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Albert Gallatin, The Writings of Albert Gallatin, vol. 2 [1879]

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Albert Gallatin, The Writings of Albert Gallatin, ed. Henry Adams (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott, 1879). 3 vols. http://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/1952

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About this Title:

Vol. 2 contains letters written between 1816 and 1848.

Copyright information:

The text is in the public domain.

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This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.

Table of Contents:

Edition: current; Page: [i]
THE WRITINGS of ALBERT GALLATIN.
EDITED BY HENRY ADAMS.
VOLUME II.
ANTIQUARIAN PRESS LTD.
New York
1960
Edition: current; Page: [ii]

First Published

Reprinted 1960 by ANTIQUARIAN PRESS LTD. 303 Fourth Avenue New York 10, N. Y.

Printed in the United States of America

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 59-15120

Edition Limited to 750 Copies of which 700 Numbered Copies are For Sale.

This is No. _____

Edition: current; Page: [iii]

TABLE OF CONTENTS.

  • 1816.
    • 12 July. Gallatin to Monroe . . . . . . page 1
    • 6 August. Gallatin to Monroe . . . . . . 2
    • 12 August. Gallatin to Madison . . . . . . 3
    • 8 September. Jefferson to Gallatin . . . . . . 4
    • 12 September. Gallatin to Monroe . . . . . . 6
    • 25 September. Gallatin to Monroe . . . . . . 8
    • 14 September. Gallatin to Madison . . . . . . 10
    • 9 October. Crawford to Gallatin . . . . . 11
    • 14 October. Gallatin to Monroe . . . . . . 14
    • 11 November. Gallatin to Monroe . . . . . . 17
    • 19 November. Gallatin to Monroe . . . . . . 18
    • 21 November. Gallatin to Monroe . . . . . . 19
  • 1817.
    • 20 January. Gallatin to Monroe . . . . . . 22
    • 12 March. Crawford to Gallatin . . . . . 23
    • 16 April. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . . 29
    • 23 April. Gallatin to Monroe . . . . . . 30
    • 23 April. Crawford to Gallatin . . . . . 35
    • 11 July. Gallatin to Monroe . . . . . . 38
    • 12 July. Gallatin to Monroe . . . . . . 40
    • 22 September. Gallatin and Eustis to J. Q. Adams . . . 41
    • 8 October. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . . 47
    • 9 October. Gallatin to Eustis . . . . . . 47
    • 10 October. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . . 52
    • 27 October. Crawford to Gallatin . . . . . 52
  • 1818.
    • 15 February. Jefferson to Gallatin . . . . . . 56
    • 9 April. Jefferson to Gallatin . . . . . . 58
    • 27 April. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . . 58
    • 1 May. Crawford to Gallatin . . . . . 61
    • 2 May. Crawford to Gallatin . . . . . 65
    • 3 June. Gallatin to Rush . . . . . . 67
    • 20 July. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . . 68
    • 22 July. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . . 69
    • 10 August. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . . 70
    • 5 November. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . . 75 Edition: current; Page: [iv]
    • 6 November. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . 82
    • 9 November. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . 85
    • 21 November. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . 87
    • 24 November. Jefferson to Gallatin . . . . . 88
    • 10 December. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . 90
  • 1819.
    • 4 January. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . 92
    • 19 January. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . 94
    • 19 February. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . 96
    • 26 April. Crawford to Gallatin . . . . . 97
    • 5 May. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . 101
    • 24 May. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . 103
    • 28 May. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . 104
    • 14 June. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . . 104
    • 3 July. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . 105
    • 6 July. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . 108
    • 9 July. Gallatin to Forsyth . . . . . . 109
    • 24 July. Crawford to Gallatin . . . . . 112
    • 29 July. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . 118
    • 3 September. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . 119
    • 24 September. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . 120
    • 25 October. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . 122
    • 26 October. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . 125
    • 8 December. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . 128
    • 9 December. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . 130
  • 1820.
    • 13 January. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . 130
    • 15 January. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . 132
    • 20 January. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . 133
    • 15 February. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . 133
    • 16 March. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . 136
    • 17 March. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . 137
    • 27 April. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . 140
    • 26 May. Monroe to Gallatin . . . . . . 140
    • 27 May. Crawford to Gallatin . . . . . 143
    • 9 June. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . 146
    • 5 July. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . 148
    • 11 July. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . 150
    • 27 July. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . 151
    • 31 July. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . 153
    • 2 August. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . 164
    • 7 August. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . 165
    • 30 August. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . 167
    • 22 September. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . 167
    • 19 October. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . 173
    • 23 October. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . 173
    • 26 December. Jefferson to Gallatin . . . . . 176 Edition: current; Page: [v]
  • 1821.
    • 29 March. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . 179
    • 18 May. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . 180
    • 20 May. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . 181
    • 21 May. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . 182
    • 23 June. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . 183
    • 28 June. Gallatin to Baron Pasquier . . . . 186
    • 2 July. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . 194
    • 15 September. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . 196
    • [Enclosure.] Décision du 5 août, 1810 . . 198
    • 26 September. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . 199
    • 27 September. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . 203
    • 23 October. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . 206
    • 13 November. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . 208
    • 15 November. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . 209
    • [Enclosure.] Extrait du Décret du 22 juillet, 1810 . . . . . . . . 211
    • 16 November. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . 212
    • 24 November. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . 215
    • 27 December. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . 219
  • 1822.
    • 14 January. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . 220
    • 28 January. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . 224
    • 29 January. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . 226
    • 1 February. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . 227
    • 2 February. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . 229
    • 4 February. Gallatin to Monroe . . . . . . 231
    • 23 April. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . 233
    • 26 April. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . 240
    • 13 May. Crawford to Gallatin . . . . . 241
    • 13 June. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . 244
    • 26 June. Crawford to Gallatin . . . . . 246
    • 10 July. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . 250
    • 29 July. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . 254
    • 8 September. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . 255
    • 24 September. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . 255
    • 29 October. Jefferson to Gallatin . . . . . 258
    • 13 November. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . 260
    • 13 November. Gallatin to Monroe . . . . . . 262
    • 19 November. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . 262
  • 1823.
    • 5 January. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . 263
    • 18 January. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . 264
    • 27 February. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . 265
    • 28 February. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . 267
    • 18 April. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . 267
    • 26 May. Crawford to Gallatin . . . . . 268
    • 24 June. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . 270 Edition: current; Page: [vi]
    • 2 August. Jefferson to Gallatin . . . . . 273
    • 15 October. Monroe to Gallatin . . . . . . 274
    • 26 October. Gallatin to Monroe . . . . . . 274
  • 1824.
    • 11 February. Gallatin to Chandler Price and others . . 275
    • 19 February. Gallatin to Walter Lowrie. Note on Mr. Gallatin’s Citizenship . . . . . 283
    • 16 May. Gallatin to B. Ruggles . . . . . 288
    • 22 May. Gallatin to Walter Lowrie . . . . 288
    • 25 September. Walter Lowrie to Gallatin . . . . 292
    • 2 October. Gallatin to Walter Lowrie . . . . 294
    • 2 October. Gallatin to Andrew Stevenson . . . 296
    • 2 October. Gallatin to Martin Van Buren . . . 297
    • 7 October. Gallatin to C. W. Gooch . . . . 299
    • 7 October. Gallatin to Walter Lowrie . . . . 300
  • 1825.
    • 5 May. Gallatin to James Trimble . . . . 301
    • 10 November. Gallatin to Henry Clay . . . . . 301
    • 14 November. Gallatin to Henry Clay . . . . . 302
  • 1826.
    • 23 January. Gallatin to T. W. Cobb . . . . . 302
    • 3 May. Gallatin to Henry Clay . . . . . 305
    • 7 May. Gallatin to Henry Clay . . . . . 306
    • 20 June. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . . 307
    • 26 June. J. Q. Adams to Gallatin . . . . . 307
    • 29 June. Gallatin to Henry Clay . . . . . 308
    • 30 June. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . . 319
    • 19 August. Gallatin to Henry Clay . . . . . 320
    • 28 August. Gallatin to Henry Clay . . . . . 321
    • 13 September. Gallatin to Henry Clay . . . . . 322
    • 13 September. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . . 325
    • 14 September. Gallatin to Henry Clay . . . . . 326
    • 20 September. Gallatin to Henry Clay . . . . . 327
    • 22 September. Gallatin to Henry Clay . . . . . 328
    • 18 October. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . . 331
    • 21 October. Gallatin to Henry Clay . . . . . 333
    • 27 October. Gallatin to Henry Clay . . . . . 335
    • 5 November. Gallatin to Henry Clay . . . . . 337
    • 8 November. Gallatin to Henry Clay . . . . . 339
    • 14 November. Gallatin to Henry Clay . . . . . 340
    • November. Gallatin to Henry Clay . . . . . 341
    • 27 November. Gallatin to Henry Clay . . . . . 342
    • 22 December. Gallatin to Henry Clay . . . . . 344
    • 29 December. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . . 348
    • 30 December. Gallatin to Henry Clay . . . . . 352
    • 30 December. Gallatin to Henry Clay . . . . . 353 Edition: current; Page: [vii]
  • 1827.
    • 28 January. Gallatin to Henry Clay . . . . . 354
    • 30 January. Gallatin to Henry Clay . . . . . 356
    • 2 February. Gallatin to James Brown . . . . 358
    • 22 February. Gallatin to Henry Clay . . . . . 360
    • 6 March. Gallatin to Henry Clay . . . . . 361
    • 20 March. J. Q. Adams to Gallatin . . . . . 364
    • 21 March. Gallatin to Henry Clay . . . . . 369
    • 29 March. Gallatin to Henry Clay . . . . . 370
    • 28 April. Gallatin to Henry Clay . . . . . 371
    • 21 May. Gallatin to Henry Clay . . . . . 372
    • 4 June. Gallatin to Henry Clay . . . . . 376
    • 5 July. Gallatin to Henry Clay . . . . . 377
    • 28 July. Gallatin to Henry Clay . . . . . 378
    • 14 August. Gallatin to Henry Clay . . . . . 380
    • 21 August. Gallatin to Henry Clay . . . . . 383
    • 24 August. Gallatin to Henry Clay . . . . . 385
    • 30 August. Gallatin to Henry Clay . . . . . 386
    • 21 September. Gallatin to Henry Clay . . . . . 388
    • 26 September. Gallatin to Henry Clay . . . . . 389
    • 28 September. Gallatin to Henry Clay . . . . . 390
    • 3 October. Gallatin to Henry Clay . . . . . 392
    • 4 October. Gallatin to Henry Clay . . . . . 393
    • 30 November. Gallatin to Henry Clay . . . . . 394
    • 5 December. Gallatin to J. Q. Adams . . . . . 395
    • 12 December. J. Q. Adams to Gallatin . . . . . 398
  • 1828.
    • 6 August. Gallatin to Edward Everett . . . . 400
    • 9 August. Gallatin to Edward Everett . . . . 403
  • 1829.
    • 4 March. Gallatin to Martin Van Buren . . . 405
    • 22 March. Gallatin to C. P. Van Ness . . . . 406
    • 22 March. Gallatin to W. P. Preble . . . . 408
    • 22 March. Gallatin to William C. Bradley . . . 409
    • 4 August. Gallatin to S. D. Ingham . . . . 410
    • 27 September. Gallatin to S. D. Ingham . . . . 412
    • 31 December. Gallatin to S. D. Ingham . . . . 415
  • 1830.
    • 27 April. Gallatin to Robert Walsh, Jr. . . . 425
    • 22 May. Gallatin to G. C. Verplanck . . . . 427
    • 2 August. Gallatin to Robert Walsh, Jr. . . . 429
    • 14 August. Gallatin to Nicholas Biddle . . . . 431
    • 3 December. Gallatin to Robert Potter . . . . 440
    • 8 December. Gallatin to Nicholas Biddle . . . . 443
    • 9 December. Gallatin to Josiah Quincy . . . . 444
  • 1831.
    • 16 February. Gallatin to Robert Walsh, Jr. . . . 447
    • 17 November. Gallatin to R. M. Sherman . . . 448 Edition: current; Page: [viii]
  • 1832.
    • 7 February. Gallatin to R. Y. Hayne . . . . . 449
    • 7 April. Gallatin to William Drayton . . . . 450
    • 22 October. Gallatin to Leonard Jarvis . . . . 458
  • 1833.
    • 1 May. Gallatin to Horsley Palmer . . . . 459
    • 12 May. Gallatin to La Fayette . . . . . 465
  • 1835.
    • 5 January. Gallatin to Edward Everett . . . . 474
    • January. Gallatin to Edward Everett . . . . 478
    • 5 February. Gallatin to Gales & Seaton . . . . 501
    • 5 August. Gallatin to John J. Astor . . . . 503
  • 1836.
    • 14 May. Gallatin to Thomas L. Thruston . . . 506
    • 23 August. Gallatin to Daniel Jackson . . . . 506
    • 3 September. Gallatin to Frederick Beasley . . . . 511
    • 20 December. Gallatin to Leonard Maison . . . . 513
  • 1838.
    • 20 February. Gallatin to Willis Hall . . . . . 520
    • 1 March. Gallatin to Charles Brown . . . . 523
    • 3 March. Gallatin to Willis Hall . . . . . 524
    • 6 March. Gallatin to A. C. Flagg . . . . . 525
    • 20 March. Gallatin to William L. Marcy . . . 526
    • 27 March. Gallatin to William L. Marcy . . . 529
    • 28 March. Gallatin to Willis Hall . . . . . 531
    • 3 April. Gallatin to Willis Hall . . . . . 533
    • 5 April. Gallatin to Jonathan Goodhue . . . 535
    • 9 April. Gallatin to William L. Marcy . . . 538
    • 9 April. Gallatin to Samuel B. Ruggles . . . 539
    • 7 May. Gallatin to B. C. Howard . . . . 539
  • 1839.
    • 2 March. Gallatin to Bates Cooke . . . . . 540
    • 14 June. Gallatin to Charles S. Davies . . . . 544
  • 1840.
    • 19 September. Gallatin to William Woodbridge . . . 547
    • 5 November. Gallatin to B. C. Howard . . . . 549
  • 1841.
    • 9 February. Gallatin to Peter J. Nevins and others . . 551
    • 14 June. Gallatin to John M. Botts . . . . 551
    • 12 July. Gallatin to R. M. T. Hunter . . . . 552
    • 14 September. Gallatin to Michel Chevalier . . . . 556
    • 14 October. Gallatin to J. Abbot, Jr. . . . . 557
    • 24 December. Gallatin to A. C. Flagg . . . . . 562
    • 28 December. Gallatin to Caleb Cushing . . . . 563
    • 31 December. Gallatin to A. C. Flagg . . . . . 563
  • 1842.
    • 7 January. Gallatin to Caleb Cushing . . . . 572
    • February. New York Bank Presidents to Michael Hoffman . . . . . . . 580 Edition: current; Page: [ix]
    • 30 March. Gallatin to John A. Dix . . . . . 588
    • 2 April. Gallatin to John A. Dix . . . . . 592
    • 12 April. Lord Ashburton to Gallatin . . . . 594
    • 20 April. Gallatin to Lord Ashburton . . . . 596
    • 10 June. Gallatin to Sismondi . . . . 597
    • 2 August. Gallatin to Thomas Ritchie . . . . 599
    • 22 October. Gallatin to Fred. de Peyster . . . . 601
    • 23 October. Gallatin to Louis Pictet . . . . . 601
  • 1843.
    • 8 April. Gallatin to George Plitt and others . . 603
    • 20 June. Gallatin to Samuel Breck . . . . 604
    • November. Gallatin to Maria Chapman . . . . 605
  • 1844.
    • 17 December. Gallatin to David Dudley Field . . . 605
  • 1845.
    • 10 February. Gallatin to David Dudley Field . . . 607
    • 16 October. Gallatin to Commodore Charles Stewart . 610
    • 24 November. Gallatin to Edward Coles . . . . 611
  • 1846.
    • 9 January. Gallatin to John Connell . . . . 621
    • 27 February. Gallatin to Gales & Seaton . . . . 621
    • 17 March. Gallatin to William L. Marcy . . . 625
    • 25 March. Gallatin to J. R. Ingersoll . . . . 628
    • 2 April. Gallatin to J. A. Pearce . . . . . 636
    • 2 April. Gallatin to the Library Committee of Congress 637
  • 1847.
    • 21 January. Gallatin to Eben Dodge . . . . . 638
    • 2 November. Gallatin to Winfield Scott . . . . 650
    • 27 November. Gallatin to Committee for Pius IX. Meeting . 653
    • 10 December. Gallatin to Thomas W. Ward . . . 653
    • 16 December. Gallatin to Edward Everett . . . . 656
  • 1848.
    • 15 February. Gallatin to William Maxwell . . . . 659
    • 16 February. Gallatin to Garrett Davis . . . . 660
    • 8 May. Gallatin to Henry A. Muhlenberg . . . 662
    • 8 May. Gallatin to John A. Rockwell . . . 666
Edition: current; Page: [x] Edition: current; Page: [1]

WRITINGS OF GALLATIN.

LETTERS, ETC.

Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
12th July, 1816
Paris
Monroe
Monroe

GALLATIN TO MONROE.

No. 1.

Sir,

. . . I arrived here on the 9th instant, and on the ensuing day communicated my arrival to the Duke de Richelieu, and requested an interview with him. He answered the same evening, and appointed yesterday at twelve o’clock, when I had a conversation of half an hour with him. This was, of course, very general, perfectly civil, and even cordial on his part, and accompanied with the usual expressions of the friendly disposition of the French government towards the United States. He spoke with much approbation of the principles adopted in our late commercial convention with Great Britain, and, on my observing that our commercial relations with France had already much increased, and that the principal obstacle to their further extension arose principally from the regulations of this government, he said that he regretted the fiscal spirit which still characterized its measures, and which the pressure of the times rendered it difficult at once to correct. In answer to his inquiry whether we were generally on good terms with England, I told him that the two governments were on perfectly good terms, but that some degree of irritation arising from the late state of war still existed with the people on both sides, and that to that cause should be ascribed much of what appeared in our public journals. He said that he knew that not much importance ought to be attached to such publications; that otherwise they might have some reason to complain, which he did not, of the manner in which the present government of France was treated in many of Edition: current; Page: [2] our newspapers; yet that it was unintelligible to him how the most democratic papers in England and in the United States could defend or regret the man who had crushed liberty everywhere. I assured him that, so far as related to America, hatred of Great Britain or apprehension of her enormous power was the true cause of whatever might, in those papers, seem to be written in favor of Bonaparte, who had been considered as the great and formidable enemy of that country. He said that he wished that any erroneous opinions which might exist with respect to the administration of the reigning family here might be corrected; that ex-kings and other emigrants of the same description who had lately removed to the United States would probably try to nourish or create unfavorable prejudices; that he knew that I would see and judge with impartiality, and had no doubt that I would soon be satisfied that they were no oppressors, and intended to govern with the utmost mildness.

Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
Paris
Monroe
Monroe

GALLATIN TO MONROE.

No. 2.

Sir,

You were informed by my despatch No. 1 of my arrival in this city on the 9th of last month. On the 11th I had the audience from the King, to whom I delivered my letters of credence. The reception, both from him and from the Princes, was what is called gracious, and accompanied with the usual expressions of most friendly disposition towards the United States.

My abode here has been too short to enable me to form any opinion of the prospect we have of succeeding in obtaining the indemnities so justly due to our citizens, and I do not wish to enter into the discussion until I shall have ascertained as far as practicable the disposition of this government in that respect. Whatever this may be, the situation of their finances will be a formidable obstacle in our way. That there will be a great deficit this and every succeeding year until the foreign contributions are discharged is notorious. The precise amount of that Edition: current; Page: [3] deficit for this year is not so well known, but, from a source entitled to confidence, has been stated to me as exceeding three hundred and fifty millions of francs. It is not believed that any practical increase of taxes can produce more than one hundred millions. The residue, or 250 millions a year for five years, must therefore remain unpaid, or be provided for by creating new stock. That situation would, indeed, be deplorable in a country where there is no public credit, and where the Treasury cannot raise money in any other manner than by selling their 5 per cent. stock at the market rate, which does not now exceed 58 per cent. I still hope that the statement is exaggerated; but the reliance which seems to be placed on the forbearance of the allied powers confirms the opinion that the internal resources are not sufficient to meet the foreign demands.

It has been suggested to me that some classes of claims, particularly that of vessels burnt at sea, would, if pressed by themselves, have a better chance of being admitted; but, unless otherwise instructed, I will not pursue a course which might injure the general mass of our claims. . . .

Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
12th August, 1816
Paris
Madison
Madison

GALLATIN TO MADISON.

Dear Sir,

The month I have already spent in Paris has been necessarily devoted in a great degree to my private arrangements, and I am only within two days settled in my house.

Various considerations induce me to think that it will be proper to open soon the discussion of the subject of indemnities with this government; and I believe that they expect it. In making my compliments to the King, I took care, alluding to our former intimate alliance with France, to say that it could not have been disturbed but during those times when moral and political obligations were overthrown and the law of nations (le droit des gens) trampled upon; that therefore the President saw, in the event which had brought back the Bourbons to the Edition: current; Page: [4] throne of France, a pledge of the renewal of those friendly connections, &c.

* * * * * * * * * *

The busts you wish are not amongst the most popular, and must be sought for; but I hope to obtain them so as to send them before this autumn.

* * * * * * * * * *

The crop, which, on account of incessant rains, was in danger, looks now fine, and will, it is hoped, be saved. It was a subject of great alarm. They said that the people were not healthy enough to bear starving.

I met La Fayette at Mr. Parker’s seat, fifteen miles from Paris. Though not forbidden, he does not think proper to come here. He is in good health, and anxious to hear the result of his New Orleans location. I have seen Humboldt and Say but once, and a single moment, and had not time to pay them the compliments in your behalf.

The English I have seen here do not seem to put much confidence in Lord Exmouth’s expedition against the Algerines. I have not heard a single word about or from our squadron, the arrival of the Washington at Gibraltar only excepted. Nor have I any account from Shaler or from Erving. Not a single hint has been dropped respecting our differences with Spain. It seems to me as if none of the powers had made up their mind on the question of the independence of the Spanish colonies.

With sincere attachment and great respect, your obedient servant.

I have a fine hotel, for which, furnished (but without plate, linen, china, kitchen furniture, etc.), I give 13,000 francs a year.

Jefferson
Jefferson
September 8, 1816
Monticello
Gallatin
Gallatin

JEFFERSON TO GALLATIN.

Dear Sir,

The jealousy of the European governments rendering it unsafe to pass letters through their post-offices, I Edition: current; Page: [5] am obliged to borrow the protection of your cover to procure a safe passage for the enclosed letter to Madame de Staël, and to ask the favor of you to have it delivered at the hotel of M. de Lessert without passing through the post-office.

In your answer of June 7 to mine of May 18, you mentioned that you did not understand to what proceeding of Congress I alluded as likely to produce a removal of most of the members, and that by a spontaneous movement of the people, unsuggested by the newspapers, which had been silent on it. I alluded to the law giving themselves 1500 D. a year. There has never been an instance before of so unanimous an opinion of the people, and that through every State of the Union. A very few members of the first order of merit in the House will be re-elected, such as R. M. Johnson, who has been re-elected, Clay, of Kentucky, by a small majority, and a few others. But the almost entire mass will go out, not only those who supported the law or voted for it, or skulked from the vote, but those who voted against it or opposed it actively, if they took the money; and the examples of refusals to take it were very few. The next Congress, then, Federal as well as Republican, will be almost wholly of new members.

We have had the most extraordinary year of drought and cold ever known in the history of America. In June, instead of 3¾ inches, our average of rain for that month, we had only ⅓ of an inch; in August, instead of 9⅙ inches our average, we had only 8/10 of an inch; and it still continues. The summer, too, has been as cold as a moderate winter. In every State north of this there has been frost in every month of the year; in this State we had none in June and July, but those of August killed much corn over the mountains. The crop of corn through the Atlantic States will probably be less than one-third of an ordinary one, that of tobacco still less, and of mean quality. The crop of wheat was middling in quantity, but excellent in quality. But every species of bread grain taken together will not be sufficient for the subsistence of the inhabitants, and the exportation of flour, already begun by the indebted and the improvident, to whatsoever degree it may be carried, will be exactly so much taken from the mouths of our own citizens. My anxieties on this subject are the greater, Edition: current; Page: [6] because I remember the deaths which the drought of 1755 in Virginia produced from the want of food.

There will not be the smallest opposition to the election of Monroe and Tompkins, the Republicans being undivided and the Federalists desperate. The Hartford Convention and peace of Ghent have nearly annihilated them.

Our State is becoming clamorous for a convention and amendment of their constitution, and I believe will obtain it. It was the first constitution formed in the United States, and of course the most imperfect. The other States improved in theirs in proportion as new precedents were added, and most of them have since amended. We have entered on a liberal plan of internal improvements, and the universal approbation of it will encourage and insure its prosecution. I recollect nothing else domestic worth noting to you, and therefore place here my respectful and affectionate salutations.

Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
12th September, 1816
Paris
Monroe
Monroe

GALLATIN TO MONROE.

No. 4.

Sir,

I had, at my request, an interview, on the 30th ultimo, with the Duke of Richelieu on the subject of the indemnities due to American citizens for property wrested from them under the administration of the late Emperor of France. I stated that the demand for indemnity had been incessantly pressed while he remained in power, and towards the latter end of it with some prospect of obtaining compensation; that the time which had necessarily elapsed before Mr. Crawford could be accredited to the King, and afterwards Prince Talleyrand’s departure for Vienna and Mr. Crawford’s return to the United States, had heretofore prevented a renewal of the application to his Majesty’s government, and that it was now made with perfect confidence in the probity which distinguished that government, and in the full expectation of obtaining from it that justice to which we were so indisputably entitled.

The Duke answered that, foreseeing the object of the conference which I had asked, he had already directed the papers Edition: current; Page: [7] relative to the subject to be collected and laid before him; that he believed that we would not be ultimately disappointed in our expectations, but that he hoped that, in the present situation of France, with which I must be well acquainted, we were not going to fill up the measure of the embarrassment under which she now labored.

I replied that, having been most shamefully plundered to an immense amount, and having already experienced so many vexatious and evasive delays, the government of the United States must necessarily press the payment of claims which could never be abandoned, yet that it was not its wish unnecessarily to increase the difficulties of France; that it was, on the contrary, evidently the interest of the United States that she should be independent and powerful; and I requested him to explain precisely what he meant by our filling up the measure of her embarrassments. By demanding, he answered, immediate payment of what is due to you. On this I observed that the first point was the recognition of our claims, and that, this once done, the time and mode of payment would be the subject of subsequent consideration, and must be arranged on principles of mutual accommodation.

He then said that as soon as he had digested the papers connected with the subject he would lay it before the King and the council of ministers, and then invite me to another conference and communicate the result of their deliberations. Alluding to his acknowledgment that the government of France wanted to gain time, I requested him not to make me experience any unnecessary delay with respect to their determination on the main question. He promised me that he would not, and ended the conference by saying that he would, on his part, hope that if we came to an agreement as to the principles I would not object to the adoption of such forms in the liquidation of the claims as would give them the time they absolutely wanted. I did not think proper to observe that their giving stock in payment would remove the difficulty, because, although they have nothing else to give, it is desirable that its acceptance, instead of being proposed by us, should be considered as a concession on our part; and because the sale of stock being their principal resource for Edition: current; Page: [8] every extraordinary expenditure, their objection applies to an immediate issue sufficient to pay us.

I have not heard from the Duke since that conference, and the Ministry must have been principally occupied with the deliberations connected with the dissolution of the legislative body and the new elections. It had been my intention not to write to you until our next interview should have enabled me to form some correct opinion of what we have to expect; but General Bernard’s departure presented an opportunity which could not be omitted.

It has appeared to me inexpedient to enter on the subject of the commercial relations of the two countries till the result of our demand for indemnity shall have been ascertained, as this government might be induced to try to get rid of the last subject by making concessions with respect to the other. It may be added that in practice our shipping interest suffers no inconvenience so far as relates to the intercourse with France itself.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, sir, your obedient servant.

Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
25th September, 1816
Paris
Monroe
Monroe

GALLATIN TO MONROE.

No. 6.

Sir,

Not having heard from the Duke de Richelieu since our conference of the 30th ult., I addressed him this morning a note, copy of which is enclosed. He had been absent a few days, but is expected back this day.

You will see in the Moniteurs which accompany this the rumors respecting Mr. Pinkney’s negotiation, and the various speculations which it has occasioned. I have not heard from him, and know nothing more on the subject than what may be inferred from the public papers.

I received yesterday, by a Dutch courier, a letter from Mr. Erving, at Madrid, dated 11th instant, together with despatches for the Department of State, which are herewith transmitted.

Various circumstances induce me to believe that the prospect of succeeding in our application for indemnities is less favorable Edition: current; Page: [9] than might have been anticipated. It is not improbable that some understanding on the subject is taking place between this government and that of Naples; and others against whom we have similar claims may be disposed to encourage a rejection of our demands in both places. The tenor of the next conference will point out the most eligible course to be pursued. It was, at all events, necessary to place on record the fact that application had been made, as the long delay in renewing it to the existing government has already had an unfavorable appearance.

Much sensibility is, on every occasion, expressed on the subject of the hostility to the government of France, apparent in most of the American newspapers friendly to our Administration. This is not brought as an official ground of complaint, the extent of the liberty of our press being understood, but is stated as an evidence of unfriendly disposition. I mention this because the several paragraphs in the Moniteur, though not entirely, may in some degree be considered as a kind of retaliation for certain pieces in the National Intelligencer. Of the general sensibility on such subjects I had lately a direct proof, the King and one of the Princes having, on the last Court, cordially congratulated the minister of Holland on the project of law recommended to States-General by the King of the Netherlands. That measure was, his Majesty said, honorable to the King and beneficial to the repose of Europe.

I enclose a copy of Chateaubriand’s suppressed work. Nobody is the dupe of the pretended concern for liberty with which he has covered his attack against the Ministry. Everybody knows that the party of whom he is the organ want neither charter nor constitutional provisions, that their object is power, and the restoration of the privileges and property of which the revolution has deprived them. The offensive sentence which caused his dismissal will be found in the postscriptum. The elections of deputies by the electoral bodies will be more contested than has been heretofore usual. The Ultras differ from other former oppositions in that they dare to avow themselves and to exert their influence. The general calculation is that they will succeed in returning about one-third of the deputies.

I have the honor, &c.
Edition: current; Page: [10]
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
14th September, 1816
Paris
Madison
Madison

GALLATIN TO MADISON.

Dear Sir,

Amongst the offers of persons wishing to go to the United States and to enter their service, one only has appeared to me worthy of attention and to deserve to be submitted to the decision of government. Mr. Le Sueur, whose letter explaining his views is enclosed, is a civil engineer of reputation, who has executed with much correctness various extensive trigonometrical operations, and whose services, in addition to those of Mr. Hassler, with whom in point of science and practice he may be assimilated, might assist and hasten our trigonometrical survey of the coast of the United States.

That this should be executed in a manner equal to the best modern European operations is important both with respect to the object itself and as connected with the scientific character of the country. That Mr. Le Sueur is equal to a task of that kind is sufficiently proven by the testimonies of the dépôt de la guerre and of three of the best judges, all three members of the National Institute (Biot, Ramond, and Delambre), whose original certificates I have seen, and on the truth of which you may rely. The appropriation for carrying on the survey of the coast is general, and you may employ what agents you please. Be good enough to favor me with your determination, as I must answer Mr. Le Sueur. He has also a collection of instruments, which he will sell to government in whole or in part (if it is convenient to purchase it), but only in case he is employed. Perhaps we might have two sets of engineers and surveyors, beginning at a given point, say the entrance of the Delaware, and one set extending the survey north, whilst the other went south; by which means the whole might be executed within five instead of ten years.

I have seen La Fayette but once, as he still remains at La Grange, where he presses me to pay him a visit, which my having opened the subject of indemnity prevents at this time. The crops cannot be very good, on account of the perpetual rains, but will still turn out better than had been expected. Beyond Edition: current; Page: [11] what you see, you can hardly ascertain the truth even on that point, as the reports vary according to the political feelings of the travellers.

We are fixed very comfortably, though expensively. Servants are, I think, worse and dearer than at Washington, and the cheating and plundering by them and almost every one else make, in my opinion, this place still dearer than London.

We are all in good health, Mrs. G. already excessively tired of Paris. We beg to be affectionately remembered to Mrs. Madison, and I remain, with sincere respect and attachment,

Ever yours.
Crawford
Crawford
9th October, 1816
Washington
Gallatin
Gallatin

CRAWFORD TO GALLATIN.

My dear Sir,

The arrival of Mr. Vail excited a hope that I should receive a letter from you. The disappointment was not great, as the present state of France presents nothing inviting to a correspondent who does not indulge in conjecture nor delight to sport in the regions of imagination.

At home we have cause of exultation as well as of regret. In many respects the nation was never more prosperous. Domestic articles of almost every description bring the highest prices, and many of the articles of foreign growth or manufacture are sold at first cost.

The crops have generally been bad from one end of the continent to the other, especially of Indian corn. Those of wheat, in the Middle States, were abundant and of superior quality. In the two Carolinas, a large emigration must take place for the purpose of finding subsistence. In Georgia the corn crops are good, but the cotton will be short, as no rain fell in the month of August.

Our political horizon has been overhung with one continued storm, raised by the Compensation Bill. In most cases, especially in the West and South, the opposers of the bill have been confounded with its supporters by the public indignation. In Kentucky, Clay, Johnson, and Desha have been re-elected. The latter voted against the bill, and the two first owe their success Edition: current; Page: [12] to the political character of their opponents. Mr. Pope was the competitor of Mr. Clay, and was beaten about 650 votes. Colonel Johnson was elected by a larger majority.

In the State of Georgia it is supposed that the whole representation has been turned out, upon the old maxim that the receiver is as bad as the thief. They voted against the bill, but received the salary.

Bibb, whose election takes place next month, it is believed has no chance of success. In Tennessee, their county meetings have requested the Senators and Representatives to resign, and I have been denounced and burnt in effigy there on account of the Cherokee convention, and in the Mississippi Territory for being disposed to remove the intruders from the public lands. The bad temper of the first will, I suppose, evaporate, as two treaties have just been made with the Cherokees and Chickasaws, which connected the settlements of Tennessee with the Gulf of Florida. This cession embraces all the western part of the bend of Tennessee, and all south of that river embraced by a line running up Caney Creek to its head; then due south to Gaines’s road; thence along that road to the cotton-gin port on the Tombigby River, and down that river to the Choctaw line, on the west; and on the east by a line drawn due south from the Tennessee River, where it is intersected by the eastern line of Madison County, until it is intersected by a line drawn due west from the Ten Islands in the Coosa, a little above Fort Strother.

This cession, which the Tennessee people contended was ceded by Jackson’s treaty, in many points of view is the most important which has been obtained for many years. The only objection which I have to it, and to Jackson’s treaty itself, is that the contract with Georgia has been most scandalously violated. By that compact the United States bound itself to extinguish the Indian title to the whole of the territory retained by the State “as soon as practicable.” As Jackson’s treaty was declared, it was just as easy to have obtained a cession of all the Creek claims within the limits of Georgia as that which was obtained. The cession demanded and yielded will prevent a cession to Georgia for a century at least.

Edition: current; Page: [13]

We have just obtained an extension of the Illinois purchase to the shores of Lake Michigan, embracing twenty miles of coast. This cession has been obtained by the relinquishment of all that part of the Illinois cession lying north of the northern line of Ohio when extended to the Mississippi.

A large amount of presents and an annuity of a thousand dollars a year in goods for twelve years have also been given to obtain the relinquishment of the claims of those tribes to that part of the Illinois purchase lying south of the said line. This purchase, considered with a view to war with our northern neighbors, is of vast importance. It will be surveyed and brought into the market with the least possible delay. Upon the whole, notwithstanding the complaints which have been made against the government for favoring the Indians, and against them for pertinaciously holding lands of which they make no use, I think more has been done this year in Indian negotiation than in any former year. If the Choctaw claim east of the Tombigby can be satisfactorily adjusted, we have nothing further to desire in the West for many years.

Some agitation prevails in Louisiana, arising from the apprehension of a Spanish invasion in that quarter. The information is implicitly relied upon by Colonel Jessup, who commands at Orleans; but, as he has not disclosed either the source or the details of it, we cannot form a correct estimate of the credit to which it is entitled. Under these circumstances, we have only ordered the concentration of the force assigned to the southern division at such points as will most effectually guard against the apprehended invasion. In doing this, we have directed the movements to be made as silently as possible, and that the object of the movement may not be disclosed. The predisposition to a war with Spain is so strong in this nation, especially in the section adjoining that which is menaced, that a slight excitement might be productive of consequences which the power of the government would not be able to control.

I presume you have been made acquainted with the ridiculous dispute in which we have been engaged with Russia, in consequence of a criminal procedure against Kosloff, the consul-general. It now has a most unpromising aspect, arising wholly from Edition: current; Page: [14] Daschkoff’s improper conduct. The French minister seems to have as little prudence, but, I hope, more good faith.

Mr. Monroe arrived in the city last evening, and I have heard that the President reached it this evening. To enable the President to bring Mr. Clay into the Cabinet, I consented to take the Treasury Department, but limited my acquiescence to the disposition of that gentleman to take the War Department. He has declined, and still the President writes to me that he has offered the War Department to Mr. Lowndes. He further stated that Mr. Monroe was with him, and that he had availed himself of his advice. As my consent was given on a condition which has failed, I ought not to be pressed further on the subject. There can be no mistake in the case, as my consent was in writing.

Present my respects to Mrs. Gallatin and the other members of your family, and accept the assurance of my sincere regard.

I am yours, &c.
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
14th October, 1816
Paris
Monroe
Monroe

GALLATIN TO MONROE.

No. 8.

Sir,

The Duke de Richelieu appointed the 30th for the interview which I had asked in my note to him of the 25th ultimo. He first asked me whether England intended to indemnify us for the captures made under the orders in council. I replied that we had not yet obtained anything, and added that although we had made an express declaration before signing the peace with her that we did not abandon our just claims for indemnity, yet he must be sensible that the circumstance of our having made war against England for that very object, and afterwards concluded a peace without providing for it, placed us, with respect to that nation, on a very different footing from that on which we stood with France. On this he observed that we had also in some degree impaired our claim against France by having adopted measures of retaliation, such as the exclusion of her vessels and produce from our ports. I made the obvious answer that this prohibition, which we had made common to England and France, had no hostile character, that it was only a municipal Edition: current; Page: [15] measure, such as every nation had a right, without giving offence, to adopt at all times, and which did not materially differ from the prohibitory laws now adopted by France with respect to foreign manufactures.

The Duke then stated that he was not authorized to enter into a negotiation for the purpose of providing an indemnity to the citizens of the United States for the captures and confiscations made by virtue of the Berlin and Milan decrees; that it was absolutely impossible for the present government of France to make compensation for the whole mass of injustice and injuries done by the former governments; that the whole territory, if sold, would not suffice for that object; that it had, therefore, been necessary to limit the measure of indemnity to the most flagrant cases, and that such had been the course adopted in the late treaties between France and the European powers; that the Berlin and Milan decrees were of a general nature, and not exclusively applicable to us, and that compensation for injuries arising from their execution, if made to us, must be extended to other nations, such as the Swedes, who, he said, were also sufferers in that respect; in fine, that, as the principle of granting indemnities on account of losses sustained under those decrees had not been recognized by the late treaties of Paris, it was not deemed proper to adopt it in our favor.

