Page images
PDF
EPUB

* convinced of the mutual advantages, which would result

from the re-establishment of the good understanding he

tween the two nations, proposes to employ all of his in** Auence to obtain this object. He will assist the commis$ sioners of the United States in all the demands which they «« may have to make from the government of France, inas* much as they may not be contradictory to those which he " proposes himself to make, and of which the principal “ will be communicated confidentially. It is desired, that " in the official communications, there should be given a

softening turn to a part of the President's speech to Con

gress, which has caused much irritation. It is feared, " that in not satisfying certain individuals in this respect, “they may give way to all their resentment. The nomina“ tion of commissioners will he consented to on the same “ footing, as they have been named in the treaty with Eng63 jand, to decide on the reclamations which individuals of « America inay make on the government of France, or

on French individuals. The payment which, agreeably « to the decisions of the commissioners, shall fall to the share “ of the French government, are to be advanced by the “ American government itself. It is desired that the funds, " which by this incans shall enter again into the American “ trade, should be employed ir net supplies for the French “ colonies. Engagements of this nature, on the part of i individuals reciaiıning, will always hasten, in all probability, the

decisions of the French commissioners : “ and perhaps it may be desired, that this clause should " make a part of the instructions, which the government “ of the United States should give to the commissioners they “ may choose. The French government desires, besides, 66 to obtain a loan from the United States; but so that that “ should not give any jealousy to the English government,

nor hurt the neutrality of the United States. This loan “ shall be masked by stipulating, that the government of the “ United States, consents to make the advances for the pay« ment of the debts contracted by the agents of the French

governinent, with the citizens of the United States; and “ which are already acknowledged, and the payment order“ ed by the Directory; but without having been yet effec“ tuated. There should be delivered a note to the amount “ of these debts. Probably this note may be accompanied " by ostensible pieces, which will guarantee to the agents “ the responsibility of the United States, in case any umG2

brage

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

“ brage should cause an inquiry. There shall also be first “ taken from this loan certain sums, for the purpose of mak“ ing the customary distributions in diplomatic affairs." The person of note mentioned in the minutes, who had the confidence of the Directory, he said, before us all, was M. Talleyrand. The amount of the loan he could not ascertain precisely; but understood it would be according to our ability to pay. The sum which would be considered as proper, according to diplomatic usage, was about twelve hundred thousand livres. He could not state to us what parts of the President's speech were excepted to; but said he would inquire and inform us. He agreed to breakfast with Mr. Gerry, the morning of the 21st, in order to make such explanations as we had then requested, or should think proper to request: but on the morning of the 20th, M. X. called and said, that M. Y. the confidential friend of M. Talleyrand, instead of communicating with us through M. X. would see us himself, and make the necessary explanations. We appointed to meet him in the evening of the twentieth at seven o'clock, in General Marshall's room. At seven M. Y. and M. X. entered; and the first mentioned gentleman, being introduced to us as the confidential friend of M. Tala leyrand, immediately stated to us the favourable impressions of that gentleman toward our country, impressions which were made by the kindness and civilities he had personally received in America : that impressed by his solicitude to repay these kindnesses, he was willing to aid us in the present negotiation by his good offices with the Directory, who were, he said, extremely irritated against the governinent of the United States, on account of some parts of the Presi. dent's speech, and who had neither acknowledged for received us, and consequently have not authorized M. Talleyrand to have any communications with us. The minister therefore could not see us himself; but had authorized his friend M. Y. to.comın unicate to us certain propositions, and to receive our answers to them ; and to promise on his part, that if we would engage to consider them as the basis of the proposed negotiation, he would intercede with the Directory to acknowledge us, and to give us a public audience. M, Y.stated to us explicitly and repeatedly, that he was cloathed with no authority; that he was not a diplomatic character; that he was not

he was only the friend of M. Talleyrand, and trusted by him; that with regard to himself he had and that he earnestlý wished well to the United States. He then took out of his pocket a French translation of the Presi

dent's

[ocr errors]

.

dent's speech, the parts of which objected to by the Directory were marked, agreeably to our request to M. X. and are contained in the exhibit A. Then he made us the se. cond set of propositions, which were dictated by him and written by M. X. in our presence, and delivered to us, and which, translated from the French, are as follows. There “ is demanded a formal disavowal in writing, declaring thap “ the speech of the citizen President Barras did not contain

any thing offensive to the government of the United States,

nor any thing which deserved the epithets contained in the wliole paragraph : Secondly, reparation is demanded for the article by which it shall be declared, that the decree of “ the Directory there mentioned did not contain any thing

contrary to the treaty of 1778, and had none of those “ fatal consequences, that the paragraph reproaches to it: “ Thirdly, it is demanded, that there should be an acknows ledgement in writing of the depredations exércised on out “ trade by the English and French privateers; Fourthlý, “ the government of France, faithful to the profession of

public faith which it has made not to intermeddle in the “ internal affairs of foreign governments with which it is • at peace, would look upon this paragraph as an attack

