« AnteriorContinuar »
Their views being thus sufficiently ascertained, I have directed Mr. Morris to discontinue his communications with them.
TO THE SENATE; RELATIVE TO SPAIN AND PORTUGAL.
FEBRUARY 18TH, 1791.
The aspect of affairs in Europe during the last summer, and especially between Spain and England, gave reason to expect a favorable occasion for pressing to accommodation the unsettled matters between them and us. Mr. Carmichael, our chargé d'affaires at Madrid, having been long absent from his country, and great changes having taken place in our circumstances and sentiments during that interval, it was thought expedient to send some person in a private character, fully acquainted with the present state of things here, to be the bearer of written and confidential instructions to him, and at the same time to possess him, in full and frequent conversations, of all those details of facts and topics of argument, which could not be conveyed in writing, but which would be necessary to enable him to meet the reasonings of that court with advantage. Colonel David Humphreys was therefore sent for these purposes.
An additional motive for this confidential mission arose in the same quarter. The court of Lisbon had, on several occasions, made the most amicable advances for cultivating friendship and intercourse with the United States. The exchange of a diplomatic character had been informally, but repeatedly, suggested on their
part. It was our interest to meet this nation in its friendly dispositions, and to concur in the exchange proposed. But my wish was at the same time, that the character to be exchanged should be of the lowest and most economical grade. To this it was known, that certain rules of long standing at that court would produce obstacles. Colonel Humphreys was charged with despatches to the prime minister of Portugal, and with instructions to endeavour to arrange this to our views. It happened, however, that, previous to his arrival at Lisbon, the Queen had appointed a minister resident to the United States. This embarrassment seems to have rendered the difficulty completely insurmountable. The minister of that court, in his conferences with Colonel Humphreys, professing every wish to accommodate, yet expresses his regrets that circumstances do not permit them to concur in the grade of chargé d'affaires ; a grade of little privilege or respectability by the rules of their court, and held in so low estimation with them, that no proper character would accept it to go abroad. In a letter to the Secretary of State he expresses the same sentiments, and announces the appointment on their part of a minister resident to the United States, and the pleasure with which the Queen will receive one from us at her court. A copy of his letter, and also of Colonel Humphreys', giving the details of this transaction, will be delivered to you.
On consideration of all circumstances, I have determined to accede to the desire of the court of Lisbon in the article of grade. I am aware that the consequences will not end here, and that this is not the only instance in which a like change may be pressed. But, should it be necessary to yield elsewhere also, I shall think it a less evil than to disgust a
government so friendly and so interesting to us, as that of Portugal. I do not mean that the change of grade shall render the mission more expensive.
I have therefore nominated David Humphreys minister resident from the United States to her Most Faithful Majesty, the Queen of Portugal.
TO BOTH HOUSES OF CONGRESS; ON THE ACCEPTANCE OF THE CONSTITUTION BY THE KING OF FRANCE.
MARCH 5TH, 1792.
Knowing the friendly interest you take in whatever may promote the happiness and prosperity of the French nation, it is with pleasure that I lay before you the translation of a letter which I have received from his Most Christian Majesty, announcing to the United States of America his acceptance of the constitution presented to him by his nation.
TRANSLATION OF A LETTER FROM THE KING OF
FRANCE, OF SEPTEMBER 19TH, 1791.
VERY DEAR, GREAT FRIENDS AND ALLIES, We make it our duty to inform you, that we have accepted the constitution which has been presented to us in the name of the nation, and according to which France will be henceforth governed.
We do not doubt that you take an interest in an event so important to our kingdom and to us; and it is with real pleasure we take this occasion to renew to you assurances of the sincere friendship we bear you. Whereupon we pray God to have you, very dear, great friends and allies, in his just and holy keeping. Written at Paris, the 19th of September, 1791. Your good friend and ally,
TO THE SENATE; TRANSMITTING QUESTIONS
RELATIVE TO ALGIERS.
May 8th, 1792.
If the President of the United States should conclude a convention or treaty with the government of Algiers for the ransom of the thirteen Americans in captivity there, for a sum not exceeding forty thousand dollars, all expenses included, will the Senate approve the same? Or is there any and what greater or lesser sum, which they would fix on as the limit beyond which they would not approve the ransom?
If the President of the United States should conclude a treaty with the government of Algiers, for the establishment of peace with them, at an expense not exceeding twenty-five thousand dollars paid at the signature, and a like sum to be paid annually afterwards during the continuance of the treaty, would the Senate approve the same? Or are there any greater or lesser sums, which they would fix on as the limits beyond which they would not approve of such treaty?
TO BOTH HOUSES OF CONGRESS ; RESPECTING THE
FRENCH MINISTER GENET, AND THE
RELATIONS WITH FRANCE.
DECEMBER 5th, 1793.
As the present situation of the several nations of Europe, and especially of those with which the United States have important relations, cannot but render the state of things between them and us matter of interesting inquiry to the legislature, and may indeed give rise to deliberations, to which they alone are competent, I have thought it my duty to communicate to them certain correspondences which have taken place.
The representative and executive bodies of France have manifested generally a friendly attachment to this country, have given advantages to our commerce and navigation, and have made overtures for placing these advantages on permanent ground; a decree, however, of the National Assembly, subjecting vessels laden with provisions to be carried into their ports, and making enemy goods lawful prize in the vessel of a friend, contrary to our treaty, though revoked at one time as to the United States, has been since extended to their vessels also, as has been recently stated to us. Representations on the subject will be immediately given in charge to our minister there, and the result shall be communicated to the legislature.
It is with extreme concern I have to inform you, that the proceedings of the person, whom they have unfortunately appointed their minister plenipotentiary here, have breathed nothing of the friendly spirit of the nation, which sent him; their tendency, on the contrary, has been to involve us in war abroad, and