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observations suggested by the conversation I had the ho. be maintained, whatever might be the basis on which it nor of holding with you. I have since seen him, and we should be ultimately arranged. conversed at considerable length on the affair in question. He asked me to call at the Foreign Office, and leave with My remarks appeared to him to be just, and he makes no Baron Deffandis a memorandum of what I had suggested, doubt of the equity of the claims; only he seems to me that he might more maturely reflect on it. In conse. to attach too much importance to the negotiations con- quence of this request, I drew up an informal paper,
of ducted with the Imperial Government by Mr. Barlow, which a copy is evclosed, and, being disappointed in not Mr. Crawford, &c. He thinks that the King's Govern- finding Mr. Deffandis at the Foreign Office, I have, this ment, substituted to the Imperial, is bound to do what the day, communicated it in a private note to the minister, of other would have been bound to do, and no more; and, which a copy is also enclosed. You will perceive that, from the negotiations with the latter, he would infer the in the form of these communications, I have taken every importance of the debt.
precaution required by the usages of diplomacy, to preAlthough this opinion does not seem to me to be alto. vent them from being considered as authorized and bind. gether correct, it is, nevertheless, important to enlighten ing official acts. the commission on the negotiations of that period. They I have not, however, ventured upon this step without a have not yet entered upon the examination of that por- full sense of my personal responsibility in taking it with tion of the documents, and their opinion is, therefore, out the sanction of instructions. The expediency of the not yet formed. But, it appears, they will arrive at a measure, however, appears to me so obvious, and its nedefinitive decision in about ten days.
cessity was so urgent, that I flatter myself i have incurDo you not think, sir, that I might, after having ob- red but little hazard of the President's disapprobation in tained from you the necessary information, see Mr. Du- adopting it. The negotiation had been at a stand for bouzet again, and discuss this point, which, in his opinion, more than two months. All my efforts to put it again in is of primary importance? If such be your opinion, í motion had, as yet, been without effect. An intention had will have the honor of seeing you on Friday or Saturday, been announced of renewing the discussion on the Louito make myself acquainted with the facts.
siana question; which, in the actual state of the feeling on I have the honor to be, &c. &c.
that subject, could not but throw new obstacles in the LUCIEN MECHIN. way. I was thoroughly convinced that, although they
might possibly keep up the forms of a negotiation without
insisting on a previous recognition, on our part, of the Mr. Rives to Mr. Van Buren.
Louisiana claim, they never would consent to pay our re[No. 28.]
Paris, May 20, 1830.
clainations, unless some accommodation should be made,
at the same time, with regard to their claim under the Sir: You will perceive, from my recent despatches, treaty of Louisiana. Time pressed; the Chambers had been that the claim asserted by France under the eighth article dissolved; new elections were to take place the last of of the Louisiana treaty has, for some time past, been im- June and the first of July, and the Chambers were conpending, with a very dubious aspect, over the course of voked for the first of August. the negotiations here. I have had no discussion with the The continuance of the present minister in office, in minister upon the merits of it since that wbich is detailed the event of an unfavorable issue of this appeal to the in despatch No. 23; but it has been, several times, allud- nation, might be very short. Delay, therefore, was aled to by him in such a way (though in very few words, most as bad as a rejection of our claims. It may well be and those very vague) as to make me apprehend that it supposed that, after the heavy responsibility assumed by might yet be made use of to interrupt the negotiations ministers in the enormous expenses of the Algerine er: which had been commenced. The conversation I had pedition, without a previous grant of supplies by the with Baron Deffandis, on the 11th instant, furnished new Chambers, they would feel great reluctance to add to this ground for that apprehension, by announcing the inten- responsibility, by imposing a new debt (arising from the tion of the minister to address me another note on the acknowledgment of our claims) on the nation. In the subject. Fearing that, in the temper which had been plan suggested by me, while it was safe, and even advanmanifested on this point, positions might be taken which tageous for us, I hoped the prime minister would see so would greatly lessen, if not destroy, the chances of an much advantage for France, and for himself, politically, accommodation, and being thoroughly convinced that an in the present crisis, that he would be quickened into a accommodation of some sort or other, in relation to it, more willing and prompt attention to the subject
, and would be inflexibly insisted on, I determined, after the might be induced, without further delay, to bring the nemost deliberate and anxious reflection, to try the effect of gotiation to a practical and favorable conclusion. the suggestion contained in my despatch No. 23.
The proposition suggested by me, instead of being any This I did, in very guarded terms, in the brief inter- sacrifice on our part, would be the acquisition of an absoview I had with the minister on the occasion mentioned in lute advantage to the United States. You will perceire my despatch of the 18th instant. In expostulating with that it has in view the duty imposed on the cheap French him on the inexpediency of a renewed discussion on a wines only, those " imported in casks," as described in question concerning which the two Governments could the act of Congress. As low as the duty often cents the gal
. not agree, and the injustice of blending it with another lon on those wines seems to be, it is yet disproportionably subject wholly foreign in its character and principles, I high, compared with the duties on other wines - Madeira, remarked to him, incidentally, that though the Govern- for example
. Supposing the average price of Madeira ment of the United States (believing the claim of France, wines, in the United States, to be four dollars a gallon, 2 under the eighth article of the Louisiana treaty, wholly specific duty of fifty cents the gallon (which is the pre; destitute of foundation) could not feel any obligation to sent rate of duty on those wines) is equivalent to an ad offer an equivalent for its abandonment, yet, in a spirit valorem of twelve and a half per cent. only. The area of friendly liberality, it might be induced, by a prompt rage price, in France, of such wines as are exported in and satisfactory settlement of existing differences, to casks, is about fifteen cents the gallon. The cost in the grant, in lieu of it, some other commercial advantage, United States would, probably, be double
, or it might as, for example, a reduction of the duty on French be as much as forty cents the gallon. Supposing the laten wines. The suggestion seemed, at once, to gain ter to be the price there, a specific duty of ten cents the his favorable attention, though he intimated that the gallon is equivalent to an ad valorem of twenty-five per ground already taken on the merits of the question must | Cent. A reduction of the duty on this description of
wines, therefore, seems to be but fair and reasonable to- United States to a much higher amount than the annual wards France; while, by introducing more freely among treasury statements of the United States. The solicitude us a pleasant and unintoxicating drink within the reach of the minister, therefore, being already aroused on this of the pecuniary means of almost every class of society, subject, I am the more induced to anticipate a favorable it would have a most beneficial effect on the public mo- effect, from the suggestions contained in the paper just rals; and the increased consumption, arising from the communicated to him. more general use of them, under a system of low duties, The changes in the ministry, announced this morning, would, I doubt not, produce a material increase of re- add not a little to the force of the motives for taking, at
once, some step which may afford a chance of bringing This would be the state of the matter, if the proposed the pending negotiation to a close. Comte de Peyronnet reduction of the duty on French wines in the United and Monsieur Chantelauze, who take the places of Comte States stood alone. But you will perceive that I have Chabrol and Monsieur Courvosier in the ministry, are of connected with it a simultaneous reduction of the duties a much bigher tone of royalist politics than their predeon American cottons in France. In looking over, while cessors, and their names will, undoubtedly, render the at Washington, the files of Mr. Gallatin's correspondence, ministry still more the object of national aversion. Comte I observed in a report of one of the consuls to him, (Mr. de Peyronnet was one of the most obnoxious of the Villele Strobel, I think,) a statement that the cottons of America ministry, which fell before the elections of 1827. Being, were subjected to a higher rate of duty than those of however, a man of talent, and of great boldness, it may some other countries. On my arrival here, my attention be expected that his presence in that department which was early directed to this subject; and the result of the more immediately superintends the elections, may extort information I obtained was, that while the cottons of Tur- from the prudent fears of the voters what could not be key, without distinction of kind, pay a duty of fifteen obtained from their confidence or their affection. francs the one hundred kilos. only, and the long staples
I have the honor to be, of India pay a duty of twenty-five francs, and the short
With great respect, staples of the same country a duty of ten francs the one
Your obedient servant, hundred kilos. only, the long staples of the United States
W. C. RIVES, and of America generally pay as much as forty francs, Hon. MARTIN VAN BUREN, and their short staples as much as twenty francs the one
Secretary of State, Washington. hundred kilos. The reduction and equalization of these duties on our cottons would be an important advantage
(PRIVATE.] gained to the commerce of the United States, and a full
Paris, May 20, 1830. equivalent for any sacrifice which might be supposed to be made in the suggested reduction of the duty on French
MONSIEUR LE Prince: In pursuance of the understandwines, in any possible view, however unfavorable, of that ing with your excellency, I called yesterday at the Fo. measure.
