From John Marshall
Washington Aug. 23d. 1800
This paper shall be immediately communicated ⟨to the⟩ secretary of the Navy.4
Our dispatches from Paris come no later than the 17th. of may.5 There is in them nothing on which a positive opinion respecting the result of that negotiation can be formd.
Connecting the then state of things with european events which have since happend,6 & with inteligence from America which has since reached them, I shall not be surprizd if the paragraph from St. Sebastians7 shoud be true
With very much respect & esteem I am dear Sir your Obedt.
ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.
1. Letter not found.
2. Wilhelm Anton Lindemann.
3. Although the enclosure has not been found, Marshall is referring to the capture in 1800 of the William and Mary, a Danish schooner, in the waters off Santo Domingo. At the time of the schooner’s capture the United States was supporting the movement led by Francois Dominique Toussaint L’Ouverture to secure independence from France (Rufus King to H, January 21, 1799, notes 5 and 7; Timothy Pickering to H, February 9, 1799). In 1799 Captain Christopher Raymond Perry, who was in command of the United States Frigate General Greene, had been ordered to the Caribbean, and in 1800 he was instructed to capture any French ships leaving Santo Domingo but not to interfere with the ships under the command of Toussaint L’Ouverture (Silas Talbot to Perry, January 18, 1800 [LS, RG 125, Office of the Judge Advocate General [Navy], Proceedings of General Courts-Martial, Courts of Inquiry, and Boards of Investigation, Case #6, National Archives]). On June 28, 1800, the captain of the William and Mary made a formal protest at St. Croix that on March 3, 1800, Perry had detained his vessel off Santo Domingo to allow a barge belonging to Toussaint L’Ouverture to capture the William and Mary. Toussaint L’Ouverture impressed the Danish crew into service on board one of his own vessels, outfitted the Danish schooner as a privateer, and rewarded Perry with a “Quantity of Coffee.” Perry was court-martialed, found guilty of some charges and not guilty of others, and was suspended for three months from his command of the General Greene (MS Minutes, RG 125, Office of the Judge Advocate General [Navy], Proceedings of General Courts-Martial, Courts of Inquiry, and Boards of Investigation, Case #6, National Archives]; Naval Documents, Quasi-War, June 1800–November, 1800, 380, 472–73, 559).
4. Benjamin Stoddert.
5. For the dispatch dated May 17, 1800, from the American peace commissioners in Paris, see ASP description begins American State Papers, Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States (Washington, 1832–1861). description ends , Foreign Relations, II, 325.
6. Marshall is referring to Napoleon’s victory over the Austrian forces at Marengo on June 14, 1800.
7. On August 20, 1800, The [New York] Spectator stated: “Saturday evening arrived the brig Amazon, capt. Niel, in 35 days from St. Sebastians, which place she left the 10th of July. A gentleman who came passenger informs, that four days before he sailed, he received two letters from Bourdeaux, dated the first of July, mentioning the receipt of several letters from Paris, to the following effect.
“that a suspension of the negotiation between our commissioners, and those of France, had actually taken place—in consequence of the French refusing to indemnify us for the vessels captured, unless we would agree to renew the Treaty of 1778, or make one similar to it.” See also The [New York] Spectator, August 23, 1800; Columbian Centinel. [Boston] Massachusetts Federalist, August 23, 1800; [Boston] Massachusetts Mercury, August 29, 1800.
The negotiators in Paris recessed on May 8, 1800, to permit the French ministers to apply to their government for revised instructions in the face of the American refusal to renew the old treaties between the two countries. Joseph Bonaparte, the head of the French mission, met with Napoleon at his headquarters in Italy. On July 6, after both men had returned to Paris, the United States envoys requested a conference with the French ministers “Presuming … that you are now acquainted with the ulterior views of your Government…” The negotiators met on July 11, and the peace talks resumed on July 15. See ASP description begins American State Papers, Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States (Washington, 1832–1861). description ends , Foreign Relations, II, 327–28.