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“Question IX. If of a mixed ana equivocal cha racter, does the guarantee in any event apply to such a war?
" Questior. X. What is the effect of a guarantee, such as that to be found in the treaty of alliance bo tween 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 restraints 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 adviseable 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 such 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 either of them articles, contraband of war, and requiring them to re. frain from all acts, unfriendly towards nations with whom the United States were at peace. This Pro. clamation the President immediately issued.
It was unanimous'y recommended to the President to receive a Minister from the French Republick. The Cabinet was also united in the opinion, that it was in. expedient 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 altera. tions they might be disposed to make. The convulsions of France they thought threatened dangers to nations in alliance with her, and maintained that the United States were at liberty to suspend the operation of treaties with that country, when it was necessary for their own safety.
Messrs. Jefferson and Randolph 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. Hamilton 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 establish. ed those maxims for the support of neutral rights, which he firmly, but temperately maintained through the succeeding period of his adıninistration; and which, amidst conflicts that prostrated the stablest pillars of European governments, preserved his country from the miseries of war.
In the state of the publick sentiment which we havo noticed, Mr. Genet landed April 8th, 1793, at Charleston, South-Carolina, as the Minister of Republican France. Ardent in the constitutional temperament of his mind, inflated with the zeal of a new convert ta the doctrine of liberty and equality, he conceived that the enlightened world felt a high interest in the revo.
Intion 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 tho state, and from every class of citizens, he received warm expressions of enthusiastick devotion to the new Republick. 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 authorize 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 privateers were brought into American harbours, and French Consuls were opening Courts of Admi. ralty 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 ussumed power, and a French privateer captured an English merchantman within the Capes of the Dela ware, while on her way to the ocean. This prize be ing taken in the waters of the United States, and there. fore 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 existing treaties between the two nations, were therefore violations of neutral rights, and that the government ought to prevent the repetition of them. They also agreed that restitution ought to be made, of the prize taken within the waters of the Delaware. Respecting prizes taken upon the high seas, in virtue of commissions issued by Genet, and brought into the American ports, the Cabinet were divided. Mr. Jefferson and Mr. Randolph held that the government was under no obligation to restore them to their original owners. Colonel Hamilton and General Knox contended that, to maintain an honest neutrality, the United States were bound to restore the prizes.
The President took time to deliberate on those points on which his Council were not agreed.
Principles in which they were united, he established; and directed the Secretary of State to give the necessary information to the Ministers of France and Britain.
Mr. Genet complained heavily of these rules of the American Government, as a violation of neutral right
and as a breach of existing treaties between the two nations.
In his comments upon these treaties, he claimed for France every thing which the two nations had bound themselves not to grant to other countries, converting negative stipulations which respected other nations, into grants rf positive privileges to the contracting parties, · He was informed, that out of respect to him, the subject had been reviewed in the Cabinet ; but that the President saw no reason to change his opinion. Mr. Genet still refused acquiescence, and seemed to have entertained the expectation, that he should be able so far to avail himself of the partiality of the Americans for France, as to bend the Administration to his own purposes, or to overthrow it.
Prosecutions having been commenced against two of the American citizens, whom Genet engaged at Charleston, to cruise in the service of France, he demanded theso men of the civil magistrate who had ar. rested them, in the following very extraordinary lan: guage.
“ I have this moment been informed that two offi. cers in the service of the Republick of France, citizens Gideon Henfield and John Singletary, have been ar. rested on board the privateer of the French Republick, the Citizen Genet, and conaucted to prison. The crime laid to their charge, the crime which my mind cannot conceive, and which my pen almost refuses to state, is the serving of France, and defending with her children the common glorious cause of liberty.
“Being ignorant of any positive law or treaty which deprives Americans of this privilege, and authorizes officers of police arbitrarily to take mariners in the service of France from on board their vessels, I call upon your intervention, sir, and that of the President of the United States, in order to obtain the immediate releasement of the above mentioned officers, who have