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John Hall, in his
diary ("Trenton, 20 April, 1787") relates that Paine told
him of Dr. Franklin, whom he (Paine) had just visited in
Philadelphia, and the Treaty he, the Doctor, made with the
late King of Prussia by adding an article that, should war
ever break out, Commerce should be free. The Doctor said he
showed it to Vergennes, who said it met his idea, and was
such as he would make even with England. In his Address to
the People of France, 1797 (see p. 366), Paine closes with a
suggestion on the subject, and a year later (September 30,
1798), when events were in a critical condition, he sent
nine articles of his proposed _Pacte Maritime_ to
Talleyrand, newly appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs. The
letters that passed are here taken from the originals (State
Archives, Paris, États Unis, vol. 48).


"Rue Theatre française, No. 4, 9 Vendemaire, 6 year.

"Citizen Minister: I promised you some observations on the state of
things between France and America. I divide the case into two parts.
First, with respect to some Method that shall effectually put an end to
all interruptions of the American Commerce. Secondly, with respect to
the settlement for the captures that have been made on that Commerce.

"As to the first case (the interruption of the American Commerce
by France) it has foundation in the British Treaty, and it is the
continuance of that treaty that renders the remedy difficult. Besides,
the American administration has blundered so much in the business of
treaty-making, that it is probable it will blunder again in making
another with France. There is, however, one method left, and there is
but one that I can see, that will be effectual. It is a _non-importation
Convention; that America agrees not to import from any Nation in Europe
who shall interrupt her Commerce on the seas, any goods, wares, or
merchandize whatever, and that all her ports shall be shut against
the Nation that gives the offence_. This will draw America out of her
difficulties with respect to her treaty with England.

"But it will be far better if this non-importation convention were to
be a general convention of Nations acting as a Whole. It would give a
better protection to Neutral Commerce than the armed neutrality could
do. I would rather be a Neutral Nation under the protection of such a
Convention, which costs nothing to make it, than be under the protection
of a navy equal to that of Great Britain. France should be the patron of
such a Convention and sign it. It would be giving both her consent and
her protection to the Rights of Neutral Nations. If England refuse to
sign it she will nevertheless be obliged to respect it, or lose all her
Commerce.

"I enclose you a plan I drew up about four months ago, when there was
expectation that Mr. Madison would come to France. It has lain by me
ever since.

"The second part, that of settlement for the captures, I will make the
subject of a future correspondence. Salut et respect."


Talleyrand's Reply ("Foreign Relations, 15 Vendemaire An. 6," Oct.
6, 1797): "I have the honor to return you, Citizen, with very sincere
thanks, your Letter to General Washington which you have had the
goodness to show me.

"I have received the letter which you have taken the trouble to write
me, the 9th of this month. I need not assure you of the appreciation
with which I shall receive the further indications you promise on the
means of terminating in a durable manner the differences which must
excite your interest as a patriot and as a Republican. Animated by
such a principle your ideas cannot fail to throw valuable light on the
discussion you open, and which should have for its object to reunite the
two Republics in whose alienation the enemies of liberty triumph."

Paine's plan made a good impression in France--He writes to Jefferson,
October 6, 1800, that the Consul Le Brun, at an entertainment given to
the American envoys, gave for his toast: "À l'union de 1' Amérique avec
les Puissances du Nord pour faire respecter la liberté des mers."

The malignant mind, like the jaundiced eye, sees everything through a
false medium of its own creating. The light of heaven appears stained
with yellow to the distempered sight of the one, and the fairest actions
have the form of crimes in the venomed imagination of the other.

For seven months, both before and after my return to America in October
last, the apostate papers styling themselves "Federal" were filled with
paragraphs and Essays respecting a letter from Mr. Jefferson to me at
Paris; and though none of them knew the contents of the letter, nor the
occasion of writing it, malignity taught them to suppose it, and the
lying tongue of injustice lent them its aid.

That the public may no longer be imposed upon by Federal apostacy, I
will now publish the Letter, and the occasion of its being written.

The Treaty negociated in England by John Jay, and ratified by the
Washington Administration, had so disgracefully surrendered the right
and freedom of the American flag, that all the Commerce of the
United States on the Ocean became exposed to capture, and suffered in
consequence of it. The duration of the Treaty was limited to two years
after the war; and consequently America could not, during that period,
relieve herself from the Chains which the Treaty had fixed upon her.
This being the case, the only relief that could come must arise out of
something originating in Europe, that would, in its consequences, extend
to America. It had long been my opinion that Commerce contained within
itself the means of its own protection; but as the time for bringing
forward any new system is not always happening, it is necessary to watch
its approach, and lay hold of it before it passes away.