reign Office to leave the enclosed paper with Monsieur I was confirmed the more in my impression of the ad-le Baron Deffandis for you, but had noi the good fortune vantages of this arrangement for the United States, from to see him. I have called again to-day at an earlier hour, having seen that a proposition, emanating from very
to be more sure of finding him in his bureau, and in the high authority on commercial subjects, was before the hope, also, that I might possibly be favored with a short Senate for the gratuitous and unconditional repeal of all had set apart this day in each week for the reception of
interview with yourself, as I had been informed that you duties on foreign wines. My view extended only to a such of the diplomatic corps as have business with you. reasonable reduction in consideration of fair equivalents, and the stipulation, of course, to be limited, in point of Being disappointed in both objects, I have now the honor time, tu a term of some ten or twelve years. I persuade
to transmit the paper in question to you, hoping that the myself that it cannot fail to obtain the approbation of the proof you will see in the nature of its suggestions of a President, whose previous sanction the critical and ur relations between our Governments, will lead to a prompt
sincere desire to prevent any interruption of the friendly gent circumstances of the moment rendered it impossible and satisfactory settlement of the differences which have to await, without losing an opportunity which might not, been so long
pending: perhaps, very soon occur again.
I have the honor to be, with distinguished respect, your What effect the suggestions made will have upon the minister, remains to be seen, though I cannot but hope, excellency’s most obedient and most humble servant, from the manner in which they were received in our per
W, C. RIVES. sonal interview, that it will be decidedly favorable. I
H. E. THE PRINCE DE POLIGxAC, &c. &c. &c. &c. have constantly sought to awaken his attention to the im. portance and value of the commercial relations of France
[PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL.] with the United States, and, at the same time, to intimate In lieu of the privilege claimed by France under the to him, very intelligibly, that the advantages of these re eighth article of the Louisiana treaty, let her obtain from lations were essentially dependent on an early and satis- the United States a stipulation to receive her wines at a factory adjustment of our claims. This view I have been still lower rate of duty. The duty in the United States on enabled to enforce, with particular effect, by putting into the greater part of French wines, which is stated in the his bands a memorial of the merchants of Philadelphia, Petition des Propriétaires des Vignes, &c., of 1828, at presented to Congress in January last, demanding an nine dollars the barique, is now ten cents the gallon, or equalization of the duties on French and India silks, and six dollars the barique. But the United States, in a spirit supporting the application by very persuasive arguments. of liberal accommodation to the feelings and interests of He is fully aware of the value of this interest of the com- the French Government, might be induced, by a prompt merce of France, and manifests a quick sensibility to and satisfactory adjustment of the questions now pending, whatever threatens it with a loss of its present advan- to favor the commerce of French wines by a still further stages. I have, also, derived aid from their own official reduction of duties: to make them, for example, instead documents in impressing these considerations, particularly of six dollars the barique, · dollars the barique. from an important document accompanying the recent Would not a substantial privilege of this sort, obtained report of the Minister of Finance to the King, in which a in all the ports of the United States, for the most importFull view is exhibited of their whole foreign commerce, and ant, and at the same time the most suffering branch of the arhich carries the valuation of their commerce with the national industry of France, be worth infinitely more than
VOL. IX.-I i
the advantage (almost entirely nominal, it is believed) communication received from Prince Polignac, and a copy sought for the French navigation in the ports of Louisiana of my answer also. You will, no doubt, be struck with alone, by a construction which the United States have the coincidence between the course of reasoning adopted uniformly opposed, and must ever oppose, as destitute of in the written communication, and that developed, for the foundation?
