opinion her success was essential to the safety of the American States.
On the 18th of May he presented his credentials to the President. These contained respectful sentiments towards the government of the United States, and abounded with devotions to the American people. The President received him in an open and ingenuous manner, and with sincerity
expressed his regard for the French nation. :. In this conference, Mr. Genet declared that his
government had no desire to engage the United States in the European war, but wished them to pursue their own interest; yet he persisted in the exercise of his assumed power, and a French privateer captured an English merchantman within the Capes of the Delaware, while on her way to the ocean. This prize being taken in the waters of the United States, and therefore under the control of the government, the British minister complained of this illicit proceeding, and demanded restitution of the property unlawfully taken from his countrymen.
The Cabinet unanimously agreed that the proceedings of Mr. Genet were not warranted by any