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humiliation, a loan was also demanded-a masked loan of more than twenty millions of dollars-a sum equal to all the spoliations of France on the American commerce, not to be applied to the payment of, nor as an indemnity for those spoliations, but to the immediate use of France. This being acceded to, a mode, it was intimated, might perhaps be adjusted for the liquidation of the claims of the merchants to be made at some future period. But until a treaty should be concluded, and which, from the distance of the countries, would require the lapse of much time, the depredations were to be unrestrained.
In addition to this loan, thirty-two millions of Dutch "Inscriptions," nearly thirteen millions of dollars, were to be purchased at par, and the ability of the Batavian Republic to redeem them was to be looked to. These "Inscriptions" were already depreciated one-half their nominal value, would probably become valueless, and thus, under this veil, a further and enormous contribution was to be extorted. "We must have money,-a great deal of money;" and then "Talleyrand trusted, that by his influence with the Directory he could prevail on the Government to receive them." Unless they acquiesced in this extortion, the Envoys were informed they might remain in Paris six months without advancing a step.
In a subsequent conversation between the French Minister and one of the Envoys, another form was given to the propositions. The United States were to purchase at par sixteen millions of "Inscriptions," and to promise further aid when in their power. This being done, measures of indemnity for the captures were to be taken. This promise of aid was to become the pretext for withholding this indemnity, and would have embarked the United States as an associate in the war.
An interview was next held with Gerry alone, who was informed, that Talleyrand had expected to see the several envoys often in their private capacities. The same views were disclosed to him, by that minister. When apprised by Gerry, that they had no power to make a loan, but would send one of their number home for instructions, provided the other objects of the negotiations could be discussed and adjusted, he was told that this matter about the money must be settled directly, without sending to America; and, if the difficulty as to the speech was disposed of, the application for the loan would then go to the United States. The bribe was to be in hand. The loan in promise. They were again approached by an agent, were told, if they would pay, "by way of fees,” the required douceur, they would be permitted by the Directory to remain in Paris unaccredited, until one of them proceeded to the United States to consult as to the loan. But the American property was not to be released meanwhile, nor the depredations to cease.
The tone of the Directory rose with the rising fortunes of their arms. These insulting demands not being acceded to, the envoys were informed, that the Directory were becoming impatient, and would take a decided course with regard to America, if they could not soften them; that "they did not speak to the point.' "IT IS MONEY-it is expected you will offer MONEY." swered, that they had spoken very explicitly. no," it was replied, "you have not. What is your answer?" They rejoined, it is "No, no. Not a sixpence."
These attempted extortions were repeated at various times. To induce acquiescence, the attention of the envoys was called to the situation of the United States, and
to "the force France was capable of bringing to bear" upon them. They were reminded, that the FATE of VENICE was one which might befall the United States. "Perhaps," it was said, “you believe that in returning and exposing to your countrymen the unreasonableness of the demands of this government, you will unite them in their resistance to those demands. You are mistaken-You ought to know that the diplomatic skill of France, and the means she possesses in your country, are sufficient to enable her, with THE FRENCH PARTY IN AMERICA, to throw the blame which will attend the rupture on the Federalists, as you term yourselves, but on the British party, as France terms you, and you may assure yourselves this will be done." * Threats of ravaging the American coasts followed!
That such things were permitted to be repeated, fills a dark page in the history of this country. Yet two of these Envoys were men of the highest tone of feeling. Pinckney and Marshall-wise men and patriots-men whose lives were all a course of honorable distinction. What must have been their conviction of the state of public opinion at home, thus to compel them to brook such gross indignities to their country?
The disclosure of these aggravated insults-the manly language of the President-Hamilton's ardent and well
On the 12th November, 1796. Soon after his return to France, Talleyrand, writing to Hamilton to solicit his professional services, observed-"On ma beaucoup questioné sur l'Amerique au moment du mon arrivé, j'ái respondu, comme J'y le devois, et en des termes qui, je crois, vous auroient convenu. Je n'ai pas manqué surtout de dire, que je ne croyais point a l'eloignment des Americaines pour les François, quand meme cet eloignment existeroit, il m'y auroit rien de plus naturel d'apres la conduite folle et audacieuse des agents de la France qui sétoient toujours montrés l'ennemis de votre gouvernement."
timed publications broke the infatuation of the people. The pride of the nation was aroused. From every hill and from every plain-from every mountain side and every lowly valley, the cry was heard the thrilling cry, "Millions for defence-not a cent for tribute."
HAMILTON's heart beat responsive to the throbbings of the nation's pulse. Towards him every eye was directed. He stood like Demosthenes arousing the Athenians against the craft of Philip;-that "all Greece-all the Barbarian world was too narrow for his ambition, who either ruled universally as a conqueror, or governed as a protector;" and exposing the arts of the venal pensioners of Macedon, "that he might be at liberty to carry on the war against Athens, while she made no war on him."
Wherever energy or counsel were required, he was called for. A leading member of Congress wrote him, "Could any thing prevail on you to take the War department? Reflect on the importance of the station at this moment. Consider how much more important a war minister is than a General, and how much more difficult to be found."* Governor Jay announced to him his intention to send him a commission to represent New York in the Senate of the United States. "If, after well considering the subject," Jay remarked, "you should decline an appointment, be so good as to consult with some of our most judicious friends, and advise me as to the person most proper to appoint, and at the same time likely
R. G. Harper to Hamilton, April 27, 1798.