I replied that it was preposterous to suppose that the United States could, in any case, be bound by principles adopted in treaties to which they had not been parties; that the allied powers had selected those cases for indemnity in which they were principally concerned; that, as they had almost always been at war or in alliance with France, their claims were of a nature totally different from ours, which were derived from a most flagrant violation of neutral rights; that whilst some of those powers had an interest in preventing the recognition of the principle of indemnity for such violation, the few eases affecting a nation whose weight in the negotiations was inconsiderable (Sweden) must have been necessarily overlooked; and that the Berlin and Milan decrees, though nominally of a general nature, had, so far as they infringed neutral rights, fallen almost exclusively on the United States. I added that there were, however, Edition: current; Page: [16] some claims admitted in the late treaties which, according to the common usage of nations and to every notion of justice, were far less founded in right than those of our citizens for the losses sustained under those decrees; and I mentioned as an instance the compensation to British subjects for losses arising from the general reduction of the public debt of France to one-third of its original amount.

To this last observation the Duke immediately replied that this was one of the concessions which had been made to Great Britain in consideration of her having released France from the payment of the large balance due for the support of prisoners. To my other observations he made no satisfactory answer, and, without seeming to deny the justice of our claim for indemnity on account of the two decrees, he persisted in his first declaration, that he was not authorized to conclude any arrangement on that subject. He added that his government was disposed to pay (in stock) for vessels burnt at sea.

I then stated explicitly that the United States could not abandon the claims of their citizens for indemnity in any case where there had been a violation of neutral rights according to the acknowledged law of nations; but that as, exclusively of the Berlin and Milan decrees, there had been numerous other acts of the French government under which great losses had been sustained, I wished to know with precision what were the cases in which his Majesty’s government was disposed to make compensation, in order that I might be enabled to judge whether I could accept or make any proposal according with those views and not inconsistent with our rights, or whether I ought simply to transmit the determination of this government to my own.

The Duke professed himself not to be well informed with respect to the acts to which I alluded, and requested me to confer with Mr. De Rayneval, who acts as Under-Secretary of State, and on whose report he would be enabled to lay the subject before his Majesty’s council.

You will perceive a great difference between what passed on this occasion and the tenor of our interview of the 30th of August. As the Duke de Richelieu could have no interest in not explicitly saying then what he stated at the last conference, Edition: current; Page: [17] and as indeed want of candor is by no one ascribed to him, it may be presumed that he did not at first know the whole amount of our claims, or that he has been overruled by the council of ministers. But it is worthy of notice that not the most distant hint has been given that this government was not responsible for the conduct of Bonaparte. Such doctrine is untenable even here.

Mr. Rayneval accordingly called on me on the 3d instant. He said that he had never before attended to the subject, and I did not attempt to discuss it with him. I only gave him the list of the several decrees, beginning with that of Berlin and ending with that of Rambouillet, and stated that there were a number of cases in which seizures had been made under color of those decrees and the vessels and cargoes sold, but where no condemnation had taken place, and that there might also be cases where property had been sequestered without reference to any decree. I explained to him that the object of our conference was to point out to him the several grounds of complaint on our part in order to enable him to report to the minister, and he promised to examine the subject immediately and to see me before he made that report. I have not heard from him since that day, and if any further delay takes place I will address an official note to the minister, in which it will be necessary to discuss the whole subject.

Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
11th November, 1816
Paris
Monroe
Monroe

GALLATIN TO MONROE.

No. 10.

Sir,

I have the honor to enclose the copy of my note1 of the 9th instant to the Duke de Richelieu on the subject of indemnities due to citizens of the United States on account of the illegal and irregular sequestrations and condemnations made under the authority of the former government of France.

I had some difficulty in collecting from scattered documents Edition: current; Page: [18] the information necessary to present a correct view of the subject and adapted to existing circumstances. Mr. Armstrong’s correspondence is not to be found amongst the archives of this legation, and it was during the period of his mission that almost all the unlawful acts of the French government took place. I have no expectation that the projet of arrangement will be adopted in the shape proposed by me.

Your letter of the 10th September, enclosing your correspondence with Mr. Hyde de Neuville on the subject of Mr. Skinner’s toast, was received on the 6th instant. I have written a note to the Duke de Richelieu asking for an interview, in which a verbal representation will be made in conformity with your instructions. The extreme sensibility shown on subjects of this kind, and of which my former despatches have given several instances, makes me apprehend some difficulty, and that this trivial incident may interfere with more important concerns. . . .

I have the honor, &c.
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
November 19, 1816
Paris
Monroe
Monroe

GALLATIN TO MONROE.

No. 11.

Sir,

I received on the 16th instant a note from the Neapolitan ambassador, enclosing, by order of his Court, the copy of an official note dated the 15th October last, and addressed by the Marquis de Circello to Mr. Pinkney after his departure from Naples. In answer to a verbal inquiry, the ambassador told me that he did not know whether that note had been directed to Mr. Pinkney at St. Petersburg, or at any other place on the road. He also said that his government had authorized him to add to that communication to me any further observations which he might deem proper, but that he had abstained from it, knowing that neither he nor myself had any powers on that subject, and wishing therefore to avoid an unprofitable discussion.

It may be presumed that the Neapolitan government delayed that note in order to prevent the possibility of a reply, and that their intention in communicating it to me was to hasten its transmission Edition: current; Page: [19] to you. Copies of the official note itself and that of the ambassador to me are enclosed.

I took the opportunity of a transient conversation on the 14th instant with the Duke of Richelieu to state explicitly to him the impossibility of removing from office the postmaster of Baltimore on account of the toast of the 4th July, and the dissatisfaction of my government with the minister of France on account of the manner in which he had made a demand to that effect. The Duke appeared both surprised and grieved, and made some remarks, to which I replied. But as he has appointed the 21st instant for an interview, and the subject will then be more fully discussed, I will not trouble you at this time with the observations made on both sides.

Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
21st November, 1816
Paris
Monroe
Monroe

GALLATIN TO MONROE.

No. 12.

Sir,

I had this morning an interview with the Duke de Richelieu on the subject of the application made by the minister of France for the removal of the postmaster of Baltimore on account of the toast given by him on the 4th of July last.

After reiterating the assurances of the respect felt by the President for his most Christian Majesty, and of his earnest desire to cultivate the most amicable relations with the government of France, I stated the impossibility of complying with the request of Mr. Hyde de Neuville, and the dissatisfaction felt by the government of the United States at the peremptory manner in which he had urged that request. It is unnecessary to enter into the detail of the explanations given and the observations made to show that our institutions and habits as well as public opinion would, independent of the dictatorial tone assumed by Mr. de Neuville, have forbidden the removal of an inferior officer merely because he had, on such a day as the 4th of July, indulged in an expression of his political opinions with respect to a foreign power or sovereign. I had, indeed, only to Edition: current; Page: [20] amplify the suggestions presented in your despatch of the 10th September.

In answer, the Duke of Richelieu premised that the liberty of the press as established in America and the liberty of speech belonging to private citizens were so perfectly known and understood, that the abuse of either, however unpleasant to the feelings of the French government, would not have been a subject of complaint. But we certainly would agree with him in acknowledging that the government of every civilized nation desirous of preserving friendly relations with another government must preserve those rules of mutual courtesy and civility which were established by public usage. It was, therefore, incomprehensible to him that any government could detach itself from its agents, and, whilst professing regard and consideration for a friendly sovereign, permit him to be wantonly and openly insulted by one of those agents, and refuse any reparation for such public insult. He was, he said, altogether unable to understand the alleged difficulty of dismissing for such an outrage an officer removable at the will of the government, since, as he was informed, such removals were frequent in the United States, where there did not exist, as in some other countries, any vested right in offices. In asking for the dismission of Mr. Skinner there was no intention of giving offence; it was only stating the kind of reparation which appeared most natural, and which would be satisfactory. The United States were too powerful, too independent of France and of every other nation, to suppose that any attempt should be made to dictate to them. Nor ought we to be astonished at the sensibility felt on this occasion. The world was yet divided in two parties, one of which wished to preserve, and the other to destroy, existing establishments. We felt perfectly safe in that respect; but the more precarious the situation of France might be supposed, the more important it was to take notice of any public insult, and to show that the sovereign of France was not a king of straw (the Duke’s own words). It would not be our interest, under the difficulties which she had now to encounter, that she should be vilified in the person of her monarch in the face of the world.

Edition: current; Page: [21]

Thinking it important that you should know the ground assumed on that subject by this government, I have in this statement done full justice to the reasoning of the Duke. And I am sorry to say that no explanation I could give appeared to make any impression on him. I did not omit to dwell on the notorious facts that the King of Great Britain had been an annual theme of personal abuse on that day, without any notice having ever been taken of it by that government, which understood fully the nature of ours; and that it was unexampled with us that an officer should be removed for such a cause. I also alluded to the conduct of Daschkoff in Kosloff’s case (which was known to the Duke), to the singular coincidence by which an attempt was made to put our government at variance for the most trivial causes with two friendly powers, and to the advantages which Great Britain might hope to draw from that state of things.

The Duke still reverted to his first positions; and when he had become fully satisfied that no promise to remove the postmaster would be given to him, he said that the government of France could not certainly force ours to make them reparation for the insult given by that officer, and that they would be compelled to evince their dissatisfaction at our refusal in their own way. He immediately added that they would not preserve any public agent in the town where his Majesty had been publicly insulted. To that it was not necessary to make any reply; but I presume that their resentment will, unless policy should direct another course, be shown in a different way, and that the consideration of our demands will be adjourned. I will be able to ascertain this within a short time; and in that case my residence here will not only be personally unpleasant, but altogether useless to the public. I will omit, in the mean while, no opportunity of giving such further explanations, consistent with the ground which has been taken, as may prevent a result injurious to our citizens. The fact is, that, as has been sufficiently proved by the law which the King of the Netherlands has been compelled to have enacted, and by various other circumstances, a most sickly sensibility exists on the subject of personal abuse of the King, and that they view here objects connected with sovereigns Edition: current; Page: [22] through a medium so different from ours, that it is extremely difficult to make them feel and understand our explanations.

I have the honor, &c.
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
20th January, 1817
Paris
Monroe
Monroe

GALLATIN TO MONROE.

No. 19.

Sir,

Having received no answer from the Duke de Richelieu to my letter of 9th November last, I addressed to him on the 26th December a short note, of which, and of his answer dated the 16th instant, copies are enclosed.

In the interview which accordingly took place to-day, the Duke for the first time declared that he did not consider us as being of right entitled to an indemnity from the present French government on account of spoliations committed by that of Bonaparte on our commerce. In support of his position that the existing government was not responsible for the acts of injustice done by the former, he alleged, 1st, the example of Naples in rejecting our application to the same effect; 2dly, the conduct of the allied powers, who, although dictating within the walls of Paris terms of peace to France, had not carried the demand of indemnities for their subjects to the extent claimed by us; 3dly, the constant refusal of Bonaparte to indemnify us for those acts of injustice which he had committed himself. In the course of the conversation the Duke hinted, without positively expressing it, that any indemnity which might be allowed by the present government would be a favor, and said, alluding to the refusal to dismiss the postmaster of Baltimore, that we did not on our part show any disposition to do anything for France.

After having repeated what had already been stated on former occasions, that the United States could not be bound by the acts of the other powers to which they were not parties, and that the denial of justice by others could not justify a similar conduct on the part of France, I told the Duke that I thought it unnecessary, unless he thought proper to do it in an official shape, to enter into a discussion of the question of right, since he knew as Edition: current; Page: [23] well as myself that, under all the circumstances of the case, the present government of France was, according to the acknowledged principles of public law, responsible for the acts of those who had been in possession of the government during the expulsion of the Bourbons, and who had been recognized by all the powers of Europe. I requested, therefore, that he would proceed to state what he had concluded to offer in answer to the basis proposed in my note of the 9th of November. He said that his offer would fall very short of our demands; that he could not go beyond vessels burnt at sea, and for those the proceeds of which had been only sequestered and deposited in the caisse d’amortissement; and that it would even be difficult to obtain from the Chambers the authority to pay to that extent. He added that he would make his proposal in writing, and that this would not be attended with much delay. I then said that I could not give any opinion on his proposal until I had received his note; but that I wished him to understand that if the government of the United States thought it proper (which I could not at present promise) to accept an indemnity for certain classes only of our claims, this never could be purchased by a relinquishment of the other just demands of our citizens.

I did not fail to make some observations on what he had said respecting the toast of the 4th of July, and although he assured me that he had not in our former conversation expressed himself as strongly on that subject as he felt, I cannot help thinking the incident too insignificant to make a lasting impression. I had yesterday received your despatch of the 26th November, and infer from it that M. Hyde may himself try to repair the injury he has done.

Crawford
Crawford
12th March, 1817
Washington
Gallatin
Gallatin

CRAWFORD TO GALLATIN.

My dear Sir,

Your letter of the 22d November last, as well as that which preceded it, has come to hand. I am extremely obliged to you for the information which they furnished. Some time in the month of January I wrote you a long letter, Edition: current; Page: [24] but the want of a convenient opportunity to transmit it has kept it by me to this time. As many of the conjectures with which it abounded are now realized or falsified, I have determined to suppress it and give a view of the state of things as they now exist.

John Q. Adams Secretary of State, I remain in the Treasury, Crowninshield in the Navy, and Governor Shelby in the War Department. In the month of January Mr. Monroe called at my office and stated his solicitude that I should form a part of his Administration, and with great apparent, and I believe real sincerity, explained the reasons why he thought it would be better for me to remain in the Treasury Department rather than to go into the State Department. The view which he presented was entirely satisfactory to me. The only difficulty I had to surmount was that of private interest. The situation in which I had been placed by a portion of the Republicans during the preceding session might lead the malevolent to ascribe my retiring from the Cabinet to any other than the correct motive. This idea was incessantly pressed upon me by Mr. Macon and Dr. Bibb, and, independent of the respect due to their opinions, was entitled to consideration. Self-respect, as well as a desire to retain the good opinion of those with whom I had long been associated, strongly impelled me to make the sacrifice of interest which remaining in the Administration necessarily required. These motives, however, were balanced by several other considerations. The Secretaries had recommended a change in the organization of the accounting departments of the government. It was known that that recommendation rested principally upon my responsibility. Should it be rejected, there was but little ground to expect that the public accounts could be brought up, and the odium would increase with the lapse of time. In my office, and that of Treasurer, the amounts had not been balanced from June, 1815. In every other Department it was worse, and no rational hope existed that the arrearage, under the then organization, would ever be reduced. To remain in the Treasury under such circumstances afforded no prospect of gaining reputation, but a certainty of losing what little might have been previously acquired.

But there was another difficulty in my way. Under the Edition: current; Page: [25] convention with Georgia, that State was to receive $1,250,000 out of the first net proceeds of the lands ceded. The compromise with the Yazoo claimants made the stock issued to them received in all payments due for public lands sold after the date of the stock. This stock was issued principally in the month of July, 1815, when not one-fourth of the $1,250,000 was paid to Georgia. As Secretary of the Treasury, it would have been my duty to have executed this law to the manifest injury of Georgia, and in open violation of the articles of agreement and cession. As a citizen of Georgia, I would not—I could not consistently with my feelings—place myself in a situation to become the passive instrument of injustice to my own State. Under all these circumstances I felt it to be my duty to advise Mr. Monroe to look out for a proper person to fill the Treasury Department, as it was highly improbable that my difficulty could be removed. This communication produced a message from the President recommending an appropriation of money equal to the amount of stock received for lands until the debt to Georgia was discharged. This message was carried into effect by an Act, and the changes in the organization of the Departments recommended in our report to the Senate, except in the appointment of the Solicitor of the Treasury and in the summary mode of recovering money from defaulting officers, were also carried into effect. After the adoption of these measures there was no longer any insurmountable difficulty in remaining in the Cabinet, and thus it is that you see my name in the list of nominations. Upon going into the Treasury at the entreaty of Mr. Madison for the purpose of introducing Mr. Clay into the Cabinet, I stated my wish not to be nominated to the Senate until I had made up my mind as to continuing in it, and Mr. Madison consented to withhold it for that purpose. As the measures I have described were not finally acted upon until the 3d day of March, my nomination could not be made by Mr. Madison, so that on the 4th I was a private citizen, one of the real sovereign people.

The War Department was offered by Mr. Madison to Mr. Clay and not accepted; it was again offered to him by Mr. Monroe, shortly after his interview with me, and rejected in the most decided manner. Upon this act becoming public, General Edition: current; Page: [26] Harrison, Colonel R. M. Johnson, Governor Cass, and the Postmaster-General had their advocates. It is proper, however, to observe that the Virginia Senators had pressed the colonel upon the President-elect from the commencement of the session. He had also set his heart upon it, and required all the soothing which his friends could give him to reconcile him to the disappointment. Placed as I was in the most doubtful situation, I did not venture to inquire or to advise. In the only interviews I had with Mr. Monroe,—one sought by him, and the other by myself,—my opinions were confined to my own case. Mr. Russell made a deliberate effort to prevent the appointment of Mr. Adams, and had the address to enlist Crowninshield in the exertion.

How far he felt interested in his exclusion is difficult to decide. There is much reason to believe that he also urged the appointment of Mr. Clay to the State Department. I believe Mr. Monroe’s confidential advisers from Virginia were laboring in the same vocation, some from proper and others from interested motives, which you will be able to conceive. After the explanation of his views to me, he could not for a moment have thought of Mr. Clay for the State Department without having previously made up his mind to lose my good opinion and, of course, my services; because every reason assigned against my going into the State Department operated stronger against Mr. Clay than against me. These reasons, as you will conceive, were all of a political nature, and existed in a stronger degree against him than any other person brought into view for that office.

It is generally believed that Shelby will not accept; who will be selected in that event I know not. An impression prevails that the Western States will be malcontents during the Administration of Mr. Monroe. It is even said that the Speaker has declared his determination on that point.

This is not credible, but he has made declarations to me which I conceive to be the forerunner of such an opposition. He has become an advocate for the most rigid economy, and declares that the nation will not be satisfied if the public accounts are not annually settled. In the present state of the accounts, and the defect of power to enforce settlements with those upon whose Edition: current; Page: [27] accounts the settlement of others will necessarily depend, it will be impossible to bring up the arrearage in the War and Navy Departments.

He also expresses his belief that a schism is about to take place, and that new combinations of the discordant materials of which the two great political parties are composed will be formed, and that this will be certainly so in the Western States. From this view of the subject I presume you will agree with me that Mr. Monroe is not likely to repose on a bed of roses during his present term. It is certain that the great depression of the Federal party, and their apparent disposition to lose themselves for a time in the council of the nation by uniting in the measures of the Executive, cannot fail to relax the bonds by which the Republican party has been hitherto kept together. Should they pursue this course until the schism shall be completed, it is not easy to foresee the consequences to the Republican party.

The revenue has greatly exceeded the most sanguine calculations. That arising from the customs during the year 1816 exceeded $30,000,000, whilst the receipts from that source exceeded $36,000,000. It is highly probable that that which will accrue from the customs during the present year will fall much below that of the average of any series of succeeding years. I have estimated it at $12,000,000, which is probably too low. The sinking fund has been increased to $10,000,000, and any surplus in the Treasury, after satisfying the annual appropriations and leaving two millions of dollars in the Treasury. They have, moreover, appropriated $9,000,000 in addition for this year, with the power of advancing $4,000,000 as an advance for the year 1818.

You will have seen that a motion has been made to repeal the internal taxes, which had a majority in its favor, but which was abandoned after spending a week, when there was not more than eight or ten days left for the despatch of business. It is possible that some of the members might have voted for it merely for the populace, under a conviction that the measure could not be carried during the session; but it is more probable that they would have repealed the system if they had had time. Another motion was made to reduce the army, but was more feebly supported Edition: current; Page: [28] in both Houses. Considering the immense proportion of new members which there will be in the next Congress, and the principles upon which the most of them have been elected, there is just ground to expect a levelling session,—a session in which inconsistency will be the dominant feature; a session in which money will be voted with a lavish hand, and the sources of revenue greatly diminished. To restrain this spirit of demolition it will be incumbent on the Executive to come forward and to mark the course most distinctly which Congress ought to pursue. Nothing but a firm stand in that department will be sufficient to restrain the predisposition to pull down what has been built up within the last years, and throw the nation again wholly upon foreign commerce for revenue. Mr. Monroe is sensible of this necessity, and has made up his mind to meet it, as he ought.

The compensation law has deprived the nation of the services of many men of great worth. Among that number is Dr. Bibb. He is succeeded by Colonel Troup. In the other House the whole representation from that State was rejected except Forsyth, who was barely elected, being the lowest on the list.

Finley is nominated by a convention for governor of Pennsylvania, and Heister by the old-school men. It is believed that Peter B. Porter will be nominated on the 25th instant as the Republican candidate of New York. De Witt Clinton will be run at the convention for that office.

Mr. Randolph has declined a re-election. I have heard nothing of the person who is to succeed Mr. Adams.

Mr. de Neuville has conciliated the people of this place and the members of Congress very much during the winter by a prudent course of conduct. The newspapers have laid aside their asperity, and if the foolish affair of the toast at Baltimore could be well disposed of, I believe there would not arise any further cause of collision. The opinion which you state that he has given to the French Ministry corresponds with his declarations to Mr. Monroe on that subject. His wife is very amiable, and is highly respected for her excellent qualities. It is really ridiculous that the French Ministry should work up such a trifle into an object of such importance.

There is no rational ground to hope for an increase of salary Edition: current; Page: [29] during the next Congress. I hope you will be able to bear the expense for that period, or find no difficulty in obtaining the consent of the President to return.

Judge Nicholson died suddenly a few days ago. He had paid us a visit but a few days before, and was in better than ordinary health. Mr. Macon had left the city before your letter was received. Your salutation shall be communicated to him in my first letter.

Present my respects to Mrs. Gallatin and every member of your family, and believe me, my dear sir, your friend, &c., &c.

P.S.—Remember me affectionately to General La Fayette, Count Marbois, the Duke and Duchess of Plaisance, and to Mr. and Mrs. Hottinguer.

Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
16th April, 1817
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS, U. S. Minister in England.

Dear Sir,

I duly received your letter of 22d ult., but had not till this moment any safe opportunity of answering it.

The 4th Article proposed by the British government appears to me, as it does to you, to be substantially the same which we had rejected and to be altogether inadmissible. I should think that mutual convenience might induce both parties to frame an article for the necessary inland intercourse with Canada, which would be beneficial to the inhabitants on both sides the lines and still be free of any substantial objection. On our part, we must still insist for their exclusion from the trade with our Indians, and, if they will not suffer us to enjoy the navigation of the St. Lawrence below our line, the commercial intercourse should be limited to articles of the produce of the United States and of Canada respectively.

The 1st Article might afford some employment to our small vessels; and the clause which insures reciprocal advantages to British vessels might be so expressed as to be strictly reciprocal, and as to leave us the power of taxing or excluding those vessels when having more than one deck, or when laden with other Edition: current; Page: [30] articles than those which our vessels would by that article be permitted to export or to import. I am not sufficiently acquainted with the details of that trade to appreciate the value of what we would gain by the arrangement. But I much doubt whether, confined as it is to small vessels, and excluding on the one hand sugar and coffee, and on the other lumber, fish, salted provisions, live-stock, &c., it would be at all acceptable to our fellow-citizens.

The 2d Article is, I think, useless and dangerous. Great Britain will always be ready to favor an intercourse with Bermuda for the purpose of amply supplying a naval depot and station which is exclusively designed against us.

The 3d Article is the best, as from the bulk of the article (salt), and there being no limitation to the size of the vessels, they may be usefully employed in the trade with the Turk’s Islands. But even there we are not permitted to import provisions.

There is no article proposed for the intercourse with Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. I do not know whether Congress has passed the proposed bill to retaliate on the Plaister Act.

I really do not believe that there is anything in these observations which had not already struck you, and they are made only in compliance with your wishes.

The government of Naples has rejected in toto our demand for indemnity. I have not been more fortunate here, and have never felt more completely useless than since my arrival at this Court.

Accept, I pray, the assurance of the very high consideration and esteem with which I ever am, dear sir, your most obedient servant. I pray Mrs. Adams to accept the assurance of my best respects.

Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
23d April, 1817
Paris
Monroe
Monroe

GALLATIN TO MONROE.

No. 27.

Sir,

I had an interview on the 13th instant with the Duke de Richelieu, in which he announced to me that he had concluded not to give a written answer to my note of the 9th of November Edition: current; Page: [31] last on the subject of American claims. The claims of the subjects of European powers, which France was by the conventions of 1815 bound to pay, had been estimated at a sum not exceeding at most one hundred and fifty millions of francs (or an annuity of seven and a half millions). But it was now found that the terms thus imposed were much harsher than the French government had expected, or than the allies themselves had intended. The reclamations under the convention with Great Britain did not, indeed, exceed the sum of fifty millions at which they had been estimated; but those of the subjects of Continental powers, filed with the commission appointed for that purpose, exceeded twelve hundred millions, without including a portion of Spanish claims; the time for presenting which has not yet expired. Many of those demands would undoubtedly be rejected or reduced by the commission. Still, the probable amount which might be declared justly due so far exceeded every previous calculation, and was so much beyond the ability of France to pay, that he (the Duke) was now employed in seeking some means of obtaining modifications which might bring the payments in some measure within the resources of the country. Under such circumstances, and whilst unable to face the engagements which superior force had imposed on them, it was, he said, utterly impossible for his Majesty’s government to contract voluntarily new obligations. They were not willing to reject absolutely and definitively our reclamations in toto; they could not at this time admit them. What he had now verbally communicated could not, for many reasons, become the ground of an official answer to my note. He had, therefore, concluded that a silent postponement of the subject was the least objectionable course, since having now made our demand for indemnity in an official manner, the question would be left entire for discussion at some more favorable time, after France was in some degree disentangled from her present difficulties. He added that if there was any apparent inconsistency between the language he had formerly held and what he was now compelled to say, it must be ascribed to the circumstances he had stated, to the extraordinary and frightful amount to which he had lately found other foreign claims to have swelled.

Edition: current; Page: [32]

After some remarks on the disappointment which, after what had passed in our first conversations, this unexpected determination must produce, I replied that the payment by France of exaggerated and doubtful claims to the subjects of every other foreign power did but increase the injustice of refusing to admit the moderate and unexceptionable demands of the American citizens. The present embarrassments of France, however increased by the magnitude of these foreign private claims, could form no solid objection to the recognition and liquidation, although they might impede the immediate discharge, of our reclamations. It was with this view of the subject that I had, from the first outset, expressed the disposition of the government of the United States to accommodate that of France as to the time and manner of making compensation to the claimants. I added that his declining to answer my note in writing would, exclusively of other objections, leave no trace of the ground on which he placed the postponement of the subject.

The Duke, without answering my observations in a direct way, gave me to understand that after the great sacrifices to which the King’s Ministers had been compelled to give a reluctant assent, and the magnitude of which would soon be known, they would not dare to take the responsibility of acknowledging a new debt, although made payable at a distant period. He then took new ground, and alluded to the refusal of England and of Naples to give us any indemnity.

On this last point, after having observed that a failure of justice on the part of those nations did not justify a similar conduct on the part of France, I repeated what had already been mentioned in former conversations, that our having made war against England had placed our claim for indemnity on a different footing from that on which we still stood towards France. There is, I added, another material difference with respect to a large mass of claims. England had adopted most illegal and unjustifiable measures towards our commerce; but after having laid down the rule, the application had been left to the ordinary courts of admiralty, and all the property for which we claimed indemnity had been unlawfully but regularly Edition: current; Page: [33] condemned by those courts; a considerable portion of the condemnations in France had been made not by the ordinary tribunal (the council of prizes), but, contrary to the usual course of law, and even to a positive treaty, by the arbitrary order of the Emperor; and we claimed the payment of much property which had not even been condemned, but had only been sequestered.

As to Naples, I reminded the Duke that the ground assumed by that Court was, that having always kept possession of a part of the monarchy, the domination of Murat on the remainder must be considered only as a temporary military occupation, and not as a regular government de facto, for whose acts they could now be made responsible. Even this plea, untenable as it was, could not be urged by France, and I was satisfied that her present government, if resolved to reject our claims, would not give as a reason that they were not answerable for the acts of the former government.

The Duke answered that they might at least say that such was the mass of acts of injustice and of iniquities, to repair which was the legacy bequeathed to the King by that former government, that it had become physically impossible to do complete justice; for necessity was a barrier before which justice itself must stop. Their resources were not sufficient to satisfy every claim, and a superior force had engrossed the whole and put it out of their power to make an equal distribution.

On my mentioning that his Majesty’s government had voluntarily recognized all the engagements previously contracted with French subjects, and which constituted what was called the arriéré, and suggesting that the sequestrations of American property might be considered as coming under that description, which would prevent the necessity of asking a specific credit for that object from the legislative body, he answered that the law would not justify such a construction.

Having exhausted every argument which the occasion suggested, I ended the conference by saying that, as I could not compel him to give me a written answer, I would reflect on the course which it behooved me to pursue, and that probably I would refer the case to my government. He said that he intended Edition: current; Page: [34] to write to Mr. de Neuville to make to you a communication similar to that which he now had made to me.

Had I only listened to my feelings, I would have written to the Duke to demand, at all events, an answer to my note of the 9th of November. But as, after what he had told me, this might have provoked a decisive rejection of our claims, I did not think myself at liberty to adopt a course which might prove so injurious to our fellow-citizens, and place the relations between the two countries on an ineligible footing, without having previously submitted the question to you.

I therefore addressed to him, yesterday, the letter of which a copy is enclosed. Its principal object, as you will perceive, is to put on record the ground on which he had himself placed the postponement of the subject, and to leave the door open to further representations respecting cases of property not condemned, in case you should think it best not to urge further at present the demand for indemnity in all cases.1 I must add that there is still a hope of obtaining hereafter justice in cases of property sequestered or burnt, but that I have not the least expectation that any compensation will ever be made for property which has been definitely condemned. . . .

I regret that my endeavors should not have been attended with better success, and that the versatility of the Duke de Richelieu should have raised expectations which are now disappointed. But had I even anticipated this result, I should nevertheless have thought it necessary to make a formal demand to this government of an adjustment of our claims. For you will be pleased to recollect that, owing to the time necessary to give a new commission near the King to Mr. Crawford, to the ensuing departure of Prince Talleyrand for Vienna, and to the subsequent political events, no opportunity had yet occurred to make that demand since the first restoration of the Bourbons. If longer delayed, and especially at a time when they were liquidating every species of claim, foreign and domestic, it might have been justly viewed as an abandonment of the claims.

Edition: current; Page: [35]
Crawford
Crawford
23d April, 1817
Washington
Gallatin
Gallatin

CRAWFORD TO GALLATIN.

My dear Sir,

I have already acknowledged the receipt of your two letters dated in September and November of the last year.

To Mr. Brown I must refer you for general information respecting the situation of the country.

It is understood and asserted in the Kentucky gazettes that Governor Shelby has declined accepting the War Department, but no direct information has been received here upon that subject. I am wholly ignorant of the views of the President respecting the Department. It is one of those appointments which ought to be made entirely upon his own responsibility; it would therefore be nothing short of impertinence for any person to intrude his opinions upon him. Whispers, however, are going about that George Graham, the Acting Secretary, will become the permanent director of that Department. This is not probable. I fear the geographical consideration which led to the selection of Governor Shelby will still direct the selection. In that event there is almost an absolute certainty of a bad appointment. Campbell, it is said, would be willing to take it or the appointment now filled by Mr. Adams. He is certainly preferable to Johnson, Harrison, R. J. Meigs, or Cass, all of whom are willing to receive it, and have been pressed upon the President. An impression has recently been made that Mr. Clay may still be brought to accept it. He is certainly dissatisfied with his situation, or with the Administration. He now talks of resigning his public station at the end of the next session of Congress and retiring to private life for some years. That he is dissatisfied with the appointment of Mr. Adams is notorious, but there may be some doubt in ascertaining the true source of that dissatisfaction.

Pope has been appointed Secretary of State by Lieutenant-Governor Slaughter, and approved by a large majority of the State Senate. The Legislature, by large majorities in both branches, have declared that Slaughter is constitutionally governor for the whole term for which Governor Madison was elected. All these acts are understood to be disapproved by Edition: current; Page: [36] Mr. Clay. The connection between Pope and Adams it is supposed will give strength and influence to the former, and no doubt is entertained that that influence will be uniformly exerted to the annoyance of the Speaker. Under these circumstances it is supposed that opposition to his re-election will be inevitable, and that, although it may not be successful, it will require exertions on his part which are hardly compatible with the standing which he now occupies in the national councils. It becomes, therefore, an act of prudence to retire from his public station, either to private life or to another in which he will not be dependent on the people nor subject to be annoyed by his hated rival. It is, however, understood that he objects to entering the Cabinet in what he considers a subordinate rank. His ambition will not permit him to be in any other than the first rank in the Cabinet. How the conflict between his ambition and his dread of retirement will terminate remains to be seen. I think there are but few men who have less relish for retirement than Mr. Clay; but he may nevertheless make the experiment.

A new state of things has arisen in New York. De Witt Clinton again wields the influence of that State. The Vice-President will become a cipher in the politics of New York before the end of four years. His chance of the Presidency I consider as gone, never to return. Clinton will again appear the Northern favorite, to the exclusion of Tompkins and Adams. If the Vice-President had been able to preserve his influence in New York, his task was an easy one. He had only to be silent, and vote with the Administration whenever the Senate was tied, to secure his elevation to the Presidency at the end of eight years. This, I presume, he would have had discretion enough to have done. As the question now stands, the Presidency, at the retirement of Mr. Monroe, will be a prize which will be fiercely contested between the North and the West, if Mr. Clay should be able to preserve his popularity in that section of the Union, which at that period will be very strong. Should New England become Republican, it is possible that Mr. Adams may compete with Clinton and the Western candidate, especially if Mr. Clay should lose his popularity and Mr. Pope regain his former standing in Kentucky.

Edition: current; Page: [37]

In Connecticut the toleration ticket has prevailed. This triumph, which is rather of a religious than political character, may, and probably will, have a decided influence eventually upon the political institutions of the State.

In other parts of the Union things remain nearly in their former state as to political party. In Pennsylvania the old-school men and Federalists are rapidly amalgamating, and in some parts appear to be gaining strength. If they do not fall out by the way, it is not improbable that they may eventually become very formidable, if not triumphant. In that event De Witt Clinton would receive the suffrage of that State.

Mr. Randolph has declined a re-election, and intends to visit Europe for the recovery of his health. I presume you will see him in the course of the year at Paris.

Specie payments have everywhere been resumed, and no inconvenience has resulted from it in any part of the country. No news has been received from the agent employed to buy specie in Europe, as far as I am acquainted with the fact.

The commissioners of the sinking fund have determined to make an effort to purchase Louisiana stock in Europe. Bills on Amsterdam are at par, on London at 3 per cent. premium. As three millions of that stock must be redeemed at the Treasury during the next year, it is presumed that the holders will be disposed to receive something less than the nominal amount this year in London or Amsterdam, and save the loss and embarrassment of withdrawing that amount during the next year from our Treasury. Six per cent. stock is very near par throughout the United States. As yet I have kept out of the market (except in the purchase from the banks in Baltimore to enable them to settle their balances with the Bank of the United States, recently accumulated; about $1,000,000 has been purchased in this way), for the purpose of keeping it below par until the last instalment is paid into the bank, under a hope that a larger amount may be subscribed.

If this expectation should be disappointed, it will be impossible to apply the sum placed at the disposition of the commissioners of the sinking fund.

As well as I recollect, you promised to send me a file of Paris Edition: current; Page: [38] newspapers,—the Journal de Paris, or some minor paper of that description. I have not yet received any since Mr. Jackson discontinued that paper. If you take any such paper, you will oblige me much by sending it to me.

Present my respects to Mrs. Gallatin and each individual of your family, and accept the assurance of my highest esteem.

Yours, &c., &c.
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
11th July, 1817
Paris
Monroe
Monroe

GALLATIN TO MONROE.

No. 36.

Sir,

I have alluded in my former letters to the difficulties which I foresaw in making any commercial arrangements with this country. It had, for several reasons, appeared to me desirable that any overture for that purpose should come from this government; and there was reason to believe that the manufacturing and a portion of the agricultural interest of France would recommend the subject to the consideration of the Ministry. This has in some degree taken place. A commission of eminent merchants and manufacturers charged by government with a critical examination of the tariff of duties on importations and exportations had already come to the determination of recommending the repeal of every species of duty on the importation of cotton wool; and I am informed that a few days ago they passed a resolution, which has been entered in their procès-verbal and transmitted to the Ministry, expressing their opinion of the importance of the commerce of the United States, and their wish that the commercial relations between the two countries might be arranged by some convention or understanding between the two governments.

In a conversation which I had yesterday with the Duke de Richelieu for the purpose of stating to him the object of my mission to the Netherlands, he asked whether we would not also make some commercial arrangements equally beneficial to France and to the United States. On my answering that I was authorized to open a negotiation on that subject whenever I found a corresponding disposition on the part of France, he said that Edition: current; Page: [39] such a disposition did exist; that the subject was new to him, but that he would, he hoped, be ready to discuss it on my return from Brussels. He added that there were, however, some difficulties in the way. The result of the revolutionary wars and treaties was that France had not now a treaty of commerce in force with a single European nation. With some powers she could not, under existing circumstances, treat on an equal footing, or with any expectation of making arrangements founded on a fair reciprocity. This objection did not apply to the United States; but it might be inconvenient to make a treaty with us alone. Perhaps we might find it practicable to come to an understanding, in conformity with which the commercial relations of the two countries might be arranged by the laws of each, without a formal treaty and without affording any cause of umbrage to other powers. I expressed my readiness to discuss the subject whenever he was disposed to do it, and will accordingly resume it on my return.

I have not, however, very sanguine expectations of a favorable result, or that anything more can be obtained than some modification of duties. The system of raising a large revenue on the consumption of tobacco, by a monopoly of its manufacture and a partial cultivation of the plant in France, opposes an insuperable barrier to any beneficial change in the existing regulations respecting the tobacco of the United States. I know, also, that the arrangements contemplated by the board to which I have alluded have for basis a reduction of duties on the importation of French manufactures in the United States; and the Duke de Richelieu alluded to the high rate of our duties on French wines. This last article is the only one on which we might, if equivalent advantages were obtained, reduce the duties without loss to the revenue, and without interfering either with our manufactures or agricultural produce, or affecting our commercial arrangements with other countries. I am aware that I have no authority to treat on that basis, but I submit the subject (that respecting French wines) to your consideration, because, although the quantity we consume is trifling, it has nevertheless been always considered here as of vast importance.

As connected with this subject, it is desirable that I should be Edition: current; Page: [40] furnished with the most recent statement that the Register’s records can give of our importations from and our exportations to France. I have not received the general annual statements of importations and exports presented to Congress during their last session. What I principally want are the importations for the years 1815 and 1816, as they will enable me to show of what vast importance our consumption of French manufactures is to this country. Of this the silk manufacturers of Lyons are sufficiently aware. But I am confident that the amount, when correctly stated, will far exceed what this government may suppose it to be.

I have the honor, &c.
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
12th July, 1817
Paris
Monroe
Monroe

GALLATIN TO MONROE.

No. 37.

Sir,

The communications first made by Mr. de Neuville to his government, and particularly the ground which he had taken on the subject of the Baltimore toast, had produced here a very unfavorable effect. Those which he has lately made must be of a very different character, and the effect is perceivable.