upon its loyalty, if this was intended by the President. “ li demands, in consequence, a formal declaration, that “ it is not the government of France, nor its agents, that “ this paragraph meant to designate: In consideration of “ these reparations, the French Republic is disposed to re

new with the United States of America, a treaty which “ shall place them reciprocally in the same state that they were in 1978. By this new treaty, France shall be placed “ with respect to the United States, exactly on the same footing as they stand with England, in virtue of the last

treaty, which has been concluded between them. A se. “ cret article of this new treaty, would be a loan to be made “ by the United States to the French Republic: and once

agreed upon the amount of the loan, it would be endea"voured to consult the convenience of the United States,

with sespect to the best method of preventing its publicity. " On reading the speech M. Y. dilated very much upon the 6 keenness of the resentment it had produced, and expa«

tiated largely on the satisfaction he said was indispensably

necessary, as a preliminary to negotiation. But, said he, " gentlemen, I will not disguise from you, that, this satis. * faction being made, the essential part of the treaty remains " to be adjusted: il faut de l'argentu;l faut beáneoup d'ar.

G3

gent:" gent:" (you must pay money, you must pay a great deal of money.) He spoke much of the force, the honour, and the jealous republican pride of France; and represented to us strongly, the advantages which we should derive from the neutrality, thus to be purchased. He said, that the receipt of the money might be so disguised, as to prevent its being considered as a breach of neutrality by England; and thus save us from being embroiled with that power. Concerning the twelve hundred thousand livres, little was said ; that being completely understood, on all sides, to be required for the officers of government, and therefore needing no further explanation. These propositions, he said, being considered as the admitted basis of the proposed treaty, M. Talleyrand irusted that, by his iufluence with the Directory, he could prevail on the government to receive us. We asked whether we were to consider it as certain, that, without a previous stipulation to the effect required, we were not to be received. He answered, that M. Talleyrand himself was not authorized to speak to us the will of the Directory, and consequently could not authorize him. The conversation continued until half after nine, when they left us; having engaged to breakfast with Mr. Gerry the next morning;

October 2 ist, M. X. came before nine o'clock: M. Y. did not come until ten—he had passed the morning with M. Talleyrand. After breakfast the subject was immediately resumed. He represented to us, that we were not yet acknowledged or received ; that the Directory were so exasperated against the United States, as to have come to a determination to demand from us, previous to our reception, those disavowals, reparations, and explanations, which were stated at large last evening. He said that M. Talleyrand and himself, were extremely sensible of the pain we must feel in complying with this demand; but that the Directory would not dispense with it: that, therefore, we must consider it as the indispensable preliminary to obtain our reception; unless we could find the means to change their. determination in this particular : that if we satisfied the Directory in these particulars, a letter would be written to us to demand the extent of our powers, and to know whether we were authorized to place them precisely on the same footing with England ;-whether, he said, our full powers were really and substantially full powers; or, like those of Lord Malmesbury, only illusory powers: that, if to this demand our answer should be affirmative, then France would consent that cominissioners should be appointed to ascertain

the

the claims of the United States, in like manner as under out treaty with England; but from their jurisdiction must be withdrawn, those which were condemned for want of a róle d'équipage; that being a point on which Merlin, while minister of justice, had written a treatise, and on which the Directory were decided. There would, however, be no objection to our complaining of these captures in the course of the negotiation, and if we could convince Merlin, by our Teasoning, the ininister would himself be satisfied with our so doing. We required an explanation of that part of the conversation, in which M. Y. had hinted at our finding means to avert the demand concerning the President's speech. He answered, that he was not authorized to state those means, but that we must search for them and propose them ourselves. If, however, we asked his opinion as a private individual, and would receive it as coming from him, he would suggest to us the means which in his opinion would succeed. On being asked to suggest the means, he answered, money; that the Directory were jealous of its own honour and of thehonour of the nation; that it insisted on receiving from us the same respect with which we had treated the King; that this honour must be maintained in the manner before re. quired, unless we substituted in the place of those reparations something perhaps more valuable, that was, money. He said further, that if we desired him to point out the sum which he believed would be satisfactory, he would do so. We requested him to proceed ;' and he said, that there were thirty-two millions of forins of Dutch inscriptions, worth ten shillings in the pound, which might be assigned to us at twenty shillings in the pound: and he proceeded to state to us the certainty, that after a peace, the Dutch government would

repay money; so that we should ultimately lose nothing; and the only operation of the measure would be an advance from us to France of thirty-two millions, on the credit of the government of Holland. We asked him whether the fifty thousand pounds sterling, as a douceur to the Directory, must be in addition to this sum. He answered in the affirmative. We told him, that on the subject of the treary, we had no hesitation in saying that our powers were ample: that on the other points proposed to us we would retire into another room, and return in a few minutes with

We committed immediately to writing the answer we proposed, in the following words: “Our powers respecting a " treaty, are ample; but, the proposition of a loan, in the

form

[ocr errors]

us the

our answer.

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »