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sore the administration os Robcrspierre. The appeals were made to the directory, which appointed commissioners to examine and decide of their validity: but these abused the powers committed to them in so glaring and scandalous a manner, and the directory appeared so remiss in calling them to account sor their criminal behaviour, that the legislature thought itself bound to take the cognizance of these matters from the executive power, which, either through want of time or of inclination, did not pay them suflicient attention, and to appoint, sor their investigation, a committee oi its own members.
The public were not dissatisfied at the scrupulous vigilance of the cooncils over the directory, and at the spirit with which they animadverted upon their conduct, and restrained their powers when it was necessary sor the safety os individuals. The number of which the directoryconsisted, though seemingly calculated to keep .he active rulers of the state sufficiently divided among themselves, to prevent any one of them from engrossing the supreme authority, had not, however, in the opinion of many, provided against the combination os the members collectively, to grasp at sovereign power, and lo overrule, through the weight and dignity attached to their office, the proceedings of the other departments of the state. It was therefore no less incumbent on these to reprels the first attempts of that body, to exceed the limits of their constitutional powers, than upon the parliaments of Great Britain to keep a vigilant eye on the conduct of the monarch and his ministers, and on the statesgeneral of Holland, to watch the steps of an aspiring stadtholder.
Such were the opinions of tot discerning part of the public; nor did many scruple to avow their apprehensions, that in consequence of the numerous appointments to places of trust and profit, confided to the directory, it would soon or laic arrive at so great a power, as to form a parly strong enough to controul the legislature itself.
Whether this were effected through influence, or through force, the result would be the same: and the nation would be obliged lo (ubmit to absolute sway, like other* that are governeddifpoticallv, by the crown and its agents, through the purchased and servile acquiescence of its representatives.
These surmises were not without foundation. The stateliness assumed by the directory in its intercourse with foreign states, sufficiently indicated the lofty ideas they entertained of their importance, and how readiiy they would raise themselves to the summit os personal grandeur and uncontrouled power, in the management os all public affairs, unless their ambition were obviated by timely checks, which could not betooexpeditiouflyemplovedagairist men who exhibited so early a disposition to aspire at an undue extension of their authority.
This loftiness of the directory had suffered no small degree of humiliation from the spirited conduct of the government of the united state; of America. Full of the idea, that these owed their indepedence to France, the French bore with impatience and indignation that so great a benefit should be overlooked, and that, in this struggle for liberty with so many powers combined against them from every quarter in Europe, they should be forsaken by that people, in >vhose cause they
had acted with so much zeal and by his employers, but the feeds of and success. mischief he had sown had produced
But that which principally exas- their intended effect, in the divisions perated the French government, that had embroiled the_ Americans, was the treaty that had been lately and destroyed that unanimity of fenregociated between England and timents from which they had derived
such internal tranquillity.
To these complaints the French replied, that the treaty of commerce with England had cancelled all pretensions of amity from America to France. It violated, in a positive and hostile manner, the treaty entered into by the French, in favour of the Americans, in the year 1778, by which the states agreed to
the American states, by their envoy in London, Mr. Jay. It was represented as so contrary to the treaties in force between them and France, a; lo amount almost to a denunciation of (he amity subsisting between those two powers.
The resentment of the French hardly knew any bounds. The language held at Paris portended
nothing less than the most signal guarantee the possessions of France
revenge for what was termed an act in the West Indies: whereas, by the
of the basest ingratitude and per- present treaty with England, the
fidv. Instead of that cordiality very furnishing As provisions to the
which had taken place between the French islands, was allowed to be
French and American governments, an illegal trade. Such a falling off
a distant and suspicious intercourse from their professions of friendship
succeeded; and if the public voice and attachment to France, at a time
of the people of France had been listened to, a rupture could not have sailed to ensue.
It was retorted, on the part of the Americans, that as soon as the French republic had been esrabliflitd, it began to entertain a design to
when they ought to have been realised byactions,aster having been !o reiteratedly expressed in words, displayed iu glaring colours the contemptible iulcrt'ttednels ofthe Americans, and proved them to be void ofall principles but those of avarice
introduce a system perfectly similar and gain, and that (o these they
to its own, into the United States, without consulting them, and in defiance os the constitution already settled among them. To this eiid.thevcommhTioned their resident, Genet, to ule all manner of artifice and intrigue, in order to pervert the dispositions of the commonalty, and to seduce them from their attachment and obedience to the existing government. He had carried
would sacrifice all consideration os honour and magnanimity.
Recriminations of this nature grew louder and more rancorous than ever, on the intelligence that the government ofthe united states had formally ratified this treaty. But sresti motives of inveteracy arose from the discoveries contained in a letter, written by the president of the congress to the American am
his misconduct so far, as personally baffador at Paris. This letter,
to insult the president os the con- which was dated from Philadelphia,
gress, and endeavoured to set him the 22d of December, 1795, hail
and that body at variance with the been dispatched in a vessel that was
people. This agent, of the French wrecked on the coast of France,
republic, had indeed been recalled It was preserved with other paper?,
and carried to she directory, by whom it was considered as indubitable proof of the inimical disposition os the American government to the French republic.
