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the overt'ırow of the revolution government, had commenced with appearances of ultimate success, particularly in Italy, where Suwarrow had gained great victories; and it was not regarded as a judicious measure to send an extraordinary mission to a government apparently on the edge of destruction.
But none of these predictions or expectations were accomplished. The last coalition of that century was more certainly and fatally annihilated than any other had been; and France not only appeared, but was in reality, more formidable than at any previous period of the revolution. In the mean time, a great change had taken place in the government of that country, the last the world was destined to see before the restoration of the Bourbons in 1814. The Directory was overthrown in November '99, and the consular government established. This was, in reality, the commencement of the reign of Napoleon Bonaparte.
The envoys were received by the French government with suitable respect, and three commissioners immediately appointed to treat with them. A convention was signed on the 30th September, 1800; it was ratified, with an exception, by the United States, February 18th, 1801, and the ratification accepted by the First Consul July 31, 1801.* This excep
* This convention consists of 27 articles. It was signed for America by Messrs. Ellsworth, Davie, and Murray, and for France by Joseph Bonaparte, C. P. C. Fleurieu, and Roederer. By the 3d article, the captured public ships were restored ; and by the 4th, all captured property, not finally condemned. No change, as it respects commerce, the right of devise, donation, &c. the time for settling accounts and withdrawing effects in the event of a war, was made in the treaty of '78. By the 9th article, individual debts, and all moneys in public stocks or in banks were exempted from confiscation in time of
Commercial agents to be (10th art.) reciprocally appointed. Commerce, on the footing of the most favoured nations—free trade with the ports of an enemy-specification of contrabands-free ships, free goods-goods on board an enemy's ship after a knowledge of the war, and right of search; with the further condition that the “neutral shall in no case be obliged to go on board the examining vessel,” were tion consisted in expunging the 2d article, and inserting the following :-“It is agreed that the present convention shall be in force for the term of eight years from the time of the ex
arranged as in the treaty of '78. Neither party was allowed to interfere in the fisheries of the other, and the ratifications were agreed to be exchanged within six months. The other provisions of this treaty, for the most part formal, were substantially a repetition of the first
a treaty. Those that are new, or that introduce important modifications, we shall extract. They are three only; they relate to blockades -convoys--and the treatment of the master, &c. of a vessel taken.
“And whereas it frequently happens, that vessels sail for a port or place belonging to an enemy, without knowing that the same is either besieged, blockaded or invested, it is agreed, that every vessel so circumstanced may be turned away from such port or place; but she shall not be detained, nor any part of her cargo, if not contraband, be confiscated, unless, after notice of such blockade or investment, she shall again attempt to enter; but she shall be permitted to go to any other port or place she shall think proper. Nor shall any vessel of either, that may have entered into such port or place before the same was actually besieged, blockaded or invested by the other, be restrained from quitting such place with her cargo, nor is found therein after the reduction and surrender of such place, shall such vessel or her cargo be liable to confiscation, but they shall be restored to the owners thereof.
“ Art. 19. It is expressly agreed by the contracting parties, that the stipulations above mentioned, relative to the conduct to be observed on the sea by the cruisers of the belligerent party towards the ships of the neutral party, shall be applied only to ships sailing without convoy ; and when the said ships shall be convoyed, it being the intention of the parties to observe all the regard due to the protection of the flag displayed by public ships, it shall not be lawful to visit them: but the verbal declaration of the commander of the convoy, that the ships he convoys belong to the nation whose flag be carries, and that they have no contraband goods on board, shall be considered by the respective cruisers as fully sufficient: the two parties reciprocally engaging not to admit under the protection of their convoys, ships which shall carry contraband goods destined to an enemy.
“ Art. 21. And that proper care may be taken of the vessel and cargo, and embezzlement prevented, it is agreed, that it shall not be law. ful to remove the master, commander, or supercargo of any captured
change of the ratifications.” The expunging of this section removed one of the greatest embarrassments to which the government was ever exposed, -we mean the mutual guarantee of the treaty of '78. In July '98, the government, justly indignant at the proceedings of France, abrogated the treaty of '78. We need not remark that the United States could not divest itself of obligations, termed in the civil law symallagmatic; for that instrument was a contract, which could be dissolved only by the consent of both parties, or by the act of
Neither of these modes had been applied to the treaty of '78. Hostile measures had been adopted by the Executive of the United States, but they were measures only of defence. Under the constitution, the President cannot declare a war. The French commissioners were, therefore, right in requiring that the treaty of '78 should be renewed, or modified, or abrogated by mutual consent. It could not be expected they should acknowledge the validity of the act of the American Congress of July '98. On the other hand, the American commissioners could not depart from their instructions, or refuse obedience to the law we have just mentioned. They, therefore, considered the treaty no longer in existence. This circumstance gave rise to another difficulty. The parties could not agree upon the amount of indemnity, demanded by the United States for property, illegally taken, because the French plenipotentiaries could only consent to regulate this amount by the stipulations of the treaty of '78. In the 2d
ship from on board thereof, either during the time the ship may be at sea after her capture, or pending the proceedings against her, or her cargo, or any thing relative thereto. And in all cases where a vessel of the citizens of either party shall be captured, or seized, and held for adjudication, her officers, passengers, and crew, shall be hospitably treated. They shall not be imprisoned or deprived of any part of their wearing apparel, nor of the possession and use of their money, not exceeding for the captain, supercargo, and mate, five hundred dollars each, and for the sailors and passengers, one hundred dollars each."
article, the question of indemnities was referred to a subsequent negotiation; and though the provisions of the treaties of '78 were modified by the convention, no opinion was expressed upon the claim of right. We have, already, said that the United States required that this article should be expunged. The article, in itself, was perfectly harmless as it respected the American government; for it did not contain a positive stipulation of any kind; but the government did not choose any doubt should remain of the firm resolution it had adopted, of never consenting to the renewal of the treaty of '78. The first opportunity was taken of getting rid of a most embarrassing obligation, it was never in a condition to fulfil. We can, in this manner, account for the readiness with which the First Consul accepted the modification of the President. It is not a common proceeding in diplomacy; but, in reality, the guarantee had become altogether illusory. France could never expect to derive any benefit from it. The First Consul coupled his acceptance of the modification with this condition :“provided that by this retrenchment the two states renounce the respective pretensions which are the object of the said article ;" that is, the Americans renounced their claims for indemnities, and the French the fulfilment of the guarantee. The French government gave public notice in this manner, that they would hereafter pay no attention to the demands of Americans for property, illegally taken by their cruisers previous to the treaty. The treaty was finally ratified by the United States, February 18, 1801, and by France, by the Corps Legislatif, in December of the same year. This delay in the ratification by France was supposed to proceed from a wish to observe the effect produced in the United States by the additional clause.
This convention was in every respect favourable to the United States. The time was very auspicious for negotiation. Napoleon, at his first accession to the consulate, sought for peace with all the world. France truly needed it. She was