first time, in the conversation of Baron Deffandis, which The representations of the vine proprietors to the is detailed in my despatch No. 27. This may serve to exChambers show that their great want, at ihis moment, is plain not only the origin of this communication, but the that of exterior débouchés for their products, among source of the discrepancies which have appeared between which they particularly refer to the market of the United the conversations of the minister, and the notes written in States as an important one. It is believed that the con- his name. I must here remark, in regard to the alleged sumption of French wines in the United States is already. misapprehension about the Louisiana claim, that the minas great, or nearly so, as that of any country in Europe, ister has never, in any conversation with me, asserted that (except France herself,) since the great diminution of the he had understood me as expressing any acquiescence, or consumption of the North of Europe, which is said to have possibility of any acquiescence, on the part of the Gobeen occasioned by the French duties on foreign irons vernment of the United States in the French construction and linens. It is to be remarked, however, that the taste of the Louisiana treaty. for French wines is just beginning to be formed in the You will perceive, however, that, in the attempt to reUnited States. When that taste shall be definitively de- trieve this departure, positions have been taken very far cided in favor of them, as it undoubtedly would be by a beyond any assumed by former ministers. This variance freer and more favorable introduction of them under a I bave thought it important to point out in my answer, 25 system of low duties, the value of that market to the well as to expose the true character of the new positions vignobles of France can be measured only by the extent which have been assumed. Indeed, the tone, as well as of its territory, and the rapid increase of its population. reasoning of this communication, seemed to me to require If, on the other hand, that taste should be now checked a free and unreserved development of the extravagance by an unfavorable state of the commercial or political re- of the pretensions asserted on the part of France, as well lations of the two countries, the habits of using other as a firm vindication of the justice of our demands. While drinks, or the establishment of the vine culture there, I thought this course called for, both by the dignity of the would forever deprive France of that market. It is to be American Government, and the importance of the rights also observed, that the opportunity now afforded to involved, I believed it, at the same time, most expedient France of securing a permanent and valuable débouché in reference to the effect to be produced. for her wines in the United States, is not subject to any In going up, however, fully to the limits of allowable of the objections which, it is presumed, would attend the freedom in diplomatic discussion, I have been careful net acquisition of débouchés in other quarters. It is hardly to transcend them, or to embarrass the Government in any to be supposed that the Governments of the North of Eu- course of measures which may ultimately become neces : rope would consent to a reduction of their duties on sary, by the indiscretion of a basty zeal on my part. The French wines, unless France should, at the same time, task was a delicate as well as important one, and I can consent to reduce her duties on their irons and linens-a only say that the manner of its execution has been the remeasure which would very injuriously affect the manufac- suli of my best reflection, both as to what is right and what ture of those articles in France. On the contrary, the is expedient. suggested arrangement with the United States naturally If the Government of France should adhere to the pos draws to it a measure which would essentially promote the tion now taken, (which I can hardly believe to be serious manufacturing interests of France, in admitting the raw ly intended,) one object, at least, will have been attained material of its cotton fabrics from the United States on in having brought them to a distinct and intelligible ex: the same terms as from other portions of the world. This pression of their determination with regard to our claims. is no favor to the United States. It is a measure which I shall seek an early interview with the minister, in which has been already recognised as being required by the in- I shall speak to him, with great frankness, of the unfaterests of France herself, and the projet of a law to that vorable light in which the new position he has taken must effect has been for some time past, it is understood, in be viewed by the Government of the United States, and readiness to be laid before the Chambers.
shall endeavor to awaken him to all the other consideraIf these suggestions should meet the acceptance which tions connected with the friendship and harmony of the it seems impossible, indeed, to withhold from them, they two countries, which may seem best calculated to have at might be arranged in a short commercial treaty, to be ex- effect. ecuted simultaneously with the plan of indemnities hereto. I have the honor to be, fore submitted, and the one to be dependent on the other.
With great respect, They are submitted for consideration, not from the idea
Your most obedient servant, that France can rightfully expect any equivalent for the
W. C. RIVES abandonment of a pretension believed to be wholly unten- Hon. MARTIN VAN BUREN, able, or for the satisfaction of claims of unquestionable
Secretary of State. justice, but in a spirit of the most friendly liberality; and with a sincere desire to render an act of justice on the part of France, (which all parties here seem agreed must
(TRANSLATION.) sooner or later be performed,) at the same time an act of
Paris, May 20, 1830. interest, a source of permanent advantage to the nation, Sma: The letters which you did me the honor to write and of popularity and credit to the administration which me the 26th and 27th of March, have given me the greal
: concludes it.
est pain, by causing the hope I had conceived of a speedy If these suggestions should not lead to a satisfactory ar- settlement of the differences existing between France a rangement now, it will not accord with the views or poli- the United States to vanish. I find that I misunderstor cy of the United States to grant the same advantage at your words, and that the Government, of which you are any future period.
the representative, persists in rejecting the interpretation
we have never ceased to give to the eighth article of the Mr. Rives to Mr. Van Buren.
treaty of cession of Louisiana. From that moment, I say [No. 29.]
