The vexations and spoliation understood to have been committed on our vessels and commerce by the cruisers and officers of some of the belligerent powers appear to require attention. The proofs of these, however, not having been brought forward, the descriptions of citizens supposed to have suffered were notified that, on furnishing them to the Executive, due measures would be taken to obtain redress of the past and more effectual provisions against the future. Should such documents be furnished, proper representations will be made thereon, with a just reliance on a redress proportioned to the exigency of the case.
The British Government having undertaken, by orders to the commanders of their armed vessels, to restrain generally our commerce in corn and other provisions to their own ports and those of their friends, the instructions now communicated were immediately forwarded to our minister at that Court. In the meantime some discussions on the subject took place between him and them. These are also laid before you, and I may expect to learn the result of his special instructions in time to make it known to the Legislature during their present session.
Very early after the arrival of a British minister here mutual explanations on the inexecution of the treaty of peace were entered into with that minister. These are now laid before you for your information.
On the subjects of mutual interest between this country and Spain negotiations and conferences are now depending. The public good requiring that the present state of these should be made known to the Legislature in confidence only, they shall be the subject of a separate and subsequent communication.
UNITED STATES, December 16, 1793.
Gentlemen of the Senate and of the House of Representatives:
The situation of affairs in Europe in the course of the year 1790 having rendered it possible that a moment might arrive favorable for the arrangement of our unsettled matters with Spain, it was thought proper to prepare our representative at that Court to avail us of it. A confidential person was therefore dispatched to be the bearer of instructions to him, and to supply, by verbal communications, any additional information of which he might find himself in need. The Government of France was at the same time applied to for its aid and influence in this negotiation. Events, however, took a turn which did not present the occasion hoped for.
About the close of the ensuing year I was informed through the representatives of Spain here that their Government would be willing to renew at Madrid the former conferences on these subjects. Though the transfer of scene was not what would have been desired, yet I did not think it important enough to reject the proposition, and therefore, with the advice and consent of the Senate, I appointed commissioners plenipotentiary for negotiating and concluding a treaty with that country on the several subjects of boundary, navigation, and commerce, and gave them the instructions now communicated. Before these negotiations, however, could be got into train the new troubles which had arisen in Europe had produced new combinations among the powers there, the effects of which are but too visible in the proceedings now laid before you.