In the conversation which I had on the 10th instant with the Duke de Richelieu, he expressed his satisfaction at finding from his last despatches that the most favorable dispositions existed on the part of our government towards that of France. He made no allusion whatever to the subject of the postmaster. He then said that he wished it to be clearly understood that the postponement of our claims for spoliations was not a rejection; that a portion of them was considered as founded in justice; that he was not authorized to commit his Majesty’s government by any positive promise, but that it was their intention to make an arrangement for the discharge of our just demands as soon as they were extricated from their present embarrassments. He still persisted, however, in his former ground, that they could not at present recognize the debt or adjust its amount.

I have the honor, &c.
Edition: current; Page: [41]
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
Eustis
Eustis
22d September, 1817
Hague
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN AND EUSTIS TO J. Q. ADAMS, Secretary of State.

Sir,

The King of the Netherlands having selected the Hague for the seat of the negotiations between this country and the United States, we accordingly proceeded to this place, having previously had several conversations at Bruxelles with Baron de Nagel, the Minister for Foreign Affairs. The commissioners appointed to treat with us were Mr. Goldberg, Director-General of the Department of Commerce and Colonies, and Mr. Vanderkemp, member of the Council of Commerce. But, contrary to the expectations which we had formed on our first interviews with Mr. de Nagel and with the commissioners, after several conferences and four weeks of negotiation, we have been unable to come to an agreement on any of the points contemplated by our instructions.

The negotiations turned on three points,—the treaty of 1782 between the States-General of the Netherlands and the United States, the repeal of the discriminating duties, and the admission of American vessels in the Dutch colonies and foreign settlements.

Our instructions being wholly silent on the first point, we could only presume that it was not the intention of our government that the treaty should be abrogated or materially altered; and we proposed that its stipulations should be extended to Belgium and Louisiana, both of which were acquisitions made subsequent to the year 1782. The Dutch commissioners agreed to the proposed extension; but both they and Baron de Nagel evinced a strong desire either that the old treaty should be set aside to make room for new stipulations, or that the principles which it contains on the subject of neutral rights should be abandoned. Besides other unimportant modifications, they objected to the 5th Article as calculated to involve either nation in the wars of the other, and particularly insisted that the latter part of the 11th Article, beginning with the words “declaring most expressly,” should be struck out. Although the ostensible objection to that paragraph was its being a mere abstract declaration, it will not escape you that it contains an important principle not Edition: current; Page: [42] altogether unconnected with the question of impressment. We uniformly answered that it was not the wish of the United States, nor did the experience of the long period during which the treaty had been in force justify the apprehension, that either nation should or could be involved in any war on account of any of its stipulations, and that, our government not having anticipated the objections now made, we did not feel ourselves authorized to agree to any important alteration. The Dutch commissioners finally withdrew their proposed amendments, in compliance, as they said, with our wishes, but added that they would, in signing a new treaty, make a written declaration expressive of the meaning they attached to those articles of the former one to which they had objected. Although the preservation of that treaty will not probably form an insuperable bar to any future arrangements with this country, they may in other respects be facilitated, in case our government shall think proper to abrogate it and to substitute provisions similar to those adopted in the treaty of 1799 between the United States and Prussia.

We had at first connected the repeal of the discriminating duties with the admission in the colonies, and proposed a general and unqualified repeal without distinction of place or merchandise, provided the American vessels and cargoes were admitted on the same footing in the Dutch East and West India settlements. But that admission was offered by them only on the footing of the most favored nations, and on the express condition that the United States should, as an equivalent for it, make some additional concession.

The privilege of being admitted at Surinam on the same footing as the most favored nations was of no value, since we are in fact the only nation whose vessels are received in that colony; and we were aware that we ought not to accede to any stipulation on that subject which might be inconsistent with the general policy of the United States towards Great Britain and the other powers who have colonies in the West Indies. After having unsuccessfully urged every argument calculated to show the unreasonableness of the system adopted towards the United States with respect to an intercourse absolutely necessary to those colonies, and the baneful effect of those restrictions on the prosperity Edition: current; Page: [43] of the colonies themselves, we declared that we preferred to have no treaty stipulation on the subject of that intercourse rather than to accept an admission on the terms proposed, even if the demand of an additional equivalent was withdrawn.

We could not urge altogether on the same grounds the propriety of being admitted without restriction in the East Indies; we knew that the trade now enjoyed by us with Java was profitable and had excited the jealousy of the Dutch merchants, who wish to see us excluded; and the terms on which we had heretofore accepted the admission in the British possessions in that quarter were well known to this government. We therefore proposed the projet of an article founded in substance on the same basis; but we altogether refused to give or promise any additional concession, or any other equivalent than was to be found in the general advantages of our commerce. This last condition of an equivalent was, however, notwithstanding every effort on our part, pertinaciously adhered to, on the preposterous ground that a distinction must be made in favor of the nations who, having colonies, could offer reciprocal advantages which we had not to give. This determination was the more unexpected, as Baron de Nagel had in conversation given us reason to believe that he thought the demand unreasonable. Although the equivalent was not defined in the proposal delivered by the Dutch commissioners, they stated verbally that they would wish a reduction of our duties on cheese, gin, and some other articles of their growth; but that they would be satisfied with a promise to grant to the subjects of the Netherlands a participation in the commerce of any colonies which we might acquire during the existence of the proposed treaty. The first proposition was evidently inadmissible, and on the second we stated that neither had the United States any desire of acquiring colonies, nor could we on the face of a treaty avow or admit such an intention. It was only in the last conference that they gave us to understand that if we had agreed to their proposal on the subject of the repeal of discriminating duties, they might have found therein a sufficient equivalent for admitting us in the East Indies on the footing of the most favored nations.

With respect to those duties, it had been without difficulty Edition: current; Page: [44] agreed that those on tonnage or vessels should be altogether abolished, with an understanding on one hand that this provision should not affect the intercourse with the colonies that might not be included in the treaty, and, on the other hand, that the agreement was conditional on the part of the Dutch commissioners; as, in case we could not agree on the repeal of discriminating duties on merchandise, it suited better the commercial policy of this country to countervail our additional duty on merchandise imported in foreign vessels by a tonnage duty than in any other manner.

Their proposal was that no discriminating duties should be laid in either country on any species of merchandise imported directly from the other country in vessels of that country. From the moment we saw that the colonies would not be included in the arrangement, we insisted that the stipulation should embrace only the products and manufactures of both countries. The reasons urged on both sides will be found in the official note of the Dutch commissioners of the 13th September and in our reply of the 18th. Although their proposal was inadmissible to its full extent, there is considerable force in the argument drawn from the geographical situation of the Netherlands, so far as it applies to that part of Germany and Switzerland of which Holland and Antwerp may be considered as the natural seaports. And Congress seems to have countenanced the distinction by the expressions used in the 1st Section of the Act of March 1, 1817. We would have been disposed to listen to the proposal if it had been thus limited, and in case we could have obtained the admission of American vessels in the Dutch East Indies on acceptable terms. But although we stated explicitly the effect which such stipulation, if extended to the products and manufactures of France, England, and other maritime powers, would have on our commercial relations with them, we could not induce the King’s commissioners to restrict their proposal. They always repeated that restrictions as to the origin of merchandise were inadmissible, because they could not be executed.

Seeing that there was no prospect of concluding an arrangement on any of the points on which we were instructed, we did not think it eligible to sign a treaty merely extending that of Edition: current; Page: [45] 1782 to Belgium and Louisiana, as that was not a subject contemplated by our instructions, and as it would besides have been embarrassed by the proposed declaration. In order to terminate the negotiations in the most friendly manner, we proposed, and it was agreed, that they should remain suspended for the present, and that the whole subject should be referred to the two governments.

If we could venture an opinion on the arrangements which might hereafter be made with this country, we would say that it is not probable that we can be admitted in the East Indies on a better footing than the most favored nations; and that with respect to the repeal of discriminating duties, this government will at least insist that that repeal should apply to the manufactures not only of the Netherlands, but also of Germany and Switzerland.

We must not omit to state that during the conferences the Dutch commissioners repeatedly complained of our continuing those discriminating duties, whilst they had repealed theirs. They said that having repealed an ancient additional duty on articles imported generally from America, and known under the name of recognition, their ministers at Washington had in vain applied for a repeal of our additional duties, although their demand was founded both on the Act of Congress of 3d March, 1815, and on their claim, derived from the treaty of 1782, to be placed on the same footing with the English; and that the King having directed that the extra tonnage duty laid on foreign vessels by a law of October, 1816, should not be required from American vessels, we had not in the United States adopted a similar measure towards the vessels of the Netherlands. To this last observation we replied that there had not been yet time to hear from America on the subject, and that our government had doubtless expected that it would be definitely arranged in the course of our negotiations. We were not acquainted with the former applications said to have been made by their ministers; and we only observed that for the execution of an Act of Congress our Executive was responsible to his country, and not to any foreign nation; that if they claimed under the convention with Great Britain they must grant the same privileges Edition: current; Page: [46] which she had allowed, one of which was the admission in the East India possessions, defined in such manner as not to render it altogether nominal.

It must be, however, admitted that the fact which they alleged of the repeal of the tonnage duty on their part is true; and we regretted that it was not in our power to state that this measure had been met by a corresponding repeal on the part of our government. We submit it to the consideration of the President whether our discriminating duties ought not, under existing circumstances, to be repealed with respect to vessels of the Netherlands, and whether that repeal should not have a retrospective effect to the time when the extra tonnage duty ceased to be required here from American vessels. Independent of other reasons, the mutual repeal is at this time clearly in our favor, since the number of American vessels which enter the ports of the Netherlands is much greater than that of Dutch vessels which enter the ports of the United States. Although the King’s commissioners refused to accede to a treaty stipulation which should limit the repeal of discriminating duties to the products and manufactures of both countries, it is probable that such a repeal, together with that of the tonnage duty, being conformable to the Act of Congress and to our convention with Great Britain, would at present satisfy this government, and prevent their again imposing their extra tonnage duties on American vessels. But from the repeated declaration of the commissioners in the course of the negotiations, we do not believe, whatever might have been previously the case, that the repeal of our tonnage duties alone would now be thought sufficient.

For further details we beg leave to refer to the enclosed copies of the protocols of conferences and of the correspondence between the King’s commissioners and ourselves.

We have the honor to be, very respectfully, your most obedient servants.

Edition: current; Page: [47]
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
8th October, 1817
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 44.

Sir,

In conformity with my letter of 10th July last, I left this place for the Netherlands on the 19th of July. On my arrival at Bruxelles I found that the King had determined that the negotiations should be carried on at the Hague. Had this decision been made sooner, I would have postponed my journey till the month of October, at which time only the Court and the Minister of Foreign Affairs were to remove from Bruxelles to the Hague. We concluded that the object of our mission would be promoted by holding previous conferences with Baron de Nagel, as a free communication of what we had in view would enable him to give sufficient instructions to the negotiators. These interviews, together with the usual presentations, detained us several weeks at Bruxelles. We afterwards proceeded to the Hague, and closed our conferences on the 20th of September. On the 22d, our despatches having been completed on that day, I left the Hague, and arrived here the 29th, in the evening.

Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
9th October, 1817
Paris
Eustis
Eustis

GALLATIN TO EUSTIS, United States Minister at the Netherlands.

Dear Sir,

The long letter of Messrs. Goldberg and Vanderkemp of 30th September last would not seem, viewing its date, manner, or contents, to require any direct answer. But I agree with you that in order to prevent or correct erroneous impressions it is necessary that you should take notice of it in letter or conversation with Baron de Nagel. Almost every point had been discussed or explained in the conferences, and as what was said on the occasion, being in French, must be more within my recollection than yours, I will repeat in substance the explanations which were thus given.

On the subject of their complaints that our government had not repealed the discriminating duties when they had been repealed Edition: current; Page: [48] in the Netherlands, we observed that the nature of the application, said to have been made in 1815 by Mr. Ten Cate after the old recognition duty of Holland had been repealed, was unknown to us, but that we presumed that he had not been able to assure our government that all extra duties, general or local, were thus repealed in the Netherlands, and that with respect to the administrative measure by which American vessels were exempted from the extra tonnage duty laid by the law of October, 1816, as that fact could not have been known at Washington till after our appointment to treat on that very subject, our government must have necessarily waited for the result of the negotiations before they would act upon it. In reply to the remark that the Act of Congress of March, 1815, had not, in that instance, been carried into effect, it was observed that for the execution of the laws of the United States the President was answerable to his country, and not to any foreign nation; to which observation the Dutch plenipotentiaries acceded. When they alluded to our convention with Great Britain and to their right of being placed on the footing of the most favored nations, we stated that Holland in order to be entitled to the same privileges with Great Britain must give the same advantages, one of which was the admission in the East India possessions without equivalent. The two last observations were made only to repel the demand of the repeal of discriminating duties as a matter of right, and were accompanied by explicit declarations of the disposition of our government, either by treaty or otherwise, to treat Dutch vessels in the United States as favorably as American vessels were treated in the Netherlands.

The complaint that we had not extended the provisions of the treaty of 1782 to Louisiana is the more extraordinary, as not only had the proposal to make this one of the conditions of the new treaty come from ourselves, but we had with perfect candor explicitly stated to Messrs. Goldberg and Vanderkemp that, in point of fact, the Dutch vessels had, from the time when we had acquired Louisiana, been treated there as favorably as in any other part of the United States, and that, on account of our institutions, this would continue to be the case even if there was no new treaty. We told them at the same time that we knew Edition: current; Page: [49] that considerations of a similar nature would produce the same effect with respect to Belgium, and that we had no doubt that our vessels without any new stipulations would be admitted there on the same terms as in Holland.

We did not attempt to answer the arguments which in the conferences and in their official note the Dutch plenipotentiaries adduced to prove that the geographical situation of Holland forbade their agreeing to a repeal of the discriminating duties limited to the products and manufactures of the two countries. Presuming that they were the best judges of the interest of their country, we thought it sufficient to state on our part the reasons which prevented the United States from agreeing to the stipulation on that subject in the manner proposed by the Netherlands. It would have been more decorous in those gentlemen, particularly considering the date of their letter, to have pursued the same course, and not to have attempted to prove that their proposal would not produce the inequalities and inconveniences which we had stated. Their observations, besides, had been made, discussed, and refuted during the conferences. They had been told that the expense of inland transportation of German goods to Amsterdam had no connection whatever with the subject; that that expense was the same for the citizens of the United States or for the inhabitants of Holland; that the American merchant could not import the calicoes of Switzerland without paying that inland expense of transportation; that those goods delivered at Amsterdam cost the same price to both Americans or Dutchmen; and that, therefore, the merchants of Holland would be able, according to the proposed stipulation, to bring to the United States German goods exactly on the same terms as the American merchants, whilst, as we had clearly stated, the American merchants could not bring to Holland articles not the produce of the United States without paying a double freight, which the Dutch merchants were not compelled to pay, since they could import those articles directly from the place where they grew. We added that the only species of foreign merchandise which from particular circumstances we might, perhaps, be able to import in common times, though loaded with that double freight, were the tea and other products Edition: current; Page: [50] of China; and that those, tea-company or other similar internal regulations would interfere so as to prevent our sales. To the observation that in point of fact we did actually continue to import foreign articles in the Netherlands, we replied that this was owing to temporary circumstances, and that the whole negotiation was grounded on the expectation of a speedy revival of the maritime commerce of Holland; in which case circuitous importations never could be made on equal terms with direct ones.

When at the last conference the subject of lands owned by inhabitants of Holland in the United States was brought forward, we stated, 1st, that we considered that subject as belonging more immediately to the States’ authorities, and that the stipulations entered in some of our former treaties, which were no longer in force, had been found inconvenient, and had not been renewed; 2dly, that, by the general law of the land, aliens could not in the United States acquire or own land; that it was by virtue of certain special laws of the States of New York and Pennsylvania that aliens had been permitted to purchase, and that inhabitants of Holland had actually purchased, lands; that those laws were from the beginning expressly limited to a number of years, which had now expired; that the foreign purchasers knew that limitation when they made the purchase, and they were now precisely in the same situation as citizens of the United States, who could no more than the members of the Holland company sell the lands they owned to foreigners.

On a review of the letter of the 30th of September, I find that the only point which was not fully discussed, although it was once mentioned in the conferences, relates to our high duties on importations. I have not received a single document relative to the subject of a date subsequent to the peace. But my knowledge of details previous to the war and some general facts of a subsequent date enable me to say that neither can our duties, a few articles excepted, be considered as amounting to a prohibition, nor is the diminution of our consumption of some articles, the produce of Holland, to be principally ascribed to those duties. It is a notorious fact that, notwithstanding those duties, we consume, in proportion to our population, a greater quantity of foreign manufactures than any other nation. The Edition: current; Page: [51] duties received in 1816 have exceeded 36 millions of dollars. We have been overwhelmed with importations of foreign linens and cloth and cotton goods, to the destruction of many of our own new manufactures. If the linens and the cloth of the Netherlands have not been imported, it must certainly be due to other causes than the duties. Two articles which were mentioned in the conferences, madder and thread or silk laces, pay the lowest rate of duty,—7½ per cent. ad valorem. It would not be astonishing that the consumption of foreign cheese and spirits distilled from grain should have been lessened in America: it is more extraordinary that any should still be imported, considering the price of land, of cattle, and of rye and barley. If a sensible diminution has taken place, it is owing to the great improvements made during the last twenty years in the United States in the manufacture of cheese and of spirits. The consumption of Dutch cheese and gin is a mere matter of fancy and luxury, which is not much arrested by the duties; and I doubt altogether the assertion that it has been lessened. The fact certainly was not so a few years ago, before the decrees of Bonaparte and the orders in council interrupted the natural course of commerce. But it must be acknowledged that Holland has, in one respect, some right to complain, although the plenipotentiaries have not mentioned the fact in their letter. We have laid a duty of four to five cents more per gallon on spirits distilled from grain than on rum or brandy. This extra duty, which falls exclusively on Holland gin, is not wanted for the protection of our distilleries, and is doubly unjust, as the duty is specific, and gin is the cheapest of all spirits.

All this is for yourself. What objects your communication to Mr. de Nagel should embrace you are the best judge. But I think that it should be in writing, and that, whilst you animadvert on the manner and arguments of the last letter, it must not be forgotten that the maritime poverty of Holland does for the present give, in all negotiations, an advantage to its government over ours. They care but little for our extra duties, so long as one hundred American vessels visit their ports for one from the Netherlands that enters ours.

I have the honor, &c.
Edition: current; Page: [52]
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
10th October, 1817
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 46.

Sir,

In the last conference held at the Hague, the plenipotentiaries of the Netherlands said that probably they would address another note to us, principally for the purpose of giving us a clear statement of their laws and regulations now in force with respect to our trade both with the kingdom in Europe and with the Dutch colonies. We observed that this course, during the suspension of the conferences, was not regular, and that we would be separated and could not make any official answer. They assured us that what they intended to write would require no answer from us.

On the 30th of September they addressed a letter to us, which was delivered to Mr. Eustis, and which is far from according with our understanding on the subject. I enclose a copy of it, and also copies of Mr. Eustis’s letter to me and of my answer.

I have, &c.
Crawford
Crawford
27th October, 1817
Washington
Gallatin
Gallatin

CRAWFORD TO GALLATIN.

My dear Sir,

Your interesting letter of the1 has been received in due time.

The views which it presents in relation to the country where you reside, as well as to this, are highly interesting.

I see that the question of further reducing the allied forces in France has been agitated, and said to be decided in the negative. It is said in the newspapers that this decision has been the result of the representations of the Duke of Wellington, who is made to say that any further reduction of that force would render it unequal to the maintenance of the Bourbons on the throne.

I am by no means disposed to question the correctness of this Edition: current; Page: [53] opinion, but the policy of keeping any monarch upon a throne for an indefinite series of years by means of a foreign military force, when there is no competitor for that throne, may well be questioned. It appears to me that the retention of this force within the limits and at the expense of France, on the plea that it is necessary to the preservation of the monarch, cannot fail to increase and prolong that necessity. So far as the restoration of confidence between the King and people is desirable, it would be much better to place this delicate question upon the explicit ground of conventional rights, than to make the safety of the King to depend upon the oppression of the kingdom by a foreign force. If this ground has been assumed and avowed, it will be difficult to convince the nation of the sincerity of the exertions of the King to rid them of so heavy a burden, of so shameful a yoke.

I am inclined to the opinion you have expressed, that during the lifetime of the King no effort will be made by the nation to expel him from the throne; but the moment of his death will be the period of new convulsions. I most sincerely hope he may outlive the residence of the allied troops in France. If new efforts are to be made for the preservation of some of the good fruit of the revolution, I wish they may be made under the happiest auspices. I see that, at the opening of the session of the Legislature in 1815, the members of the blood royal, including the Duke of Orleans, took their seats in the House of Peers. I see that the Duke precipitately left France a short time after having taken his seat. I presume his retreat was the result of orders from the King. Did the other members of the royal family withdraw from their seats at the same time? Cannot you procure me a copy of the suppressed and, I presume, the last number of the Causeur?

The accruing revenue from the customs for the present year will exceed eighteen millions. We have purchased and redeemed about fifteen millions of the public debt since the first day of January. The redemption of the Louisiana debt is all that can be effected before the year 1825, unless Congress shall direct the redemption of the five per cent. stock subscribed to the bank, or permit the commissioners to purchase the debt at its current Edition: current; Page: [54] value. Unless one or both of these ideas are acted upon, there will be a surplus in the sinking fund annually of more than five millions of dollars from the year 1819, when the Louisiana debt will be discharged, until the year 1825, besides a general surplus of nearly the same amount if no reduction is made in the revenue by Congress. There is now in the Treasury upwards of six millions, which will probably be increased to nearly eight by the first day of January, 1818. With this amount in the Treasury, we could pay off the whole of the Louisiana debt next year, if the terms of the convention will permit it; but there is no doubt of our right to pay it off during the year 1819.

If, then, we do not involve ourselves in a Spanish war, we shall have a superabundance of revenue, unless we engage extensively in a system of internal improvements. I do not know whether Mr. Monroe entertains the constitutional scruples which governed Mr. Madison in the rejection of the bill on that subject on the 3d day of March last. That bill, as you observe, was bad enough; so bad that I did not wish it to pass. I presume the subject will be renewed during the next session, and trust that it will assume a form less objectionable than the one rejected by Mr. Madison. If nothing of this kind takes place, the internal taxes will be repealed. Indeed, I am by no means certain that the adoption of an extensive system of internal improvements will save the internal taxes. The sales of the public lands are increasing with a rapidity wholly unexampled. After the present year they may be safely set down at $3,000,000; but until the Yazoo stock is absorbed not more than half that amount will go into the Treasury. The sales in the Alabama Territory during the next year will probably absorb the greatest part of the Mississippi stock. The last payment to the State of Georgia is now ready to be made.

From this view of the Treasury operations you will perceive we are on the brink of the enviable situation which Mr. Jefferson supposed us to be in about the close of his Presidential career, viz., of finding out new objects of expenditure, or of reducing the revenue to that at present authorized by law.

I wish I could say as much in relation to other views which may be taken of the political state of the country. The War Edition: current; Page: [55] Department is not yet filled. It has been offered to Mr. Lowndes and declined. Mr. Calhoun’s answer to the offer which has been made of it to him is daily expected. Should he decline, it will be tendered to Judge Johnston, of the same State, who it is supposed will accept it.

The President’s tour through the East has produced something like a political jubilee. They were in the land of steady habits, at least for the time, “all Federalists, all Republicans.” If the bondmen and bondwomen were not set free, and individual debts released, a general absolution of political sins seems to have been mutually agreed upon. Whether the parties will not relapse on the approach of their spring elections in Massachusetts can only be determined by the event.

In this world there seems to be nothing free from alloy. Whilst the President is lauded for the good he has done in the East by having softened party asperity and by the apparent reconciliation which for the moment seems to have been effected between materials the most heterogeneous, the restless, the carping, the malevolent men in the Ancient Dominion are ready to denounce him for his apparent acquiescence in the seeming man-worship with which he was venerated by the wise men of the East.

Seriously, I think the President has lost as much as he has gained by this tour, at least in popularity. In health, however, he seems to have been a great gainer.

The papers will give you the result of the Pennsylvania election of governor: it is not considered brilliant. Should that State fall into the hands of the Quids and Feds, De Witt Clinton enters the list this time three years with Mr. Monroe. The change is certainly possible.

Mr. Clay has spent the summer in the city with his family. It is said, and with an air of probability, that the City Gazette, which is now a daily paper, is to be under his control. If this is the fact, the Administration or some of its members must look out against squalls.

Whether the new Secretary of State is aware of the connection which Mr. Clay is supposed to have with this paper, I know not; but it is certainly a fact that he has given to the editor the Edition: current; Page: [56] publication of the laws. This measure may ward off the blow some time, if any was intended against him.

I presume Mr. Clay, if he has formed this connection, has not definitively arranged his mode of operation. His plan will probably be to assail the strongest as soon as he discovers him. Whether his shafts will be directed against Massachusetts or New York, or elsewhere, will depend upon circumstances yet to be developed.

I wish most sincerely that the present state of political feeling was less auspicious to this kind of adventure. We must, however, content ourselves with things as they are.

Mr. Clay has announced his determination to bring the recognition of the new state of Buenos Ayres before Congress. He will, I presume, connect his popularity with this question. Although it is strictly of an Executive nature, and seems hardly susceptible of being brought within the legislative competence of Congress, I believe the course contemplated by Mr. Clay will not be unacceptable to a part of the Cabinet at least. For myself, I would rather see the House of Representatives employed upon subjects which are strictly within their constitutional powers. That branch of the Legislature, when headed by turbulent and able men who are adverse to the Executive Magistrate, will be strongly impelled to trench upon the Executive powers.

I do not believe there is any danger of anything of this nature at this moment; but a precedent may be set on this occasion which may in the end do much mischief.

Present my respects to Mrs. Gallatin and the other members of your family, and believe me to be, most sincerely, your friend, &c.

Jefferson
Jefferson
February 15, 1818
Monticello
Gallatin
Gallatin

JEFFERSON TO GALLATIN.

Dear Sir,

I take the liberty of putting under the protection of your cover a letter to Cardinal Dugnani at Rome, in the hope that through the nuncio resident at Paris it may find a Edition: current; Page: [57] sure conveyance to him. In return for this trouble I wish I could give you any news which would interest you, but, withdrawn entirely from all attention to public affairs, I neither know nor inquire what Congress are doing; you will probably know this better than myself from the newspapers, which I have ceased to read in a great degree. A single measure in my own State has interested me much. Our Legislature some time ago appropriated a fund of a million and a half of dollars to a system of general education. After two or three projects proposed and put by, I have ventured to offer one, which, although not adopted, is printed and published for general consideration, to be taken up at the next session. It provides an elementary school in every neighborhood of fifty or sixty families, a college for the languages, mensuration, navigation, and geography within a day’s ride of every man’s house, and a central university of the sciences for the whole State, of eight, ten, or twelve professors. But it has to encounter ignorance, malice, egotism, fanaticism, religious, political, and local perversities. In one piece of general information, which I am sure will give you pleasure, I can add mine to the testimony of your other correspondents. Federalism is substantially defunct. Opposition to the war, the Hartford Convention, the peace of Ghent, and the battle of Orleans have revolted the body of the people who called themselves Federalists against their leaders, and these have sunk into insignificance or acquiescence under the government. The most signal triumph is in Connecticut, where it was least and last expected. As some tub, however, must always be thrown out to the whale, and a religious one is fittest to recall the priesthood within their proper limits, the questions of Unity and Trinity are now set afloat in the Eastern States, and are occupying there all the vehemence of the genus irritabile vatum. This is food for the fools, amusement to the wise, and quiet to the patriot, while the light of the age will prevent danger from the flame it kindles. The contest, too, must issue in the triumph of common sense over the unintelligible jargon of Gothic fanaticism.

Ever and affectionately yours.
Edition: current; Page: [58]
Jefferson
Jefferson
April 9, 1818
Monticello
Gallatin
Gallatin

JEFFERSON TO GALLATIN.

Dear Sir,

I avail myself, as usual, of the protection of your cover for my letters: that to Cathalan need only be put into the post-office; but for that for Appleton I must ask the favor of you to adopt the safest course which circumstances offer. You will have seen by the newspapers that there is a decided ascendency of the Republican party in nearly all the States—Connecticut decidedly so; it is thought the elections of this month in Massachusetts will at length arrange that recreant State on the Republican side. Maryland is doubtful, and Delaware only decidedly Anglican; for the term Federalist is nearly laid aside, and the distinction begins to be in name what it always was in fact, that is to say, Anglican and American. There are some turbid appearances in Congress. A quondam colleague of yours, who had acquired some distinction and favor in the public eye, is throwing it away by endeavoring to obtain his end by rallying an opposition to the Administration. This error has already ruined some among us, and will ruin others, who do not perceive that it is the steady abuse of power in other governments which renders that of opposition always the popular party. I imagine you receive the newspapers, and these will give you everything which I know; so I will only add the assurances of my constant affection and respect.

Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
27th April, 1818
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 67.

Sir,

You will see in the Moniteur of yesterday the result of the negotiations respecting the private claims of subjects of the several European powers against France. She is to pay in the whole a gross sum in five per cent. stock of 320,800,000 francs, yielding therefore an annuity of 16,040,000 francs. In my despatch of 16th January last, I had stated 15 millions as the amount which the French government had determined not Edition: current; Page: [59] to exceed. But one million has been added by a special agreement with Spain, which is intended to be applied to the claims of French subjects against that country for property sequestered since the restoration of Ferdinand VII.

Although the French government has obtained as favorable terms in that respect as had been expected, the hope of a simultaneous stipulation for the withdrawing of the army of occupation in the course of this year has been disappointed. The final decision on that subject is referred to the congress of Dusseldorf or its vicinity, which will take place in September, and at which the two Emperors and the King of Prussia are expected to assist. I have, however, no doubt that if no new incident shall in the mean while take place, the evacuation of the French territory will at that time be agreed on, taking the 24 millions of rentes asked from the Chambers for that object in payment, or as a security for the payment, of the two last years of the war contribution, and of some arrears due on account of the army of occupation.

I had, in my letter of the 2d of January last, mentioned that I would wait for an answer from your Department to my despatch of the 23d of April, 1817, before I took any new steps on the subject of our own claims, and I had no expectation that a new application would at this moment prove successful. Yet it appeared that to remain altogether silent at the moment when an arrangement for the claims of the subjects of every other nation was on the eve of being concluded, might in some degree be injurious to the rights of our citizens. It was also apprehended that in their public communications the Ministers of the King, wishing to render the new convention as palatable as possible, might announce to the nation in general terms that all the foreign claims of individuals were now satisfied. These considerations induced me to address to the Duke de Richelieu the note of the 3d instant, of which I have the honor to enclose a copy,1 as well as of that by which he acknowledged the receipt of mine. You will perceive that in his communication to the Edition: current; Page: [60] Chambers (which has been inserted correctly in no other newspaper than the Moniteur) he has expressed himself in the following terms: “France (by this payment) is liberated, both as to principal and interest, from all the debts contracted towards the subjects of the other European powers prior to the 20th November, 1815.” The consideration of our claims is not, therefore, barred by anything which has taken place; but there is not yet any disposition to take up the subject. I have reason to believe that the fraction of 40,000 francs annuity, equivalent to 800,000 francs capital, which has been added to the 16 millions of rentes, is given to Portugal as an indemnity for vessels burnt at sea by Admiral Lallemant,—a species of claims which the French government has always appeared disposed to admit, if standing alone. But, with that single exception, there is no claim embraced by the late conventions of a nature similar to ours. They are all for debts recognized or contracts made by the former government of France. Sweden presented a claim for spoliations made on her commerce when she was a neutral nation, which has been expressly rejected as not coming within the scope of the conventions of 1815; and, as her subjects had no other claims, she receives nothing in the distribution of the gross sum now allowed by the late convention. Yet the Swedish chargé has informed me that most of the vessels for which the claim was made had been actually acquitted by the council of prizes. Having always been aware of the nature of the conventions made by the allied powers, care was taken in my note of the 9th November, 1816, to the Duke de Richelieu, to guard against any inferences which might thence be drawn against our claims.

Notwithstanding these unfavorable appearances, as circumstances may unexpectedly arise which would render some arrangement practicable, I beg leave to request some further instructions on the subject. Referring to my former communications, and more particularly to my note to the Duke de Richelieu of the 9th November, 1816, and to my despatches to your Department of the 20th January and 23d April, 1817, I will only add that the three principal questions on which I do not feel sufficiently instructed are these: 1st. Can the claims for condemned property be abandoned if France shall consent to settle those for vessels Edition: current; Page: [61] burnt at sea, and for property not definitely condemned? 2dly. May payment for these be accepted in stock at par, abandoning also the arrears of interest? 3dly. What gross sum in stock, to be distributed by our own government, might be accepted in lieu of all claims?

I have the honor, &c.
Crawford
Crawford
1st May, 1818
Washington
Gallatin
Gallatin

CRAWFORD TO GALLATIN.

Dear Sir,

The papers which have been forwarded to you by the State Department will have kept you informed of the measures of the government during the recent session of Congress. The laws enforcing the neutral relations of the United States have been revised, consolidated, and rendered more equal in their operation, and consequently more just and conformable to the principles of good neighborhood.

The perseverance of the British Ministry in excluding us from the commerce of the West India Islands has at length produced a measure on the part of this government which is to take effect on the 1st of October next. The unanimity with which the measure has been adopted is a guarantee that it will not be lightly abandoned. It is perhaps known to you that last spring four propositions were submitted by the British Ministry to Mr. Adams, tendering under certain restrictions a participation in the West India trade to American shipping. These propositions were transmitted by Mr. Adams to the State Department, with a declaration that they presented no basis upon which to form an arrangement, even for the short time which the commercial convention had yet to run. As Mr. Adams had declined acting upon them, and would have taken his departure from London before instructions could be sent to him, no effort was made to effect anything under these propositions. I, however, stated my opinion to the President that a successful result might be anticipated from an effort to negotiate on the basis presented by the British Ministry. In framing Mr. Rush’s instructions during Edition: current; Page: [62] the absence of the President, Mr. Adams was directed to call upon me in order to receive my views of the subject, for the purpose of framing an instruction upon the basis presented. I declined entering into an explanation of my views, upon two grounds: 1st. That Congress was upon the eve of its session, when it was probable the subject would be acted upon, and no good could result from its being the subject of legislative deliberation and of diplomatic discussion at the same time. Another inducement to this course had been produced by the submission of the propositions themselves by Mr. Rush to several intelligent merchants, who had given their opinions against them as less advantageous than the probable effect of legislative measures which might be with safety adopted. From the reasoning presented in these opinions, it was manifest that several of them had misconceived their effects; yet this circumstance did not offer any inducement to weaken the considerations which have been previously presented.

It is probable that this measure may hasten the negotiations for a definitive arrangement, in anticipation of the expiration of the commercial convention between the two countries. I do not know what are the views of the President upon this subject. My own impression is that we should not move in the business, but that we should be perfectly prepared to meet them with a spirit of conciliation upon this subject. As I have not the most unlimited confidence in the judgment of our minister there, I shall suggest the propriety of provisional instructions being sent to you to join him upon the presentment of any serious proposition to negotiate upon this question. My opinion of Mr. Rush is not as unfavorable as many of my countrymen, especially in Congress. As a man, I have a great regard for him; but as a statesman, I think him deficient in judgment, and of confidence in his judgment. Perhaps the latter defect is more dangerous than the former.

The bill to provide for the support of the Revolutionary soldiers may give us a degree of celebrity in foreign countries, but I am persuaded that it will not add much to our fame at home. It will in fact be a general provision for the poor in the States to the east of Pennsylvania. $300,000 have been appropriated Edition: current; Page: [63] for that object, but it is generally believed that three times that amount will be insufficient for it.

News from Rio Janeiro presents us with a very unfavorable view of the temper of the Portuguese government. Perhaps the reception which our commissioners received there may predispose the Independents at Buenos Ayres to give them a more friendly greeting than they otherwise would have received from them.

We have just received from Mr. Erving a manifesto of the Emperor Alexander, dated at Moscow the 26th November, upon the subject of quarrel between Spain and Portugal, and between the former and her colonies. At that date it seems that the suppression of the insurrection at Pernambuco was not known at Moscow. The plain English of this manifesto, if it admits of explanation, is that the allied sovereigns are not agreed among themselves upon the principles of pacification to be offered to Spain and her colonies; that the Emperor fears that they will not agree upon any terms; that the views of England and Spain particularly are adverse, and that the Emperor is disposed to take part with the Spaniard. His appeal to the pride the consistency, the justice, and the magnanimity of the allied sovereigns to concert together the means of applying the principles of the European confederacy to the first practical case which has presented itself, as the only means of giving the lie to the sinister motives which had been attributed to it, could have been the result only of a strong impression that the occasion was likely to confirm the predictions which had been uttered upon that subject. As I have not seen the propositions of the English Cabinet, nor even the letter of Mr. Erving communicating the paper already described, I may have formed an inaccurate idea of it. With such lights as I possess, I can make nothing of it beyond what I have communicated.

I see that the law regulating the liberty of the press was rejected in the House of Peers (not the law regulating the journals). Was this rejection effected by the Liberal party? and is the effect of the rejection beneficial to that liberty? Why has the King rejected the bill for recruiting the army? Was it radically changed in either House? Upon what ground was it rejected?

Edition: current; Page: [64]

Captain O’Connor brings with him bills to the amount of $1200 for the purchase of books for the Treasury. Not having a catalogue of any kind to refer to, it is impossible to make a selection at this place. I have referred him to you, and have to request that you will make a selection of such French authorities as may be useful. If there is any recent work showing the changes, if any, which have taken place in the relative value of silver and gold in Europe, I should be glad to obtain it.

I will also thank you to aid Mr. Jackson in the selection of English authors relative to finance, trade, manufactures, &c., &c., &c. I wish the selection to be appropriate for the object for which it is designed.

You will see that George W. Campbell succeeds Mr. Pinkney. It was offered to Mr. Lowndes, with the option of going there or to Constantinople. Upon his declining both, I advised the President to decline the latter, as I knew of no person whose personal popularity would silence opposition to it. The Speaker, who has laid about him most furiously through the whole session, had declared open hostility to the measure. If, however, Lowndes had accepted, he would have been silent on his account.

The session, which was stormy in the extreme, terminated as amicably as could have been anticipated. I am not certain but that I may be correct in saying that no irrevocable breach has yet taken place in the Republican party. The minority in which the Speaker found himself upon the South American question has convinced him that he will not be able to rally a force upon that question. If he is determined upon opposition, he may, if judicious, find a fitter occasion to rally his forces by waiting patiently and relying upon the chapter of accidents.

His enemies charge him openly with having coalesced with Governor Clinton. It is to be regretted that circumstances have occurred during the session calculated to give some degree of currency to the charge.

The President has not enjoyed good health during the winter. He postpones his Southern tour until the next year. Probably he will make an excursion to the West during the summer.

Present me respectfully to the members of your family, and particularly to Mrs. Gallatin. Mr. Macon requested me to present Edition: current; Page: [65] his respects to you and Mrs. Gallatin when I should write.

I remain, dear sir, your most obedient servant.
Crawford
Crawford
2d May, 1818
Washington
Gallatin
Gallatin

CRAWFORD TO GALLATIN.

