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A letter, which I have just received from the citizen Griffith, informs me that he has been two months in prison, with out any charge whatever being exhibited against him. It i a long time since I solicited the liberty of this citizen, with the persuasion of his innocence, but his long detention induces me to apprehend that I may have been mistaken. I pray you, Sir, to favor me with the cause of his detention, that I may render an account of the same to the United States.
Daily complaints are addressed to me from Bordeaux, where the embargo is still in full force. Some exceptions in favor of those vessels, said to be loaded on account of that re public, have produced the effect, which might have been expected. Some, from a principle of respect for the government, suppose that these are individual speculations made on the general misfortune, in the hope that the markets of the United States, unfurnished in consequence of the embargo, will offer an early and advantageous sale for the cargoes, which have lately been despatched to them. Others insist that the speculations in question are on the account of government, and you may easily conceive the sensations which this idea produces.
However it be, it seems to me necessary on every possible account to remedy the evil as soon as possible. I demand justice for my countrymen from the French Republic, not only from a sense of duty to the United States, but also from regard to France. Be assured, Sir, that your enemies could not mark out for you a course of conduct more to your disadvantage, than that which I have just laid before you.
I have the honor to subjoin to this letter, the copy of a petition sent to me by the American citizen, John Gray. He informs me that on his arrival, on the loth of December, a guard was placed on board his brig, and that a member of the Committee at Subsistence told him, that he would be personally responsible, if any portion of the rice were discharged, even to nourish his own countrymen. He offered the cargo to this Committee, which referred him to the Committee appointed to purchase goods arriving in neutral vessels. This latter committee told him that they were not provided with the powers requisite to grant to any person whatever the conditions set forth in his petitions, and that he must apply to the representatives of the people in this city. These are too much occupied to pay the least attention to his business. He therefore says to me, as I can sell my cargo neither to the nation, nor to individuals, as I am forbidden to distribute it among my countrymen, who are in a state of extreme suffering, let me at least be permitted to depart, and seek commerce and liberty elsewhere.
You will observe, Sir, in the petition of citizen Gray, that he was informed, during his passage, of the state of things at Bordeaux, and that he decided to continue his route, only in the opinion that the news he received was merely a calumny invented by the enemies of France. I have no doubt that this intelligence is now spread abroad in America. Judge then whether it be not of moment to efface as soon as possible the impression it may make. I have the honor to be, &tc.
- Gouverneur Morris
- The Life of Gouverneur Morris With Selections from His Correspondence and Miscellaneous Papers Vol. II., Jared Sparks, 1832