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to those which it has. The neutral powers should have perceived, thàt England, by stopping the vessels of other powers, laden in their respective ports, and destined for France, by permitting articles coming from her own manufactories alone to circulate, aimed at an exclusive commerce, and that it would be necessary to seek reparation for such an attempt..
The ordinance of the marine, and the regulation of 1704, have declared lawful prize, the vessels and their cargoes in which is found English merchandize belonging to enemies. These provisions should be extended. The interest of Europe requires it.
The directory thinks it urgent and necessary to pass a law declaring that the character of vessels, relative to their quality of neutral or enemy, shall be determined by their cargo, and the
cargo shall be no longer covered by the flag: in consequence, that every vessel found at sea, having on board English provisions and merchandize as her cargo, in whole or in part, shall be declared lawful prize, whosoever may be the proprietor of these provisions or merchandize ; which shall be reputed contraband, for this cause alone, that they come from England or her possessions.
It would be useful to declare, at the same time, that except in the case of distress, the ports of the republic shall be shut to all foreign vessels, which, in the course of their voyage, shall have entered those of England.
The Executive Directory requests you, citizens representatives, to adopt these measures. No neutral or allied power can mistake their object, nor complain of thein, unless it be already abandoned to England. The infallible effect of the measure is to enhance the value of the produce of their own soil and industry, to increase the prosperity of their commerce,
to repel every thing that comes from England, and essentially to influence the conclusion of the
Such are the motives which induce the Executive Directory to invite you, citizens representatives, to take the object of this message into the most prompt consideration.
P. BARRAS, President,
Plan of a Decree reported by M. Villiers, to the Council of
Five Hundred, in its sitting of the 11th of January, 1798; translated from a Paris paper, entitled Journal du Soir, of the saine day, inclosed in the triplicate of the Envoys’ Letter, No. 5, dated 8th January, 1798.
« First. The character of a vessel, relative to the quality of neuter or enemy, is determined by her cargo.
“ In consequence, every vessel loaded in whole or in part with English merchandize, is declared lawful prize, whoever the owner of the said merchandize may
be. “ 2d, Every foreign vessel which, in the course of her voyage, shall have entered an English port, shall not enter France, except in case of distress: she shall depart thence as soon as the causes of her entry shall have ceased.”
This decree was immediately and unanimously adopted.
Summary of the Proceedings in Congress, during the
Session, which ended on the 16th of July, 1798.
ON the 16th instant Congress adjourned after a session of more than 'eight months.
When it was found by a message from the President, and the instructions to the envoys in France together with their dispatches, that, although the utmost length of reasonable and just concession bad been gone by the government, the French Republic refused to negotiate on fair and honourable terms, or even to receive the messengers of peace; and on the contrary demanded a tribute, together with the most humiliating submis. sions, as the price of an interview, while they continued and increased their wanton depredations on the commerce of America ; Congress immediately discarded all furiher reliance on negotiation, and began to prepare for defending, by arms, the rights and honour of the country.
Three hundred and forty thousand dollars were immediately voted for fortifying the ports and harbours, and this sum has been since increased to four hundred and thirty thousand. One million three hundred thousand dollars were voted for cannon, small arms, ammunition, and military stores; of which thirty thousand stand of small arms, with proper accoutrements, are to be deposited in suitable places throughout the United States, for the use of the militia when called into service, or to be sold to them at costs and charges. Provision was made, besides, for the purchase of arms and equipments for four thousand cavalry,
either militia or regulars; and the President was authorized to employ one hundred thousand dollars in the purchase of founderies for casting cannon, mortars, and shot. One regiment of artillery, twelve af infantry, and six troops of horse, were directed to be immediately added to the militia establishinent of the United States; which, with the four regiments of infantry, one of artillery, and two troops of horse ; now on foot, and ordered to be immediately completed, will raise the regular force of the United States to nineteen regiments, or about thirteen thousand rank and file. These new troops are to be inlisted “for and during the continuance of the existing differences between the United States and the French Republic, , unless sooner discharged.” About three thousand of the whole number will probably remain on the frontiers where they now are stationed; the rest will be for the general defence, to act with the militia and volunteers in case the country should be attacked. A great part of them will probably be raised and stationed in the southern states; it being there that an attack, if made, will be most likely to take place.
In addition to these nineteen regiments, the President has been authorized, " in the event of a declaration of war agaiust “ the United States, or of actual invasion of their territory by “ a foreign power, or of imminent danger of such invasion “ in his opinion discovered to exist before the next session of
Congress," to raise a body of ten thousand men, who are to be inlisted for a term not exceeding three years, and all whose officers he may immediately proceed to appoint; so that, should the occasion occur for bringing them into the field, they may be speedily inlisted and prepared for service. Their officers, however, are to receive no pay, or other emolument, till brought into actual service. This is called “ the provisional “ army."