Dear Sir,

In selecting books for the Treasury library I wish to call your attention to the subject of canals. In France and England information of this kind may be obtained which may be useful to this country whenever a system of internal improvements shall be commenced upon national principles. You will perceive by the vote upon this subject that nothing of this nature is to be expected from the present Congress. Judging, however, from the sectional feelings which have been elicited by the recent discussions, the time is not distant when the public resources will be applied to that object. The Western States were nearly unanimous in favor of such an application. Every new State will add to the number of advocates of the measure. It is highly probable that a different result would have been obtained but for the fear of rendering the imposition of internal taxes again necessary. The appropriations contemplated at the time of the decision of the question were large, and, indeed, those made have so far exceeded the estimates that I believe the Treasury will be nearly empty when Congress meets again.

Notwithstanding the refusal of the House of Representatives to appropriate or pledge any fund for internal improvements, and their decision that they had no right to construct roads or canals, they have directed the Treasury and War Departments to report to the next session the roads and canals which may be deemed necessary in a commercial or military point of view. It will no doubt be expected that some estimate of the expense will be presented in these reports. If the materials for such an estimate cannot be obtained in France and England, I fear that any estimate founded upon the data resulting from works of that Edition: current; Page: [66] nature will be very imperfect. If the length of the different canals cut in France and England, with their breadth, depth, and number of locks, with their dimensions, and the whole cost of each, could be obtained, the means of making an estimate tolerably accurate would be acquired. The difference in the price of labor in the different countries would form no obstacle in forming the estimate. To be of use in making the contemplated report, no time should be lost in transmitting the works showing the cost, &c., of the canals in France. From England perhaps they cannot be obtained in time to be useful in the report, which must be made in the early part of the session.

It is understood that Mr. Crowninshield will resign in the course of the summer. He was treated most cruelly in the House of Representatives during the discussion of the bill to increase the salaries of the Secretaries. The poor opinion entertained of his talents, and his living in a boarding-house during the session, and return and residence at Salem during the greater part of the year, hung heavily upon the bill, and no doubt had considerable influence upon its ultimate fate.

There will be some difficulty in making a selection to fill the vacancy. Judge Van Ness (who, it is said, would have been selected originally had he retired) has been violently assailed during the session, and is hung up by cunning of young Spencer and Talmadge to public odium, at least until the middle or latter end of next session.

The Speaker seems to have leaned strongly to this course, and has formed strong and explicit opinions unfavorable to the character of the judge. Of the correctness of these opinions I am not capable of judging. Under such circumstances it will hardly be possible for Mr. Monroe to call him to the Cabinet.

There is no person in the Western country qualified for the place, nor, in fact, does there seem to be any person anywhere who presents himself under an imposing attitude.

Present me respectfully to Mrs. Gallatin and to every member of your family, and accept for yourself the assurance of my highest regard.

I remain yours, &c.
Edition: current; Page: [67]
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
June 3, 1818
Paris
Richard Rush
Rush, Richard

GALLATIN TO RICHARD RUSH, United States Minister in England.

Dear Sir,

Your letter of the 18th ult. has been duly received. Reports similar to that which you communicate had also reached me from other quarters; but I think that I have been able to trace them to their source, and that they must be ascribed to the cupidity of persons formerly concerned in privateers, and who wished to be ready to prey on our commerce in case of hostilities taking place between us and Spain. However unwise the councils of that country may be, we can hardly suppose that folly should go the length of commencing war at this moment against the United States. Such a measure being also in direct opposition to the present policy of the great European powers, would certainly be prevented by them. But, indeed, every step lately taken by Spain evinces a disposition to preserve peace with us. Mr. Meade’s liberation, and the motives assigned for it, the determination to cede Florida to us, though not on admissible terms, an application made to France (since our rejection of the mediation of Great Britain) that she should interpose her good offices, and various other occurrences, might be adduced as evidences of that disposition. If you add to these the critical situation of Spain with respect to all her American colonies and the still doubtful issue of her protracted negotiations with Portugal, it appears almost impossible that there should be any solid foundation for those rumors of an approaching rupture with us, which have been spread both in England and in France.

As to Great Britain, there will be great difficulties in obtaining any reasonable arrangement either for the colonial trade, the fisheries in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, or maritime rights. Yet, so far as I can judge, it appears to me that there is at this time in the government of that country a more favorable disposition towards the United States than had existed at any former period. At all events, they have not for the present any wish to quarrel with us.

Here everything goes also, for the present, better than had been expected. Having myself little, I might almost say nothing, Edition: current; Page: [68] to do for our country, I have leisure enough to observe what is done by others. Of that little the prosecution of our claims for spoliations constitutes the greater and most irksome part; and, as indirectly connected with that subject, I should wish to know whether we have altogether abandoned our claims against Great Britain for spoliations committed under her orders in council.

This letter will be delivered to you by Mr. Baring, with whom I have been long personally acquainted. You will find him a true and loyal Englishman, but perfectly well informed on the subject of America, and with more friendly and liberal dispositions towards her than any of his countrymen, at least within the circle of my acquaintance.

I have the honor to be, with great and sincere respect, dear sir, your most obedient servant.

Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
20th July, 1818
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 79.

Sir,

I had the honor to receive your despatch No. 6, dated 22d of May last, informing me of the intention of the President to commit jointly to Mr. Rush and to me the trust of a negotiation with the government of Great Britain. The full power which was announced, and without which the negotiation cannot be opened, was not, however, transmitted along with your despatch.

Mr. Rush’s letters of 2d and 6th instant, and my answer of the 13th, copies of which are enclosed, will show all that has as yet passed on the subject. I infer that if he finds Lord Castle-reagh not disposed to treat on the other subjects, and willing only to prolong for some time longer the existing convention, my presence will not be deemed necessary. No effort, in the event of a negotiation, will be wanted on my part to promote its success; but with its difficulties no one is better acquainted than the President and yourself.

Permit me, in the mean while, to request you to express to Edition: current; Page: [69] the President my grateful sense of this additional proof of confidence.

I have the honor, &c.
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
22d July, 1818
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 81.

Sir,

The account of the capture of the Fort St. Mark, and the report of the occupation of Pensacola by General Jackson, have excited some sensation here. Several merchants have waited on me to inquire whether there was any danger in making shipments to the United States; and 3 per cent. additional have been asked to insure against war risks. Although, from the nature of the case, and from the tenor of your despatch No. 5, I was led to presume that if General Jackson had occupied Pensacola it was without orders, yet, having no positive knowledge of the intentions of government, I have avoided speaking in a manner which might commit us. I only said that the government of the United States had no intention whatever to occupy forcibly Spanish Florida, or to begin hostilities; that whatever might have been done by its orders was only in self-defence and for the necessary protection of our citizens against the Indians. The Duke de Richelieu, after the capture of St. Mark’s alone was known, observed that we had adopted the game-laws, and pursued on foreign ground what we started on our own. He added immediately that it was extremely desirable that our differences with Spain might be arranged before the meeting of next Congress; alluding to the danger of our recognition of the independence of the colonies. The fear of this and the other embarrassments of Spain will probably prevent her and her friends from resenting by actual hostilities what may have been done on our part. But it must not be concealed that neither the forcible occupation of places to which we lay no claim, nor the execution of Indians, or even white men, who have been made prisoners in the Indian war, will tend to increase the consideration which the United States now Edition: current; Page: [70] enjoy, or to promote their interest, unless the necessity of the acts shall have been fully established.

Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
August 10, 1818
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 84.

Sir,

The authentic account of the capture of Pensacola made here a strong and general impression. Such an event would hardly have been noticed some years ago, but at this moment of general peace an act of hostility, which might be considered by the other party as actual war, could not fail to attract general attention. Not knowing whether that act would be disavowed or justified by my government, all I could do was to try to soften the first impression, with the view of preventing, as far as practicable, any immediate commitment of opinion on the part of some of the allied powers, or any sudden inconsiderate act of retaliation on the part of Spain. To the ministers of those powers who have most influence over her I said that, although wholly uninstructed on the subject and knowing the event only through the channel of the newspapers, I could assert that it had not been anticipated by the government of the United States, and that no instructions had been given directing General Jackson to take forcible possession of the place; that such, however, might have been the conduct of Spain with respect to our Indian enemies as to have rendered the occupation of Pensacola necessary; and that she was bound by treaty to restrain by force the Indians within her territory from committing hostilities against our citizens, an engagement which she had failed altogether to fulfil. Besides making these verbal observations, I transmitted to the Duke de Richelieu copies of the President’s message of the 25th of March last, and of the 5th Article of our treaty with Spain. In a conference which I had with him on the 7th instant, we entered at large on the subject both of our affairs generally with Spain and of the questions connected with her colonies. He expressed much grief and astonishment at the capture of Pensacola; but his language was moderate and Edition: current; Page: [71] friendly. He dwelt on the importance of a speedy amicable arrangement of all our differences with that country, and on the interest that France took in the subject; and alluded to the advice which had been given to Spain in that respect. He then added that he thought, however, our pretensions in regard to our western boundary exaggerated, and our demands for spoliations too hard on Spain, considering her dependent situation when they took place. He seemed to consider La Salle’s settlement in Bay St. Bernard as the result of accident, and to be of opinion that any claim derived from it had been virtually abandoned by the long acquiescence of France in the Spanish establishments in the province of the Texas; but he made no observations on the subject of the eastern boundary of Louisiana as claimed by us. I stated briefly in answer the general grounds on which our demands were founded, and referred him for more details to your late correspondence with Mr. Onis, of which he had only seen partial extracts, and which I promised to send him entire. Knowing what had formerly been communicated by Mr. Roth on the subject of the eastern boundary, I said, notwithstanding the Duke’s silence in that respect, that we considered our claim in that quarter as so unquestionable that it would be useless to urge again the opposite pretensions of Spain I then observed that most of the topics of discussion would, in the case of the cession of Florida to us, be merged in the single question of the western boundary; that we would never abandon our right to any part of the territory described in Crozat’s charter,—that is to say, of that situated on any of the waters emptying into the Mississippi or Missouri,—and that as to the territory south of the Red River and bordering on the Gulf of Mexico, there could be no difficulty if Spain was sincerely disposed to make an arrangement with us in fixing a boundary convenient to both parties. Although the Sabine was mentioned in the letter of the Department of State to me of the 1st of June, 1816, I thought it premature to give any expectation that a boundary so near to our settlements would be accepted. My wish was only, by simplifying the question, to fix the attention on a single point, which France, if really anxious to promote an arrangement, might press on Spain. It is necessary to observe that, Edition: current; Page: [72] notwithstanding the contents of that letter, I had never before thought it convenient to discuss with this government the subject of our Spanish relations. With the knowledge of the personal political bias which exists here towards Spain, I thought it best to wait until they should open the subject. And, to prevent any mistake on the object of the conversation, I asked whether Spain had applied to France for her mediation, stating explicitly that, whilst we were disposed to give her as a common friend frank and full communications of our views, the mediation of no foreign power, not even of France, could be accepted. He disclaimed any intention of offering it, but acknowledged that Spain had lately applied for the good offices of France, and particularly wished her to give explanations on some points, which he left me to presume were those to which he had alluded. I told him that the best office that France could render Spain would be not to encourage her in her pretensions, and to urge the importance to her of an early arrangement. He said she did not always listen to advice; complained of her conduct in several respects; and said that he had written the day before to know why they had given him to understand that the negotiations were now carried on at Madrid, which, from my total ignorance, he must presume not to be fact. Although, as far as can be judged from appearances, France is in earnest to promote an arrangement, it is consistent with that plan to induce to lower our pretensions, and, although I have tried to discourage the attempt, she may perhaps think herself under the necessity of making some representations through her minister at Washington. Her great object in what she may do will be to serve Spain, and the knowledge and fear of our influence in the affairs of the Spanish colonies are the principal motives of her interfering in any respect. On the subject of the proposed mediation between Spain and her colonies, the Duke de Richelieu said that nothing positive was done, and that, in his opinion, nothing efficient could be done without us; he wished, therefore, to know what were our views in that respect. I answered that, nothing having been communicated to our government by any of the powers concerned in the mediation, no official communication could be expected from us; that whenever the allied powers, or Edition: current; Page: [73] any of them, should think proper to state their views on that subject, the overture would be met with a corresponding frankness; and that it appeared desirable in every respect that such free and mutual communications should take place. In the mean while, it was due to candor to say that, so far as I was able to judge, no expectation could be entertained that the United States would become parties in the proposed mediation, much less that they would accede to any measures having for object the restoration of the supremacy of Spain over the colonies which had thrown off her yoke. I added that it was understood that the allied powers did not intend to use force in order to compel the parties to accept their mediation, and that it appeared to me alike impracticable to obtain the consent of Spain to such liberal basis as it was intended to propose, and to persuade the inhabitants of the colonies to trust her and place themselves at her mercy. The Duke dwelt on the want of union among the insurgents, on their factions and weakness, on their unfitness for liberty, and on their incapacity of forming any permanent government whatever; he then suggested that if some prince of the Spanish family (the son of the ci-devant Queen of Etruria was mentioned) was sent over to America as an independent monarch, it might reconcile the inhabitants and be consistent with our views. I answered that on that last point my government alone could decide; that with the form of government which suited the colonies, or which any of them might select, we had nothing to do; that it was only to the preservation of their independence that I had alluded; and that it appeared to me doubtful whether a Spanish prince would be considered as securing that. As to the capacity of the colonists to form a government sufficient to carry on their business and to entertain foreign relations, I expressed my astonishment that any doubt could exist on that point, and mentioned San Domingo as a proof that even slaves could establish governments of their own, totally independent, at least of their masters. If there was any chance that Spanish America could be kept much longer under the dominion of Spain, why did she not do at once, where she was still in possession, that which was to be offered by the mediators to the insurgent colonies? No mediation was required for that; and Edition: current; Page: [74] nothing prevented her from opening the commerce of Cuba, Mexico, and Peru, from introducing in these, the three most productive and important of her colonies, all the improved administration, all the liberal laws and institutions, which were held out as the basis of the mediation. To these last observations the Duke of Richelieu seemed to assent, and to blame Spain for not pursuing a wiser course. But, after all, they cannot yet here reconcile themselves to the general and unavoidable emancipation of America. I had, at the request of the Russian minister, an interview with him yesterday, which embraced the same topics and had nearly the same aspect. This is not astonishing, considering the intimacy which exists between Russia and France, and more particularly between this Cabinet and Pozzo. (Of this I cannot give a better proof than by stating that he had read the whole of the correspondence of Mr. Hyde de Neuville with this government. It is, by the by, friendly to us, and has made a favorable impression here.) Still, there were some differences and additions. Pozzo still insists that our negotiation has been renewed at Madrid. He said that there were difficulties in our obtaining Florida, but did not explain whether they came from Spain, England, or his own Court. He considered the plan of sending a Spanish prince to America as chimerical; complained bitterly of the folly of Spain, and appeared to me to have almost abandoned the hope that a mediation would be agreed on. On the subject of Pensacola he expressed himself in the same manner as the Duke of Richelieu, and assured me positively that Russia had earnestly urged Spain to conclude an arrangement with us.

I think, upon the whole, that the dispositions of the European continental powers continue to be favorable to us. But Spain will make a great clamor, and I fear that the capture of Pensacola will at least impair the chance we had of acquiring Florida by treaty, and of settling all our differences with Spain. I earnestly wish that I may be mistaken. The most dangerous consequence would be the use which England may make of that event to regain her influence over Spain. She has tried to play a deep game to detach her from her other connections, and has heretofore made use of the negotiations with Portugal for that purpose. These, owing to that cause and the habitual folly of Edition: current; Page: [75] Spain, are not yet brought to a close, and do not seem more advanced than they were six months ago. Notwithstanding these appearances, and although some of the negotiators think otherwise, I am still of opinion that some kind of convention will finally be made.

I have the honor, &c.

P.S.—In the course of the negotiations between Portugal and Spain, an article had been proposed by the first purporting that she would be authorized to maintain her neutrality between Spain and her insurgent colonies. To this Spain decidedly objected, and was supported by all the mediators but one. When the vote had been taken, the British ambassador solemnly protested against it, and declared that his Court could not agree to any plan in which this provision was omitted. This incident is the most serious of the obstacles to the negotiation.

Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
5th November, 1818
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 86.

Sir,

On my arrival here from London on the 27th ult., I found your letter of the 20th of August last, No. 9, and have since been engaged in collecting such information as might enable me to give a satisfactory answer to your inquiry.

With the previous views and feelings of this government I was well acquainted, but their conduct, and indeed that of Spain, in the case to which you allude, may be materially affected by the result of the congress of Aix-la-Chapelle on the subject of the Spanish colonies. To that point my inquiries have been principally directed; and, although the absence of the Duke de Richelieu and of the Russian minister at this Court has deprived me of my most direct and best means of information, I have reason to believe that the following statement is nearly correct.

Austria and Prussia dislike any mediation or any direct interference. Russia and France press that or any other measure which, without committing them too far, may be favorable to Edition: current; Page: [76] the views of Spain. England is averse to a joint mediation, but does not wish to appear to be the cause of its not being offered. The consequence of their different views is that nothing has as yet been done; and it is generally believed even by Mr. Hauterive, who has the Department of Foreign Affairs during the absence of the Duke of Richelieu, that no formal offer of mediation will be made. But some vote expressive of the wishes of the allied powers may be entered on the protocol, which will be communicated to Spain, and perhaps be published.

With respect to this government, connected as it is with Spain by political considerations and family ties, alarmed as it feels—and this alarm has not been at all concealed from me—at the appearance of anything that seems connected with revolutionary principles, it cannot be doubted that the recognition of the independence of any of the Spanish colonies will be viewed most unfavorably, and will affect our standing, if not our relations, with this Court. It must be observed that although this government is in many respects a constitutional monarchy, it is not so in the sense in which we generally understand it, so far as relates to the executive branch. The feelings and opinions of the King have a far greater influence, particularly over his ministers, than in England. With the nation at large we are favorites; the ministers are perfectly aware of our political importance and growing power; and these considerations have their weight even with the Court. Notwithstanding those recollections which connect our Revolution with that of France, and although our republican institutions excite apprehension, we are certainly considered, even by those who detest them most, as a regular and, to use their fashionable designation, as a legitimate government. But our public recognition of the independence of an insurgent colony will shock all their feelings and prejudices.

I thought that the best mode to ward off any effect from that cause, unfavorable to our interest, was to prepare them for the event, and to anticipate that which, from the former proceedings of Congress, appeared probable. I had upon every occasion stated that the general opinion of the people of the United States must irresistibly lead to such a recognition; that it was a question not of interest but of feeling; and that this arose much Edition: current; Page: [77] less from the wish of seeing new republics established than that of the emancipation of Spanish America from Europe. That emancipation was ultimately unavoidable, the charm that had kept that country so long in subjection being now broken, and those colonies being with respect to territory and population out of all proportion with Spain. We had not either directly or indirectly excited the insurrection. It had been the spontaneous act of the inhabitants, and the natural effect of causes which neither the United States nor Europe could have controlled. We had lent no assistance to either party; we had preserved and intended to preserve a strict neutrality. But no European government could be surprised or displeased that in such a cause our wishes should be in favor of the success of the colonies, or that we should treat as independent powers those amongst them which had in fact established their independence. These sentiments I had expressed in England and in France to the ministers of those and of the other European powers with whom the opportunity offered to discuss the subject; amongst others I had a long conversation with Lord Castlereagh, and since my return here I have repeated them to Mr. Hauterive, with a request that he would communicate them, as my decided opinion, to the Duke de Richelieu at Aix-la-Chapelle. I need hardly add that these declarations were made without committing my government, without pretending to know its intentions in that respect, but as arising from an intimate conviction that the event (our recognition of the independence of Buenos Ayres) must necessarily take place at no very distant period. In my last conversation with Mr. Hauterive I stated it as probable that it could not be delayed beyond this ensuing session of Congress.

Mr. Hauterive expressed his great sorrow at such intimation, and some surprise that this recognition should be so near at hand. Yet he acknowledged that the Duke de Richelieu was in some degree prepared for it, though not so immediately, not only from my former suggestions, but also from Mr. de Neuville’s correspondence and from a memoir prepared at the Duke’s request by Mr. Serurier, both of which corroborate my opinion on the subject. Without alluding to the feelings of France, he expatiated on our happy situation, on our future destinies, and Edition: current; Page: [78] on the want of sufficient motive for putting by a hasty step our certain prospects to any hazard. For if we intended, as I said, to preserve our neutrality, he could not perceive of what utility our nominal recognition could be to the colonies. He considered it also of great importance that the United States should to a certain extent be connected with the European system of politics. Their point of contact was the sea, and there they had been eminently useful to the general cause of social order and of civilization, by maintaining alone and preserving the maritime rights at the time they were crushed or abandoned everywhere else. He would see us with great regret raising in some degree the standard of America against Europe, and thereby enabling our only rival to excite a general jealousy against us. As to the proposed mediation, he said that he disliked it, since it would be unjust and impracticable to support it, as he termed it, by a crusade, and as the proffer of it as a purely friendly office had to him the appearance of an informal recognition of the colonies as independent powers. Yet, if something was not done in common, the whole subject would fall exclusively in the hands of Great Britain. But what else could, in his opinion, be done, unless it was to give some joint wholesome advice to the King of Spain, I could not understand.

I assured him that although the United States never could have joined in any plan having for its basis the return of the colonies to the supremacy of Spain, yet they would have been desirous of knowing with precision the views of the European powers and of communicating their own, in order that their respective measures might have diverged as little as comported with those views. But although it should have been evident that without the consent of the United States nothing efficient or durable could be done in America, they never had been consulted, nor till very lately, and that by England alone, any communication made to them of what was intended or wished on that subject by any of the European powers. Yet more than one year ago, and without having had time to receive instructions from my government, seeing a growing tendency here and in Russia to interfere between Spain and her colonies, I had conversed freely and with perfect candor both with the minister of Edition: current; Page: [79] Russia and with the Duke de Richelieu, deprecating the intended interference, and earnestly inviting a friendly communication of the views of both governments to my own. Nothing of the kind had been done; the course of events had not in the mean while been arrested; these had been favorable to the cause of the colonies; and Spain had done nothing tending to retard the decision of the United States. She had neither applied to Mexico or Peru, where she still had the power to do it without any mediation, those liberal measures calculated, as it was presumed in Europe, to reconcile the colonies to her government, nor taken any efficient steps to arrange her differences with ourselves to our satisfaction. Since there was no motive for the United States to act contrary to what was known everywhere to be the public national opinion, its decision must have been naturally expected. Still, it was extremely desirable that measures should not be adopted by the European powers which should be diametrically opposed to those which might be pursued by my government; and it was for that purpose that, anticipating, though without positive and official information, what these might be, I made this free, though unofficial, communication to him, in order that the sovereigns at Aix-la-Chapelle should not at least come to a final determination without knowing everything which might have some influence over it.

Mr. Hauterive said that he would certainly communicate immediately to the Duke de Richelieu what I had said; and I have no doubt but that he will also state it to the King. He took occasion, from my allusion to our own affairs with Spain, to say that, the powers of Mr. Erving having been found inefficient, the negotiation had again been transferred to Washington; that Onis had received full instructions to that effect, which instructions had been communicated to the French ambassador at Madrid; that they had been sent by Pizarro, and renewed since his dismission, and that he still hoped that they would lead to an arrangement which would prevent us from taking such decisive steps against Spain as the recognition of the independence of Buenos Ayres. He did not appear to me to be well informed with the nature of the instructions, as he seemed to think that a cession of Florida was not contemplated; but he said that although Edition: current; Page: [80] our claim to a western boundary was too extensive, Spain had been induced to yield considerably in that respect. I told him that I wished extremely, but really had no expectation, that Spain had given such instructions as would lead to an arrangement. He alluded, in decent terms, to the ignorance and stupidity of Ferdinand, but still thought, although it had taken place long before his having the temporary care of the Department of Foreign Affairs, and he had not examined the subject critically, that the efforts of France to induce that monarch to arrange the differences with us had succeeded.

I left, however, Mr. Hauterive under such an impression that the recognition was unavoidable, that he expressed a hope that we would give it a form such that it should not be an act of hostility against Spain. I answered that it would certainly be our wish that it should not be considered as such. I must acknowledge to you that this appears to me rather difficult, and that I think the weakness of Spain and the fear of the consequences of a war are the only motives which can induce her not to consider such declaration in any form whatever as an act of direct hostility.

But I am at the same time clearly of opinion that whatever course Spain may pursue, and however displeased this government may be with our conduct in that respect, France will not join with Spain in a war against us on that account, and that she will use her endeavors to prevent that country from engaging in it. I think that Russia will also be displeased, and will nevertheless unite with France in preventing a war. Whether Spain will be advised is a very different question, and on which I can give no opinion, that government having the habit to act contrary to its interests and to the expectations of its most sincere friends.

With respect to Great Britain, there is not, I believe, any danger of her joining at this time in a war against us. But I suspect that she would see one between us and Spain without regret. She has no objection to the independence of the colonies, particularly if she can enjoy its benefits without breaking with Spain or the other European powers, and if it is done at our expense. The greatest immediate inconvenience arising from a war between the United States and Spain will be to our commerce. This will Edition: current; Page: [81] be instantaneously assailed by privateers under Spanish commissions equipped and manned here, and particularly in England. Preparations to that effect were made twice last year when events created a belief that war was impending. Great Britain will not discourage it, as the difference in the rate of insurance will immediately give her shipping the preference over ours in the trade between the two countries, whilst under our convention, such is our superiority when placed on terms of equality, that of the vessels arrived at Liverpool from the United States during the first nine months of this year, three hundred were American and thirty English. That she has in some degree anticipated the contingency of such a war and its result may be conjectured from a circumstance in our late negotiation. We had inserted in our project an article (marked) which had always been heretofore introduced at her own wish, forbidding the subjects or citizens of either country to serve on board the armed vessels of the enemy of either; and this was altogether omitted in her counter-projet.

What might be the conduct of either of those powers in the event of a protracted war with Spain cannot be conjectured. My observations apply only to the immediate effects which may naturally be expected to follow a rupture. If a war with Spain shall not be the consequence of the intended recognition, the only inconveniences which I would apprehend in this quarter are such as may be expected from the unfriendly disposition created by that act. The desire, very sincere heretofore, that Spain should yield to our demands, and even to our wishes, would cease to exist; and the obstacles to the admission of our claims against this government, and even to commercial arrangements, would be increased. I am, however, very far from suggesting that the prospect, particularly on the subject of the claims, is now favorable.

I have already stated that the determination of the sovereigns at Aix-la-Chapelle will have an influence over the subsequent conduct of the several European powers. This determination will probably be known on the first of next month, and you may be made acquainted with it in the beginning of February. Whether it may be proper to wait till then before any decisive step is taken, it is for government to decide. The negotiations Edition: current; Page: [82] between Spain and Portugal have not yet been brought to a close. I understand that no definite answer has yet been given by Spain to a projet of arrangement approved by the mediators and assented to by Portugal.

I had forgotten to state, as a proof of the bias here in favor of Spain, that, although the Duke de Richelieu had assured me that France had no existing treaty of commerce with any nation, the provisions of the former ones with Spain, and which grant many special reciprocal favors, have, by orders from the Ministry, been again carried in effect, as if those treaties had never ceased to exist.

I have the honor, &c.
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
6th November, 1818
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 87.

Sir,

Anxious from public considerations to return to Paris as soon as possible, I left London on the 22d ult. The convention had been signed on the 20th, and the time left to write our joint despatches was so short that, although I hope nothing material was omitted, it may be useful to add some further details and observations. On the subject of the fisheries, the abstract question of our right had been so ably discussed in your two notes to the British government that we had nothing to add to that branch of the argument. We could only, and we did it with some effect, demonstrate that, with respect at least to territorial rights, Great Britain herself had not heretofore considered them as abrogated by the mere fact of an intervening war. Thus, Tobago, ceded by her to France by the treaty of 1783, taken during the ensuing war, and restored by the Treaty of Amiens, had again been retaken by Great Britain during the last war. She was in actual possession when the treaty of 1814 took place, and if the treaties of 1783 and of Amiens were abrogated by the last war, the cession of that island by France had become null, and a retrocession was useless. Yet Great Britain did not reason in that manner, and did not consider her right good without a formal cession from France, which she accordingly obtained by Edition: current; Page: [83] the last Treaty of Paris. Thus, neither the treaty of 1763 generally, nor the cession of Canada to Great Britain particularly, having been renewed by the Treaty of Amiens, if the treaty of 1763 was abrogated by subsequent wars she now held Canada by right of possession only, and the original right of France had revived. We applied those principles to fisheries which, independent of the special circumstances of our treaty of peace of 1783, were always considered as partaking in their nature of territorial rights. It is, however, true, although it was not quoted against us, that it had been deemed necessary to renew in every subsequent treaty the right of fishing on part of the coast of Newfoundland originally reserved to the French. Although our arguments were not answered, it appeared to me that two considerations operated strongly against the admission of our right. That right of taking and drying fish in harbors within the exclusive jurisdiction of Great Britain, particularly on coasts now inhabited, was extremely obnoxious to her, and was considered as what the French civilians call a servitude. And personal pride seems also to have been deeply committed, not perhaps the less because the argument had not been very ably conducted on their part. I am satisfied that we could have obtained additional fishing-ground in exchange of the words “forever.” I am perfectly sensible of the motives which induced government to wish that the portion of fisheries preserved should be secured against the contingency of a future war. But it seems to me that no treaty stipulation can effectually provide for this. The fate of the fisheries in that case will depend on the result of the war. If they beat us (which God forbid), they will certainly try to deprive us of our fisheries on their own coasts. If we beat them, we will preserve them and probably acquire the country itself.

Yet I will not conceal that this subject caused me more anxiety than any other branch of the negotiations, and that, after having participated in the Treaty of Ghent, it was a matter of regret to be obliged to sign an agreement which left the United States in any respect in a worse situation than before the war. It is true that we might have defeated the whole object by insisting that the words “not liable to be impaired by any future war” should be inserted in the article. But this course did not appear justifiable. Edition: current; Page: [84] It was impossible, after a counter-project formed on compromise had been once offered, that the United States could by negotiations alone be reinstated in their enjoyment of the fisheries to their full extent; and if a compromise was to take place, the present time and the terms proposed appeared more eligible than the chance of future contingencies. I became perfectly satisfied that no reliance could be placed on legal remedies; that no court in England would give to the treaty of 1783 a construction different from that adopted by their government, and that if an Act of Parliament was wanted, it would be obtained in a week’s time and without opposition. If the subject was not arranged, immediate collision must ensue, and, Great Britain proceeding under legal forms to condemn our vessels, no resource remained for us but to acquiesce or commence hostilities. With much reluctance I yielded to those considerations, rendered more powerful by our critical situation with Spain, and used my best endeavors to make the compromise on the most advantageous terms that could be obtained. After a thorough examination of the communications on the subject which you transmitted to us, I think that substantially we have lost very little, if anything; and I only wish that it had been practicable to give to the agreement the form of an exchange in direct terms; that is to say, that we give fishing rights in certain quarters in consideration of the right of curing fish on a part of Newfoundland and of the abandonment of the British claim to the navigation of the Mississippi. This, however, could not be done in a positive manner, the British plenipotentiaries disclaiming any right to that navigation, and objecting, therefore, to a renunciation of what they did not claim. The article which they proposed on this last subject was only, as they said, an equivalent for what they pretended to concede in agreeing that the boundary west of the Lake of the Woods should be fixed at the 49th degree of north latitude.

The renewal of the commercial convention and the propositions relative to the colonial intercourse will make the subject of a distinct despatch.

I have the honor to be, with great respect, sir, your most obedient servant.

Edition: current; Page: [85]
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
November 9, 1818
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

Sir,

The returns from our American custom-houses must show the comparative amount of American and British tonnage employed in the intercourse between the United States and the dominions of Great Britain in Europe. Every account collected in England agrees in the fact that the proportion is vastly in our favor and is still increasing. Of this the British plenipotentiaries were aware, and alluded to it; indeed, there was at a time a remonstrance prepared to oppose the renewal of the convention. But the present Ministry seems, upon the whole, disposed to adopt a more liberal policy in commercial affairs than would be suggested by the mercantile interest of the country. And they also set a great value on that part of the convention which secures them against any prohibition or prohibitory duties on their manufactures which will not equally apply to those of other countries. In estimating on our side the convention of 1815, we must not only attend to the existing state of things, but take also into consideration the danger to which we would be exposed from the operation of discriminating duties on our produce, and which, on account of the great comparative bulk of our exports, we cannot effectually repel by similar duties on foreign imports. This I mention because I know that the disposition to engross has sometimes on this very subject found its way into the United States, and might, if listened to, lead to very unfavorable results. All we want is to be placed on an equal footing, and then the energy and maritime skill of the Americans will give them a decided superiority everywhere, even over the British. But it would be desirable, in order to enable our government to repel measures of commercial restrictions and to negotiate with equality, that they should have the power to lay a duty not on exports generally, but on such only as were exported in foreign vessels. Until such an amendment is made to the Constitution, our only security must be found in the great inferiority of other nations, as is now the case with France, or in arrangements similar to our convention with Great Edition: current; Page: [86] Britain. It would, however, have been desirable that that of 1815 had not expired so soon, so as [to] have been able to postpone its renewal till we had come to an agreement on the subject of colonial intercourse. It also happened that, as Mr. Rush was not to call me to England before he had ascertained whether the British government was disposed to negotiate upon other subjects, that government, in the course of the conversations he held with Lord Castlereagh, became necessarily acquainted with the fact that he was at all events authorized to renew the convention of 1815, even if no negotiation was opened on any other point. This may have somewhat lessened the inducements of Great Britain to make an agreement on the subject of the intercourse with the West Indies. Yet I think that the disposition does exist, and that the Ministry will go as far as public opinion permits them.

Mr. Robinson was very explicit on that subject, and almost complained of our insisting on an unlimited intercourse, which we must know could not at once be opened, even if the Administration was precisely of the same opinion with ourselves. And he intimated that such an unlimited intercourse (with the exception of salted provisions) would be the ultimate result of its being now partially opened. He added that, considering our proximity, and that the West Indies could have no shipping of their own, the greatest part of the carrying trade in the direct intercourse must necessarily be done by American vessels; and that, in order to restore the equality, it was absolutely necessary that a portion of that intercourse should be carried through the medium of Bermuda and Halifax. I think that our joint despatch is sufficiently full on that subject to enable our government to judge of the modifications of which an arrangement founded on that basis is susceptible, and to give every necessary instruction. I am apt to think that the British government will not consent to add any article of American produce to the list contained in their proposal, and that they may assent to add coffee to that of the articles of West India produce. They hesitated, as I thought, even with respect to sugar, and I understood that the great objection, besides the fear of our becoming its carriers to Europe, came from the non-residing planters, and Edition: current; Page: [87] particularly from the merchants and others who have mortgages on West India plantations, and who fear, as is also the case in Holland with respect to Surinam, that their agents or debtors should ship the sugar elsewhere than to the mother-country.

* * * * * * * * * *

Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
21st November, 1818
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 91.

Sir,

It is believed that the last conferences at Aix-la-Chapelle took place on the 18th instant. My advices are to the 16th. The intimation that the independence of some of the Spanish colonies might be recognized by the United States has, as I expected, been received with much displeasure by Russia and by the Duke de Richelieu. By Lord Castlereagh it was considered as a hasty measure.

The depredations committed by the privateers under the flags of Buenos Ayres, &c., particularly by those equipped in the United States, and the admission of those privateers and of their prizes in our ports, have, it seems, occupied the attention of the congress of Aix-la-Chapelle. The fair commerce of the world is considered in great danger if every petty section of country which erects or pretends to erect an independent standard should be permitted to issue commissions, and if the inhabitants of neutral countries should, under color of such commissions, be allowed to prey upon the peaceful vessels of other nations. A general system of piracy would ensue, and no nation was more interested than America in preventing such result. It was therefore suggested—I believe by Lord Castlereagh—that some measures should be taken in concert with her for the suppression of that growing evil. The Duke de Richelieu prepared a paper intended for a joint note of the five great powers to the government of the United States, strongly remonstrating against their supposed acquiescence, and, as I understand, asking for the renewal of the law of the session of Congress—1815-1816—which had undesignedly made a distinction unfavorable to the armed Edition: current; Page: [88] vessels of the colonies. This was at once objected to by Lord Castlereagh and Metternich, as improper in form and substance, and calculated to excite indignation. That mode was abandoned; and it was agreed (whether only verbally or by a formal entry on the protocol I cannot say) that the powers who had ministers at Washington should be instructed to make representations on the subject. These will probably vary according to the several views of the powers. It is not believed that anything will be made public on the subject of Spain and her colonies; although some agreement has probably taken place. It has been proposed very lately by Lord Castlereagh that Wellington should be sent in the name of the five powers to Madrid; but for what special purpose I cannot understand. The question not yet decided on the 16th.

Such is the substance of the information which I have received, and which I have reason to believe tolerably correct. The Duke de Richelieu is expected here next week, and it is said that Lord Castlereagh and Count Nesselrode are also coming. I would have delayed writing a few days longer, but opportunities are not now as frequent as usual, and I did not wish to lose that of a vessel which is on the point of sailing. I hope to be able to write more at large on all these subjects before the end of this month.

I have the honor, &c.
Jefferson
Jefferson
November 24, 1818
Monticello
Gallatin
Gallatin

JEFFERSON TO GALLATIN.

Dear Sir,

Your letter of July 22 was most acceptable to me, by the distinctness of the view it presented of the state of France. I rejoice in the prospect that that country will so soon recover from the effects of the depression under which it has been laboring; and especially I rejoice in the hope of its enjoying a government as free as perhaps the state of things will yet bear. It appears to me, indeed, that their constitution, as it now is, gives them a legislative branch more equally representative, Edition: current; Page: [89] more independent, and certainly of more integrity, than the corresponding one in England. Time and experience will give what is still wanting, and I hope they will wait patiently for that without hazarding new convulsions.

Here all is well. The President’s message, delivered a few days ago, will have given you a correct view of the state of our affairs. The capture of Pensacola, which furnished so much speculation for European news-writers (who imagine that our political code, like theirs, had no chapter of morality), was nothing here. In the first moment, indeed, there was a general outcry of condemnation of what appeared to be a wrongful aggression. But this was quieted at once by information that it had been taken without orders and would be instantly restored; and although done without orders, yet not without justifiable cause, as we are assured will be satisfactorily shown. This manifestation of the will of our citizens to countenance no injustice towards a foreign nation filled me with comfort as to our future course.

Emigration to the West and South is going on beyond anything imaginable. The President told me lately that the sales of public lands within the last year would amount to ten millions of dollars. There is one only passage in his message which I disapprove, and which I trust will not be approved by our legislators. It is that which proposes to subject the Indians to our laws without their consent. A little patience and a little money are so rapidly producing their voluntary removal across the Mississippi, that I hope this immorality will not be permitted to stain our history. He has certainly been surprised into this proposition, so little in concord with our principles of government.

My strength has been sensibly declining the last few years, and my health greatly broken by an illness of three months, from which I am but now recovering. I have been able to get on horseback within these three or four days, and trust that my convalescence will now be steady. I am to write you a letter on the subject of my friend Cathalan, a very intimate friend of three-and-thirty years’ standing, and a servant of the United States of near forty years. I am aware that his office is coveted by another, and suppose it possible that intrigue may have been Edition: current; Page: [90] employed to get him removed. But I know him too well not to pronounce him incapable of such misconduct as ought to overweigh the long course of his services to the United States. I confess I should feel with great sensibility a disgrace inflicted on him at this period of life. But on this subject I must write to you more fully when I shall have more strength, for as yet I sit at the writing-table with great pain.

I am obliged to usurp the protection of your cover for my letters—a trouble, however, which will be rare hereafter. My package is rendered more bulky on this occasion by a book I transmit for M. Tracy. It is a translation of his Économie politique, which we have made and published here in the hope of advancing our countrymen somewhat in that science; the most profound ignorance of which threatened irreparable disaster during the late war, and by the parasite institutions of banks is now consuming the public industry. The flood with which they are deluging us of nominal money has placed us completely without any certain measure of value, and, by interpolating a false measure, is deceiving and ruining multitudes of our citizens.

