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While, however, we contend for, and prove, the right of Great Britain to seize her enemy's goods on board of neutral vessels, we blame neither France nor America for giving up the same right; and our only reason for entering into the preceding discussion is, to prepare the minds of our countrymen for the resistance of pretensions, which may probably be preferred, and which, if preferred, will certainly be supported by the base and parricidal prints devoted to the enemy.
Another article of the Convention is more novel in its principle, as well as more hostile in its views, as considered with respect to Great Britain.-Ar
Extract of a Letter from Mr. JeffERSON, S. cretary of State in Ame
rica, to Mr. MORRIS, Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States, with the Republic of France, dated Philadelpbia, 16tb August, 1793.-See State Papers, published by order of Congress, ia 1795, page 82.
Another source of complaint with Mr. Genet has been, that the English take French goods oụt of American vessels, which, he
says, is against the law of nations, and ought to be prevented by us. On the contrary, we suppose it to have been lung an established principle of the law of nations, that the goods of a friend are free in an enemy's vessel, and an enemy's goods law. ful prize in the vessel of a friend. The inconvenience of this principle, which subjects merchant vessels to be stopped at sea, searched, ransacked, led out of their course, has induced several nations latterly to stipulate against it by treaty, and to substitute another in its stead, that free bottoms shall make free goods, and enemy bottoms enemy goods; a rule equal to the other in point of loss and gain, but less oppressive to commerce. As far as it has been introduced, it depends on the treaties stipulating it, and forns exceptions, in special cases, to the general operation of the law of nations. We have introduced it into our treaties with France, Holland, and Prussia, the French goods found by the latter nations in American bottoms are not made prize of. It is our wish to establish it with other nations. But this requires their consent also, as a work of time, and in the meanwhile they have a right to act on the general principle, without giving to us or to France cause of complaint.
“ It is expressly agreed by the parties, “ that the above stipulations, with regard to the "condućt to be held on the sea by the cruisers of " the belligerent party to the traders of the neutral
party, shall not apply but to vessels sailing without convoy; and in case the said ships shall be convoyed, the intention of the parties being to
pay all respect due to the protection of the flag “ carried by ships belonging to the nation, it shall “ not be lawful to visit them.-But the verbal de“claration of the commandant of the escort, that " the vessels under his convoy belong to the ration “ whose fiag he carries, and that they have nothing " contraband on board, shall be considered by the “ respecrive cruisers as fully sufficient; the two
parties reciprocally engaging not to admit, under “ the protection of their convoys, any vessels car“ rying prohibited goods to an enemy's port."
There is, as far as we can recollect, no such stipulation as this in any other treaty or convention that ever was formed in the world; it is, in fact, a formal protest against the conduct of Great Britain in her late dispute with Denmark, and an insidious invitation to the Northern Powers to coalesce for enforcing the unreasonable pretensions of that Court. That no Minister of Great Britain will ever yield to such pretensions we are certain; but we will not promise, that no British subject will be found ignorant, abject, and wicked enough to support them; and, therefore, we think it our duty to expose their absurdity and injustice.
“ Effects belong to the enemy,” says Vattel (b. iii. c. 7.) “ found on board a neutral ship, are seiz.“ able by the rights of war." -T'he same high authority (b. iii. c. 7.) says ;
" The nation at war is highly concerned to deprive the enemy of all
foreign assistance, and this gives it a right to con6 sider those who carry to its
enemy things neces
sary to war, if not absolutely as enemies, yet as
people who make little difficulty of hurting it, " and therefore punishes them by the confiscation 6 of the goods. Should their sovereign offer to pro“ tect them, it would be equal to furnishing the enemy " with these succours himself; a measure doubtless “ incompatible with neutrality. A nation that with“ out any other motive than the prospect of gain, is co
employed in strengthening my enemy, without regarding how far I may suffer, is certainly far from
being my friend, and gives me a right to consider “ and treat it as an associate of my enemy.” Having established the right of preventing succours being carried to the enemy, he proceeds to point out the manner of enforcing that right.-“Without search
ing neutral ships at sea, the commerce of contra«. band goods cannot be prevented. There is, then,
a right of searching a neutral ship; refusing to be
searched, would, from that proceeding alone, be con« demned as lawful prize."
Such is the law of nations, and such are the principles which Great Britain maintains. But Denmark, France, and America, have invented a new code. They do not, indeed, deny the right of searching neutral merchantmen, when they sail without convoy; but they set up the singular right of sending a convoy to prevent such search taking place; as if the national flag could change the nature of the property on board the private ships ; or as if it could possibly deprive the neutral power of its right.
the chamber-maid's gazette (we mean the Morning Posi), “would it not be as well to refrain from the exercise of this right, rather than rouse an host of enemies against you ?"-No, madam! if you give up the important right of searching vessels under convoy, where is the nation so poor in means, or so pure in mind, as not to be
able and willing to send a convoy with its merchantmen? Give up this right, and your enemy will carry on his commerce, and receive every succour of which he may stand in need, while your mighty fleet will remain the motionless and mortified spectator of its country's ruin and disgrace. And, as to the danger of increasing the number of your enemies, by the vigorous exercise of this right, let Vattel give the answer :-“ Even,” says he, “ if I should, by taking such measure,” (that of searching), “ render all these neutral nations my enemies, I had better run the hazard, than suffer him, who is actually at war with me, to be thus freely supplied to the great increase of his power.”—And if this observation be true, with regard to nations in general, with what peculiar force does it apply to Great Britain, whose influence in the world, whose safety, and whose very existence, as a nation, depends, in a great measure, on her maritime force, and on the exercise of her maritime rights ?
Nor is the hazard so great as the pantalooned politicians would persuade us; for, though their cropped pates are powderless, thank God, we have powder of another description. There are persons, who, when you talk of Bonaparte, tremble as if they had the ague. For our parts, we see nothing formidable about him, except, perchance, it be his horns. A confederacy of the powers of the North would very nearly resemble one of our non-consumption associations ; in a body they would make solemn resolutions, to which, individually, they would take special care not to adhere. Like the mice in council, they would most unanimously and most heroically determine to fix a tether round the neck of the cat; but the laudable project certainly would fail for want of some one to put it in execution. As to America, were the old lion at the
point of death indeed, she might, like the ignoble ass, venture to give her blow amongst the rest ; but while he retains his teeth and his claws, while health strings his nerves, and glory warms his heart, she never will have courage to come within the hearing of his roar.
While, however, we most heartily despise the machinations of both our open and secret enemies, we shall lose no opportunity of exposing their envy and malignancy; a striking instance of which is exhibited in the Convention between France and America. Extraneous circumstances and internal evidences concur to prove, that this Convention was levelled at Great Britain. When America had to complain of illegal captures made by the cruisers of this country, indemnification for these captures was a prominent article of the accommodation. How different has been her conduct towards her sister Republic! Her claims on Great Britain amounted to not one million of dollars, while those which she has against France amount to nearly thirty millions, a sum equal to three whole years of her revenile.
Yet this immense claim has been quietly laid upon the shelf, and all the insults, the scourgings, the thumb-screwings, the shootings, the saberings, and the hangings, of the poor American citizen sailors, have been laid upon the shelf along with it. Nay, even on these degrading terms, the like of which no British negotiator would have dared to accede to, the Corsican did not condescend to treat, till he conceived the plan of a Convention that might tend to excite a neutral confederacy. That this was his object, and his only object, is clear from his haste in publishing the Convention. When was an instrument of this kind ever before promulgated previous to ratification ? And though he might probably be assured that the American President would approve of the conduct