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The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History - 02539 (Page 5)

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The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History - 02539
In the reverse of his fortune, when defeated both in Italy & on the Rhine, in danger of
losing Holland, before the victory of Massina had changd the face of the last campaign, & before
Russia had receded from the coalition against her, the percent negotiation was resolved on.
During its pendency the state [10] of the war has changed, but the conduct of the United States
sustains no alteration. Our terms remain the same. We still pursue peace. We will embrace it if it
can be obtained without violating our national honor or our national faith, but we will reject,
without hesitation, all propositions which may compromise the one or the other.
I have thought it not entirely useless to notice thus briefly, the relative situation of the
belligerent powers, at the several & was when important measures have been adopted by the
American government, because the review will mark, unequivocally, the character of that
government, & how how steadily it pursues its system, without regarding the dangers from the
one side or the other, to which the pursuit may be exposed.
The present negotiation with France is a part of this system, & ought therefore to excite
in Britain, no feeling, unfriendly to the United States.
Perhaps the apprehension that an erroneous estimate may have been made in the british
cabinet, of the views & intentions of this government, may be unfounded. If so, it will of course
be unnecessary to attach pre[11]judices which do not exist. If, however, such prejudices do exist,
you will, bring a plain & candid representation of the truth, endeavor to remove them.
The way being this smoothd for the reception of our complaints, the peace & interests of
the nation require, that they shoud be, temperately but very seriously, enforced.
These complaints are occasiond by the conduct of the british government through its
agents, towards our commerce & our seamen.
The depredations on our commerce have of late been so considerable, as [illegible] to
give some countenance to the opinion, that orders have been receivd to capture every american
vessel bound to an enemy port. It cannot be difficult for you to conjecture the effect of such a
In your correspondence with my predecessor I perceive that these subjects have been
repeatedly taken [of] & that, in your several representations to the ministers of his britannic
Majesty, you have done ample justice to your country.
I am directed by the President to express to you his wish that, unless this business be in a
train for [12] satisfactory adjustment, you once more call the very serious attention of the british

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