Front Page Titles (by Subject) GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS. - The Writings of Albert Gallatin, vol. 2
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GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS. - Albert Gallatin, The Writings of Albert Gallatin, vol. 2 
The Writings of Albert Gallatin, ed. Henry Adams (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott, 1879). 3 vols.
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GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.
Paris, 26th September, 1821.
I had the honor to receive your despatches numbered from 38 to 41 inclusive, and also No. 43. They were all transmitted, though not all at the same time, from Brest to the Minister of Foreign Affairs by Mr. Roth, who has not yet arrived here.
The despatch No. 42, which has not yet been received, related, it is presumed, to the negotiation with Mr. de Neuville, as there seems to be a chasm in your correspondence with him.
You have, as I had anticipated, taken rather different ground from mine in the case of the Apollon. They are not, however, contradictory, and I was induced to assume that which I did principally from the tenor of my conversation with Mr. Pasquier, as he appeared to insist that whatever might have been the intentions of Captain Edou, or even the acts committed by him whilst off Amelia Island, the seizure of the vessel in a place not within the jurisdiction of the United States was a violation of the law of nations and an insult to the French flag. I incline to the opinion that their demand for reparation, if urged at all, shall be confined to that of indemnity for a private wrong sustained by an individual. For the justice of that claim Mr. Pasquier appeared to rely on the decree of acquittal by the court; but, Captain Edou having selected as a proper mode of redress a suit for damages against the seizing officers, there can be no difficulty in repelling an application for indemnity in another shape.
Your arguments on the main question, arising from the Louisiana Treaty, appear to me as perspicuous and conclusive as those of Mr. de Neuville are weak and unintelligible. But you have resorted to two collateral reasons, one drawn from the Constitution of the United States, the other from a distinction between the special and general favors which may be granted to other foreign powers, on both which I will beg leave, in a subsequent letter, to submit some observations to your consideration. The final proposal of Mr. de Neuville, to postpone that subject to a future negotiation, is the most favorable omen that has yet appeared of a disposition on the part of this government to come to some reasonable arrangement on the question of navigation.
I wish, more than from Mr. Pasquier’s conversation I have reason to hope, that they will also treat that question by itself, and without mixing with it demands for a general diminution in the rate of duties on French produce or manufactures, or for any other alteration in the tariff than what applies to the subject under discussion. The complaints already made to the cortes of Portugal of the rate of our duties on Madeira wine are a proof of the inconveniences arising from any concession to any nation in that respect. Nor do I believe that this government would be satisfied with a fair reciprocity giving them no advantage over either ourselves or other nations. I do not think that they would admit, as the sole condition, the principle that French produce and manufactures imported in the United States, and American produce and manufactures imported into France, should pay no higher duties than similar articles the produce or manufactures of other countries. To the proposal of laying a higher duty on China than on French silk manufactures, you had assented, on condition that the sale of American tobacco should be released from the monopoly of the Administration and be made common as all other articles. If this offer was intended as an indirect rejection of the French proposals, it would have the effect in view; but if seriously made, I must say that it was inadmissible on the part of France. It cannot be expected that she will subvert a system of imposition tested by experience, and which yields a net revenue of forty millions of francs. This government cannot, as is done in England, forbid the cultivation of tobacco within its territory. It is indeed limited to those Departments where it was found to exist, and, as a compensation for the restrictions under which it is necessarily laid there for fiscal purposes, the Administration is obliged to employ in the manufacture of the article five-sixths of domestic and only one-sixth part of foreign tobacco. It is this regulation which has so much affected our trade in that article with France, and reduced the consumption of tobacco of the United States here from 24 thousand hogsheads, as was the case before the Revolution, to about 5 thousand hogsheads of the same weight. Before the Revolution, as now, tobacco was cultivated in some provinces—Alsace, Flanders, &c.—which had been acquired by treaties; they were, with respect to revenue, considered as foreign, not being, on the one hand, subject to the monopoly of the general farms, as then called, whilst on the other their tobacco was considered as foreign in the residue of France, and not purchased by the farm because of very inferior quality. The abolition of all privileges and of every distinction between provinces, as well as of all internal custom duties from one to the other, has necessarily led to the present system of revenue on tobacco.
By that system, government, being the sole manufacturers of tobacco and the sole sellers of the manufactured article, are of course the only purchasers either of domestic or foreign manufactured tobacco for home consumption. The cultivators must beforehand declare the number of acres to be planted; their crop is constantly watched, and the Administration has a right to purchase the whole or part of it at a fixed price, which leaves always a fair profit to the planter for the part thus sold. But he must necessarily export, unless he chooses to burn, what is not purchased by the Administration. In the same manner all the tobacco imported in France can, for home consumption, be sold only to government. When imported, it is deposited in public stores; and that is what is called the entrepôt. Whilst there, it may be freely and is very often sold to any persons, foreigners or French, who wish to speculate on the article. But it is never removed from the entrepôt but for exportation, unless when purchased by the Administration. Considered as a revenue system, it is perfectly well calculated for the object intended, and it affords sufficient protection to the cultivators. For if the monopoly was abolished and our tobacco freely introduced, the home cultivation would at once be prostrated, or at least greatly reduced. The proposal to substitute licensed manufacturers for the Administration was rejected, after a debate in which the whole subject was discussed with great ability; and we would have gained nothing by the change, as we would have been obliged to sell exclusively to those manufacturers for home consumption.
Reverting to the question of navigation, it is difficult to ascertain how far the limited and circuitous intercourse now existing presses on France; and yet it is on that pressure we must rely for an equitable arrangement. I am assured that the mercantile interest of Havre begins to be tired and to wish for an accommodation, although pride may prevent an open avowal of their wishes. Many French vessels continue to go to Louisiana, partly under an expectation that the American extra tonnage duty is contrary to the treaty and that the courts of the United States will decide in their favor. Adding to these those which come from foreign ports (out of Europe) with cotton of the United States, I have no doubt that they fall short of the American vessels which bring produce to English and Dutch ports, imported afterwards in France, and that, compared to French vessels still employed in the trade with us, the balance, if I may so express myself, is in our favor. But the greatest part of our produce intended for France is, I apprehend, imported in British and other foreign vessels, sometimes owned, very often freighted, by French houses. They will not feel all the inconveniences arising from the present state of things until we shall have stopped that species of intercourse. With respect to the commodities consumed, I believe that France consumes the same quantity of our produce as heretofore, and that our consumption of French produce and manufactures has been considerably lessened.
I have the honor, &c.