This letter, on a cool perusal, contained however, no hostile designs against France. Its contents were chiefly complaints ol the arbitrary proceedings of the British ministry respecting the trade os the United States. HedirectedMr.Morris, who had quitted his embassy at Paris, and acted as American agent at London, to lay before the English ministry the imprudence, as well as the unjust ifiablenels of those proceedings, at a time when Great Britain ought to he particularly solicitous lo retain the good will of the Americans, in order to induce them to receive favourably the treaty of commerce just concluded, but which met with a multitude os opponents, on at count of the hard) measures that had been so unseasonably taken against the commerce and navigation of the united states. It was with difficulty he had stemmed the .torrent of discontent and resentment that had arisen on this occasion, and prevented tiie parly, that savoured the French, from earning matters lo extremities. Flis own views, in which he was seconded by the better fort, were peaceand neutrality. These would, in the course of a few years, raise the United States to a condition of prosperity and power, that would render them formidable to all the w orld, and secure to them tranquillity at h ime, and respect from abroad.
Such was the general tenour of fliis famous letter, the interception of which was looked upon as so timely an occurrence for the interest
os France, by*, admonishing it to place no confidence in the Americans. But without the medium of this letter, the most judicious of the French were convinced that the interest of the Americans would lead them to act a neutral part in the contest between France and England, and that it would ho highly impolitic in either of these, to insist upon their acting any other.
Tiie French government did not however relinquish the hope of a suture connection with the united states. They grounded this expectation on the numbers of people (here, who testified an aversion tn all political ties with England, and whose republican disposition inclined them to espouse the cause of all who opposed the government of kings. They also relied on a change of men and measures in the American administration. The presidency, it was intimated to them by their American partisans, would, on a new election, be silled by another incumbent, less averse lo an alliance with France than the present. These and other representations of a similar tendency, from the fame quarter, induced the- French government to dissemble the resentment it bore to the American for il< partiality to England, and to extend it no farther than to treat the subjects of the united states, employed in their commerce and navigation, in the fame manner in which these were treated by the English.
Theie mi I under standings, between France and the states of America, had, in some degree, been suspended by the recall of Mr. Morris from his French embassy, and replacing him bv a m;in whole principles were more conformable to their own. and his person, therefore, more acceptable.
ble. This was Mr. Monroe, who was received with great respect and cordiality. But when this gentleman was recalled, and Mr. Pinkney appointed his successor, which was in November, 179si, the directory refused to admit him in that capatitv, and suspended, at the same tine, (heir own ambassador in Amera, Mr. Adet, who was ordered to lay before that government the complaints of the republic against in proceedings, and the determination to issue orders to the French (hip-, of war to act towards the trading vessels of neutral states in the feme manner that those states pernitted themselves to be treated 0» tfce British navy.
In support of this determination, tAe directory alleged the seizure of French property, by the English, on bird os American vessels in the iny ports of the United States, and through the connivance of their government. Such had been the rejard paid to America, by the convention, at the commencement of &a war, that while it declared lawsi! prize all English property found in neutral vessels, the (hipping of It* United States was excepted from this declaration. But the condad of the English, in seizing the American ships laden with provision on French account, had complied the convention, through mere tseceffity, to rescind this act of indigence and to use the right of retaliation, by seizing English property in American vessels.
It was farther stated by Mr. Adet, that American sailors were pressed i.'u the service of the English, vvith<et reclamations being made, or wen marks of disapprobation being anifested on the part of the Anier .an government. These and other
acts of partiality, amply justified the measures taken by the directory. When the United States thought proper to enforce the respect due to their flag by the English, the French would also treat it with the same degree of respect.
These remonstrances of the French resident were answered by stating, to him, that according to the terms of the treaty of 177S, neutral property had been declared secure in American vessels: but that no such stipulations were contained in the present treaty between England and America. But the propriety os this answer was pronounced inadmissible by the French. It was absurd, they said, that any state should assent to the continuance of a treaty, when they found it was to be converted into an instrument of the deepest injury to their interests. 'For the Americans M insist on the validity of such a treaty was an insult to the understanding of the French, to which it could not be expected they were cither so unwise, or so pusillanimous, to submit; nor could the Americans reconcile to any principle of justice, or of honour, the breach of that article in the treaty with France, by which they had bound themselves to guarantee the French colonies, in the West Indies, against the attempts of the F.nglilh.
The reciprocal jealousies excited bv thele various transactions were greatly heightened by the motives which were understood in France to have influenced the recall of Mr. Monroe from his embafly, and the nomination of Mr. Pinkney in his stead. These were the reputed partiality of the one to the French, and the contrary disposition os the other. When the former took leave of the directory, they did liot omit
this this opportunity of declaring their sentiment1! on the situation of assairs between France and America. They assured him, that whatever difference? had arisen between the ruling powers osboth countries, the French still retained their esteem for the people of the United>Provinces, of whose warmth and good will to the republic os France they were thoroughly convinced, as well as of their disinclination to coincide with the measures adopted by their government. They were not less careful in testifying their highest regard for his personal merit, and their warmest gratitude for the attachment he had unvariably displayed to the cause of liberty and the prosperity os France.
Such, however, was their resentment os (he connection between the
English and the American governments, that they determined to gratify it, by treating the American minister with rudeness, if not will, indignity. Not satisfied with having denied him the assumption of that character, they would not suffer him to remain at Paris as a private one. Herein they were, by many of their own people, severely censured, as having, without necessity, affronted an individual, come lo them on a respectable mission, and widened thereby the breach between them and the state which he represented. Prudence, it was said, ought to have enjoined a cohtrarv behaviour. They should have sought to have kept the door os reconciliation open, instead of striving to fliut it in this arrogant and contemptuous manner.