I hope your health, as well as Mrs. Gallatin’s, continues good, and that, whether you serve us there or here, you will long continue to us your services. Their value and their need are fully understood and appreciated. I salute you with constant and affectionate friendship and respect.

Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
10th December, 1818
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 92.

Sir,

It appears certain, besides the declarations which have been made public, some other resolutions were adopted at the congress of Aix-la-Chapelle and entered on the protocol. The affairs of Baden may be quoted in proof. Whatever else may have been concluded, there can be no doubt that the result is favorable to the continuance of the general peace of Europe, and that the union of the five powers is better consolidated than before. But I have not been able to ascertain if any agreement Edition: current; Page: [91] has taken place on the subjects in which we are concerned. Lord Castlereagh told me that he did not at this moment feel at liberty to communicate what might have been determined on the subject of the Spanish colonies. The Duke de Richelieu gave me to understand that nothing decisive had been agreed on in that respect. I believe this to be the fact. The plan of sending the Duke of Wellington to Spain has been abandoned. The subject of depredations by vessels sailing under the flag of some of the colonies or local authorities was not touched in any of the conversations I had with the ministers of the several powers.

These conversations have confirmed me in the opinions which I gave in my despatch of the 5th of November, and to which I beg leave to refer. I mentioned to the Duke de Richelieu the substance of what I had written to you respecting the feelings of France in case the United States should recognize the independence of Buenos Ayres, and he did not hesitate to say that my statement was very correct. He expressed his hope that the contingency would not take place, and that the differences between the United States and Spain would be arranged. From the general tenor of the conversation I was, however, satisfied that in the case of war with her, an event which would be considered here as very unfortunate, there was not any expectation that France would take any active part in it.

Both he and Pozzo speak with confidence of the expedition now preparing at Cadiz sailing in the spring with eight or ten thousand men. The conquest of Buenos Ayres is stated to me as the avowed object, taking first possession of Montevideo, which the Portuguese have agreed to restore provided a sufficient force is sent by Spain. The convention, however, after so many delays, is not yet signed. The project of offering to Buenos Ayres a Spanish prince as sovereign is again spoken of.

In the conversation I had with Lord Castlereagh, and in another with the Duke of Wellington, friendly dispositions were expressed towards the United States. The last said that we were so near on the subject of impressment and on that of the West India intercourse that he hoped both subjects would soon be arranged. From his perfect knowledge of what has passed in the course of our negotiation, it may be inferred that he is Edition: current; Page: [92] already in fact a member of the Cabinet. Whatever may be the real dispositions of Great Britain in other respects, and for my opinion of which I also refer to my despatch of the 5th of November, I think that you may at least rely on her wish to preserve at this time peace, and even a good understanding, with the United States.

I have the honor, &c.
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
4th January, 1819
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 93.

Sir,

I have not been able to obtain any further material information of what had passed at Aix-la-Chapelle on the subject of the Spanish colonies. So far as it goes, it corroborates the statement given in my former despatches. From an authentic source I hear that when it was proposed that the Duke of Wellington should go to Spain charged with joint powers from the five great allies, to act as mediator between her and the colonies, he (whether in his own or in the name of Great Britain I am not informed) made it preliminary, 1st, that Spain should renew her application for a mediation; 2dly, that the determination on the part of the allies not to use force should appear on the face of the act of mediation. It was then proposed by Russia and France that, if these preliminaries were agreed to, the allies should also bind themselves by a public act not to entertain any political or commercial relations with such of the insurgent colonies as might reject the proposals which would be ultimately agreed to by the mediators as a proper basis of reconciliation. This having been declared by Great Britain to be altogether inadmissible, the whole project was abandoned.

Yet from a conversation with Nesselrode, and from some other circumstances, I infer that some entry expressive of the wishes of the allies in favor of Spain has been made on the protocol, and that she has been advised to adopt of her own accord, with respect to the colonies which acknowledge her authority, those conciliatory measures which she had proposed as the basis of the Edition: current; Page: [93] intended mediation with the insurgent provinces. It appears also, as stated in my former despatch, to have been the intention of Spain to send the armament now preparing at Cadiz to Buenos Ayres, as the best means of preventing an invasion from Peru, and even with a hope that if that city, which is considered as the focus of the insurrection, was captured, the interior provinces of La Plata and Chili would soon return to their former allegiance. But this plan was founded on the previous surrender of Montevideo by the Portuguese; and this event is now indefinitely postponed, the negotiation which had been carried on here for more than twelve months between Portugal and Spain being altogether suspended, if not broken off, and Count Palmella having accordingly returned to England. On what point the negotiation ultimately broke off I have not yet been informed. The consequence, however, is that the Cadiz expedition is now destined for Chili and Peru; and the events of the opening campaign in Venezuela may again change that destination.

The President’s speech has been very well received; and the apparent determination to adhere to the line of conduct heretofore pursued with respect to the Spanish colonies is very agreeable to all the governments, particularly to Russia and to France. This was explicitly stated to me by Nesselrode. I think that my efforts in preventing the interference of the European powers have not been altogether useless; but the result is certainly due principally to Great Britain. The effects of her policy in that question begin to be understood, and many of the statesmen here regret that a similar course should not be adopted by France. But the simultaneous restoration of the two branches of the house of Bourbon to the thrones of France and Spain seems to have given new strength to family ties; and these appear to have more influence than consists with the commercial interests of this country, and prevent the adoption of a system of neutrality which would give France a share in the commerce of the Spanish colonies.

I have the honor, &c.
Edition: current; Page: [94]
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
January 19, 1819
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 98.

Sir,

I had the honor to receive a few days ago, through Mr. Rush, your despatch to us of the 2d of November last.

The subject of the slave-trade was not even hinted at in the course of our negotiation. But I have been informed by Pozzo that the British ministers proposed at Aix-la-Chapelle a general agreement between the five great European powers, founded on the same basis which had been adopted in the several treaties of England with the Netherlands, Spain, and Portugal. It was explicitly declared by Richelieu that France would never subscribe any agreement which recognized the right of the public vessels of any nation to visit French vessels in time of peace. A similar declaration having been made by Russia and countenanced by Prussia, the plan was abandoned. I am also informed that one of many causes which prevented any general association against the Barbary powers was a jealousy of the naval preponderance of Great Britain, to which, in case of a maritime alliance, it was apprehended that the other powers must to a certain degree submit.

When the proposal of Great Britain that the agreement respecting impressment might be revoked at will by either party was mentioned by Lord Castlereagh, we immediately observed that this stipulation would be altogether unfavorable to the United States; that they would make an immediate sacrifice by excluding British seamen from their service; that this sacrifice would operate in favor of Great Britain, by increasing the expenses of our navigation, and thereby giving some comparative advantage to hers in the commerce between the two countries; and that it was extremely objectionable that the equivalent for which the United States were willing to make that sacrifice should not only be remote and contingent, but that the contingency should depend not merely on a renewal of the contemplated temporary agreement, but also on the will of Great Britain at any time whatever she might choose to notify it.

Lord Castlereagh expressed a great anxiety that an arrangement Edition: current; Page: [95] might be made on that difficult subject. It had been explicitly declared by our government that the United States would not be satisfied with a correction of the abuses in the practice; that an absolute suppression of the practice itself was on their part a sine qua non. As an equivalent, the non-employment of British seamen was offered, a stipulation to be enforced exclusively by our own laws. An agreement founded on that basis was, he said, so contrary to public opinion in England that it would be utterly impracticable to obtain public support for it unless it was accompanied by the stipulation which he had proposed. I understand, indeed, though not expressly stated, that without it the consent of the Cabinet could not be obtained. He added that this was the only motive for the proposed condition, and that it would be purely nominal if, as we believe and as he hoped, our laws proved efficient in carrying the agreement substantially into effect.

It being ascertained that the British government would not treat on the basis proposed by the United States without this reservation, which had not been anticipated and on which we had not been instructed, we did not feel ourselves justifiable in rejecting it altogether, and thought it desirable to obtain the whole British plan rather than to refer previously to our government the single question of the reserved power to annul the agreement. Some considerations, without removing altogether the objection, seemed also to lessen its weight. It was only in the case of Great Britain being engaged in war that there was any danger that she should avail herself of the right to dissolve the convention; and the probability was that this would expire by its own limitation before the contingency took place. The objection, in fact, applied with nearly as much force to the temporary nature of the agreement as to the right reserved to annul it. It was believed, as is suggested in your despatch, that if the arrangement was once made, the principle never could afterwards be altered and the practice of impressment be renewed. If Great Britain should, without having any just right to complain of our having violated the compact, dissolve it in time of war, after having enjoyed its advantages during the peace, it would be such a violent outrage as would unite the whole of our nation against Edition: current; Page: [96] any attempt on her part to resume the practice of impressment. Indeed, such a conduct on her part could not take place unless she intended to be at war with us; and in that case, other pretences for it would not be wanting if thought necessary.

It may also be the opinion of some persons that the stipulations being reciprocal is not without its advantages to the United States; that the exclusion of British seamen may prove more injurious to our navigation than has been anticipated, and that it may on that account become eligible to put an end to the agreement before it expires by its own limitation. I must acknowledge that I do not share that opinion, and that I believe the inconveniences, whatever they may be, to be less than those which must necessarily follow the practice of impressment, and that they are counterbalanced by the advantage resulting from having a navy purely national.

The stipulation appears, therefore, to me on the whole unfavorable to us; but I do not believe that there is at this time any probability of concluding an agreement unless we consent to that reservation.

You already know that our observations induced Lord Castlereagh to abandon the other condition, by which the commanders of British armed vessels would have had the right of examining our crews; and that it was not made a part of their official projet.

I have the honor, &c.
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
19th February, 1819
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 100.

Sir,

I had the honor to receive your despatches Nos. 10, 11, and 12. An indisposition which has confined me in my chamber for more than three weeks, and from which I am just recovering, has as yet prevented my using the arguments, contained in the first, in those quarters where it may be useful to remove unfavorable impressions; but I will not fail to attend to that subject whenever a convenient opportunity shall offer.

Edition: current; Page: [97]

The agitation which took place here after the termination of the congress of Aix-la-Chapelle, the subsequent change of ministry, and afterwards my indisposition, had prevented my renewing my application on the subject of American claims. Immediately after the receipt of your despatch No. 12, although it would have been desirable to have had a previous conversation with Marquis Dessolle, I thought it advisable, on the whole, to call his attention to the subject before the budget of this year was presented to the Chambers, and addressed to him the letter, of which a copy is enclosed.1 The British ambassador called on me more than a fortnight ago to communicate to me, at the request of Dessolle, the Spanish decree for putting to death all foreigners taken in arms under insurgent banners or carrying to them munitions of war. Both were extremely dissatisfied with it, and aware of the effect it might produce in England and in the United States. Strong representations would be immediately made against it by the French, and, it was expected, by the British government. Both, it was said, derived an additional right of doing it from the representations they had agreed to make to the United States on the subject of insurgent privateers.

I have also understood that this government had prevented the execution of a contract made at Bordeaux for supplying Spain with transports for the Cadiz expedition to America, from a fear that it would injure the commercial interests of the country in the insurgent colonies, and perhaps expose it to depredations on the high seas.

I have the honor, &c.
Crawford
Crawford
26th April, 1819
Washington
Gallatin
Gallatin

CRAWFORD TO GALLATIN.

Dear Sir,

It is so long since I have received a line from you that I am not entirely certain that you remember there is Edition: current; Page: [98] such a being in existence as myself. Mortifying as this declaration is to my feelings, I am constrained from various considerations to hazard the charge of intrusion by addressing you at this time.

Two days ago I addressed a letter to you, at the request of the president of the Bank of the United States, explaining in general terms the reasons which have rendered it desirable that an arrangement should be made by the bank with the holders of the Louisiana stock in Europe, by which the remittance of the principal of that stock, reimbursable on the 21st of October next, may be delayed until it can be effected with more convenience than at present. The bank contemplated originally the employment of Mr. Sheldon in effecting this arrangement; but when I mentioned the subject to Mr. Adams he objected to it, especially if compensation was to be attached to the service. Two days ago, however, he has informed me that he has no objection to his being employed and receiving a reasonable compensation. As, however, the first determination was communicated to the board, another person has been thought of, and possibly may be eventually employed.

If the board should ultimately fix upon Mr. Sheldon, I hope you will not only consent to his undertaking the execution of the trust, but that you will give him all the aid and assistance which can be afforded without inconvenience. It is a matter of the greatest importance that an arrangement should be effected, and as early as practicable. It is difficult to conceive of the distress which prevails in the commercial cities, resulting from the indispensable necessity to which the banks have been reduced to diminish their discounts.

This process has now been in operation for about nine months, and must be continued for some months longer. Every exertion has been made by the commercial and, indeed, every interest in the community, to meet the pressing demands of the banks, and so far very successfully; but there is just reason to apprehend that if these demands are extended much further a general delinquency will ensue, which will take from it all its odium. Whenever this shall happen, the collection of the revenue will be most seriously affected. If the remittance of two millions Edition: current; Page: [99] of dollars to Europe during the ensuing autumn cannot be avoided, the curtailments of the banks must be continued until that remittance is effected. The danger resulting to the collection of the revenue from the curtailment of bank discounts consequent upon the exportation of specie and the remittance of that part of the moiety of the Louisiana stock held in Europe which was redeemed on the 21st of October last, was foreseen, and a possible deficiency of the revenue suggested, in my annual report to Congress. No measure, however, founded upon that suggestion was introduced in either House during the late session.

As I did not calculate with much confidence that any deficiency would occur, I contented myself with having made the suggestion. Hitherto the collection of the revenue accruing upon merchandise and tonnage has furnished no reason to apprehend any deficiency. The amount of bonds which have been put in suit has not much exceeded—with the exception of the port of Norfolk—the sum ordinarily remaining unpaid; but concurrent representations from all parts of the Union lead me to apprehend that delinquencies to a great amount will occur in the course of the summer and autumn. The fall in the price of every article almost of exportation, and the commercial distress which is said to prevail in the commercial parts of Europe, will probably throw back upon this country an immense amount of bills which have been drawn in the ordinary course of business upon the credit of shipments made of those articles. If these bills should return at the moment when the drawers are making every exertion in their power to meet the demands of the banks,—rendered indispensable to preserve their credit,—something like a general bankruptcy is greatly to be apprehended. No event will have a more favorable influence upon the moneyed and fiscal operations of the nation than an arrangement by which the exportation of two millions of dollars, or the remittance of that sum in bills, can be avoided. It is on this account that I feel more than ordinary solicitude to interest you in the success of the attempt contemplated by the board of directors, which I have explained.

The remittances of the sums redeemed during the last autumn I believe are not yet completed. They have been made upon the most favorable terms, but exchange is every day becoming Edition: current; Page: [100] less favorable. The fall in the price of our principal staples will no doubt render it difficult to remit considerable sums after this period. It is even probable that the rate of exchange may become so unfavorable as to offer some temptation to the exportation of specie to Europe. If this should not be the case, it will be owing to very diminished importations of foreign merchandise during the present year.

The receipts from the public lands in the North-Western States and Territories will be much below those of the last year, owing to the impossibility of obtaining money which can be received at the land offices. How long this state of things will continue cannot be ascertained. Nothing can be more vexatious as long as it does continue.

From the files of the Intelligencer you will have discovered that the last session of Congress was not remarkably tranquil. The events of the Seminole war gave rise to a discussion in one House, and a report in the other, which has excited all the angry passions in the mind of the commanding general and his particular adherents. The deep interest which the President felt in the question was what saved the general from the censure of both Houses. The particular friends of the Secretary of State made the question a rallying-point; and, strange to tell, Clintonianism enlisted itself under the banners of the hero of New Orleans. The support of this party, like everything connected with it, had for its object a quid pro quo. Perhaps the support which he received from that quarter may be traced to the correspondence between Generals Scott and Jackson, which, like everything else in this country, has found its way into the gazettes. I am inclined to believe that the chiefs on both sides have been mutually deceived in their expectations of support. The general, however, has had the advantage, inasmuch as he has received an active support from the Clintonians in his Seminole war, and has repaid that support by insulting the Tammany men, in toasting the governor at a dinner given him in Tammany Hall. This in all probability is the only service which he will ever be able to render Mr. Clinton, and it is at least doubtful whether that has not been injurious to him. It is probable that General Lacock’s reply to the strictures upon the report of the Edition: current; Page: [101] committee of the Senate will produce a paper war, which will be protracted through the summer, and that the subject will be resumed in the Senate during the next session. Unless the changes in that body should be favorable to the general, the report of the last session will be approved. An attempt was indirectly made at the close of the last session to soften the censure contained in the report, by a resolution which was drawn up and shown to such members of the majority as were supposed to be most supple upon that subject; but no recruit was obtained, and the attempt was therefore abandoned.

The Bank of the United States has just determined not to receive from the government its own bills and those of its offices except at the places where they are payable. When tendered under such circumstances, they [are to be] credited to the Treasurer as special deposit until time is afforded the bank to transfer the specie from the issuing to the receiving office.

This determination, you will readily perceive, produces inconveniences and delay, which at this moment are extremely vexatious. It is a mere palliative to gain a little time, and cannot possibly decide the ultimate question of the capacity of the bank to continue specie payments.

Present my respects to Mrs. Gallatin and every member of your family, and believe me to be, with sentiments of the most sincere regard,

Your most obedient servant.
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
5th May, 1819
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 102.

Sir,

. . . Marquis Dessolle informed me that the Spanish government had delayed for a considerable time to transmit to Onis the final instructions, by virtue of which the treaty was concluded, and which had been prepared by Yrujo’s predecessor. The determination was taken only after the failure of obtaining at Aix-la-Chapelle the mediation of the allied powers with the colonies, under a feeling of irritation against Great Britain as Edition: current; Page: [102] the author of the failure, and from a conviction that any attempt to subjugate by force was hopeless while the danger of a rupture with the United States continued to exist. I found both this government and the Spanish ambassador were under the impression that the treaty, if not by any positive stipulation at least by a tacit understanding, implied on our part an obligation not to recognize the independence of Buenos Ayres. I said that, whatever the cause might be, Congress had adjourned without agitating that question, and that Spain would have the opportunity during this summer to make with her grand expedition of Cadiz what every one must consider as her last effort. On the result would, it must be presumed, depend the course which not only the United States but other powers would pursue with respect to the colonies. The news of our treaty had probably contributed to the renewal of the negotiations between Spain and Portugal. Count Palmella returned here for that purpose as soon as it was known. Both parties are agreed that the boundary of Brazil shall be enlarged towards La Plata, as an indemnity for the expenses of the Montevideo expedition. But Portugal insists that it shall be precisely defined before that place is restored, and Spain wants to postpone the settlement. She declares that if not peaceably surrendered, Montevideo will be the first object of attack for her expedition. What will be the result I am less able to conjecture, as, for very natural reasons, the Portuguese ministers are less communicative than before our treaty.

Marquis Dessolle expressed great satisfaction with the conduct of Mr. Hyde de Neuville, and, although he was not prejudiced in his favor when he came in the Ministry, he spoke in the highest terms of the talents and wisdom he had displayed on the late occasion, and generally during the course of his mission.

I have the honor, &c.

P.S.—To prevent any misapprehension, and in justice to this government, I must say that it was not influenced by the result of the congress at Aix-la-Chapelle, and that its friendly offices with the Cabinet of Madrid had been interposed before that epoch. The instructions, afterwards detained, had been prepared Edition: current; Page: [103] by Pizarro and communicated to the French ambassador before the departure of the Duke de Richelieu for Aix-la-Chapelle. Their detention was not known to this Cabinet at the time of my conversation with Mr. Hauterive, mentioned in my despatch No. 86.

Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
24th May, 1819
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 105.

Sir,

The Portuguese ambassador informs me that our treaty with Spain, having been laid before the Council of State at Madrid, had met in that body with a strong opposition; that they having adjourned without coming to a decision, the King, under an impression that their opinion would be against the ratification, had concluded to ratify the treaty without their sanction; but that at the date of the last advices at Madrid the ratification had not yet taken place. Mr. Dessolle says that the treaty had occasioned warm debates, but seems to entertain no doubt of the final ratification. The Spanish ambassador concurs in this opinion, notwithstanding the efforts which he states to have been made by the English to prevent the ratification. He considers the bill lately proposed in England to prevent the armaments in favor of the insurgents as the result of our treaty, and coming too late to produce any effect against its ratification. The Russian minister adds that if that measure had been adopted sooner by England it would have prevented the treaty. I had not heard myself from Mr. Forsyth nor from Mr. Erving subsequent to Mr. Forsyth’s arrival at Madrid. No progress has as yet been made in the negotiation between Spain and Portugal; and it seems to me that the mediators have no hope of succeeding in arranging the differences. But I think that they will prevent an actual rupture. In that case the Cadiz expedition must remain suspended, or be employed otherwise than in a direct expedition against Buenos Ayres.

I have the honor, &c.

P.S.—May 25. I received last night your despatch No. 14, Edition: current; Page: [104] of April 14, and will see Mr. Dessolle; but, as Mr. Forsyth has arrived at Cadiz on the 16th of last month, I presume that the question is by this time decided at Madrid. The letter from Mr. Hyde de Neuville to the French ambassador at that Court will, in connection with his general instructions, have produced nearly the same effect as anything which would be likely to come at this time from Mr. Dessolle. This government is at this time rather timid on subjects connected with their foreign relations.

Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
28th May, 1819
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 108.

Sir,

I have conversed with the Marquis Dessolle on the subject of your despatch of April 14 last. He had received Onis’s declaration and all the necessary information from Mr. Hyde de Neuville. He, without any reserve, expressed himself to be of the same opinion with us on the subject; he said that, independent of the positive proofs of the understanding of the negotiators, such enormous grants made at such time were wholly inconsistent with the spirit of the treaty of cession. There was, he said, some difficulty arising from the favor enjoyed by the Duke d’Alagon; but, mad as was the government of Spain, it was morally impossible that our declaration on that point should prevent the ratification. I must observe that from the whole tenor of the conversation I inferred that this opinion was less the result of any direct information from Madrid than of his own view of the subject, and of a conversation between him and the ambassador of Spain.

Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
June 14, 1819
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 111.

Sir,

Mr. Erving brought nothing decisive from Madrid, but corroborates the accounts already received. He thinks that Edition: current; Page: [105] the King is in favor of the ratification, and seems to be of opinion that it would ultimately take place.

Mr. Forsyth had delivered his letters of credence about the 18th of May, but on the 27th, the date of a letter from him to Mr. Lowndes, the question of ratification, independent of that which may arise from the grants of land, was not yet decided.

Mr. Dessolle says that opposition continues to be made by the favorites to whom grants have been made, and also by the Minister of Justice, Lozano; he also alluded to some want of confidence in Yrujo’s sincerity. The English opposition was, he said, carried on with great caution, if carried at all. Reports had, however, he added, been industriously circulated amongst several of the Cabinets of Europe that the United States had, subsequent to the treaty, made overtures to the British government for a recognition of the independence of Buenos Ayres; this he knew to be false, as I had at the time fully explained the circumstance, and that Mr. Rush’s communication was made in pursuance of instructions given after the failure of the negotiations of December, and when you had no expectation of their renewal. He repeated his opinion that the treaty would be ratified, and the fact that Onis had kept far within the limits of his instructions.

I have the honor, &c.
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
July 3, 1819
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 113.

Sir,

I transmitted in my despatch No. 100 the copy of the letter which I had addressed to Marquis Dessolle, on the 11th February last, on the subject of American claims in general, and more particularly of that of Messrs. Gracie and Parish.

On the 23d of March, in transmitting to the same minister a letter from Mr. Hyde de Neuville in behalf of Mr. Gracie, I reminded him of my preceding note, and requested that a report which the Director-General of the Douanes was shortly to make on the claim might be communicated to me before the Minister of Finances should decide upon it. This was the more important, as the director was known to be decidedly hostile to Edition: current; Page: [106] the claim, and to the restitution of any sum which had in any shape found its way to the public treasury.

My request was not complied with; but Mr. Parish still thought that the affair had taken a favorable turn, and, not expecting an immediate decision, left this city for Antwerp, and went thence on some business to England. From this last country he wrote to me a few days ago, and transmitted the enclosed copy of a letter addressed to him by the Minister of Finances, and by which he is informed that his claim is inadmissible.

The Minister’s letter is not less incorrect as to facts than weak in argument. The order to sell and to pay into the treasury the proceeds of the sales of sequestered property is not, and was not by the then existing government, considered as a condemnation.

When the vessels in question arrived at Antwerp, the only penalty for which they were liable for having touched in England was to be refused admission, and the only question was whether this exclusion should be enforced, or whether the consignees should be permitted to sell the cargoes. It was not at all by giving a retrospective effect to the Milan decree that the cargoes were sold. The sale took place about the same time that the property seized at St. Sebastian was sold; it was done by virtue of an order from government, distinct from the Rambouillet decree, and for which no motive was assigned. I have requested Mr. Parish’s lawyer to procure copies of the order of sale, and of that by which the money was paid into the public treasury instead of the caisse d’amortissement; for, although the substance of the orders is known, the text has not been communicated.

But, however easy it might be to answer the Minister’s letter, there would be some inconvenience in pursuing that course, or in prosecuting any farther Mr. Parish’s claim distinct from others of the same nature. I was, indeed, always averse to that discrimination, and did not share that gentleman’s hopes of success; but as he was very sanguine, and we had heretofore failed in obtaining relief, I could not resist his solicitation, especially after the receipt of your despatch No. 12.

Edition: current; Page: [107]

The decision of the Minister of Finances, founded on the assumed principle that no redress remains when the money has been paid into the treasury and been expended, would apply with equal force to all the American claims. If it becomes necessary to combat seriously that doctrine, it will be better to do it generally and in a direct correspondence with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, than by answering a letter which is not addressed to me and applying my arguments to a single case. The self-love of the Minister of Finances would also be irritated by an exposure of his assertions; and we have already sufficient obstacles to encounter, without rendering the chance of success still more desperate.

I am still in hopes of receiving the instructions which I was led to expect from your despatch No. 12. If circumstances induce me to renew my application before these are received, it is my intention either not to take notice of the letter of the Minister of Finances, or to consider it merely as the proof that he could not, according to existing laws, on his sole responsibility, and without a diplomatic arrangement, order the claim to be liquidated.

His letter places, nevertheless, our claims on a still more unfavorable footing than that on which they heretofore stood. We had applied to this government for indemnity; we had stated the arguments by which our claims were supported; and receiving no written answer, we had it, however, placed on record that we had been verbally answered that the pressure of the demands of the allies was the reason why ours were not yet taken into consideration. This was not much; but still this government was not in the least committed by the decision of any of its ministers against us.

In the present state of things I will try, until I am positively instructed, to keep the negotiation alive, but without urging a decision, unless I can ascertain that a favorable result will be obtained; and of this I have indeed very little hope.

I have the honor, &c.
Edition: current; Page: [108]
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
July 6, 1819
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 114.

Sir,

Mr. Forsyth informs me, by a letter dated the 23d ult., that the acting Secretary of State (Salmon) has announced to him, in an official note, that the King would proceed slowly to consider the treaty, as it was very important and interesting to his kingdom. I take this only to mean that nothing can be done until the successor of Yrujo shall have been appointed. As Mr. Forsyth intended to despatch the Hornet, you must have received from him an account of the fall of Yrujo, and everything he has been able to learn at Madrid respecting that event and the effect it may have on the treaty. I will only add what I collect from other sources.

It is certain that the Minister of Justice, Lozano del Torres, was the author of Yrujo’s disgrace, in which the Councillor of State, Heredia, has been involved; and it is also a fact that both Yrujo and Heredia had ostensibly given their opinion in favor of the treaty being ratified, and that Lozano openly disapproved it, although it is not as certain that he advised that it should not be ratified. It is very probable that he has, amongst other means, used the treaty as an instrument to overset Yrujo, and that he has also excited the three grantees of Florida lands to use the personal influence which, as officers of the King’s household, they may have with him for the purpose of assisting him in his design, giving them the hope that if Yrujo was out of the way the treaty might be rejected, or at least their claims be protected. But it is considered as very doubtful whether, having obtained his object, he will not consider it safer for himself to suffer the ratification of the treaty rather than to involve his sovereign in difficulties, the effect of which might soon fall upon himself.

Mr. Onis is generally spoken of as Yrujo’s successor, which certainly augurs in favor of the ratification. He, however, remains here, waiting, it is presumed, to be sent for, but not wishing to have the appearance of desiring the appointment. He is here cautious in his language; but I understand from a Edition: current; Page: [109] source entitled to credit that he has written to Madrid advising the ratification in forcible terms, and stating correctly what would be the effect of a different course.

The general opinion here, both with this government and with the best-informed ministers of other powers, is that the treaty will be ratified. I think that this opinion is entertained even by the British legation. But I must add that whenever I have been able to ascertain on what that opinion was founded, I found that it rested more on conjecture than on any positive fact, and that the conviction that a rejection would be fatal to Spain is the principal reason for believing that she will ratify. I have made every verbal observation to the Minister of Foreign Affairs which the occasion required. His disposition is very friendly, and this government is sensible of the danger which that of Spain would run by not ratifying. The French ambassador will give his advice accordingly, but with what degree of energy and what effect I cannot say; and, as it is only a ratification for which they are anxious, he may advise also Mr. Forsyth to exchange the ratifications without minding the land claims. This gentleman is, however, on his guard in that respect, and I write to him on the subject in order that he may fully understand the views of this government. It is still disbelieved here that the British had any agency in Yrujo’s removal, that their government has acquired any influence in the Spanish counsels, or that they have interfered against us with respect to Florida.

I have the honor, &c.
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
July 9, 1819
Paris
John Forsyth
Forsyth, John

GALLATIN TO JOHN FORSYTH, UNITED STATES MINISTER TO SPAIN.

Dear Sir,

I have received your letters of the 13th, 23d, and 26th of June, and thank you for the information they contain.

It was probable that the British government did not view our acquisition of Florida as dangerous to themselves, not, at least, Edition: current; Page: [110] in the exaggerated manner in which it has been represented by the English papers; and I had believed that, unwilling to irritate us, and aware of their want of influence with the Spanish Cabinet, they had made up their mind not to interfere. What may be the effect of an invitation on the part of Spain it is difficult to judge. There is as yet no fact within my knowledge proving their intention to accede to proposals such as you allude to. Their foreign enlistment bill is a proof that they intend to regain the interest they had lost in Spain, but not that they would run any great risk for that purpose. Toledo has passed through this place on his way to London. Mr. Rush will be better able to give you information on the dispositions of the English government than I can be. I will not fail to communicate anything that I may learn.

The government of France continues to be friendly and disposed to render such good offices in this case as may be done without too great commitment on their part. But, although they wish Florida to fall into our hands rather than in those of any other power, the only point in which they really feel any interest is that there should be no rupture between us and Spain. Provided an accommodation takes place, the terms are a matter of indifference to them. They acknowledge that a confirmation of the large land grants would be contrary not only to the understanding of both parties, but to the spirit of the treaty; that since five millions of dollars are to be paid out of the proceeds of the sales of the lands, that pledge cannot be lessened under the pretence of grants made about the same time that it was offered or ordered to be offered. But they nevertheless care not whether we lose the lands or not, provided the treaty is ratified. I do not know what are the instructions of the Duke of Laval; but I am confident that he will at the same time advise the Spanish government to acknowledge the nullity of the grants and you not to insist on that point.

I will regret with you that the treaty should not be ratified. But I wish the King of Spain would be made to understand that the treaty is as advantageous to her as to the United States; that Florida was an expensive, insulated, and useless possession; that in exchange for it Spain obtains the cession of our claim to a territory Edition: current; Page: [111] intrinsically more valuable, to her infinitely more important, since it gives her the so much desired barrier to Mexico; that if she does not accept the proposal at present, there is no chance of its being hereafter renewed; and that, supposing she pays the five millions, and we are good-natured enough to put up with her breach of faith in refusing to ratify a treaty made in conformity with the King’s instructions, the least she can expect is that we will take immediate possession of the country we claim, at least as far as the Colorado. We certainly will then keep it; and will that preserve Florida from ultimately and by the irresistible course of events falling in our hands? But Spain has greater and more immediate dangers to expect from a refusal to ratify, and if she chooses that course she must abide the consequences. Sure am I our government will not suffer itself to be made a dupe, and that it will be supported by the nation in the course which will be thought most eligible on the occasion. What that will be I do not pretend to know and will not try to conjecture.

As to yourself, my dear sir, although my congratulations may have been premature, your own course is safe, and whilst you adhere to your instructions, and make no abandonment of the rights of the United States, you will be supported and applauded whether your efforts are crowned with success or not. But I have no doubt that attempts will be made, perhaps from various quarters, to divert you from that course. European diplomacy is very crooked, and for that reason very silly. I dare say that Onis, whom I do not trust any more than any other, applauds himself, and thinks in that affair of grants he has overreached our government. But to what purpose? The declaration which you are instructed to make will probably be sufficient to defeat the fraud. But if it did not, and the grants should afterwards produce some embarrassment, the only consequence would be our right, after such declaration, to make new demands against Spain, which would be enforced, and which good faith on her part, or on that of her negotiators, would have prevented.

The general opinion here continues to be that the treaty will be ratified. Onis, who was to leave Paris yesterday for Madrid, has said the same thing; but he has made some allusions to the Edition: current; Page: [112] obligation of the United States to preserve their neutrality and to carry their laws into effect. Whether this is a new battery intended against you, or whether he intends this pretence to reconcile his conduct as negotiator with what may be required from him if he should be made minister, I do not know. He is, however, said to have written to Madrid in favor of the ratification.

I understand that the Duke de Laval has also written that in his opinion the treaty would be ratified, and that you might have detained your corvette some time longer.

It is not believed here that the British government had anything to do with the fall of Yrujo.

Mr. Lowndes has gone to Italy and Switzerland, but is expected to return through Paris on his way to England and the United States. I will keep your letter till his return.

I remain, with perfect respect, dear sir, your obedient servant.

Crawford
Crawford
24th July, 1819
Washington
Gallatin
Gallatin

CRAWFORD TO GALLATIN.

My dear Sir,

The departure of Mr. Hyde de Neuville offers so favorable an opportunity of presenting my respects to you that to omit using it would be something like an act of disrespect to him.

He is, as you no doubt have been informed by Mr. Adams, quite a favorite with the Administration, and no less so with the citizens. He deserves the esteem of both.

He will be able to give you the secret history of the Spanish negotiation, which but for his good offices would probably have been postponed for years.

You have, no doubt, seen the report of the bank committee during the last session of Congress, and have learnt the result of the efforts of its chairman. A more unfair exposition of the transaction of the bank could not have been offered to the public.

When fairly represented they were highly censurable, and Edition: current; Page: [113] deserved the severest animadversion. Such a representation would probably have forwarded the views of the chairman more effectually than the one he thought proper to make. The old proverb, “Let envy alone and it will punish itself,” was never more perfectly verified than in this case. I have been strongly censured for not throwing myself between the bank and the investigation which was set on foot. The folly of the censure is manifest. The object of the inquiry was to ascertain what I had no legitimate means of knowing, and what in fact I did not know, except from the newspapers and common rumor. The bank never communicated to me their determination not to receive their own paper except where payable, its determination to discount upon their own stock at $125 for $100, or any other act which I had not a right to demand of it. It was, therefore, impossible for me to shield the bank against the examination, unless a declaration that it had discharged its duties to the Treasury would furnish that shield. The examination has, however, saved the bank, without, however, the consent of the majority of the committee. It is impossible that specie payments could have been continued to this time with Mr. Jones at its head. In saying this I am very far from insinuating anything against his integrity, industry, zeal, and, I may add, talents; for he has certainly a considerable degree of talent. I regretted extremely the necessity there was for his retiring from office, and reluctantly gave my advice for the election of his successor. His removal, however, was indispensable, not only as a propitiatory offering upon the altar of public opinion, but for the preservation of the bank itself. He had so completely enveloped himself in the policy of the Baltimoreans, so completely was he taken in their toils, that he obeyed no other impulse. It is now ascertained that the branch direction of Baltimore wished the suspension of specie payments, and were conducting the affairs of the office to effect that object. The president, cashier, and teller of the bank made use of the funds of the institution as if they were their own, taking what they wanted and dividing the rest out among their confederate friends. A scene of fraud and swindling has been exhibited there which would suit much better the Court of Edition: current; Page: [114] St. James or that of Vienna than a republican city of not more than half a century’s growth. The funds of the corporation have been dilapidated to an amount not much below $2,000,000. Under the administration of Mr. Jones this dilapidation would not only not have been discovered, but would have been carried to an extent which would have produced the most widespread ruin among the stockholders. It was partly discovered shortly after Mr. Cheves came into the presidency; and, after obtaining such security as the parties were able or willing to furnish, the cashier was removed. This act was a death-blow to the swindlers. They distinctly saw that concealment was no longer possible. Buchanan resigned the presidency, and endeavored to have the removal of the cashier denounced in a town-meeting. His friends who were friendly to the bank offered him $400,000, which he had the candor to admit was of no use to him. This unveiled his plan of denunciation and of bankruptcy, into which he had drawn a number of others. What he was about to do from necessity, and throw the odium of it upon the bank, they were going to do to express their indignation at the removal of a swindling officer. The town-meeting was abandoned, and the public indignation fell where it was deserved, upon the officers of the branch bank. It is proper to observe that General Smith is acquitted in Baltimore of all the disgraceful acts which have covered Buchanan and McCulloh with indelible disgrace.

The United States Bank is now entirely safe. Its affairs have been managed with skill, integrity, and great energy by Mr. Cheves. Until lately he has been absolute. About the middle of April it was in the utmost peril. It owed the Philadelphia banks more than the amount of specie in its vaults. Its means of replenishment were contracted and distant. Under these circumstances he gave me notice that the bank would not receive from the government, and credit as specie, its own notes except at the places where they were payable, and that it would not pay Treasury drafts except at places where the public money had accumulated, without reasonable time being first given to transfer the public money to the place required. From the time the examination was instituted by the House of Representatives, the Edition: current; Page: [115] board of directors fell into a state of inanity or lethargy, which prevented their transferring advantageously the public money which had accumulated at Charleston, Savannah, and New Orleans. The resolution of the bank, therefore, left me without funds at any point to the east of this place. The public funds were in the West and in the South, where there was but little demand for them, and from whence, especially the former, it was impossible to transfer them to any considerable extent. My reliance was, therefore, upon the collections in the Atlantic cities, to the eastward, and upon transfers which were practicable from the South. The first resource was greatly diminished by the receipt, at those places, of the notes of the Southern and Western offices, which were considered as so much revenue collected in those offices instead of the places where they were received. For such sums time to transfer was necessarily required, according to the regulation of the bank. Against this inconvenience there was no immediate remedy but to refuse to receive the notes of the bank and its offices except where they were payable. To this I was earnestly pressed by Mr. Cheves, who thought there was no doubt of the right of the Treasury to refuse them under such circumstances. I did not concur in this opinion; but if I had concurred I should not have acted upon it, as it was very manifest that the question was not so clear as to admit of no difference of opinion. A refusal to receive them would have been the signal for their tender from Passamaquoddy to the Sabine; the collection of the revenue would have been suspended until the decision of the Supreme Court could have been obtained. There was then a moral and political obligation to receive their notes without reference to the place where they were payable.