Panis, May 29, 1830. it with regret, the negotiation which had been opened beSir: I have now the honor to enclose you the copy of altween us is indefinitely adjourned. I should confide my.
self to this painful declaration, if some passages of your months of the year 1817, the French Government was abletter, in expressing, on the whole of this subject, views solutely ignorant of the grievance of which it has not which appear to me altogether inaccurate, did not impose ceased since then to demand the redress. At that period upon me the obligation to restore the question to its true it was that the reclamation of a captain of a merchant veslight.
sel aroused our attention for the first time to this subject, You seem to think, sir, that the claims of the United without making us acquainted, however, with the motive States are so well founded in justice and in right, that it or pretext of this denial of justice. Mr. Hyde de Neuis impossible for us even to contest the obligation to satisfy ville, then minister at Washington, was immediately them. Such, however, is very far indeed from being the charged to make inquiries, and to claim the full and entire case, and those claims would be inadmissible if we chose execution of the treaty of 1802. to reason from strict right. In effect, the King's Govern- This statement will suffice, sir, to reduce to its true ment cannot be held responsible, without distinction, for value the inference (in itself sufficiently inconclusive) all the acts of the Governments anterior to the restoration which you seem to draw from the pretended silence of The European Powers formally acknowledged this at a France originally as to the state of things which is now period when, masters of France, they thought proper, the subject of her complaints. for the interest of their subjects, to impose on us very ri- You are acquainted with the discussions which took gorous conditions, and when nothing compelled them to place from 1817 to 1821, on this important question. limit their exactions. They laid it down as a principle, by They were continued so long as France could indulge the the treaties of 1814 and 1815, that, of the credits which faintest hope of their leading to a satisfactory result
. If their subjects had against France, none should be admit- we at last suspended our just reclamations, it was because ted but such as sprung from contracts or other positive it had become evident that the Government of the United obligations. The United States have, therefore, fallen States was, for the moment, well determined to pay no into a serious error, so often as they have cited those regard to them, but we have never thought of abandontreaties as an example and authority in support of their ing a right incontestable in our opinion, and we have alclaims; since it is a fact that none of those claims have the ways reserved the privilege of bringing it forward at a slightest analogy with those which it was the object of the seasonable opportunity. treaties of Paris to guaranty. Consequently, those in- I have said that we considered that right as incontestastruments, far from being against us, afford us occasion to ble. I do not intend to repeat here all the arguments remark, that what victorious enemies did not feel at liber- which Mr. H. de Neuville submitted, at the time, to the ty to exact, a Power which has not ceased to be our ally, Government of the United States. It will suffice for me and treats with us on terms of equality, can have still less to restate that that Government asserts the right to refuse claim to impose.
