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have determined not to conclude a treaty with France, till full indemnity was made for past spoliations. The only circumstance of much importance, that occurred during Mr. Barlow's residence in Paris, was the celebrated decree of April 28, 1811. This decree was in these words :
“ Palace of St. Cloud, April 28, 1811. Napoleon, Emperor of the French, &c. &c. On the report of our Minister of Foreign Relations. Seeing by a law passed on the 2d March, 1811, the Congress of the United States has ordered the execution of the provisions of the act of non-intercourse, which prohibits the vessels and merchandise of Great Britain, her colonies and dependencies, from entering into the ports of the United States ;-considering that the said law is an act of resistance to the arbitrary pretensions consecrated by the British Orders in Council, and a formal refusal to adhere to a system, invading the independence of neutral powers, and of their flag, we have decreed, and do decree as follows: The decrees of Berlin and Milan are definitively, and, to date from the first day of November last, considered as not having existed (non avenus) in regard to American vessels."
The first intelligence of it was communicated to Mr. Barlow in the beginning of May 1812, and received by the government in July of the same year. No communication of the decree was made by the French minister, nor was any explanation of this business ever given. A knowledge of the decree was withheld from this country for more than a year. Whether this was the actual date, or whether it was antedated, cannot now be ascertained, nor the motives that led to this uncommon proceeding, Mr. Barlow never having obtained any explanation of it. Mr. Crawford, of Georgia, who, as his successor, arrived in France in August of the next year, had no means, on account of the great pressure of other public affairs, and the subsequent downfall of the imperial dynasty, of bringing on any discussions, whatever, relating to the concerns of the two governments. It is not likely that any explanation was or could have been given. We shall close this account of the relations of the United States with France with an extract of another letter of Mr. Munroe, of July 1812, to the minister, at Paris :
66 It appears that the same oppressive restraints on our commerce were still in force, that the system of license was persevered in, that indemnity had not been made for spoliations, nor any pledge given to inspire confidence that any would be made. More recent wrongs, on the contrary, and of a very outrageous character, have been added to those, with which you were acquainted, when you left the United States. By documents, forwarded to you in my letter of the 21st March, you were informed of the waste of our commerce, made by a squadron from Nantz, in January last, which burnt many of our vessels trading to the peninsula. It is hoped that the government of France, regarding with a prudent foresight the probable course of events, will have some sensibility to its interest, if it has none to the claims of justice on the part of this country. On the French decree of the 28th April 1811,
I shall forbear to make many observations which have already occurred, until all the circumstances connected with it are better understood."
The American government was at no time insensible to the wrongs done it by France. It abstained, with uncommon forbearance, from actual hostilities, but it never could have doubted that it had just cause of war with that country. The affair of the Berlin and Milan decrees, was far from being satisfactory to the United States. Those formal proofs of the act were not furnished, which, in the peculiar circumstances of the case, as the repeal itself was made conditional on an act either of the English or the American government, it was the duty of a friendly state to have produced. We have no means of ascertaining why a decree was withheld. It could not have been, because the government did not choose to implicate its good faith. That was done as much by the declaration of the Duke of Cadore, as could have been done by any other official instrument. France could not have foreseen, that England would refuse to acknowledge the authenticity of the declaration, or the sincerity of the practice. As to the
"antedated decree," a copy of it was furnished Mr. Barlow before the declaration of war against Great Britain was made in this country. If this decree had been known in time, it would probably have prevented hostilities. This could not have, therefore, been the motive of France, in producing; at that very late hour, a copy of so important a document. On the other hand, if France anticipated the war, if war was considered no longer to be avoided, what purpose did it answer to produce the decree in the actual state of hostilities, or on the eve of a declaration. The entire correspondence of the American government with France, from 1806 to the fall of the imperial dynasty in 1814, was of an angry nature. It was a series of complaints, remonstrances, and threats of retaliation. Every year appeared to augment the dissatisfaction felt by this country,—every year increased the claims for indemnity,-every year diminished the prospect of an alliance. The American minister at Paris, as our quotations abundantly prove, was directed to urge these complaints with more zeal and vigour. And his instructions forbade him from entering on a treaty, till those representations were satisfied.
We finish the account of the relations of America with France, with the downfall of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1814. Although no treaty was concluded during the period of which we have attempted to present a brief sketch in this chapter, the circumstances of the times were too important to have justified us in passing over it in entire silence. A convention has since been made with that country; but claims for spoliations still remain unsatisfied. We had intended to present a brief history, and a discussion of the principle of these claims; but the report of the Secretary of State on this subject, ordered by a vote of the House of Representatives, of April 20th, 1824, not having yet appeared, we are under the necessity of omitting it.*
* In addition to these treaties and conventions with France, a contract was made by Dr. Franklin with M. de Vergennes, in July, '82, to regulate the mode of payment, and the rate of interest of the 18,000,000 livres, loaned by his Christian Majesty to the confederation, together with the loan (10,000,000) in Holland. In November '88, a convention was made by Mr. Jefferson, with M. de Montmorin, to define the duties, powers, and privileges of consuls. We have not thought it necessary to take any notice of this instrument, as our consuls in Europe, (and, also, French consuls in this country,) are only commercial agents; they are not invested, like the consuls on the Barbary coast, with diplomatic functions. In '83, America again contracted a loan of 6,000,000 livres with the French government.
TREATY OF 1782 WITH THE NETHERLANDS.
Second power to make a Treaty with United States—War between
United Provinces and England Causes-Lee, failing at Berlin, enters secretly into a correspondence with the Regency of Amsterdam -not suspected by Sir Joseph Yorke-Lee agrees, at Aix La Chapelle, on a Treaty with Neufville-Secret discovered by capture of Laurens-Amsterdam richest City in Europe-Laurens chosen to Holland-Subsequently Adams-States General very dilatory in recognizing Independence Three classes of Treaties—Remarks on National Law--Neutral Rights badly defined--Mr. Adams concludes a Treaty, and makes Loans--Van Berckel appointed Minister to United States-Holland fell in '94--Changes in Government-Great Trade with this Country-King Louis well disposed--Compelled to abdicate-Confiscation of American Property.
The government of the United Netherlands,* was the second power in Europe, that made a treaty with the United States. The treaty was not actually signed, till the year 1782, to
* The reader will observe, that this kingdom, as now constituted, did not exist, until the year 1814; it is one of the creations of the treaties of Paris, and of Vienna. The treaty of Paris, of May of that year, assigned to Holland, placed under the government of the House of Orange Nassau, an addition of territory. To this dominion, the Allied Sovereigns, at the time they were in London, in the summer of 1814,