The embarrassments, however, which these measures produced have nearly disappeared, and if it was possible to use the Western funds in the support of the army, our fiscal operations would be simple and easy. How far this can be effected depends upon the War Department, which has manifested a strong disposition to aid me in this regard; but owing to the insubordination of the officers and the perverseness of the contractors, but little progress has been made towards the accomplishment of this indispensable object. Unless this can be done, a deficit, not in the Edition: current; Page: [116] receipts, but in effective revenue, will probably occur during the present, and certainly during the succeeding, year. It is, I think, probable that the expenditures of the next year will have to be reduced, or new impositions exacted of the people. The internal duties were abolished upon the supposition that the annual expenditure, which was then less than $22,000,000, would not be increased. The Congress which abolished them increased the expenditure permanently to about $25,000,000, which increase exceeded the amount at which the internal duties had been estimated. The Revolutionary Pension Bill of itself makes up nearly the difference between these two sums. I think it is probable that the reduction required by the state of the finances will be made in the War Department. This can be effected either by a reduction of the army or by postponing a year or two a large portion of the estimate for fortifications. It is probable that the former mode of equalizing the expenditure and revenue will be adopted. The events of the Seminole war, and other events connected with the army, have produced a strong disposition to reduce, if not annihilate it. This disposition is understood to be predominant in the Senate of the United States. The vote in the other House upon the Seminole war is not to be ascribed to any indisposition to this object. The President threw the whole of his weight against the proceeding, and the Clintonians in the House, who came to Congress most decidedly hostile to the military procedure of the general, suddenly faced about and were his most zealous and clamorous defenders. The rest of New York were in his favor because the President was against the inquiry. When it is recollected that the men who voted for the resolutions are of the number of those who have defended the army against the efforts which have been heretofore made to reduce it, I think its reduction is almost certain, even without the inducement which a deficit in the revenue cannot fail to present. The navy appropriation, I think, will hardly be reduced. You have probably understood that General Jackson has been making war upon me in a manner not less savage perhaps than he made upon the savages themselves. His alleged cause of hostility is that I was hostile to him in the deliberation which his Seminole war produced. Now, in that deliberation Edition: current; Page: [117] I avoided giving any opinion which could personally affect the general. I confined my opinions and reasons entirely to the preservation of peace with Spain, and connected with it the preservation of the Constitution. There was in fact no difference of opinion in the Cabinet, except on the part of the Secretary of State, who, upon every question connected with the Floridas, has been excessively heterodoxical.

The course pursued by me upon that occasion is distinctly understood by the general; but his hostility has not subsided: at least I have received no evidence of it. The ogling and love-making which commenced last winter between him and De Witt Clinton has been kept up through the summer. It will in all human probability eventuate in toasts and puffs on both sides. It is a connection which has originated in unprincipled ambition on the one side and the most vindictive resentments on the other. It is impossible that the public interest can be promoted by so unhallowed a connection.

Old Pennsylvania Democracy seems to be going the way of all the earth. The late secretary of the Commonwealth seems to have been completely successful in producing another schism in the party. Binns and many others are now making war not only upon him but upon the governor. Strong manifestations have been given of a disposition to bring forward S. Snyder in opposition to him; whilst many, especially about Philadelphia, direct their views to the American minister at Paris as the only means of putting an end to the dissensions which now prevail in the Republican party in that State. I am afraid the defection of Binns, and others who are disgusted with the conduct of Mr. Sergeant, will give to Federalism, aided by the old-school party, a decided preponderance. In the West everything is unsettled. Notwithstanding the ostensible popularity of the Administration, the materials of a most formidable opposition may be easily discovered. Fortunately, no occurrence has yet favored their concentration, or tended to give them form or fix a rallying-point. For the peace of the nation I hope that none will be presented.

Present my respects to Mrs. Gallatin and the other members of your family, and accept the assurance of the sincere regard with which I have the honor to be your most obedient servant.

Edition: current; Page: [118]
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
July 29, 1819
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 116.

Sir,

A report prevailed at Madrid that the King had determined to apply to the British government for the loan of five millions of dollars for the purpose of paying the amount due for spoliations to American citizens, in consideration of which loan Spain would engage not to ratify the cession of Florida to the United States. An agent named Toledo was said to have been despatched to London on that errand, and Mr. Forsyth wrote on the subject to Mr. Rush and to myself. It was also for some days asserted and believed here that Toledo had passed through Paris on his way to England. It is now ascertained that he never went beyond Bordeaux, where he had gone either on family affairs or perhaps on some business connected with the arrangement made by Spain with French houses for the hire of transports. I have not heard from Mr. Rush on the subject, but have reason to believe that no such proposal has, through any channel, been made by the Spanish government to that of England.

The King of Spain was not expected to return from Lacedon to Madrid before the 26th instant, and nothing definitive would be done in our business before that time. The refusal to permit Lozano to accompany the King to Lacedon was considered as an evidence of the declining influence of that Minister. In the mean while, our treaty had again been taken in consideration by the council of state, and all the reports agree in stating that it was agreed almost unanimously to advise the King to ratify the treaty.

Last night Mr. Dessolle, in relating the fact, added that not a single member of the Spanish council would advise that the grants of lands should be declared null. He said that this government, from their friendship to both countries, continued to interpose their good offices; that perhaps it might be best to leave the construction of the treaty to our tribunals, without entangling the change of ratifications with new difficulties; and that in order to avoid a discussion with Mr. Forsyth the Spanish Edition: current; Page: [119] government would perhaps send the King’s ratification to his chargé at Washington in order to be exchanged there. I told him that this course would only transfer the discussion from one place to another; that in the mean while the six months limited for the exchange of ratifications would have elapsed, and that it was not probable, if the treaty was not fairly ratified according to its true spirit, that the United States would renew any negotiations, since it would in that case appear that even a solemn agreement afforded no security and did not bind Spain. I believe that all these suggestions came from the French ambassador at Madrid.

The intended mutiny of the troops at Cadiz, which was only prevented by disarming a large portion of them, is considered here as breaking up the great expedition against Buenos Ayres. It is, however, still believed that about 3000 men have sailed the 11th instant from Cadiz to reinforce Morillo.

It is not yet ascertained whether Onis has been permitted to reach Madrid, or whether he has been stopped by order of his government at some intermediate place.

I have the honor, &c.
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
September 3, 1819
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 120.

Sir,

My last advices from Mr. Forsyth were of the 21st ultimo. He informed me that the Spanish government had announced to him the King’s determination not to ratify the treaty until he had obtained from the United States some previous explanations, for which purpose he intended to send a minister there with the necessary powers to that effect; that he (Mr. F.) had in reply stated that he was able to give an answer to any points on which Spain might wish to obtain explanations, and that the refusal to exchange the ratifications within the time prescribed by the treaty would be tantamount to a rejection.

The French government received yesterday accounts of the 23d, announcing that the Spanish government had persisted, and ultimately refused to ratify. From another quarter I understand Edition: current; Page: [120] that the minister they intend to send, probably with the character of ambassador, is the Duke of San Fernando.

In a conversation I had last night with Marquis Dessolle, and in which he regretted the result and did not appear perfectly satisfied with the conduct of the French ambassador at Madrid, he frankly acknowledged that France had lost a considerable part of her influence with Spain, and that the present Ministry of this country were considered as Jacobins by many of the foreign powers; a charge which is really unjust and absurd.

To the offer made by Spain to Portugal, it has been answered that it would be accepted, provided that Olivenza should be restored, the neutrality of Brazil be recognized, and Montevideo declared a free port. These conditions had, it seems, been all agreed to by Spain during the course of the negotiation; but the last was connected with the expectation of a mediation between her and the colonies. She does not seem disposed to agree to any of them now; and the result of the negotiation is as uncertain as ever.

The equipment of a powerful fleet in England (said to be fifteen ships of the line) excites here a considerable alarm. Its object has not been communicated to this government. The ministers of Russia and Spain, and, as far as I know, those of all the other powers, are equally uninformed. No person can even form any conjecture of the object for which such an armament could be necessary.

I have the honor, &c.
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
24th September, 1819
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 122.

Sir,

You will have been informed before the receipt of this letter that the Duke of San Fernando, after having refused the mission to the United States, has been appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs. This is considered as a triumph over Lozano, and the offer to send the Duke to America as a fruitless effort to get rid of a dangerous rival.

The Marquis Dessolle says that when our treaty was before Edition: current; Page: [121] the council of state, the Duke of San Fernando said that he disliked it, but that it was better to cede a province than do anything which might throw doubts on the King’s good faith. It is added on the same authority that the Spanish Cabinet will instruct the minister they are going to send to the United States to enter into explanations respecting the Florida grants, and to ask that our government should engage not to recognize the independence of the Spanish colonies, but that there is a disposition to arrange the first point to our satisfaction, and that if the last cannot be obtained, it will only be asked that we should take more efficient measures with respect to armed vessels sailing under the insurgent flag.

The Marquis expressed great anxiety on the subject, and much apprehension of the consequences of what our government might do on receiving the account of the non-ratification of the treaty. In pursuing the same temperate course which had heretofore marked all our measures, the United States must unavoidably obtain all they desired. They had now the general good will and, for the particular object in question, the wishes of all Europe. Independent as they were of this hemisphere, this consideration ought, nevertheless, to have its weight; and very different feelings would prevail if we adopted such violent measures as would provoke a war. He added some other arguments connected with the probable views of Great Britain, though he acknowledged that she had behaved fairly on this last occasion.

I replied, generally, that, after what had passed, the European powers could not be astonished that the government of the United States, having lost all confidence in that of Spain, should take more decisive measures than had heretofore been adopted, and that it was her conduct over which the powers friendly to her should try to acquire some influence.

The Russian minister had expressed sentiments in substance similar to those of this government; and there can be no doubt of the fact that they apprehend and will see with displeasure a rupture between us and Spain. That opinion I had already expressed in my despatches of last year; and although I am satisfied from every report that Great Britain has not opposed the ratification of the treaty, and done nothing to encourage the Edition: current; Page: [122] war between us and Spain, I am still convinced that she would profit by it, and that the greatest immediate injury arising from it would be the depredations on our commerce by privateers armed here and in England under Spanish commissions.

I have the honor, &c.
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
25th October, 1819
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 124.

Sir,

I had the honor, in conformity to your request, to transmit in my despatches Nos. 40 and 51 copies of the French tariff and of the communications of our several consuls on the subject of the extra duties and charges laid in the ports of France on the commerce of the United States. The great inequality in favor of French vessels produced no effect so long as the French navigation remained in that state of nullity in which it was left at the close of the war. But everything has recovered here with unexampled rapidity; and although we still preserve a great superiority in maritime affairs, it is not such as to counterbalance the difference in the rate of duties. American vessels are daily withdrawing from the trade, and if the evil is not corrected the whole of the commerce between the two countries will soon be carried on almost exclusively in French vessels. Our countervailing system of extra duties is wholly inefficient to protect our navigation, and if they were still more increased on the same plan, the French duties continuing the same, the ultimate effect would be that all our importations from France would be made in American, and all our exportations to France in French, vessels. This, considering the respective bulk of both, would give to the French four-fifths of the navigation between the two countries.

Although the general conversations I have had on the subject, the spirit of exclusion and monopoly which prevails here, and the conduct of this government in the case of the brokers at Havre, gave no hopes of obtaining relief through the medium of negotiations, and although I felt a reluctance to make an Edition: current; Page: [123] application that would not probably be favorably received, the circumstances appeared so urgent that I have thought it my duty to address the Minister of Foreign Affairs the letter of which a copy is enclosed.1 It will, at least, have the good effect of preparing them for any modification in our laws which may appear necessary for restoring equality. And notwithstanding their habit of not answering and of postponing whenever they do not wish to discuss, I hope to be able to communicate to you their real determination in time for Congress to act during the ensuing session, if that course should be deemed eligible.

The difficulty in that case will be to find an efficient remedy. I have already alluded to it in my despatch No. 88, in which I suggested the utility of obtaining an amendment to the Constitution of the United States which would authorize Congress to lay a duty on produce of the United States when exported in foreign vessels. But that process is uncertain and dilatory. On reflecting on the subject, it has appeared to me that another mode might be adopted, which I beg leave to submit to your consideration.

It consists in repealing our existing discriminating duty (of 10 per cent. on the ordinary duty) on merchandise imported in foreign vessels, and in substituting to it an additional duty on those vessels, equal on an average to the extra duty which foreign countries lay on our produce when imported there in American vessels.

To apply this to France, and taking the French extra duty on cotton, which is our principal export there, as the criterion, the difference between the duty laid here on cotton when imported in our vessels and that laid on it when imported in French vessels is about one cent and a quarter per pound. Supposing, then, that a vessel carries at the rate of about 1000 pounds of cotton to a ton, the difference amounts to about 12½ dollars per ton; and this is the additional tonnage which, being laid in our ports on all French vessels, without regard to their inward or outward cargoes, would countervail in a direct manner Edition: current; Page: [124] the French extra duty. This statement shows the greatness of the evil to be corrected, since, even admitting some error in the estimated quantity of cotton which vessels carry on an average, the difference against vessels of the United States is more than the whole price of the freight. Calculated on tobacco, that difference is still greater, and amounts to nearly 17 dollars per ton; for although the duty when imported in American vessels is but two-thirds per pound of that laid on cotton, a vessel will carry at least twice as much tobacco per ton as cotton. There can be no doubt that, taking into consideration the whole trade, the additional tonnage duty of 12½ dollars per ton on French vessels generally, substituted to our existing discriminating duties, will no more than countervail the extra duties laid by the French government on our vessels.

But, in order to render this plan altogether efficient, I think it would be necessary to authorize also the President, in case the government of France should attempt to defeat it by laying additional duties on our vessels, to increase in the same proportion the proposed tonnage duty on French vessels. And a provision might be added that all those extra duties should cease on our part whenever France consented to repeal theirs.

I have only alluded to the general extra duties paid into the public treasury; but there are various other local charges laid on our vessels, such as pilotage, brokerage, &c., which are sometimes heavy, and always vexatious, but which it is more difficult to countervail, because they are not uniform. Their nature and amount are stated in the consular communications formerly transmitted; that which relates to the ship-brokers of Havre is fully explained in my despatch No. 103; and I must add that to the letters which I addressed to the Minister of Foreign Affairs on that subject I have received no further answer. The average amount of those various charges might be estimated and added to the suggested additional tonnage duty. But the most efficient mode to obtain redress in those cases would be to lay another specific duty on French vessels, equal to the charges which, in the ports to which these vessels might respectively belong, are laid on American vessels. That specific duty would of course vary according to the French ports from which the vessels came; Edition: current; Page: [125] and although there might be some difficulty in the execution, it seems to me that it may be surmounted by making the certificate of consuls legal evidence of the amount of the extra charges imposed in their respective consular districts on American vessels.

The importance of this subject will be my apology for having offered these suggestions. Of the greatness of the injury sustained by our commerce, and of the necessity of applying without delay a remedy, there can be no doubt. I hope that I may be mistaken on one point, and no endeavors shall be omitted on my part to induce this government to alter their policy; but I firmly believe that nothing will produce that effect but the adoption of countervailing measures on the part of the United States.

I have the honor, &c.
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
26th October, 1819
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 125.

Sir,

I have no advices from Mr. Forsyth since the arrival of the Hornet. It is reported, on the authority of the French ambassador at Madrid, that the Duke of San Fernando is still disposed towards an arrangement of the difficulties between the United States and Spain, but that having still to encounter the faction of Lozano and others he must act with great caution, and that there was no expectation that a favorable answer could be obtained from him within the short time fixed by Mr. Forsyth for an ultimate decision. The reports of Tatischeff, the Russian minister to Spain, who passed through here on his way to Warsaw and St. Petersburg, are also unfavorable. I did not see him; but from his language to Pozzo I infer that his conduct in our affairs has not been as friendly and open as we might have expected. I cannot say whether this should be ascribed to his knowledge of his sovereign’s intentions or to his anxiety of preserving his personal standing and influence with the Court of Spain. Whatever may have been the conduct of the French ambassador there during the course of the negotiations, there can be no doubt of the friendly dispositions and candor of this government Edition: current; Page: [126] in our affairs with that Court; but the present Ministry had no influence in that quarter.

Their great anxiety is still that there should be no rupture, and they feel much apprehension of the ensuing proceedings of Congress. They seem to fear principally the forcible occupation of any place in Florida in a manner similar to that of Pensacola last year, or a positive recognition of the independence of some of the Spanish colonies, as likely to lead to war, or calculated at least to preclude every expectation of a friendly arrangement. It is altogether impossible, however, to foresee whether these apprehensions would be justified, and to calculate how far the United States may go without provoking a declaration of war on the part of Spain. She is weak, but proud; will bear much, but not beyond a certain point; and the measures of her government have heretofore been so extraordinary that no rational conjecture can be formed of what it may do in any given situation. So far as I can judge, I think the occupation of what is called the province of Texas and of any part of Florida which may be taken possession of without recourse to actual hostility would be acquiesced in.

Should a war be the consequence of any measures of the United States which would be considered here as too violent, they will lose the good will of France and Russia, and the friendly relations now subsisting with those two countries may be seriously affected; but Spain will have no allies, and receive no other assistance but what may be derived from the privateering system to which I have alluded in my former letters.

It would be more important, but it is more difficult, to ascertain the real views of Great Britain. That she has not interfered to prevent the ratification of our treaty appears to be more than probable; but her situation impels her to seek at almost any risk markets for her manufactures and employment for her seamen. Her conduct seems to prove that, though under peculiar restraints from previous engagements, she wishes the emancipation of the Spanish colonies, without which she can never obtain a free trade with them. I cannot, therefore, help thinking that she would see a war without regret take place between us and Spain, of which she would hope to reap the fruits without expense, without Edition: current; Page: [127] risk, and without altering her relations with that country or with the other European powers. My letters of last autumn gave you a true statement of the manner in which she defeated the plan of a mediation between Spain and the Spanish colonies, and she has now put an end to that between Spain and Portugal in a manner which shows her object without much disguise.

The last offer of Spain, as mentioned in a former despatch, was to pay in money the indemnity promised to Portugal; but in doing this she considered herself as released from the obligation to restore Olivenza, and from that of leaving Montevideo a free port. The mediating powers were unanimously of opinion that Olivenza must be restored to Portugal; but a majority (all, I believe, with the exception of the British ambassador) concurred in considering the condition of leaving Montevideo a free port as having been connected with the plan of a mediation between Spain and her colonies, and as being no longer binding on Spain. The British government has, in consequence of this determination, delivered an official note to the other mediating powers, declaring that Great Britain cannot become a party to any treaty which should restore to Spain any of her colonies now enjoying a free trade without the express condition that such trade should be preserved. She has by this act, in fact, withdrawn herself from the mediation, which may, of course, be considered as at an end, unless the other powers and Spain shall retract and yield the point. It is now understood that the British armament, the extent of which had, however, been grossly exaggerated, was intended in the first place for La Plata, and might have been employed according to circumstances if, as threatened by Spain, her Cadiz armament had attempted to take Montevideo by force. The calamity which has fallen on that town has, however, as you know, put for the present an end to the Spanish expedition.

This proceeding on the part of England has irritated France, and still more Russia and Spain. It is suspected, perhaps unjustly, that Portugal took possession of Montevideo at the instigation of Great Britain. It is evident that she has prevented its being restored to Spain, and that her object was at all events to preserve her commerce with Buenos Ayres and La Plata. If Edition: current; Page: [128] Montevideo had been thus given up, Spain, with that port at the mouth of the river in her possession and a few armed vessels in the river itself, would have effectually blockaded Buenos Ayres and the whole colony; and to such actual blockade Great Britain as neutral must have submitted. Whatever the result of the contest might have been on land, she would have lost the trade of the country. In order to prevent this, she threw in through Portugal every possible impediment to the negotiation, and has not hesitated at last, when every other means had been exhausted, to withdraw from the mediation, and almost to avow her object.

I have the honor, &c.
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
8th December, 1819
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 130.

Sir,

It was not till the 27th ultimo that your despatch No. 15, of the 23d August last, reached me. The language I had held on the subject of our Spanish affairs was not inconsistent with the views of the President, but would have been more explicit had they been distinctly known to me. The only use that could now be made of your instructions was to prepare this government for the intended occupation of Florida; but on account of the late change of Ministry I could not before to-day obtain an interview with M. Pasquier, the new Minister of Foreign Affairs.

After some preliminary observations on the negotiations antecedent to the treaty, I stated that the refusal of the King of Spain to ratify a treaty concluded under his authority and in conformity with his instructions must be considered as a breach of faith; that no confidence could after this be placed in the success of new negotiations without some security that they should not again be attended with a similar result; and that it was therefore the intention of the President to occupy Florida, not with any views hostile to Spain, but simply for the purpose of having a pledge of her fulfilling as well the obligations the Edition: current; Page: [129] validity of which she did not deny as the engagements which might result from a renewal of negotiations. I added that, although this measure could not, according to our institutions, be adopted without the concurrence of Congress, I had been instructed to make known the intention of the President to the government of France, a communication not only founded on the amicable relations subsisting between the two countries, but which was due to the friendly interposition of his Majesty on this occasion.

Mr. Pasquier expressed his regret at this result, and said that, without denying the force of our reasons, he would observe that the government of Spain was differently organized from that of the other European powers; that Spain compared with us was the weaker power, and that for those reasons more indulgence might be shown to her, and would not have been attended with any great inconvenience to the United States; that we might have occupied Florida as easily six months hence as at this moment, and that he had already written to the French legation at Madrid, and conferred with the Spanish ambassador here, in order to hasten the departure of the new minister of Spain to the United States.

I alluded, in reply, to the repeated delays and denials of justice which we had already experienced from Spain, assured Mr. Pasquier that the patience of the nation was quite exhausted, and observed that, my despatches having been retarded by some accident, the communication I was now making had become that of a fact rather than that of a subject of discussion.

The conference ended in mutual expressions of good will, and in assurances of the intention of both governments to preserve and strengthen the friendly relations subsisting between the two countries.

I have the honor, &c.
Edition: current; Page: [130]
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
December 9, 1819
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 131.

Sir,

The change of Ministers has thrown new delays in the discussion of the commercial propositions which I had made to this government. Mr. Pasquier has promised to take them immediately into consideration, and seems to understand both the reasonableness of what we ask and the difficulty of acceding to it without giving great displeasure to the shipping interest of France. The council of commerce (consisting of eminent merchants), to whom the proposals in the first instance had been referred, have reported that a nominal equality would give a decided superiority to our navigation, that the French discriminating duties were, however, too high, and that they should be reduced to two-thirds of their present amount. I have explicitly declared that if, instead of abolishing all those duties on both sides, an equalization was attempted, the reduction proposed by the council of commerce was altogether insufficient, and I could not accede to it.

I have the honor, &c.
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
13th January, 1820
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 133.

Sir,

The President’s message at the opening of Congress was received here, by the way of England, on the 10th instant.

I observed to Mr. Pasquier that the President, on being informed of the intention of Spain to send a minister to the United States with new explanations, had determined to wait for his arrival, provided it took place during the present session of Congress, before he should proceed to occupy Florida; that this delay, after all that had passed, was a most undeniable proof of the earnest desire of the United States to arrange in an amicable way their differences with Spain; but that it was the last act of condescension which could be expected, and that Edition: current; Page: [131] this government might be assured that if the Spanish minister did not arrive in time, and with satisfactory instructions, Florida would be forthwith occupied, for the reasons which I had already been instructed to communicate, and which were explained more at large in the President’s message.

Mr. Pasquier assured me that he had repeatedly written, and had again since the receipt of the President’s message renewed his instructions to the French legation at Madrid, to impress on the Spanish government the necessity of sending the new minister without delay. He added that he regretted that he had not departed before the receipt of the President’s message, some parts of which would, he feared, have an unfavorable effect in Spain. I understood him to allude to the paragraphs respecting the Spanish colonies; and the Spanish ambassador, who has always been friendly to the ratification of the treaty, was explicit on the subject. I reminded Mr. Pasquier of the well-known efforts of our government to prevent a premature recognition of the independence of the colonies, and said that the conduct of Spain towards us had been every way calculated to hasten that event. She must, however, well consider the unavoidable result of the ultimate steps she was going to take. If the treaty was not ratified, Florida would most certainly be occupied; and then Spain must either submit to it, however painful to her pride, or by a rupture with the United States lose the last hope of recovering the insurgent colonies and of retaining even those on the continent which she still possessed.

With the exception of those observations and of some offensive and unfair comments in an ultra newspaper, the President’s message has met here with very general approbation. The Russian minister expressed himself quite satisfied with it, and was of opinion that it would be well received by his government. Indeed, since Russia has lost her influence at Madrid, I would not be surprised to see her much more explicit on our side.

General Vives, the new Spanish minister to the United States, if I do not mistake his name, is expected at Paris, and has orders to confer freely with this government. This would be favorable to a pacific result if there was time; but, considering the season Edition: current; Page: [132] of the year and the usual slowness of Spanish movements, I think it hardly possible that that gentleman will reach Washington before the adjournment of Congress.

I have the honor, &c.
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
January 15, 1820
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 134.

Sir,

I have spoken several times to Mr. Pasquier since my letter of the 9th ultimo on the subject of discriminating duties. He always professed sentiments friendly to whatever might increase the commercial relations between the two countries, and appeared disposed to meet in some manner the overture made on our part. But he always added that the French merchants were extremely averse to a total abolition. I addressed to him on the 6th instant the letter of which a copy is enclosed,1 and he had positively promised to send me yesterday an answer, which is not yet received. The departure of the Stephania compels me to write to you without waiting for it. I understood that at all events that answer would not be decisive, and a projet of law, making sundry alterations in the custom-house duties, was yesterday presented to the Chamber of Deputies, which contains no alteration in the discriminating duties of which we complain. The effect of these becomes every day more manifest. At Nantes, where not a single American vessel has arrived within the last eighteen months, eight French vessels have arrived with cargoes of American produce within the last six months of 1819. I am confident that this government will make no sufficient alteration until they are compelled to do it by our own acts. They have received full notice on that subject, and cannot complain of any measure founded on the principle of equality. But it is evident they wish to gain time till Congress is adjourned, in order to enjoy the monopoly of the trade for one year longer; and it is probable that Mr. Hyde de Edition: current; Page: [133] Neuville will receive instructions for the purpose of persuading you that an arrangement will be made here. A clause in your Act, leaving a contingent power to suspend its operation in case such an arrangement should take place, is all that appears necessary to obviate every objection.

I have the honor, &c.
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
January 20, 1820
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 135.

Sir,

I have now the honor to enclose the copy of Mr. Pasquier’s long-promised answer on the subject of our commercial relations, which was not received till after I had closed my last despatch to you. I am confirmed in the opinion that nothing will be done here until we shall have done justice to ourselves by our own measures. The Ministry is, I think, well disposed; but they will not act in opposition to the remonstrances of the shipping interest and of the chambers of commerce, which have been consulted. That of Paris is averse to our proposals. Indeed, Mr. Pasquier informed me that that of Bordeaux alone had given an opinion favorable to them.

Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
February 15, 1820
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 137.

Sir,

General Vives, the new minister of Spain to the United States, arrived at Paris on the 11th instant, and left it on the 14th for London, with the intention to embark at Liverpool in the New York packet, which will sail on the 1st day of March.

Mr. Pasquier, after having seen him, invited me to an interview on the 12th, and said that he was in hopes that the differences might still be adjusted. General Vives had told him that the principal points with Spain were that the honor of the Crown should be saved (mis à couvert) in the business of the grants, and to receive satisfactory evidence of our intention to preserve Edition: current; Page: [134] a fair neutrality in the colonial war. Mr. Pasquier had observed to him that it would be a matter of deep regret that private interest should prevent the conclusion of such an important arrangement, and that when it was clear that there had been at least a misunderstanding on the subject, the King’s dignity could not be injured by a resumption of the grants or by an exchange for other lands. He seemed to think that this would be arranged, and asked me what I thought we could do respecting the other point. I answered that the fullest reliance might be placed on the fairness of our neutrality, and that I was really at a loss to know what could be added to the measures the United States had already adopted to enforce it. Mr. Pasquier gave me to understand that if there was any defect, however trifling, in our laws, and that was amended, it would probably be sufficient to satisfy the pride of Spain, as there now appeared a real desire to ratify, provided it could be done without betraying a glaring inconsistency. He had expressed to General Vives his opinion of the impropriety of asking from the United States any promise not to recognize the independence of the insurgent colonies, and had told him that, on that subject, Spain could only rely on the moral effect which a solemn treaty, accommodating all her differences with the United States, would have on their future proceedings.

I expressed my hope that the explanations which General Vives was instructed to give on the subject of the grants and to ask on that of our neutrality might be such as to remove all the existing difficulties. But it was most important that he should arrive in the United States before the adjournment of Congress, and that he should be the bearer of the King’s ratification of the treaty; so that, if everything was arranged, those ratifications might be at once exchanged at Washington. If that was not done, the President would have no more security that the King would ratify General Vives’s than Mr. Onis’s acts, and it was impossible to suppose that he would run the risk of a second disappointment. This observation forcibly struck Mr. Pasquier, who said that he would make further inquiries on that point.

I saw the same evening the Spanish ambassador at this Court, Edition: current; Page: [135] and in the course of a short conversation he suggested that the grants in dispute might be set aside, the grantees not having fulfilled certain conditions or formalities; and, after acknowledging that General Vives was not the bearer of the King’s ratification, he hinted that he was authorized to give to the United States satisfactory security that Spain would fulfil her engagements.

On the 13th I dined at the Minister of Foreign Affairs with General Vives, who repeated to me in substance what he had said to Mr. Pasquier. I told him that the President would judge of the explanations he had to give on the subject of the grants; that he might rely on the determination of the United States to preserve their neutrality, and not less on the manner in which the laws for enforcing it were executed than on the tenor of those laws, which, I observed, were and had always been more full and efficient than those of either England or France on the same subject; that I could not say whether the question of recognizing the independence of the insurgent colonies would be agitated during the present session of Congress; but that, if it was, the decision would probably have taken place before his arrival. On his observing that such recognition would altogether prevent any arrangement, I only reminded him that the government of the United States had for several years endeavored to prevent the adoption of the propositions made in Congress with that view.

I then repeated what I had said to Mr. Pasquier respecting the importance of his being authorized to exchange the ratifications of the treaty. He answered that, although he was not, he could, in case of an arrangement, give satisfactory security to the United States, and that it would consist in consenting that they should take immediate possession of Florida, without waiting for the ratification of the treaty.

General Vives repeated in the course of the evening the same thing to Mr. Pasquier, with whom I had afterwards a short conversation on the subject. He seemed extremely astonished that the Spanish government should have adopted that course rather than to authorize their minister to exchange at once the ratifications, and ascribed it to the singular policy of that Cabinet, and to their habits of procrastination, which had been evinced at Edition: current; Page: [136] Vienna, and in every subsequent negotiation to which Spain had been a party. Since, however, the measure they proposed coincided with the views of the President as stated in his message, and would at all events prevent a rupture, we both agreed that no time should be lost in communicating to you General Vives’s declarations.

I have the honor, &c.
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
March 16, 1820
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 140.

Sir,

I had on the 9th of June, 1818, addressed a letter to the Duke de Richelieu in relation to the American vessels Dolly and Telegraph, burnt at sea by two French frigates in the latter end of the year 1811. Mr. Lagrange, the lawyer of the owners, communicated to me a short time ago the decision of the council of state in that case, copy of which, as well as of my letter to the Duke of Richelieu, is herewith enclosed. You will thereby perceive that the application for indemnity has been rejected, principally on the ground that the French captains must have been ignorant of the revocation of the Berlin and Milan decrees, since the decree of the 18th April, 1811, was not published till the 8th of May, 1812.

It appeared to me essential not only to remonstrate against this flagrant injustice, but also to refute at large the doctrine thus attempted to be established in violation of the solemn engagements of the French government. The effect the decision might have on our claims in general, and the ground which had been uniformly assumed by the government of the United States in its discussions with that of Great Britain, and in all the public reports made on that subject, are considerations too obvious to require any comment on my part. I have the honor to enclose a copy of the letter1 which I have addressed to Mr. Pasquier on the occasion, and am, with great respect, &c.

Edition: current; Page: [137]
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
17th March, 1820
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 141.

Sir,

I had mentioned in my despatch No. 136 that although the insurrection of the Spanish army was considered as decisive with respect to the fate of the intended expedition against the colonies, yet it was the general opinion here that it would have no political result in Spain itself. That belief continued to prevail during nearly two months, and was corroborated by the resistance of Cadiz, and by the total apathy of the people of the adjacent provinces of Andalusia and Granada. It was indeed allowed that the temporizing conduct of the Spanish government arose from the fear that the troops under Freyre and O’Donnell, although they had not joined the insurrection, could not be trusted if brought in contact with the insurgents. But it was presumed that these, confined in the island of Leon, would not remain long united, and that seeing that, although they had proclaimed the constitution of the cortes, they were not supported in any part of the monarchy, they would ultimately submit. The charm was suddenly broken by the unexpected insurrection of the important province of Galicia. As soon as this was known here, Mr. Pasquier acknowledged to me that the question was decided; that if there was any resource left, it was to give instantaneously a charter to the Spanish nation,—a course which, I think, had been at different times strongly recommended by this government,—but that he feared it was too late, and that the constitution of the cortes would be forcibly imposed on the King.

The event, as you must already know, has justified this opinion. The constitution of the cortes was almost at the same time proclaimed in Aragon and Old Castile, and by the troops collected at Ocana, near Madrid. An insurrection would undoubtedly have broken out in the capital during the night of the 7th-8th March had it not been prevented by the King’s decree declaring his acceptance of the constitution. So far the revolution appears complete, and has been effected almost without shedding any blood. But the event is much too sudden and too recent to be able to appreciate all its results. The only thing Edition: current; Page: [138] which is certain is that the whole of Spain was determined to throw off the intolerable yoke under which she groaned, and that she will be free. She has still many difficulties to encounter.

The constitution of the cortes is very imperfect, and appears to be an imitation of that which had been adopted in France in the year 1791. Like this, it has the double defect of having concentred all the important powers in an assembly composed of a single chamber, and of having preserved a nominal King, who, though not personally disliked, is not trusted, and who has not sufficient authority to defend his few remaining prerogatives. Perhaps it has been now resorted to as the only existing rallying-point, and may receive important modifications. There are certainly in Spain strong habits, and even exalted feelings, in favor of royalty, which render that course probable. But if no changes are made by common consent, it is almost impossible that some new convulsion should not take place, unless Ferdinand shall passively submit to be a mere instrument in the hands of the cortes. To this fundamental difficulty must be added those arising from the yet unascertained pretensions of the army, from the hatred between the Josephinos and the Liberales, from the privileges of the provinces, from the deplorable state of the finances, and from the situation of the colonies.

It is not improbable that, taught by experience, the cortes may adopt measures calculated to preserve those colonies which are not in a state of open insurrection; and there seems to be some expectation that some arrangement may be made with Buenos Ayres. The war has been carried on in a too sanguinary way in Venezuela to render it probable that reconciliation with that province will take place.

Spain will probably be indebted to her geographical situation for an exemption from a foreign interference. Symptoms have already appeared here of the wishes of the ultra-royalists that it might take place, and there will be a strong disposition for interfering on the part of some of the continental powers. But it seems improbable that Great Britain should unite in that plan; and the government of France, even if it was so disposed, which I doubt, cannot or dares not send her own troops to Spain, or grant a passage through her territories to a foreign army.

Edition: current; Page: [139]

The moral effect of this revolution on other parts of Europe is not yet felt, but will be great. Although no symptom has yet appeared of a disposition on the part of this government to alter the retrograde course which it is now pursuing, the opposition is already emboldened, and it is impossible that such an event should not render the measures proposed still more odious to the people at large. In the mean while, everybody agrees that such an example of a revolution effected by the army is most dangerous, particularly as relates to Prussia. For there also there has been a breach of promise, and there also the army is deeply impregnated with those sentiments of liberty which animate all the enlightened part of the nation. There is an eminent danger of revolutions if the sovereigns are not taught by this example that reliance on a mere physical force is insecure; that their armies may become their most formidable enemies; and that they cannot any longer rely on the stability of their government unless they make in time all the concessions required by the state of society and imperiously demanded by public opinion.

With respect to our differences with Spain, I think that the new administration of that country would make no difficulty on the subject of the grants of land. How far the national pride will be reconciled to the cession itself of Florida may be a more doubtful question. You will undoubtedly recollect that according to the constitution the King cannot grant any portion of Spanish territory without the consent of the cortes. Our treaty will therefore require their ratification.

I have the honor, &c.

[To the duplicate of this letter was added the following:]

P.S.—March 23. I have received, since the above was written, several letters from Mr. Forsyth at Madrid, of which, according to a wish expressed in one of them, I now forward copies herewith enclosed. The proclamations, &c., are the same as are published in the Paris newspapers.

Edition: current; Page: [140]
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
27th April, 1820
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 143.

Sir,

I have the honor to enclose the copy of a letter I addressed on the 22d instant to the Minister of Foreign Affairs on the subject of a proposed increase of the duties on tobacco imported in American vessels. In a transient conversation I had with him two days after, he informed me that my observations were then before the council of ministers; and although he gave no positive opinion, it appeared to me that they felt some reluctance in opposing the proposition of the committee. I still fear that if nothing shall have been done by Congress, our attempt to obtain redress by a negotiation will fail altogether; and I wait with impatience both the decision of that body and your instructions in that respect.

Mr. Pasquier has also informed me that he had referred to the Minister of Justice my remonstrance of the 15th of March last against the decision of the council of state in the case of the Dolly and Telegraph. This is a very unusual course in an affair where our rights are founded on a positive agreement between the two countries, an agreement entirely political, and in which the Minister of Foreign Affairs was the organ of the French government.

I have the honor to enclose a letter from the King of Würtemberg announcing his marriage, and which was delivered to me by his minister at this Court.

I have the honor, &c.
Monroe
Monroe
May 26, 1820
Washington
Gallatin
Gallatin

MONROE TO GALLATIN.

Dear Sir,

I have to apologize for not having written to you before, but I have presumed that you would have seen that the official pressure on me was so great as to leave me no time for other duties, however interesting; especially as, until the last Edition: current; Page: [141] winter, my health had not been fully restored since the fatigues of the last war. At present I am much blessed in that respect, and as I shall dispose of the interval between this and the next session in Loudoun and Albemarle, Virginia, where I have farms, I hope that Mrs. Monroe, as well as I, shall return here in as good health as we ever enjoyed.

Mr. de Neuville has acquitted himself here entirely to the satisfaction of the government and of the members of Congress. His deportment, and that of his lady, has been conciliatory, and in our concerns with his country, and also with Spain, in which he has taken a part, we have had much reason to be satisfied. He takes with him, therefore, the good wishes for his welfare and hers, of all, which you will, we presume, find a suitable occasion to intimate in proper terms to his government.

Our affairs with Spain have, as you will see by the public documents, taken a strange direction. The refusal to ratify a second treaty within the time stipulated, and then to send a minister to demand new conditions, the sanction of which was to depend on the government of Madrid, without his becoming responsible for it, was an occurrence with which I have known no parallel. Considering, however, the condition of Spain at this time, and of almost all Europe, and the jealousy which prevails generally of the ambitious views of the United States, it was thought most advisable to leave the affair where it was, and thereby give a new proof of moderation, which could not fail to refute such unfounded calumnies. We hope that the business will be settled in the course of the summer, since otherwise it seems probable that it will be taken up at the next session in a very different spirit. Indeed, so strong is the inclination in some to seize on Texas particularly, that I should not be surprised if we should be compelled to act on that principle, and without a treaty, if that province at least, as well as Florida, should be taken possession of. Internal considerations, of which the discussion of the late Missouri question will have given you a just view, are favorable to moderate pretensions on our part. With me they have much weight, as I am persuaded they have with many others; but still, so seducing is the passion for extending our territory, that if compelled to take our own redress it Edition: current; Page: [142] is quite uncertain within what limit it will be confined. Your attention to this object has been useful, the continuance of which has been among the interesting motives which induce a desire that you should remain at your present post the present year.