us the enjoyment, in the ports of Louisiana, of the advanI repeat, that we should be justified by strict right in tages conceded, in 1815, to English navigation in the rejecting the claims of the United States. If we have con- ports of all the United States, for the alleged reason that sented to discuss them, it is from a sentiment of equity, England has obtained them for a valuable consideration and, still more, from a spirit of good will toward the Fede-by reciprocity, and that the United States, in offering to ral Government; but we had a right, at the moment we extend them to us on the same condition, fulfil all their were giving such a proof of our conciliating dispositions, engagements with us. To this we have always replied, to hope that the United States would not refuse us the and we reply again, that we also claim those advantages enjoyment of the advantages stipulated by a formal clause for a valuable consideration; that we have paid for them of a treaty; and when I thought I understood from your in advance by the cession of Louisiana; and that now, to language that those secured to us by the eighth article of grant reciprocity besides, would be to double the price, the treaty of the cession of Louisiana would be no longer which we cannot, and do not choose to do. It has also contested, that, consequently, our navigation would en- been objected that the principles received in the United joy henceforward, in the ports of that province, the foot- States do not allow any State of the confederacy to be ing of the most favored nation, I only saw in that (though placed, in matters of this nature, under regulations from tardy) acknowledgment of an incontestable right, a most which the others are excepted, as we require with respect imperfect compensation for the generous concessions to Louisiana. Not satisfied to oppose to this objection which France showed herself disposed to make. facts which destroyed even its apparent force, we have
But, sir, you now inform me that I was mistaken. You shown that it is moreover inapplicable to us, and that a tell me that the Government of the United States never principle of internal administration cannot prevail against can admit our interpretation of the article in question, un- the stipulations of a treaty. less a total and unexpected change ensue in its disposi- You tell me now, sir, that, according to the commercial tions; and, in support of this assertion, you offer me a sc- system of the United States, no nation enjoys in their ports ries of arguments which I am going to examine. any favor, properly so called; that every privilege or ad
After having stated that the opinions of the United vantage granted to foreign vessels is the reciprocation of States have never varied on the point in question, you say corresponding privileges or advantages granted to the that the eighth article of the treaty of cession of Louisi- vessels of the United States in the ports of those foreign ana was applied, for more than two years, in the sense nations. These arguments are too completely involved against which we now remonstrate, before we thought in those of which I have just pointed at the refutation, for of raising any objection. This demands some explana- me to think it necessary to impugn them specially. tions.
I will only add that, in giving me to understand that It must be observed, in the first place, that only in 1815 your Government refuses the condition of reciprocity to can the abuse of which we complain have begun. It may no foreign nation, you furnish a yet stronger evidence of the be readily conceived that, in the situation in which France justice of our reclamations. It is manifest, in effect, that the then was, she might not have perceived the wrongs her object of the eighth article of the treaty of 1802 was to senavigation suffered in another hemisphere; it may even cure to us some advantage or other, and it would be a combe conceived that her navigation might have been so much plete nullity if it only guarantied to us that which is withdepressed by the effect of the circumstances of the mo. held from nobody. Such a supposition is not admissible. ment, as not to be sensible immediately of the irregular You further cite, sir, in support of your interpretation treatment reserved for it.
of the article in question, the opinion of the French pleniIt appears, in effect, from the documents which I have potentiary who negotiated it. Besides that that opinion found in the offices of my department, that, until the last) would not be conclusive, unless consigned in an official
22d Cong. 2d Sess.]
Spoliations on American Commerce. act, and with direct reference to the treaty, I must con- tion sufficiently exceptionable. But a pretension, which fess to you that I am entirely ignorant of the circumstan- your excellency's predecessors felt themselves warranted ces on wliich you can found that assertion.
only in asking, should be made the subject of negotiation, I will not push further a discussion which would be, at your excellency transforms into one of such clear evidence this moment, without object. My only aim in presenting and paramount character, that its absolute admission is you these observations, has been to guard against the Go- demanded as an indispensable preliminary to negotiation, vernment of which you are the representative, deceiving The Government of the United States never could conitself as to the real dispositions of France relatively to the sider the position taken by your excellency's predecessors two questions treated in this letter. I wished to establish (so much less exceptionable than that now assumed by the fact, that the reclamations of the United States are far your excellency) in any other light than as a temporary from being viewed by us as incontestable; that, on the postponement of claims whose justice was not denied
, other hand, we have never, for an instant, ceased to inter- and which it was intended ultimately to satisfy. When pret the eighth article of the treaty of cession of Louisi- your excellency, therefore, entered into negotiation with ana in the sense which I have just indicated; and that in me on the subject of those claims, without attempting to the advantages promised us by that article, so interpreted, combine with them an irrelevant and litigious question, constituting, in part, the price of the cession of that and had actually agreed with me as to the validity of the country, we have never admitted that the clauses of a con- greater part of those claims before any allusion was made vention, on which repose interests so essential, particu-to that question, I saw in that course only a recognition larly to the United States, could be thus rescinded. Suf. that the time had arrived when the loyalty of his Majesfice it to say that, in limiting ourselves to a refusal to con. ty's Government admitted of no longer delay in the ful
. sent to the repetition of claims very susceptible of argu- filment of its just intentions. In what manner the contents ment, so long as you should not acknowledge in our favor of your excellency's letter of the 20th instant have answera right, in our eyes, incontestable, we surely only make ed to these indications of a just and friendly policy, it is use of very moderate and even very incomplete reprisals. needless, as it would be painful, for me to say. I repeat, then, that the negotiation which we had begun It is important, however, to present the true state of is suspended; but the confidence which I take pleasure in the question which has now arisen, and I beg leave placing in the sentiments of justice of your Government, to invoke your excellency's serious attention to it. The inducing me to hope that it will soon enable us to resume citizens of the United States have sustained the most fzit, I have wished to remove, as much as lay in my power, grant and unwarrantable wrongs from the authorities of the difficulties which might'impede its progress, and the France; their property, to a large amount, has been forcommission, of which my letter of the 9th of March an. cibly taken away from them, in violation alike of the nounced to you the formation, continues to occupy itself principles of public law and the faith of treaties, and that with the examination of the documents relating to the re-property has been applied to defray the expenses
, and to clamations of the United States.