As soon as the late Emperor Paul of Russia abandoned his coalition with
England and become a Neutral Power, this Crisis of time, and also of
circumstances, was then arriving; and I employed it in arranging a plan
for the protection of the Commerce of Neutral Nations during War,
that might, in its operation and consequences, relieve the Commerce of
America. The Plan, with the pieces accompanying it, consisted of
about forty pages. The Citizen Bonneville, with whom I lived in Paris,
translated it into French; Mr. Skipwith, the American Consul, Joel
Barlow, and myself, had the translation printed and distributed as
a present to the Foreign Ministers of all the Neutral Nations then
resident in Paris. This was in the summer of 1800.

It was entitled Maritime Compact (in French _Pacte Maritime_), The plan,
exclusive of the pieces that accompanied it, consisted of the following
Preamble and Articles.


MARITIME COMPACT.

Being an Unarmed Association of Nations for the protection of the Rights
and Commerce of Nations that shall be neutral in time of War.

Whereas, the Vexations and Injuries to which the Rights and Commerce of
Neutral Nations have been, and continue to be, exposed during the time
of maritime War, render it necessary to establish a law of Nations for
the purpose of putting an end to such vexations and Injuries, and to
guarantee to the Neutral Nations the exercise of their just Rights,

We, therefore, the undersigned Powers, form ourselves into an
Association, and establish the following as a Law of Nations on the
Seas.

ARTICLE THE FIRST. Definition of the Rights of neutral Nations.

The Rights of Nations, such as are exercised by them in their
intercourse with each other in time of Peace, are, and of right ought to
be, the Rights of Neutral Nations at all times; because,

First, those Rights not having been abandoned by them, remain with them.

Secondly, because those Rights cannot become forfeited or void, in
consequence of War breaking out between two or more other Nations.

A War of Nation against Nation being exclusively the act of the Nations
that make the War, and not the act of the Neutral Nations, cannot,
whether considered in itself or in its consequences, destroy or diminish
the Rights of the Nations remaining in Peace.


ARTICLE THE SECOND.

The Ships and Vessels of Nations that rest neuter and at Peace with the
World during a War with other Nations, have a Right to navigate freely
on the Seas as they navigated before that War broke out, and to proceed
to and enter the Port or Ports of any of the Belligerent Powers, _with
the consent of that Power_, without being seized, searched, visited, or
any ways interrupted, by the Nation or Nations with which that Nation is
at War.


ARTICLE THE THIRD.

For the Conservation of the aforesaid Rights, We, the undersigned
Powers, engaging to each other our Sacred Faith and Honour, declare,

That if any Belligerent Power shall seize, search, visit, or any ways
interrupt any Ship or Vessel belonging to the Citizens or Subjects of
any of the Powers composing this Association, then each and all of the
said undersigned Powers will cease to import, and will not permit to
be imported into the Ports or Dominions of any of the said undersigned
Powers, in any Ship or Vessel whatever, any Goods, wares, or
Merchandize, produced or manufactured in, or exported from, the
Dominions of the Power so offending against the Association hereby
established and Proclaimed.


ARTICLE THE FOURTH.

That all the Ports appertaining to any and all of the Powers composing
this Association shall be shut against the Flag of the offending Nation.


ARTICLE THE FIFTH.

That no remittance or payment in Money, Merchandize, or Bills of
Exchange, shall be made by any of the Citizens, or Subjects, of any of
the Powers composing this Association, to the Citizens or Subjects of
the offending Nation, for the Term of one year, or until reparation
be made. The reparation to be ---- times the amount of the damages
sustained.


ARTICLE THE SIXTH.

If any Ship or Vessel appertaining to any of the Citizens or Subjects of
any of the Powers composing this Association shall be seized, searched,
visited, or interrupted, by any Belligerent Nation, or be forcibly
prevented entering the Port of her destination, or be seized, searched,
visited, or interrupted, in coming out of such Port, or be forcibly
prevented from proceeding to any new destination, or be insulted or
visited by any Agent from on board any Vessel of any Belligerent Power,
the Government or Executive Power of the Nation to which the Ship or
Vessel so seized, searched, visited, or interrupted belongs, shall, on
evidence of the fact, make public Proclamation of the same, and send
a Copy thereof to the Government, or Executive, of each of the Powers
composing this Association, who shall publish the same in all the extent
of his Dominions, together with a Declaration, that at the expiration
of ---- days after publication, the penal articles of this Association
shall be put in execution against the offending Nation.


ARTICLE THE SEVENTH.

If reparation be not made within the space of one year, the said
Proclamation shall be renewed for one year more, and so on.


ARTICLE THE EIGHTH.

The Association chooses for itself a Flag to be carried at the Mast-head
conjointly with the National Flag of each Nation composing this
Association.

The Flag of the Association shall be composed of the same colors as
compose the Rainbow, and arranged in the same order as they appear in
that Phenomenon.


ARTICLE THE NINTH.

And whereas, it may happen that one or more of the Nations composing
this Association may be, at the time of forming it, engaged in War or
become so in future, in that case, the Ships and Vessels of such Nation
shall carry the Flag of the Association bound round the Mast, to denote
that the Nation to which she belongs is a Member of the Association and
a respecter of its Laws.

N.



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