The President is also empowered to accept the service of any volunteer companies who may offer themselves as part of the provisional army, to organize them into regiments or legions, to appoint all their officers, and to furnish them with arms, out of the public magazines, either by sale or loan. In case of loan their officers are to be responsible. These volunteers are to be liable at any moment, during two years after the time of their enlistment, to be called into service by the President ; and when in service are to receive rations and pay like regular troops, and be subject to the same regulations and discipline. They are to clothe themselves. The President may establish rules for their training and discipline when not in actual ser. vice; and during the period of their enlistment, two years, they are exempted from ordinary militia duty.
Many corps of this kind have already been formed, particularly in the towns, and others are every where forming. In this city there is a legion almost complete, consisting now
pended, till an accommodation of the differences between this country and her shall take place; and as she has not only violated, in numerous instances, the treaties between the two countries, but continues to do so, and refuses to listen to any demand of reparation, a law has been passed by Congress declaring those treaties no longer binding on the United States. In consequence of this law, the President has suspended the French consuls in this country from the functions which they exercised under those treaties.
Thus far have we gone defensively. We take French armed ships, which cruise for the purpose of annoying our trade, and we prepare with vigour for repelling their attacks by sea and land; but we do not attack her unarmed ships, or make reprisals for the injuries she has done us. Many persons were of opinion that we ought to go the last lengihs, and declare war; which they deemed the most manly and honourable course, as well as the safest; but others thought it best to confine ourselves to defence and preparation, and leave the French either to discontinue their attacks, or to declare war, as they might think best. This course was finally adopted. Nothing is more difficult than to conjecture what will be the conduct of France in consequence of our measures. She may perhaps draw back, and by some apparent concessions try to avoid an open war. This perhaps would be her true policy; but I am inclined to think that she will pursue a contrary course, and endeavour, at all events, to enforce her demands. Earlier resistence, and vigorous preparation a year ago, on our part, might probably have prevented her from taking the ground; but having taken it, her pride, the passions of her rulers, and perhaps their policy, will probably forbid her to recede. What. ever may be her determination, I am convinced that with the union and spirit now displayed by this country, we have nothing to fear from her vengeance. We possess, I have no doubt, the means of creating a maritime force superior to any she can bring against us, even should she make peace with England. And as to invading our country, should she have the rashness to attempt it, she will soon find that the Americans have infinitely increased in means since 76 without decreasing in spirita Her forces would not advance far into the country, before they would be met by an army of one hundred thousand nen, led on by Washington, and composed of freemen fighting, and prepared to die, for their laws, their religion, and their families. This is a sort of resistance to which she has not hitherto been accustomed.
The measures already adopted are considered as the beginning, only, of preparation. Should France drive us into a serious war, far other exertions will be called for, and will, I have no doubt, be made.
expense of these preparatory measures, including one year's support of the additional troops, is estimated at nine millions of dollars, víz. 340,000 for fortifications; 1,300,000 for arıns, military stores, &c. 200,000 for equipments of cavalry, and carrying into effect the provisional arıny bill; 3,370,000 for the naval armament; and 3,700,000 for the new troops. Should the provisional army be brought into service, its expenses for a year wonld amount, as estimated, to 3,500,000 dollars; and the volunteers and militia, if called out, will also require a considerable expense. These objects, however, are contingent, and not likely soon to happen. The certain expenses, directed by law, amount to nine millions.
To defray these expenses, we possess the following means. First, a balance of our ordinary revenue above our ordinary expenditure. In the last year, the year 1797, the impost and tonnage duties produced, 7,549,649 dollars; a million more. than the product of 1796, and about two millions more than that of 1795. New imposts, to the estimated amount, of at least 500,000 dollars, have been added since 1795, but did not operate on the revenue of 1796 or 1797. This added to the product of 1797, without any allowance for increase, would raise the product of 1798 to eight millions; but if we allow one million for decrease on account of the present circumstances, which is more than I believe will take place, still we shall have seven millions for the product of impost and tonnage duties in the present year. The internal duties last year, arising from stills, spirits, carriages, retailers licenses, sugar-refiners, and auctioneers, produced dollars 575,491. In the present year 600,000 may be expected from them; perhaps more. The post office produces 50,000; and public stock and bank shares held by the United States, 160,000. From the sale of western lands 40,000 may be expected. The stamp act went into operation on the 1st of July, and may be taken at 400,000 annually, which, for the remaining half of this year is 200,000. These various suis added together, give tight millions and fifty thousand dollars for the permanent revenue of the present year.
The ordinary expenditure will amount to 6,721,787 dollars; of which 1,121,494 are for the support of the civil government in all its various branches ; 352,000 for paying awaras under the British treaty; 1,238,730 for the old military esiablishment; and 4,009,561 for the interest of the public dobi and the reimbursement of the principal. This aggregate of ordinary expenditure deducted from the amount of revenue stated above, leaves a balance of 1,328,213 dollars, to be applied to the extraordinary expenses. Add to this the sum of two millions laid, for one year, on lands, houses and slaves, in a which will be hereafter explained, and the sum of 640,000