With respect to the colonies, the object has been to throw into their scale, in a moral sense, the weight of the United States, without so deep a compromitment as to make us a party to the contest. All Europe must expect that the citizens of the United States wish success to the colonies, and all that they can claim, even Spain herself, is that we will maintain an impartial neutrality between the parties. By taking this ground openly and frankly, we acquit ourselves to our own consciences; we accommodate with the feelings of our constituents; we render to the colonies all the aid that we can render them, for I am satisfied that had we even joined them in the war, we should have done them more harm than good, as we might have drawn all Europe on them, not to speak of the injury we should have done to ourselves. By our present attitude we have given to other powers an example of forbearance, and retained the right to communicate with them as friends on that interesting subject,—a right which we should have lost by a change of attitude. A mere recognition, as our ports are open to them as freely as to Spain and other powers, would be a dead letter, while it would have been, especially in the earlier stages, exposed to all the objections stated. In the mean time, the subject not being fully understood, a disposition has been manifested, imputable in a great measure to the conduct of Spain in our concerns, that we should go further in favor of the colonies, with which it may be proper to comply at no distant day. You will perceive that as the recognition, whenever it may be made, will be nothing more than what I have above stated, as we still shall maintain an impartial neutrality, no power will have a right to complain of it. Indeed, it may be fairly presumed that they will all be prepared for it. I am satisfied that you have fully and distinctly understood the views of the Administration in all these circumstances; I mention them, however, that you may prepare all with whom you communicate for such a result, at any time whenever it may take place.

Edition: current; Page: [143]

Our claims on France will also receive your attention, in which I am satisfied that you will accomplish all that may be practicable.

To these interesting objects is added the very important duty of making another attempt to form a commercial treaty with France, to which it is hoped that the late Act of Congress will afford you much aid. Your experience and knowledge of the subject inspire us with great confidence that your exertions will not be fruitless in securing what it will be proper to obtain for your own country, or in prevailing on the French government to enter willingly into such arrangements as the interest of France may justify.

Mrs. Monroe and my daughter desire their best regards to Mrs. Gallatin, and I beg you to be assured of my great respect and sincere regard.

Crawford
Crawford
27th May, 1820
Washington
Gallatin
Gallatin

CRAWFORD TO GALLATIN.

My dear Sir,

At the close of a session of Congress, of unusual length and interest, the attention of the heads of Department is not less taxed than during the continuance of the session. I regret that the departure of Mr. de Neuville occurs before that press has ceased.

It is probable he will be consulted, if not employed, in the discussions which the late law increasing the tonnage duty upon French vessels will probably excite. He is an honest man, devoted to the interests of France, and disposed at the same time to unite the two countries by acts of reciprocal kindness. He has, however, some ideas which are scarcely intelligible on the Louisiana treaty, and, what is unfortunate in this particular instance, he is not apt at seizing upon distinctions or feeling the force of discriminations presented by others. He is, like all Frenchmen, impetuous and impatient of contradiction. You will have, therefore, a most delicate part to perform to lead him to correct conclusions.

Indeed, from conversations I have had with him, I hardly Edition: current; Page: [144] expect that anything can be done if you consider the Act of the 3d of March, 1815, as forming the basis of the convention which is to be made. England, perhaps, finds some indemnity for the injury which she sustains in her navigating interest, under the commercial convention, from the balance of trade which constantly is in her favor. The exclusion which she has enjoyed in the intercourse between the United States and her West India colonies has no doubt had a tendency to reconcile her to the exclusion which is gradually but certainly operating to the exclusion of her shipping in the direct trade between the two countries. Motives of this kind will not operate upon the councils of France, to reconcile them to the monopoly which American vessels will obtain in the direct trade between the two countries, if placed upon a footing with French vessels in the ports of France. The balance of trade is in favor of the United States. With equal advantages, the direct commerce between the two countries will be as exclusively carried on by American vessels as if the entrance of French vessels into the ports of the United States were prohibited by law. Other considerations must, therefore, be sought to induce France to assent to an equalization of duties on French and American navigation. Where are they to be found?

The question is not easily answered. De Neuville, and perhaps his government, think that rights under the Louisiana convention still exist in favor of French commerce. There is plausibility at least in the claim. The claim of Beaumarchais has been espoused by the government with more than usual interest. The complaint of the desertion of French sailors in our ports has been a source of much uneasiness on the part of Mr. de Neuville. All these claims and grounds of complaint will, without doubt, be embodied and arranged in the most formidable order by Mr. de Neuville, and insisted upon with earnestness. From them, however, no danger is to be apprehended, provided you do not consider yourself bound down by the Act of the 3d of March, 1815. I have suggested to the President the propriety, even the necessity, of giving particular instructions on this subject, and authorizing the most unlimited discretion, unless a special decision should be made by the Edition: current; Page: [145] Cabinet. He is extremely anxious, on account of the situation of Mrs. Monroe, to get away. No deliberation, therefore, will take place. He requested me to call upon Mr. Adams and urge my views upon the subject; but I declined it, on the ground that the question was one of extreme delicacy, and ought not to be touched but in the most general way, unless in consequence of a full investigation by the Administration.

De Neuville has much at heart an arrangement by which sailors will be given up to French vessels in the United States when they desert from them.

I regret that I have not time to give you all the information which I have collected of his views. I shall confer with Mr. Adams hereafter, and urge him to be explicit in his communications with you on this subject. I am confident that the chance of success depends upon the exercise of a discretion which will rest wholly upon your shoulders. Whether it is proper for you to incur this responsibility you will be able to determine when the extent of it will be ascertained.

You have been requested to remain another year wholly on this account. I shall urge the President again to examine the subject and prescribe the limits within which your discretion is to be exercised. I am fearful that nothing will be done, from the extreme difficulty there is in fixing any boundary other than that which is prescribed by the Act of the 3d of March, 1815, and exemplified by the British convention.

For the political incidents of the session which you will not be able to gather from the papers I must refer to Mr. Erving, to whom I have written at length upon such topics. I believe I have not requested him to communicate the contents to you, but he will, I presume, do so, especially upon an intimation from you to that effect.

Mr. Macon is in good health, but greatly distressed by the effects of the discussion of the Missouri question. He is a little querulous, and disposed, at some moments, to view things through a sombre medium.

Indeed, I am fearful that we have some cause for apprehending that the sentiments of good will which have hitherto predominated are in some degree sapped by the dissensions of the Edition: current; Page: [146] last session. Time, however, with its usual effects, will, I hope, heal the disorders which have been diffused into the body politic by the baneful discussion which has agitated the Union.

Present my respects [to] the Marquis Barbé-Marbois, his daughter and son-in-law, and to the Duke of Plaisance the elder.

To Mrs. Gallatin and to the other members of your family remember me most affectionately.

I remain, my dear sir, your most sincere and respectful friend and humble servant.

P.S.—Mr. de Neuville is waiting. I have not time to read over this hasty sketch; pardon, therefore, any errors which may be found in it.

Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
June 9, 1820
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 147.

Sir,

I had the honor to receive your letter of the 7th of March, signifying to me the wish of the President that I might remain in Europe for the present. I will use my best endeavors to fulfil his views, and wait with anxiety for the instructions respecting our commercial relations with France. The hope of succeeding in making a satisfactory arrangement will, however, be but slender if nothing shall have been done by Congress on that subject. Nothing has taken place here in that respect since the date of my last despatch.

Mr. Pasquier told me, and I felt it was true, that during the present crisis of affairs in this country it was impossible for the Ministers to attend to any subject of secondary importance. There is now a prospect that this crisis will terminate in a manner less dangerous to the tranquillity of France than had been apprehended.

The renewal of the laws of exception, and the attempt to change the law of elections, created a general disaffection. After a long and most animated discussion, the leading principle of the plan proposed by government, and by which the right of electing was Edition: current; Page: [147] in reality placed exclusively in the hands of the 18,000 individuals who pay the highest taxes, was adopted in the Chamber of Deputies by a majority of five votes. The feeling of the people on the occasion burst out with much warmth. For three successive days one of the members of the minority had been carried home in triumph, and accompanied by cries of Vive la Charte! On the succeeding day (the 3d instant) a number of young royalists, principally body-guards, attacked those who uttered those cries and who refused to join in that of Vive le Roi; and they also insulted several of the deputies belonging to the minority as they were leaving the house. The ensuing day, being Sunday and that of the Fête-Dieu, was quiet; the body-guards were put under arrest; troops were stationed in several places on the Monday, and a police order was issued forbidding all collections of people. This did not prevent a vast number assembling and parading through the streets with cries of Vive la Charte! It is probable that many of them were actuated only by resentment against the body-guards. Meeting with no opponents, they committed no acts of violence, but refused to disperse until compelled by the cavalry, and several were wounded in the affray. It is not impossible that malcontents mixed with the groups and attempted to create more serious disturbances. It is certain that some half-pay officers were amongst them, and a number even of general officers have been arrested. The collections of people were not dispersed till late in the night, and some, though less numerous, took place the ensuing day.

These tumults, and the well-known state of the public mind here and in many other places, created great alarm, and led to serious reflections. The most moderate men on both sides, fearing the consequences and supported by the Ministers, have made a compromise. The projet of law seems to be abandoned, and, instead of this, a plan has been proposed which, preserving the old mode of election with respect to the present members of the chamber (amounting to 258), adds 172 new ones to be elected by the 23,000 electors who pay the highest taxes. It is believed that this amendment, which has the approbation of the King, though opposed by some violent Ultras and by all the warmest Liberals, will be adopted by a large majority. It is impossible to conjecture Edition: current; Page: [148] what effect this change in the law of elections may hereafter produce, and how far it will conciliate or destroy public confidence; but peace and order will at least be preserved for the present.

In Spain, the elections go on regularly, and the constituted authorities seem to prevail against both those who would oppose the revolution and the leaders of the dangerous club known by the name of the Café Lorenzini. Mr. Forsyth seems still to think that the appearances are in favor of the ratification of our treaty by the cortes.

Being yet without instructions on the subject of our claim for indemnity, I acquiesced in Mr. Parish’s wish to lay the Antwerp cases before the Department of Foreign Affairs, and have the honor to enclose the copy of a letter which I wrote to Mr. Pasquier on that subject.1

I have the honor, &c.
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
5th July, 1820
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 149.

Sir,

I have not yet received any communication from you since your letter of the 7th of March; but the last arrivals brought accounts from New York to the 1st of June, and amongst them the Act of Congress imposing a duty of 18 dollars per ton on French vessels. It is much to be regretted that the law, instead of only equalizing the discriminating duties, should have made a difference as great against French vessels as it was before in their favor. Had that course been pursued, there would have been some complaints, but no pretence for retaliation, and their own interest would, after a short time, have induced the French merchants themselves to unite in the wish of seeing all discriminating duties repealed on both sides. But their clamors against the measure which has been adopted have Edition: current; Page: [149] been successful because they might with truth say that it stops entirely their maritime expeditions to the United States, and also that the notice was so short that voyages already undertaken would be ruinous to the parties. Mr. Pasquier gave me to understand that our act had the appearance of a wish to force the French government to accept the proposals we had made, and he believed it would be necessary for France to lay a retaliating duty before she could treat with us. Whether he meant one that would only re-establish the equilibrium or go beyond that I could not ascertain, and perhaps he has not determined. I must add that I believe him and government in general to be in favor of the mutual repeal of all the discriminating duties, and that the obstacles to an arrangement are entirely on the part of the merchants and of the chambers of commerce.

You may easily conceive that, even if the plan should only be to lay duties which in the whole should be equivalent to ours, there will be a vast difference of opinion respecting the amount. The greatest difficulty consists in valuing our old discriminating duty of 10 per cent. on the ordinary duties on importations; and I was particularly anxious that it should have been repealed at the same time a new tonnage duty was laid, because the French always insist that it is nearly equal to their own discriminating duties, and it is difficult to prove the contrary in an unanswerable manner, there being no common standard by which to compare their respective values.

I have, however, undertaken the task, and prepared a long note for Mr. Pasquier, which, not being yet quite finished, cannot be communicated by this opportunity. I will only state that my final conclusion is that the difference between the discriminating duties of the two countries was about 46 francs per ton against us before the last Act of Congress, and it is now about 45 francs against France. As I have not yet any instructions, nor any official account of the Act, it is my intention to send this paper as an informal note, which will commit neither my government nor myself.

It is possible that some proposals may be made by the French government, such as a mutual surrender of deserters, on which Edition: current; Page: [150] it will be necessary that I should apply for instructions, and that the negotiation may for that reason, and on account of the obstacles thrown in by the merchants, be protracted longer than had been contemplated. This contingency induces me to request that I may be supplied with documents the want of which I have felt whilst preparing my note for Mr. Pasquier. Those I principally wish are,—

1st. The principal annual statements of the importations of goods, wares, and merchandise in American and foreign vessels for the years ending on the 30th September, 1817 and 1818.

2dly. A similar account for the year ending on the 30th September, 1819. This is not printed, but may be prepared by the Register.

3dly. Statements of the exports, both foreign and domestic, to France and to its dependencies for the years ending on the 30th September, 1817, 1818, and 1819, designating the quantity and value of each species, and those to France in Europe from those to her colonies. These are never printed, but may be transcribed from books kept in the Register’s office.

4thly. A statement of the American and French tonnage, respectively, employed for one year in the commerce with France (not with her colonies), including the repeated voyages. Whether this last document can be made out from the returns to his office the Register will be able to say.

I have the honor, &c.
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
11th July, 1820
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 151.

Sir,

I have the honor to enclose copies of my letters and inofficial notes to Mr. Pasquier of the 7th and 8th instants, and of his answer. Late in the evening of the 8th I received your despatch No. 20, of May 26, brought by Mr. Hyde de Neuville, and was glad that I had discussed the subject in those inofficial notes, as your letter is silent on the two most difficult points to explain,—the shortness of the time given, and the Edition: current; Page: [151] amount of the duty, which is certainly tantamount to an exclusion of the French vessels.

I have reason to believe that it is intended, immediately after the adjournment of the Chambers, to lay a retaliating extra duty on the tonnage of our vessels. This will be done by an ordinance of the King, as he has a right during the recess to modify custom-house duties. Whether government will be disposed to enter immediately in a negotiation with me I cannot say. They were already irritated, and will be more so with those sentences in my correspondence in which I suggest that they will do nothing unless compelled by our acts. Although from the general tenor of my letters to you it is clear that I thought the Ministry here well disposed, and that it was upon the commercial interest that our acts must produce such an effect as to induce them to withdraw their opposition to an arrangement, yet I fear that the expressions in question will wound the pride of government, and I wish they had been omitted in the publication.

I will wait with anxiety for your instructions on the subject of a consular convention, of the restoration of deserters, and of the other subjects to which you allude as coming within the scope of a commercial treaty. Those I have at present do not go beyond the proposals already made to the French government by my letter of 25th October last to Marquis Dessolle.

I have the honor, &c.
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
27th July, 1820
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 154.

Sir,

I had a long conference with Mr. Pasquier on the 24th instant, and saw him again to-day. The French government has determined to retaliate and to lay a countervailing duty on American tonnage before they will attempt to settle the differences by an amicable arrangement. All the arguments I could use against that course were unavailing. I have not time to write at large by this opportunity (the Nimrod) all that passed on Edition: current; Page: [152] the occasion. But it is necessary to state the principal reason assigned by this government for that measure.

The duty laid by Congress was so high that it was tantamount to a total exclusion of the French vessels from our ports. There were but two modes by which this could be avoided,—a total abrogation on the part of France of her discriminating duties so far as they applied to American vessels, or a diplomatic arrangement. The first mode was considered by this government as derogatory, as it did not leave them even the option of equalizing the duties without repealing them altogether, besides which they were not disposed to consent to a perfect reciprocity which they thought would give us the whole navigation between the two countries. At all events, they had other conditions to offer connected with the subject of difference; an arrangement could only be the result of discussion and be effected by a convention. Such convention or treaty could be carried into effect only after it had been ratified, and therefore only after the meeting of Congress. In the mean while the French vessels would be altogether excluded from any participation in the trade, and ours be the sole carriers. It was impossible that France could submit to that state of things, and she was under the necessity of retaliating and of adopting measures which should have the effect of excluding our vessels in the same manner as theirs were.

An ordinance will be issued on that principle to-morrow or the next day. It substitutes to the existing tonnage duty on American vessels one of ninety-nine francs per ton, which is to take effect from the respective days on which it will reach the several ports. It is not to affect vessels hereafter coming in ballast, or which may have sailed with cargoes from the United States prior to the 15th of June.

The first exception, which will allow our vessels, after having landed their cargoes in England or Holland, to come in French ports, is, as you will perceive, intended to facilitate the exportation of French produce and manufactures.

American produce cannot now, with the new tonnage duties, be imported directly from the United States either in French or in American vessels. It may be imported as heretofore, either directly in vessels belonging to other nations, or [in]directly Edition: current; Page: [153] from foreign ports in French or foreign vessels other than American. Upland cotton imported directly from the United States in British, Dutch, or other foreign vessels would be liable to the same duty of 38½ francs per 100 kilogrammes which has been heretofore levied on that article when imported in American vessels. If imported from England or the Netherlands in French vessels, the duty would be 33 francs.

Neither of these modes suits France, and another ordinance will be issued, giving during the ten ensuing months a premium of ten francs per 100 kilogrammes of cotton, the produce of either North or South America, imported in French vessels from any American port not belonging to the United States, which will reduce to 12 francs the duty on upland cotton of the United States imported in that manner. They expect that on account of that difference our Georgia cotton will be sent to St. Augustine, and that of Louisiana to Cuba, and that French vessels will carry the whole from those Spanish ports to France. The object is to make some port in America the entrepôt. Our cotton will in that case be imported altogether in French vessels, whilst either of the other modes excludes them from any share in the carrying trade.

This government continues in the mean while to profess a disposition of arranging amicably these difficulties, and Mr. Pasquier has promised to make in a few days, in answer to my letter of the 25th of October last, specific propositions on the subject of the commercial relations between the two countries. This will enable us to judge whether there is any prospect of making a satisfactory arrangement.

I have the honor, &c.
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
31st July, 1820
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 155.

Sir,

I had the honor to write you a few lines on the 27th instant, and hope that a copy of the King’s ordonnance which I sent the ensuing day will reach you at the same time.

Edition: current; Page: [154]

I now proceed to state the substance of the conference I had on the 24th instant with Mr. Pasquier, and at which the Duke de Richelieu was present part of the time.

Mr. Pasquier stated that it had been found absolutely necessary to lay a countervailing duty on American vessels, and communicated the outlines of an ordinance to that effect, which it was intended to issue immediately. The plan proposed was to substitute, from the date of the ordinance, to the existing tonnage duty one of 99 francs per ton; to exempt from it vessels arriving in ballast, and to require only a bond for the payment of the new duty from vessels coming with cargoes which should have sailed from the United States before the ordinance was known there; that bond to be enforced only in case the new tonnage duty of the United States should not be refunded to those French vessels which had sailed from the United States without knowledge of the Act of Congress laying that duty. It was also intended to give a premium of ten francs per 100 kilogrammes of cotton imported in French vessels from any port in America not within the bounds of the United States.

The discussion turned on three points: (1) the alleged necessity to lay an extraordinary duty before an attempt was made to arrange the existing difficulties; (2) the amount of the intended duty, and the time when it should begin to take place; (3) and the practicability of making an arrangement.

On the first point, Mr. Pasquier said that notwithstanding the explanations given here and at Washington respecting the motives which had actuated the government of the United States, still the Act of Congress had in itself an hostile character. The amount of the duty was so exorbitant as to be tantamount to a total exclusion of French vessels, owners of vessels which had sailed without knowledge or any expectation of that measure, and often with previous contracts at a specific price for the freight of cotton, would incur a loss nearly equal to the value of the vessel; the measure was adopted without waiting the result of pending negotiations, and appeared to be intended to compel France to make an arrangement on the terms proposed by the United States and on no other. Under these circumstances, the French government, in justice to its subjects and in Edition: current; Page: [155] order to support its own dignity, was bound to retaliate, and to replace the duties in the same relative situation in which they stood when the negotiations were opened: it was only after this was done that the attempt to accommodate the differences by an amicable arrangement could be renewed.

I observed, in reply, that the inequality in the discriminating duties which now existed against French vessels in consequence of the late Act of Congress was less than that which had for the four preceding years existed against American vessels in consequence of the law of France of April, 1816; that our Act was therefore no more hostile than that law; and that, since the United States had not thought it derogatory to open negotiations on that subject whilst the difference in the relative duties was so unfavorable to them, it was not perceived on what grounds France could refuse to treat until not only an equality of duties had been established, but the inequality in her favor had been restored. There was not, I added, any just reason to complain of the Act of Congress having passed at the time it did. It had been fairly stated in October last to the French government that, if no modification of their duties took place, the United States would be compelled to protect their navigation by countervailing duties on the tonnage of French vessels or on merchandise imported therein. Specific proposals were at the same time made, which, in the view taken of the subject by the United States, might be the basis of an arrangement. To this no other answer had been received but one expressing in general terms the disposition of the French government to settle amicably all the questions connected with the commercial relations of the two countries. To this day, after nine months had elapsed since the date of our propositions, no specific proposals of any kind had been made by France, and we were perfectly ignorant of the terms on which she was disposed to make an arrangement. In the mean while, the navigation of the United States was daily sinking under the weight of the French discriminating duties. If their vessels had continued in the trade with France; if, as was urged in order to show that the inequality could not be such as we represented it to be, one-half of the vessels employed between the two countries Edition: current; Page: [156] were still American, this was an extraordinary exertion, which could not be persevered in any longer. Vessels had been continued so long in an unprofitable trade because they were already thus employed, and in the daily hope of a speedy change. But they had been barely employed, and without profit to the owners. These had been compelled to take freight at the rate of one cent and a half per pound of cotton, while the French vessels obtained two cents and three-quarters. The trade had been ruinous to the American and extremely profitable to the French ship-owners. During the last eight months, from the time when our proposals were made, to the 1st of July of this year, the extra duty paid by us in France on our own produce brought in our vessels, beyond what would have been paid on the same articles if imported in French vessels, had amounted to more than one million of francs, and, including our importations of foreign produce, was equivalent to a duty of 70 francs per ton. We were as yet in every respect the injured party. The extra duty paid by us on American produce since the French law of 1816 exceeded six millions of francs. Whilst this money filled the French treasury, it served at the same time as a premium to the French navigation; it was a tribute levied on us for that double purpose, and to which it was impossible that we could have submitted any longer.

With respect to the day when the Act of Congress took effect, I said that I regretted that a longer time had not been allowed, and repeated the explanations already given on the presumed cause of that circumstance. But I insisted that France had no right to complain of it, since it was an established principle with her that her custom-house duties should be enforced from the day on which the law was promulgated. Thus, the discriminating duty on sugar imported from foreign countries in foreign vessels had, by a law passed on the 7th of June last, been increased from 11 to 16½ francs per 100 kilogrammes; and the importation of nankeens in foreign vessels had been altogether prohibited by the same law. Both provisions took effect from the moment the law was promulgated, and had an injurious retrospective effect on the American commerce. Sugar had been one of the principal articles of importation from the United Edition: current; Page: [157] States to France. An unexpected additional duty of about half a cent per pound was imposed, without any previous notice, on all the sugar brought in American vessels that had arrived subsequent to the 7th of June; and with respect to nankeens, exclusively of other shipments, an American vessel had, to my knowledge, been ordered last autumn to Canton for the express purpose of bringing 220,000 pieces of that article to France, in conformity to the then existing laws; she was daily expected; her voyage was totally ruined in consequence of that prohibition without notice; and the loss in that case alone would probably be nearly as great as the whole amount which, by virtue of the Act of Congress, might be demanded from French vessels which had sailed from France without knowledge of that Act.

How far these observations may have satisfied this government that our Act was perfectly justifiable, I cannot say. But they certainly made no impression with respect to the presumed necessity of adopting here measures of retaliation. Mr. Pasquier insisted that there was an intrinsic difference between a tonnage duty and a discriminating duty on merchandise; he said that, at least in the case where there was no previous notice, the tonnage duty fell exclusively on the ship-owner, and in the present instance was altogether exorbitant when compared with the value of the freight or even of the vessel; whilst the duty on the merchandise, if it did not fall on the consumer, was paid by the owner of the article, and bore some proportion to its value,—a distinction which, if solid with respect to individuals, makes, as you will at once perceive, no difference whatever in a national point of view. But Mr. Pasquier seemed to rely chiefly on the fact that, notwithstanding the discriminating duties of France, we still participated largely in the carrying trade, whilst it was notorious that French vessels would now be totally excluded in consequence of the Act of Congress. Supposing an arrangement to be practicable, a convention could not take effect till after it had been ratified; that is to say, till after the meeting of Congress. It was impossible that France should in the mean while acquiesce in the exclusion of her vessels, and permit ours to engross the whole carrying trade between the two countries. It was therefore absolutely necessary that she should impose a Edition: current; Page: [158] countervailing duty, which should lay American under the same disadvantage as French vessels.

Permit me here to observe that it was with a view to this difficulty that I had, in my despatch to you of the 15th of January last, taken the liberty to suggest the propriety of inserting in the Act of Congress a clause which should give a contingent power to suspend the operation of the Act in case an arrangement should take place. The omission of this provision is, however, much less to be regretted than that the goodness of our cause should have been in any degree impaired by the high rate of duty adopted in the Act of Congress, and by the short time allowed before it took effect. As reciprocity alone was asked, and indeed was offered on the face of the law, I cannot understand, and your despatch does not explain, the reason why it was deemed proper to establish such an inequality. It is difficult to find a common measure by which to compare the value of our old discriminating duty with those of France; and on that account it would have been desirable to have repealed or suspended it when the new tonnage duty was imposed. But there is no calculation by which the discriminating duty of France can be estimated at more than 12 or 13 dollars per ton. A tonnage duty to that amount would have countervailed the French duties and restored the equality, provided our old discriminating duty had been at the same time repealed. Instead of which, this had been preserved and a new duty laid of 17 dollars per ton. Had the Act gone no farther than to establish a fair equality, there would have been no pretence here for retaliation. Had a more distant day been fixed for the Act going into effect, the 1st of October, for instance, instead of the 1st of July, not only the duty would have fallen on no vessel which had not due notice, but it would have allowed sufficient time here to negotiate, and, if at all practicable, to conclude an arrangement.

Finding that the determination of this government to lay immediately a retaliating duty which should exclude our vessels was irrevocably taken, I observed that the rate of duty beyond what was necessary for that purpose was a question not otherwise important than as it might evince the disposition of France with respect to an arrangement. If it was thought that to lay a Edition: current; Page: [159] duty which would only restore the equality had the appearance of acquiescing in the principle of our proposals, there could be no inconvenience in lessening at least the inequality. To make the new tonnage duty equal to ours, to replace the duties precisely on the same footing on which they stood before the late Act of Congress, showed a tenacity on the part of this government which indicated no intention to settle difficulties by an amicable arrangement. But the rate of duty contemplated by the ordinance went still further: our duty of 18 dollars per ton of our measure was less than 16 dollars and half on the ton, French measure; and a duty of 99 francs, which was to be levied according to the French measurement, was in reality at the rate of about 107 francs, or more than 20 dollars, per ton, measure of the United States.

With respect to the question of time, I asked that six weeks should be given from the date of the ordinance before it went into operation. That time was equal to that which had intervened between the date of the Act of Congress and the day on which it was in force. I observed that the ostensible object on the part of France was to prevent our vessels from bringing American produce so long as our duty had the same effect on French vessels, and that as all those which had arrived in the United States prior to the 1st of July were not affected by the new Act, it followed, allowing a month for obtaining and taking in a cargo and a month for the return voyage, that all French vessels arriving in France from the United States before the 1st of September would have paid no extra duty in America. American vessels arriving within the same time ought, therefore, to be admitted without paying the new French duty. I also objected strongly to the clause by which the bond taken from certain American vessels was to be enforced in case the government of the United States did not refund the duties incurred by French vessels which had sailed from France without knowledge of the new Act. It was an indirect charge of injustice against the United States; and if France thought she had any just cause of complaint in that respect, the proper course was to make reclamations, and not to recur to a species of reprisals.

The ordinance has been altered in this last respect; but my Edition: current; Page: [160] other observations have produced no effect. On the question of time, it was insisted that from the moment our law was generally known in the United States our own ship-owners must have, and in fact had, expected reprisals; for every American vessel that had since arrived had, before entering a French port, held a previous communication with persons on shore, in order to ascertain whether a countervailing duty had not been laid.

The duty, it was said, could be laid on tonnage only according to the French mode of measurement; but I understand that an instruction might be given to take, in valuing the duty, the difference between the American and French measures into consideration. Allowing that this government had sufficient motives for imposing a countervailing duty, there was certainly no necessity for making it so exorbitant as to create a difference of more than 70 francs per ton in favor of French vessels. The fact is that the ship-owners of Havre called for a tonnage duty of 100 francs per ton the very day on which the news of the Act of Congress reached that port; that the council of commerce of Paris recommended that measure as well as the premium of ten francs on American cotton imported in French vessels from America, and that this government has acted in conformity with that recommendation. Several of the members of that council own vessels employed in the trade with the United States. Our proposals of October last had been referred to that body; it was their advice which prevented government from acceding to our proposition, and, indeed, from making any to us; their pride and personal interest are both arrayed against us; and if the Ministry continues to listen to them, there is no prospect at this time of making an arrangement on reasonable terms. The merchants will not yield of their own accord until they shall have found by experience that the object they have in view is unattainable. They think that the premium granted by the late ordinance will make the West India and Florida ports places of deposit for our cotton, and thereby secure to them the carrying trade of that article. I told Mr. Pasquier that if we did not make an arrangement before the meeting of Congress the United States could, without the least inconvenience to themselves, prohibit altogether the exportation of our cotton Edition: current; Page: [161] to the West Indies, to Florida, or to any other place where it was not an object of consumption; that they could with the same facility prohibit its exportation to France in any vessels other than those of France and of America; and that these measures would make England, the Netherlands, or some other European country, the only places of deposit, and give us the whole carrying trade.

I took this opportunity of stating the provisions of the Act of Congress prohibiting the intercourse with the British West Indies and American colonies. I explained the circumstances which had led to that measure, and observed that the object was precisely the same for which we now contended with France. In both cases we insisted that commerce, as far as it was allowed between the United States and a foreign country, should be carried on in vessels of the two countries on principles of perfect reciprocity. Great Britain would not allow the commerce between her West India colonies and the United States to be carried on in American vessels. We had prohibited it in British vessels. She had attempted, in order to engross the greater part of the carrying trade, to make Bermuda and Halifax places of deposit; we had then prohibited the intercourse in any vessels whatever with those colonies. There has been no hesitation on the part of the United States in adopting those measures, although the British West Indies consumed our own products to an amount nearly equal in value to those we exported to France,—about 7 millions of dollars annually,—and although a great portion of the products consumed in those islands consisted of lumber, provisions, and other articles for which we could with difficulty find another market, which was not at all the case with cotton and tobacco, the principal articles of our exports to France.

I was induced to make these observations not only in order to show that we had acted with at least as much vigor towards England as towards France, but also to impress the government with a sense of the importance we attached to the object, and of the improbability that we would yield the point. From some expressions used during the conference, and others that had fallen from Mr. de Neuville, I understood that there was some Edition: current; Page: [162] expectation that divisions among ourselves would compel us to abandon the measures necessary to enforce our right to a fair reciprocity. The interest of the Southern planters was alluded to as opposed to any impediment thrown in the way of the exportation of their produce. It is, perhaps, natural enough that private interests should be supposed here to have a very powerful influence everywhere; but it is extraordinary that they should not perceive that the discriminating duties of France, by enhancing the price of freight, are as injurious to the grower of American produce as to the American ship-owner. Under the existing system, the planter or exporter pays for the freight on cotton exported in French vessels two cents and three-quarters per pound, and on that which is exported in American vessels one and a half cent freight and one cent and three-fifths duty. If the discriminating duties were abrogated, freight would be two cents per pound; the planter would pay less, and the American ship-owner would be better paid. The interest of our agriculture requires that there should be the freest competition of vessels of all nations for the exportation of our produce; a competition which cannot be better encouraged than by the mutual repeal of all the duties which fall on vessels either foreign or domestic. The temporary sacrifices which may be necessary to obtain that result will equally fall on the ship-owners and on the growers of produce. It will belong to the wisdom of Congress to decide to what extent it is proper, considering the value of the object in view, to carry the temporary restrictive measures intended ultimately to secure it.

The terms on which a practicable arrangement could be effected were not immediately connected with the subject-matter of the conference. I thought it, however, proper to make some observations on the subject. I stated that the principle of perfect reciprocity for which we contended was founded in justice; that it was impossible that it should not ultimately prevail, since, the power to lay duties being the same on both sides, no nation could prevent her regulations for the protection of her navigation from being met by countervailing measures of a similar nature; that it could not be expected that the United States would subscribe to a treaty by which their navigation should be subject to higher Edition: current; Page: [163] duties in France than those to which French vessels would be liable in America; and that supposing even that peculiar circumstances might render it eligible to make such an arrangement with that country, an insuperable objection would be found in the danger to which we would thereby expose ourselves of being liable to similar demands from all the other great maritime nations with which we had succeeded in making arrangements founded on a mutual abrogation of every species of discriminating duties. I added that the articles of the produce or fabrics of the United States and France annually exchanged by the commerce between the two countries amounted to about seventy millions of francs, whilst the freight was not worth more than four millions; and that, taking in consideration the nature of the articles, not only the commerce was of infinitely more importance to France than the freight, but that it was much more her interest that the expenses of transportation should be reduced to the lowest rate, than that her vessels should participate in it if they could not compete with ours on equal terms. Finally, I observed that we had the same superiority in that respect over England as over France; that the only means we had employed to obtain it had been to create the most unlimited competition amongst our own ship-owners by not intermeddling with their concerns and not embarrassing them with any vexatious regulations; that every other nation might obtain an equality with us by adopting the same means; that France had over us the advantage of greater capital, cheaper vessels, and lower wages; and that it was in their power at any time to navigate as cheap as ourselves, so far at least as respected the navigation between the United States and France, since all that was requisite for that purpose was more economy, attention, and activity on the part of the ship-owners (armateurs), and a repeal of all those regulations which restrained them in the choice of their captains and seamen and in the manner of equipping their vessels.

It was uniformly answered that in point of fact we did navigate cheaper than the French; that it was the general opinion of those concerned in the trade that a compliance with our proposal would be tantamount to a total exclusion of the French vessels from the carrying trade between the two countries; and that they Edition: current; Page: [164] considered it a matter of right that both nations should equally participate in the freight of any commerce which might exist between them.

An allusion was made in the course of the conference to the claim of the French to be treated without any equivalent at New Orleans, in the same manner as the British now are. I did not know of this difficulty till it was occasionally mentioned in conversation by Mr. Pasquier. The pretension appears to me altogether untenable; but I would have wished to know what answer has been given at Washington to the reclamations of the French minister, and what are the President’s intentions on that subject.

I must not omit to state that it had been first intended to extend the premium of ten francs per 100 kilogrammes to cotton imported directly from the United States. This was altered not from any hostile spirit, but on my observing that that premium, so long as it should continue, would make the inequality in the respective discriminating duties still greater, and thereby increase the difficulties of an amicable arrangement.

I have the honor, &c.
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
2d August, 1820
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 156.

Sir,

I have the honor to enclose a letter I received yesterday from Mr. Pasquier.

You will perceive that to our proposal of a mutual repeal of all the discriminating duties, he offers to substitute a reduction of duties so modified as to give an equal chance to both nations to participate in the carrying trade. He means by this that those circumstances which enable us to navigate on cheaper terms than the French should be taken in consideration, and that we should consent to leave such difference in the discriminating duties in favor of France as would compensate those advantages and enable the French vessels to preserve one-half of the carrying trade.

Edition: current; Page: [165]

I will take time to consider the subject before I answer Mr. Pasquier. There is much intrinsic difficulty both in fixing a proper rate of duties and in making an agreement founded on that basis which should preserve the appearance of reciprocity. There is great inconvenience in departing from the basis adopted in our treaties and arrangements with other nations. I am without instructions on that particular point. On the other hand, I feel the importance of arranging amicably this affair with France, and the difficulties her government has to encounter from their shipping interest. I think that, at all events, if an arrangement is made on the basis proposed, it must be for a very short period, or made revocable at the will of either party on giving due notice to the other. Perhaps it will be better to refer the whole subject to you, with a view to a negotiation at Washington. Mr. Pasquier has avoided making any specific proposal, and I will not decide until I have at least tried to ascertain whether he intends to offer such reduction as it may be worth while to consider.

I wait your instructions on the subject of the surrender of deserters. I have never received any information from your Department on the difficulties connected with the 8th Article of the Louisiana convention.

I have the honor, &c.
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
August 7, 1820
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 158.

Sir,

I had the honor to receive your despatch No. 19, enclosing a copy of General Vives’s letter of 11th May last to you, in which he denies having told me or Baron Pasquier that he could, in case of an arrangement, consent that the United States should take immediate possession of Florida without waiting for the ratification of the treaty.

The same information having reached me through the medium of the American newspapers several days prior to the receipt of Edition: current; Page: [166] your despatch, I had an immediate communication with Mr. Pasquier, and gave him a copy of my letter to you of the 15th of February. After having read it, he told me that I had been mistaken on one point, as his information on the subject in question was derived not from General Vives, but from the Duke of Fernan-Nunez, then Spanish ambassador at this Court; a circumstance which, had I at the time been aware of it, would have corroborated instead of lessening my impression of the intentions of the Spanish government.

Whatever fell from Mr. Vives was in answer to the doubts I expressed respecting the success of his mission if he was not the bearer of the King’s ratification of the treaty. The conversation took place after dinner, in a room crowded with company, and was held in the French language, which General Vives speaks intelligibly, but not as correctly as a native of France. I may have misunderstood him; it is impossible that I should have misrepresented what I understood him to say; I repeated it before I left the room to Mr. Pasquier, and my letter to you was written two days after, and forwarded by my direction in the same vessel which carried General Vives to America.

There is no other fact within my knowledge bearing on the subject, unless it be a letter of the 11th of May last from Mr. Forsyth to me. I had previously communicated to him, as coming from General Vives, that he was authorized to consent that the United States should take immediate possession of Florida. Mr. Forsyth in his letter says that the government of Spain expected and would not complain of the occupation of the territory.

It having been thought proper to publish my letter of the 15th of February last, I leave it entirely with the President what course it will be proper to pursue with respect to this. I only request that, in case it should be either communicated to General Vives or published, the name of the Duke of Fernan-Nuñez may not be used unless absolutely necessary. I am not afraid of being suspected to have made a voluntary misrepresentation in any respect; and I would be very sorry that if that gentleman, whom the revolution of Spain has placed in a delicate Edition: current; Page: [167] situation, has committed any mistake or indiscretion, he should be injured by anything coming from me.

I have the honor, &c.
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
30th August, 1820
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 160.

