Adams Papers

From John Quincy Adams to Timothy Pickering, 13 July 1798

Berlin 13 July 1798


On the 5th: instt: I had a<n> private audience of the king and delivered to him my credential Letter, which he received with the strongest assurances of satisfaction and his friendly disposition towards the United States.—In presenting the Letter, I took notice agreeable to your orders, in the usual manner of the decease of the late king and of the accession of his present Majesty to the throne, and in his answer he expressed his sensibility at this mark of attention from the American Government.

At the same hour, he gave a similar audience to the citizen Sieyes, from Envoy Extraordinary from the french Republic, to a Minister from the Elector of Bavaria, and to M de Maisonneuve, as Minister from Malta, all of whom had been waiting in like manner as myself, a longer or shorter time—At the moment when the last was thus received, the Government which sent him was no more—You will find by the public prints that on the 12th: of last month the grand master and island of Malta capitulated to the french force under the command of General Buonaparte.

On the 11th: I delivered to Count Finckenstein, the first Minister in the department of foreign affairs a memorial of which I herewith enclose a translation—I would send at the same time a copy of the original in french, but I do not think it would be prudent to send it uncyphered, and I have no french cypher with you.—I presume you will not judge it material.—I hope you will find it exactly conformable to your instructions and intentions—The proposal for abandoning the principle of making free ships cover enemy’s property, I have repeatedly informed you will not be acceptable: still less will that of a large list of contraband especially comprehending many of the most material articles of Prussian exports.—I have said however all that occurred to me as calculated to shew that these would be but equitable alterations.

If these proposals should be accepted, I have mentioned the necessity of some additional articles, designating the papers that shall be deemed necessary to prove the neutrality of vessels and their cargoes, and to restrain abuses by the armed vessels of the belligerent power<s>. The former Treaty mentions the necessity of Passports, but leaves their forms unsettled.

I proposed an alteration of the 19th: article, which appeared to me necessary to render it conformable to the 25th: article of our Treaty with Great Britain, and a modification of the 20th: which might otherwise be liable to a collision with the guarantee in our Treaty of Alliance with France—Although this Treaty has in numberless instances been violated by the french Government, as it has not been declared by our Government formally dissolved, but as they have on the contrary invariably respected and observed it, I thought the stipulation deserved attention.

The 25th: article referred to a future arrangement at the time when Consuls should be named.—As this nomination had taken place, and no arrangement was made, an alteration of the article became necessary—I found in our Treaty with Spain a precedent for what I proposed, and I believe it is what on our part is conceded alike to all foreign consuls, by Law.

On the 11th: in the Evening, I received your dispatches, as follow. Quadruplicate of N. 3. Triplicate of N. 4. Duplicate of N . 5. Original N. 6—Private letter of 26. May. enclosure of 28. May with two letters from Mr: Paleski.—A letter from the President to the king, with a copy of it.—A commission, instructions &c for Mr: Lutze—pamphlets, and newspapers to 26. May.—The letters for the king, I delivered yesterday to Count Finckenstein, and that for Mr: Struensee to himself—I shall pay immediate attention to your orders, and write you again concerning them as soon as possible.

The french Directory have excluded all American vessels from the Port of Havre—They have also passed an arrêté ordering all letters found on board of either enemy or neutral vessels captured, to be sent to the Minister of Marine and Colonies who is to lay their contents before them—It is what they had already done with some dispatches for Mr: Murray—Mr: Gerry was on the 29th: ulto: still at Paris.

MHi: Adams Papers.

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