aid the resources of the French nation. These facts Accept the assurances of the high consideration with have not, and cannot be denied. When the Government which I have the honor to be, sir, your most humble and of the United States demands restitution or indemnity, most obedient servant,
will your excellency answer, “ however true it is that LE PCE. DE POLIGNAC. your property has been lawlessly and wrongfully wrested Mr. Rives, &c. &c. &c.
from you, we will not restore it, or make you any
indemnification for it, unless you will first admit our interpre
tation of the eighth article of the Louisiana treaty, though PARIS, May 26, 1830. you may believe that interpretation to be altogether will
. Monsieur LE PRINCE: I will not allow myself to ex- founded?” Governments act under the sanctions of a press to your excellency all the surprise I have felt at the moral responsibility as well as individuals, and it is, therecontents of the letter which you did me the honor to ad. fore, allowable to test their proceedings by the same prin: dress to me under the date of the 20th instant, and which ciples which would be applied to the conduct of individuals was received on the 22d. I need not remind your excel in similar circumstances. I may, therefore, be permitted lency that, since the delivery of my notes of the 26th and to ask your excellency what judgment the moral sense 27th of March, to the declarations contained in which you of mankind would pronounce on the conduct of an indiviare pleased to refer the suspension you have notified to dual who, being wrongfully in possession of the property me of the negotiations which have been commenced be- of another, should answer a demand of restitution by says tween us on the subject of American claims, I have had ing, it is true I have possession of your property, stach the honor of several conferences with your excellency, has been wrongfully taken from you, but I will not give in which, far from intimating such an intention, you have it up unless you first assent to my construction, however led me to expect a formal proposition from you for their erroneous you believe it, of the contract between us, adjustment, as soon as a commission you had charged with about which we have so long differed in opinion. the examination of certain questions connected with them Your excellency will not, I presume, seek to erade the should have made their report to you. But if, in the cir- force of this statement by saying that the wrongs of which cumstances of this communication, there be matter for the United States complain were
not committed by the surprise, there is not less in the cause you have assigned present Government of France. There is no principle for it. What is that cause? I beg leave to ask your excel. more firmly established by the maxims of public law; or lency. That the United States will not previously acknow the practice of nations, than that the rights and obliga
: ledge to be correct an interpretation of a treaty relating to tions of nations toward one another cannot be affected by a wholly different subject, which it has invariably believ. mutations of their Governments, or changes in their ined to be incorrect and unfounded. Some of the prede- terior political organization. If it were otherwise, what cessors of your excellency, I am aware, have declined a security could there be in transactions among nations and negotiation on the American claims, unless the Govern- how anti-social must their relations become? But the rement of the United States would, at the same time, con- clamations of the United States do not rest alone on this aesent to negotiate on the claim asserted by France under knowledged principle of international law. The propers her construction of the eighth article of the Louisiana wrested from American citiz
ns was applied, as already treaty; and in that demand, requiring the united discuis remarked, to defray expenses which must otherwise hare sion only of two subjects having no proper connexion with been levied upon the French pation, or been met by an each other, the United States have always seen a condi- increase of its public debt. France, therefore, has received,