Sir,

I have the honor to enclose the copy of my answer to Mr. Pasquier’s letter of the 31st of July. I have since seen him occasionally: he said that he had read my letter, and expressed a wish that we might arrange the difficulties; but he has not yet invited me to confer on the subject. It is true that the military plot lately discovered has engrossed almost exclusively the attention of this government. I understand that if we cannot agree here, it is intended to send back Mr. Hyde de Neuville to the United States, with powers to treat at Washington. This gentleman does not, I believe, wish to return unless that object should render it necessary.

I have the honor, &c.
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
22d September, 1820
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 162.

Sir,

I had the honor in my despatch of the 19th instant to state the reasons which would have induced me to agree to a reduction instead of a total abrogation of discriminating duties. It was not without much hesitation that, knowing precisely the President’s intentions in that respect, I had come to that determination. It is perhaps better that the question whether it is proper to depart in favor of France from the principle we have tried to establish in our commercial relations with all other nations, should be decided at Washington. But if decided in the affirmative, what is the maximum of duties to which the Edition: current; Page: [168] United States may agree without danger? The first principle on which I would have insisted was that of a perfect nominal reciprocity; that is to say, that the discriminating duty, whether laid on the bulk or on the value of the articles, should be the same in the United States and in France. Although the great difference in the bulk of our exports and imports makes that reciprocity but nominal, it seems important not to depart from the principle, for the sake at least of preserving appearances both with France and with other countries. As freight is the object, the quantity of each article which a vessel can carry per ton is the true basis to which we ought to resort. But as the rates of duty, if laid on the weight or capacity, must vary according to the bulk of each article, and there might be great difficulties in agreeing to so many distinct rates, I had thought that an uniform duty on the value of the article would be more easily attainable, and would in practice be sufficiently correct.

Upland cotton being the chief article of our exports to France, I had taken it as the basis of the calculation. From the best information I could collect, I thought that our ship-owners might at this time stand the competition of the French, even if these had a premium not exceeding one-third of a cent per pound. But on this, which is a question of fact, you may apply to the persons concerned in that trade, and who can alone say to what extent they are willing to allow that premium to French vessels rather than that the present state of things should continue.

Taking, then, 22 cents as the maximum of the price of upland cotton, I had concluded to accede to an uniform duty of one and a half per cent. on the value of all articles at the place where laden as the maximum of the discriminating duty to be laid by France on American produce imported in American vessels, and by the United States on French products imported in French vessels.

You may easily make the calculations necessary to show what this duty would amount to on the principal articles of our exports to France, taking it as a basis, which I believe to be tolerably correct, that our vessels carry on an average per ton 380 kilogrammes of cotton, 800 kilogrammes of tobacco, and 1000 kilogrammes of rice or potash. I think also, from the best Edition: current; Page: [169] data in my possession, and which may be rectified at home, that our annual exports to France in those four articles, reduced to American weight, amount to about,

24,000,000 pounds of cotton, of which not more than 6 or 700,000 pounds consist of sea island (long staple).

8,000,000 pounds tobacco, chiefly first quality, part of which is, on account of the system adopted by the régie in their purchases, imported from England.

8,000,000 pounds of rice.

4,000,000 pounds potash and pearlash.

Compared with the heavy discriminating duties heretofore laid by France, the reduction would indeed be very great, since, rating the upland cotton at 20 cents per pound, the duty would be only 3 francs 5 centimes per 100 kilogrammes, instead of 16 francs 50 centimes, the present duty.

But the premium would still be, by my calculation, on an average of all our exports, about 2 dollars and 30 cents, or 12 francs 35 centimes, per ton, which is about 16½ per cent. on the ordinary price of freight, estimated at 14 dollars, or 75 francs, per ton. I am perfectly satisfied that this is amply sufficient to compensate any superiority which our navigation may still have over that of the French, and that with economy and the removal of some restraints laid by their own government, they may within a twelvemonth navigate between the two countries on as cheap terms as ourselves. I would have thought it, therefore, indispensable to introduce a clause leaving it optional with either government to annul the agreement on giving due notice to the other party.

The substitution of an uniform duty of 1½ per cent. on the value to our present discriminating duties would have made no important difference on goods which now pay duties ad valorem, but, rating wines imported from France in casks at 250/100 francs and brandy at 280/100 francs per gallon, it would reduce our discriminating duty on wines to one-half and that on brandy to one-sixth part of what it is now. France could not, therefore, object that the proposal was not reciprocal, and that result would, I am confident, have been acceptable to the commercial interest of Bordeaux and other southern ports.

Edition: current; Page: [170]

Whether considerations of a different nature should induce still greater concessions to France, it is for the President to decide; but I beg leave to submit an observation to your consideration. I believe that I know enough of this government to assure you that it would be extremely difficult to make them agree to a proposition which had been once explicitly rejected by their minister. If, therefore, you perceive that Mr. de Neuville’s proposals or views are such as to forbid an expectation that you can at the moment conclude a satisfactory arrangement with him, I would think it important that your proposals to him, and which he would of course reject, should fall short of your real ultimatum, reserving this for a more favorable opportunity, which will very probably occur as soon as this government is satisfied that you will not accede to their first demands. But even then their pride or vanity must be saved, and something different from what they shall have rejected be offered to them.

From what has been hinted to me, I suspect that it is intended, in case you should not agree to the demands of this government, to propose to you a provisional, or rather a preparatory, arrangement; that is to say, to reinstate things, with perhaps an insufficient modification of duties, to the situation in which they were prior to the Act of Congress of the 15th of May last, under an expectation that a more satisfactory arrangement will afterwards be made. There may be reasons to assent to this, rather than the commercial relations of the two countries should continue in their present state; but I think that you may with certainty calculate that, in that case, you will obtain nothing more than will have been thus agreed on, and that the expectation held out of something more satisfactory being afterwards assented to by France will not be fulfilled.

If you cannot make any satisfactory arrangement, it will be necessary to inquire through what channels the commerce between the two countries will be carried on. There can be but three,—foreign vessels, foreign places of deposit, and direct intercourse in spite of the heavy duties on both sides.

In the present state of things, there is no doubt that the importation of our produce into France will almost exclusively be Edition: current; Page: [171] made by British or other foreign vessels. They pay 38½ francs per 100 kilogrammes of cotton. The same article, if imported into France from Great Britain or other foreign European ports in French vessels, will pay 33 francs. That difference is not sufficient to compensate for the expenses of a double freight (from America to England, and from England to France) and those incurred at the European port where the cargoes must be unladen and reladen. It must be added that I am well assured that the French ship-owners are taking measures for obtaining foreign papers for their vessels. I should not be at all astonished that this government should wink at this, and permit such vessels still to enter their ports as French; in which case our laws would be evaded and the trade be carried on exclusively by the French. I think it therefore indispensable, if we mean to persevere in the present plan, to prohibit altogether the exportation of our produce to France in any other than American or French vessels. There is nothing in any of our treaties to prevent this being done. With proper explanations, no nation could take offence at it; and, although it would disappoint some ship-owners here, I may venture to say that the measure would be popular even in France.

We might also with great facility prohibit the exportation of our cotton to Florida and to any of the West India islands; and this would be very advantageous if it should not provoke France to prohibit its importation from any European port. Whether, considering on one hand the expenses to be incurred in a double freight from the United States to the West Indies, and thence to Europe, as well as the expenses in a colonial port, and on the other hand the difference of 22 francs per 100 kilogrammes (resulting from the French duty and premium) in favor of this mode of importation, our ship-owners can stand the competition and send their produce here by way of England or other European places of deposit, I cannot positively say; and I think the most intelligent of our merchants should be consulted on this point. In favor of the prohibition it may be said that, if Congress does not adopt that measure during the next session, this government may nevertheless prohibit the importation from European ports if they find that the competition through that Edition: current; Page: [172] channel is fatal to the plan of American places of deposit. But I still think this a doubtful question.

Should the importation be prohibited, as well through foreign ports both in Europe and America as by foreign vessels, the commerce may still be carried on by a direct intercourse. But in that case it would, under the existing rates of tonnage and other duties, exclusively fall in the hands of the French; since their vessels (exclusively of our discriminating duty on their inward cargoes) would pay in our ports only 18 dollars per ton, and ours would pay in French ports the new tonnage duty of 99 francs, and about 65 francs per ton on account of the old discriminating duty on their cargo, making about 30½ dollars per ton. It would in that case again be necessary to lay a new duty of 12 dollars per ton in order to restore equality; and this government would probably by an ordinance again re-establish an inequality in their favor. I therefore think that if no arrangement is made, it will be necessary that the President should be vested with some discretionary power in that respect.

But we never will be placed in an eligible situation towards other nations, and in one that may enable us to treat upon an equal footing, until an amendment shall have been obtained to the Constitution which will permit Congress to lay an export duty on articles exported in foreign vessels. Then, a general law laying on such exports a duty always precisely equal to that which is laid in the foreign country on similar articles when imported in American vessels beyond what is levied on the same articles when imported in vessels of that country, will relieve us from every difficulty of the nature we now experience.

I have fairly stated those which we have to encounter in case you should fail in making an arrangement, and they have certainly much weight. It must, however, be recollected that the inconvenience is at least as great on the part of France, that the shipping heretofore employed in our trade lies now idle, and that, whatever they may say, they do want at least our cotton and tobacco far more than we do any of their manufactures or products. On tobacco there can be no doubt; and you may rely upon it that there is no substitute for our cotton without their manufactures being materially injured. That of Brazil is too Edition: current; Page: [173] dear, and that of the East Indies too inferior; besides which, they do not understand how to clean this without great loss, and it cannot be imported with any benefit except when ours exceeds that of 20 cents per pound.

I have the honor, &c.
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
19th October, 1820
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 163.

Sir,

* * * * * * * * *

Mr. Hyde de Neuville has been appointed ambassador to Brazil, but, in conformity with the official communication made to me, goes in the first place to the United States, for the purpose of concluding, if practicable, an arrangement with you on all the commercial difficulties existing between the two countries. Although that gentleman’s opinions with respect to the construction of the Louisiana Treaty and to the subject of discriminating duties essentially differ from ours, I believe that he continues to have the same friendly dispositions towards the United States which he has always evinced.

From conversations with him and with the Duke of Richelieu, I am induced to believe that this government refused to separate in the negotiation the question relative to the Louisiana Treaty from that of discriminating duties, less with a view to insist on their construction of the treaty than from the hope that the United States would make concessions in some other respect, in order to obtain from France a relinquishment of her pretensions under the article in question.

Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
23d October, 1820
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 164.

Sir,

I had the honor on the 20th instant to receive your despatch No. 24, and addressed on the 22d to Mr. Pasquier Edition: current; Page: [174] the letter of which a copy is enclosed. Its object, Mr. Hyde de Neuville not having then yet left Paris, was to induce this government to give him rational instructions. I had the same evening a short conversation with Mr. Pasquier, in which he used conciliatory language, but said that it appeared absolutely necessary to have some explanation on the 8th Article of the Louisiana Treaty, and drew a distinction between our old discriminating and our new tonnage duty with reference to the privileges granted to France by that article. I have thought, upon reflection, that there might have been some foundation for that distinction, so far at least as our new tonnage duty exceeded that which it was intended to countervail. But the objection was not at all made on the receipt of the Act of Congress: it was thought more eligible to retaliate than to discuss; and France, after having laid her one hundred francs duty, has at least no right to complain.

Mr. de Neuville called on me since the receipt of your despatch. Nothing very interesting occurred in the course of the conversation. I discovered, however, that when he had spoken of the privileges granted to France by the Louisiana Treaty as being inconsistent with the Constitution of the United States, he alluded to an argument which you had used. I cannot help thinking that there has been in that respect some misconception on his part. It is very clear that the United States could not make, now that Louisiana is a State, a treaty containing conditions similar to those in question; but I do not perceive that the Constitution prevented them from acquiring on those terms Louisiana when a foreign colony, still less that they could, without a compensation, be relieved from any obligation on the ground that the Constitution did not permit its performance. In your despatch to me, you consider as contrary to our Constitution those privileges only, claimed by France, which are founded on an inadmissible construction of the treaty. And the only argument which it seems to me can be drawn from the Constitution is that the article must remain as it is, and that the government of the United States cannot, even if so disposed, give to it a more extensive construction in favor of France than its literal and natural sense will admit.

Edition: current; Page: [175]

I now beg leave to submit to your consideration an observation on the ground which you seem disposed to take, that France cannot claim the benefit of the article in her favor in the Louisiana Treaty because her present government has declared that it could not be responsible for the outrages of its immediate predecessors. There would be some danger, if we acquiesced in that doctrine, that France might then say that the whole treaty was at an end, and the cession of Louisiana a nullity. I would rather argue from their claiming the benefit of the 8th Article of the treaty, that they did consider themselves responsible for the acts of Bonaparte. But, in point of fact, this government has never declared that they were not thus responsible. It was indeed once, and but once, verbally suggested by the Duke of Richelieu in a conversation, which he has most probably forgotten. But they have not by any written act or in any official manner assumed a ground which they dare not maintain in the face of France. Even Baron Louis, in his extraordinary letter to Mr. Parish, founded his refusal not on a presumed irresponsibility, but on the ground that the order of Bonaparte to transfer the money from the caisse d’amortissement to the treasury was tantamount to a condemnation. I will add that, after raising a thousand difficulties, and very unjustly curtailing the amount, the Minister of the Marine has lately paid to the owner a large sum for the value of the American ship Ocean and cargo. This vessel, captured on her way from Canton to Philadelphia by a French frigate, was carried to the Isle of France and there condemned on some frivolous pretence. The ship and cargo were sold, and the proceeds put in the public chest of the island. The case was so gross that upon an appeal the council of prizes pronounced an acquittal in 1813. From this decision the Minister of the Marine, subsequent to the restoration, appealed to the council of state, which, in 1818, confirmed the sentence of the council of prizes. And the money has been accordingly paid, although it had been either expended by the public authorities in the island, or, [as] is asserted, had fallen in the hands of the British at the time of its capture. I think this to be a case in point, and which may be usefully quoted hereafter, to prove that this government does think Edition: current; Page: [176] itself responsible for illegal acts committed under the reign of Bonaparte.

Mr. Hyde de Neuville was to leave Paris yesterday. It is intended that he should embark at Rochefort for the United States within the ten first days of November.

I have the honor, &c.
Jefferson
Jefferson
December 26, 1820
Monticello
Gallatin
Gallatin

JEFFERSON TO GALLATIN.

Dear Sir,

“It is said to be an ill wind which blows favorably to no one.” My health has long suspended the too frequent troubles I, have heretofore given you with my European correspondence. To this is added a stiffening wrist,—the effect of age on an ancient dislocation,—which renders writing slow and painful, and disables me nearly from all correspondence, and may very possibly make this the last trouble I shall give you in that way.

Looking from our quarter of the world over the horizon of yours, we imagine we see storms gathering which may again desolate the face of that country. So many revolutions going on in different countries at the same time, such combinations of tyranny and military preparations and movements to suppress them, England and France unsafe from internal conflict, Germany on the first favorable occasion ripe for insurrection,—such a state of things, we suppose, must end in war, which needs a kindling spark in one spot only to spread over the whole. Your information can correct these views, which are stated only to inform you of impressions here.

At home things are not well. The flood of paper money, as you well know, had produced an exaggeration of nominal prices, and at the same time a facility of obtaining money, which not only encouraged speculations on fictitious capital, but seduced those of real capital, even in private life, to contract debts too freely. Had things continued in the same course, these might have been manageable; but the operations of the United States Edition: current; Page: [177] Bank for the demolition of the State banks obliged these suddenly to call in more than half their paper, crushed all fictitious and doubtful capital, and reduced the prices of property and produce suddenly to one-third of what they had been. Wheat, for example, at the distance of two or three days from market, fell to, and continues at, from one-third to half a dollar. Should it be stationary at this for a while, a very general revolution of property must take place. Something of the same character has taken place in our fiscal system. A little while back, Congress seemed at a loss for objects whereon to squander the supposed fathomless funds of our Treasury. This short frenzy has been arrested by a deficit of 5 millions the last year and of 7 millions this year. A loan was adopted for the former and is proposed for the latter, which threatens to saddle us with a perpetual debt. I hope a tax will be preferred, because it will awaken the attention of the people and make reformation and economy the principles of the next election. The frequent recurrence of this chastening operation can alone restrain the propensity of governments to enlarge expense beyond income. The steady tenor of the courts of the United States to break down the constitutional barriers between the co-ordinate powers of the States and of the Union, and a formal opinion lately given by five lawyers of too much eminence to be neglected, give uneasiness. But nothing has ever presented so threatening an aspect as what is called the Missouri question. The Federalists, completely put down and despairing of ever rising again under the old division of Whig and Tory, devised a new one of slave-holding and non-slave-holding States, which, while it had a semblance of being moral, was at the same time geographical, and calculated to give them ascendency by debauching their old opponents to a coalition with them. Moral the question certainly is not, because the removal of slaves from one State to another, no more than their removal from one county to another, would never make a slave of one human being who would not be so without it. Indeed, if there were any morality in the question it is on the other side; because by spreading them over a larger surface their happiness would be increased, and the burden of their future liberation lightened by bringing a greater number of shoulders under it. Edition: current; Page: [178] However, it served to throw dust into the eyes of the people and to fanaticize them, while to the knowing ones it gave a geographical and preponderant line of the Potomac and Ohio, throwing fourteen States to the North and East, and ten to the South and West. With these, therefore, it is merely a question of power; but with this geographical minority it is a question of existence. For if Congress once goes out of the Constitution to arrogate a right of regulating the condition of the inhabitants of the States, its majority may, and probably will, next declare that the condition of all men within the United States shall be that of freedom; in which case all the whites south of the Potomac and Ohio must evacuate their States, and most fortunate those who can do it first. And so far this crisis seems to be advancing. The Missouri constitution is recently rejected by the House of Representatives; what will be their next step is yet to be seen. If accepted on the condition that Missouri shall expunge from it the prohibition of free people of color from emigration to their State, it will be expunged, and all will be quieted until the advance of some new State shall present the question again. If rejected unconditionally, Missouri assumes independent self-government, and Congress, after pouting awhile, must receive them on the footing of the original States. Should the Representatives propose force, 1, the Senate will not concur; 2, were they to concur, there would be a secession of the members south of the line, and probably of the three Northwestern States, who, however inclined to the other side, would scarcely separate from those who would hold the Mississippi from its mouth to its source. What next? Conjecture itself is at a loss. But whatever it shall be you will hear from others and from the newspapers; and finally the whole will depend on Pennsylvania. While she and Virginia hold together, the Atlantic States can never separate. Unfortunately, in the present case she has become more fanaticized than any other State. However useful where you are, I wish you were with them. You might turn the scale there, which would turn it for the whole. Should this scission take place, one of its most deplorable consequences would be its discouragement of the efforts of the European nations in the regeneration of their oppressive and cannibal Edition: current; Page: [179] governments. Amidst this prospect of evil I am glad to see one good effect. It has brought the necessity of some plan of general emancipation and deportation more home to the minds of our people than it has ever been before, insomuch that our governor has ventured to propose one to the Legislature. This will probably not be acted on at this time, nor would it be effectual; for, while it proposes to devote to that object one-third of the revenue of the State, it would not reach one-tenth of the annual increase. My proposition would be that the holders should give up all born after a certain day, past, present, or to come; that these should be placed under the guardianship of the State, and sent at a proper age to St. Domingo. There they are willing to receive them, and the shortness of the passage brings the deportation within the possible means of taxation, aided by charitable contributions. In these I think Europe, which has forced this evil on us, and the Eastern States, who have been its chief instruments of importation, would be bound to give largely. But the proceeds of the land office, if appropriated to this, would be quite sufficient. God bless you, and preserve you multos años.

Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
29th March, 1821
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 174.

Sir,

I had the honor to receive your despatches No. 29, 30, and 31. Nothing has occurred in relation to our affairs since my last letter. Indeed, this government has been too much occupied with the events passing in Europe to attend to objects of less importance. In a conversation with one of the Ministers, whom I have reason to believe to be desirous that an arrangement should take place, he suggested a prolongation for a limited time of the privileges which had by the Louisiana Treaty been secured during twelve years to the French commerce in that quarter, as a substitute to the provision which allows permanent advantages to it, and as a mode of conciliating the difference of opinion of the two governments on that subject. Another Edition: current; Page: [180] person, of great respectability, and very friendly to the United States, alluded to the necessity of some concession on our part which might enable this government to come to an arrangement without abandoning altogether the ground they had taken.

An increasing demand from other quarters for the Lyons manufactures, and the fall in the price of cotton, have for the present lessened the effect which the suspension of commercial intercourse with the United States would otherwise have produced on the manufacturing interest of this country. No observation has been made to me with respect to the French vessel seized in the waters of St. Mary’s. The papers you have sent me on the subject have all been received. It seems to me that the only doubtful point is whether France has a right to complain of a violation of the Spanish territory.

I have the honor, &c.
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
18th May, 1821
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 177.

Sir,

I had the honor to receive your despatch No. 34, of the 2d of April last.

The steps taken by this government, and the conversations I had with Mr. Pasquier and with Mr. Hyde de Neuville, had not encouraged very sanguine hopes that this minister’s powers and instructions were such as to enable you to conclude an arrangement with him on reasonable terms. The delay in his departure, the accident which detained him, and the season of the year when he finally sailed, precluded any rational expectation of an early termination of the negotiations at Washington. I was, therefore, from the beginning of the winter led to apprehend that they might be transferred again to this place, and yet that the result would not be ascertained till late in the spring. Although the prospect of an arrangement being made here was not flattering, I could not help thinking that this government had received some erroneous impressions respecting the opinions prevailing at Washington and the effect which Mr. Hyde’s mission Edition: current; Page: [181] would produce, and that its result might induce them to take a more correct view of the subject. I thought it, upon the whole, my duty to wait, and, the lease of my house expiring on the 1st of May without having heard from you, I concluded to make arrangements for remaining in France another year. From motives of economy, I have taken for the summer a country-seat three leagues from Paris, at which place I have left Mr. Sheldon and the office. I will return there to spend the winter, and intend to sail for the United States early next spring. I am happy to find that this coincides with the views of the President, and beg leave to request you to present my acknowledgments to him for his kind attention: for a passage late in the year with my family would have been impracticable.

I have the honor, &c.
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
20th May, 1821
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 178.

Sir,

I had the honor to receive your letter No. 33, of 31st March last.

The ship that had taken Mr. Hyde de Neuville to the United States had returned a few days before, and had brought some despatches from him, and the Act of Congress of the 3d of March. Although Mr. Pasquier seemed pleased with both, and it appears that this government had authorized the promise of a reciprocal restoration of duties on vessels which had entered French ports without notice of the new tonnage duty, he did not attend to it; and, although ignorant of that fact, I found it necessary, after waiting a few days, to remind him that such a measure was naturally expected, and that it would have a much better effect if spontaneous on the part of the French government than if it appeared as the result of an official application on my part. He seemed at first to think that it was unnecessary to issue any ordinance for that purpose, and that the first had provided for the case. On my insisting, he promised to attend to it, and the ordinance of the 23d of April (contained in the Edition: current; Page: [182] Moniteur of the 27th) was accordingly issued, and communicated to me in the letter of which a copy is enclosed. Those circumstances are mentioned only to show that our affairs do not engross much of the attention of this government.

There is not much appearance of an accommodating disposition in Mr. Hyde’s letters enclosed in your despatch; but it would be premature to draw any positive inference. In your letter to him you mention my having been instructed to give to this government explanations respecting the seizure of the Apollon; but I had understood, as you may have inferred from my despatches Nos. 172 and 174, that these explanations were to be given only in case the subject should be mentioned to me. I think that, if it can be avoided, it will be best not to agitate it here; but, if that should become necessary, I would wish to understand fully the grounds of the decision of the District Court. . . .

Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
21st May, 1821
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 179.

Sir,

I had the honor to receive your despatch No. 32, of 31st March last.

The Antwerp claims having again been laid before the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and all the arguments which could be urged in the present stage of the business having been exhausted in my letters to him and to his predecessors, the Duke of Richelieu and Marquis Dessolle, the only question which can now arise relates to the propriety of urging a decision. I will confer with Mr. Gracie on that point, and keep also in view the effect any steps taken with respect to these may have on the other claims of our fellow-citizens. I have already mentioned that Mr. de Neuville had alluded to the propriety of settling these questions at the same time with those relating to the Louisiana Treaty and the commercial relations of the two countries. I might have added that he had shown much more favorable dispositions with regard to the indemnities due to us than on any Edition: current; Page: [183] of the other subjects of discussion between the two governments. Another circumstance deserves, perhaps, to be mentioned. All the Antwerp claims arise from the seizure of vessels consigned either to the house of Mr. Parish or to that of Mr. Ridgeway. Mr. Mertens, of Bruxelles, formerly a partner of the last house, who has the management of the claims connected with it, and is a very respectable man, was here in December last, and consulted me on the propriety of accepting an offer made to him by some Frenchmen for the purchase of the claims. I declined giving any opinion on a question of that nature, as I could neither countenance a speculation which might prove injurious to our countrymen, nor give any assurance that there was a prospect of obtaining full compensation from France. He then told me that he would write to the claimants in America. He can hardly have yet received any answer, and I do not believe that he will act without making further inquiries from me. But it is not probable that the men in question, whom I understood to be in some shape or another connected with persons employed in the bureau, and who had offered to Mr. Mertens one-half of the principal claimed, would have done it had they not strong grounds to believe that the claims would, at least when owned by them, be ultimately admitted by government. As there is an appearance of corruption in all this, I must add that, if it does exist, I believe that it is only in some of the bureaux, which, unfortunately, have a much greater influence in important decisions than the simple form of our administration would lead us to suppose.

I have the honor, &c.
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
23d June, 1821
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 181.

Sir,

I had the honor to receive your despatches Nos. 35, 36, and 37. I had been strengthened in my own opinion that it was best not to agitate here the question of the Apollon, unless it was first mentioned by this government, by the expressions Edition: current; Page: [184] used in your despatch No. 28, that the documents transmitted on that subject should be used in quieting any uneasiness which the French government might manifest at that seizure. But, the correspondence with Mr. de Neuville enclosed in your despatch No. 37 showing that the discussion on that point was abandoned with the understanding that the necessary explanations had been given here to this government, I found it necessary to take some steps in that respect, although the copies of your answers, which were already in their possession, had nearly exhausted the question. I accordingly addressed the enclosed note to Mr. Pasquier, leaving it in his power by its tenor silently to drop the subject if he thought proper. He, however, answered on the 21st, inviting me to an interview on any day I thought proper. I waited on him yesterday, when he said that he was of opinion that of all questions there was none which could with more propriety be discussed at Washington than that of a seizure made in the United States; that the seizure was an evident violation of international rights, and that, the case being already decided by the decree of our own court, declaring the seizure to have been illegal, nothing remained for discussion but the reparation to be made for the offence. I replied that, since he was not satisfied with the explanations already received, it was my duty to address him on the subject, as I was in hopes that he would find that he had been presented with an incorrect view of the subject; that his allusion to the decree of the court was a proof of his not being sufficiently informed, as, although I had not seen it, I could assert that it had not at all decided the question of the legality of the seizure; that the only motive with my government to prefer that the subject should be explained here rather than be discussed at Washington was to remove any incidental matter which might embarrass the negotiation; and that I would transmit my observations to him in writing, after which he would decide on the course which he might think proper to pursue. We entered, however, insensibly in the discussion, in the course of which I did not perceive that I had produced much impression otherwise than what might be inferred from his being obliged to resort on two occasions to distinctions more subtle than solid, and from his language being Edition: current; Page: [185] less harsh and positive at the end than at the beginning of our conversation. I have promised to send him my note in the commencement of next week, and I understood that he would not till after its receipt write to Mr. de Neuville on the subject.

On my inquiring whether that gentleman was to proceed immediately to Brazil, or to remain in the United States till the negotiation was terminated, Mr. Pasquier answered that he had already written to Mr. de Neuville to suspend his departure till further orders, and until the situation of Brazil and Portugal and the place where the King would reside were better ascertained, and that it was of course expected that he, Mr. de Neuville, would remain in the United States till the negotiation was terminated.

On my alluding to its present situation, and his saying that it was less advanced than he had expected, I observed that I was apprehensive that the course pursued was not calculated to bring it speedily to an end. Not only had Mr. de Neuville departed from reciprocity by proposing a reduction of one-half of our discriminating duties and of only one-third of those of France, whilst it was notorious that it was the exaggerated rate of these which had occasioned the present difficulties, but he had also blended with the question of navigation, which it was the object of the negotiation to settle, matter foreign to it, asking a gratuitous reduction of duties on French wine, and also an increase of duties on China silk; a change in our tariff which perhaps it might hereafter be our interest to make by law, but which it could not certainly be expected that we would by treaty bind ourselves to make without an equivalent. Our government had accordingly asked as a compensation that we should be released from the obligation to sell tobacco exclusively to the régie; a demand which, however reasonable, I well knew that France could not accede to without changing the whole of her fiscal system with respect to the fabrication and sale of manufactured tobacco, of which the régie, or, in other words, government, had now the monopoly; for it must be clearly understood that what was asked on our part was not the permission to sell to individuals for exportation, which we had already by the means of the entrepôot, but that of selling for Edition: current; Page: [186] the home consumption of France to other persons than to the régie. It appeared, therefore, that these extraneous subjects, which there was more intrinsic difficulty to arrange than that of the navigation itself, should be withdrawn from the discussion. I added that although the United States could not accept the abstract and undetermined basis proposed by France, yet they had done what was in fact tantamount to it, by so far receding from their first demand of a total abrogation of the discriminating duties as to express their readiness to receive specific propositions for their reduction, and that the best mode to ascertain whether an arrangement was practicable was to meet them simply on that ground. Mr. Pasquier did not otherwise answer these observations than by saying that any arrangement reducing the discriminating duties would give a decided advantage to our navigation, and he repeated the assertion, drawn from the returns of the custom-houses for the years 1819 and 1820, that we had preserved the superiority to the last moment till the extraordinary tonnage duties had taken place. The obvious answer, already repeatedly made, was again repeated, and I added that since the negotiation had been transferred to Washington, it was not at all my intention to discuss any litigated point, and that he must consider the observations I had taken the liberty to make as extra-official, and brought forth only by my sincere desire to promote an amicable settlement of our commercial difficulties.

I have the honor, &c.
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
28th June, 1821
Paris
Baron Pasquier
Pasquier, Baron

GALLATIN TO BARON PASQUIER.

Sir,

Although your Excellency is already possessed of the principal facts relative to the seizure of the French ship Apollon, Captain Edou, I beg leave, in conformity with the intentions of my government, to recapitulate the grounds on which that seizure was made.

Edition: current; Page: [187]

As the right of a government to seize a vessel within its own jurisdiction for an actual or presumed violation of the laws, and to bring her to a trial before the competent tribunal, cannot be denied, my observations will be confined to that circumstance on which the remonstrances and complaints preferred by the diplomatic agents of France appear to have been founded, namely, the seizure of the vessel whilst in Florida, and, as it is alleged, without the jurisdiction of the United States.

The obvious answer is that the United States had, as is well known, taken possession of Amelia Island, in Florida, more than two years before the incident in question, and that they had at the same time extended their jurisdiction over the whole of St. Mary’s harbor, including the place where the Apollon was seized.

Strictly speaking, the last point is the only one which can be subject to discussion. For the motives which induced the United States to occupy Amelia Island and the adjacent waters, and for the manner in which the occupation was effected, they are accountable only to Spain. A third nation, unless she should think proper to become a party in the question, considers only the fact of actual possession, and her vessels and subjects must submit to the jurisdiction of the occupant so long as the possession is maintained.

It has indeed been suggested that there were but two modes of obtaining possession of a foreign territory which could be recognized by other nations, that is to say, cession by virtue of a treaty, and conquest in time of war. This assertion does not appear tenable. A third nation has no more concern with the manner in which the possession is taken than with the motives of the act. There may be cases which would justify a remonstrance, but in the mean while the possession and incident jurisdiction must be and are always respected. Without recurring to more remote instances, although some could be found in the annals of France, particularly under the reign of Louis the Fourteenth, it is sufficient to mention that of Montevideo. That seaport and the adjacent territory were taken possession of by Portugal whilst at peace with Spain, and if not from the same motives, at least in the same manner as Amelia Island Edition: current; Page: [188] and the Spanish port of the adjacent harbor were occupied by the United States. It does not belong to me either to justify or to impugn that act. But the fear it might disturb the general peace drew the attention of the principal European powers towards it; and although their interposition was unavailing and the possession is still maintained, the temporary jurisdiction of Portugal over the occupied territory has not been disputed, and is still respected.

There is not, however, when offering amicable explanations to a government whose friendship and opinion are highly valued by the United States, any hesitation to communicate the causes which led to the occupation of a part of Florida. This act was the unavoidable consequence of the inability of Spain to fulfil those duties which, as possessing a territory adjacent to the United States, she was by the law of nations and by express treaty stipulations bound to perform.

During the late war between the United States and Great Britain, Spain permitted or could not prevent a British force from landing at Pensacola itself, the principal port of Florida, although its entrance was defended by forts and batteries, and from invading thence the territory of the United States. At two different times during that war and subsequent to its termination, though expressly bound by treaty to do it, even by force, she did not or could not restrain the Indian tribes inhabiting Florida from violating twice the peace with the United States and from carrying twice a savage war against their frontiers. Although the ports of Florida were under the colonial system generally shut up against foreign vessels, she permitted the harbor of St. Mary’s and Amelia Island to become the resort of all those who frequented it for the sole purpose of violating the laws of the United States during the period (1808 to 1812) in which they were endeavoring by the pacific measures of embargo, non-importation, and non-intercourse to obtain a revocation of the unlawful decrees of the belligerent powers and to avert the necessity of a recourse to war. Finally, she could not prevent a band of adventurers, led by McGregor and acting under color of the pretended commission of a government which did not exist, from occupying that same Amelia Island with the intention Edition: current; Page: [189] to make a harbor, one-half of which did belong to the United States, an asylum for smugglers, slave-traders, and sea-robbers.

It was then that the government of the Union, after having expelled the intruders, determined to keep possession of that portion of territory, for the immediate purpose of preventing similar outrages, and with the intention to continue the occupation until they had obtained reparation for the injuries sustained and security against their recurrence. The moderation of the United States in not resorting to more efficient measures and in not extending the occupation beyond what was absolutely necessary for their protection, their forbearance under the vexatious delays which attended the ratification of the treaty for the cession of the whole province which had been soon after concluded, are well known to the world; and it must be acknowledged that these circumstances did not at least lessen their right to exercise that jurisdiction which the occupancy had given to them.

That the place where the Apollon was seized was embraced in the occupation by the United States is equally evident.

The middle of the river St. Mary’s, from its source to the Atlantic Ocean, was the boundary established by treaty between the United States and the Spanish colony of Florida. A spacious harbor, through the middle of which the boundary-line extended, is formed by the waters of the ocean at the mouth of that river. It is bounded on the Florida side, first, in coming from the sea, by Amelia Island (on which is the village, fort, and port of Fernandino), and higher up by the southern side of the river, on which are found only a few scattered farms; and on the opposite side, first by Cumberland Island, and higher up by the northern side of the river, on which is situated the American town and port of St. Mary’s. The spot where the Apollon was seized, and where she had proceeded after having anchored for some days opposite Fernandino, was higher up within the said harbor, on the southern side of St. Mary’s River, in an inlet of the same called Bell’s River, and about midway between the Spanish town of Fernandino and the American town of St. Mary’s.

It would have been absurd on the part of the United States, when forcibly taking possession of Amelia Island and of the Edition: current; Page: [190] only fortified portion of the harbor, not to have extended their occupancy and jurisdiction to the whole. They had occupied and continued their occupation not for the protection of Spain against McGregor, but for their own against the repeated outrages and injuries which they had experienced. If, as has already been stated, they were cautious not to extend the occupation beyond what was requisite, they would at least carry it as far as was necessary for the attainment of the object in view. The placing a garrison in the only fortified place of the harbor, by giving them, combined with the naval force stationed there, the command of the whole, was sufficient for that purpose, and unless that purpose was attained there would have been no object in maintaining a partial and useless possession. It would be preposterous to suppose that after having taken that strong measure they should have suffered another McGregor, or British vessels coming from the West Indies, which were and still are excluded from the ports of the Union, or vessels laden with slaves intended to be landed on their shores, to pass under the cannon of Fernandino, to proceed quietly one or two leagues higher up within the same harbor, and there undisturbed to carry into effect the same illegal practices or criminal acts to prevent which had been the object of the occupation.

The military occupation of Amelia Island and its avowed object are, therefore, alone sufficient to establish the fact of the occupancy of the whole harbor and of the extension of a corresponding jurisdiction. But of this there is also direct and incontrovertible evidence. After a deliberate examination of the subject by the government of the United States, and with a full knowledge of the intentions of some foreigners in that respect, it was deemed proper to remove any doubts which might still be entertained; and the collector of the customs of St. Mary’s was accordingly, as early as the 6th of May, 1818, directed by instructions emanating from the President “to enforce the revenue laws upon all vessels entering the river St. Mary’s, without regard to the side of the river in which they might anchor.” This order, which was strictly enforced, and to which there was but one exception, dictated by motives of courtesy, in favor of Spanish vessels, did effectually prevent any illicit attempt to Edition: current; Page: [191] evade in that quarter the revenue laws of the United States, and, although affecting particularly the British commerce, had always been submitted to without opposition or remonstrance till the arrival of the Apollon. It is evident that although neither the assumption of jurisdiction nor the corresponding instructions had any special reference to French vessels, they were clearly embraced in both, and could not consistently have been excepted.

The Apollon having, for a presumed violation of the revenue laws of the United States, and for the purpose of being brought to a trial for that presumed offence, been seized, after having entered the river St. Mary’s, and whilst at an anchor on the southern side thereof, in a place which, though in Florida, was included in that portion of the province which had been occupied by the United States and over which they had exercised exclusive jurisdiction for more than two years preceding, there has not been in that act any infraction whatever of the acknowledged law of nations; the complaint preferred on that occasion having, it is presumed, been grounded on the erroneous supposition that the place where the seizure was made was without the actual jurisdiction of the United States.

Whether Captain Edou had actually committed any infraction of the revenue laws of the United States, which made his ship liable to confiscation, is another question, within the exclusive competence of the tribunals, and altogether distinct from that which has been here considered. Supposing, what is not admitted, that he had committed no such infraction, the seizure, if made, as it is believed has been demonstrated, within the actual jurisdiction of the United States, could give rise to no other species of complaint than if a similar process had on strong presumption, although founded in error, taken place in the port of New York.

It is not believed that any serious argument will be attempted to be drawn from the alleged creation by the Spanish authorities of a pretended port, subsequent to the arrival of the Apollon in St. Mary’s River, and for the special purpose of enabling her to evade the laws and regulations of the Union. It was the natural effect of the occupation and assumption of jurisdiction by Edition: current; Page: [192] the United States to exclude any other concurrent authorities or jurisdiction. They were accordingly excluded; and if any attempt had been made by Spain herself to re-establish them, or, in other words, to resume the exercise of her authority in the territory occupied, the attempt would have been utterly disregarded, and either treated as a nullity or repelled by force, as the case might require. It happens, however, that even that suggestion cannot be supported. Florida was a dependence of the government of Cuba. The governor-general of that island, who was alone authorized to relax from the colonial system and to open new ports to foreign vessels, had been repeatedly applied to for that purpose by some inferior agents, who, blinded by their eagerness for illicit profits, had, it seems, absurdly supposed that the United States would acquiesce in that extraordinary project. But that superior officer, well knowing that this was tantamount to an attempt to resume possession of the territory occupied by the Union, had uniformly refused his assent. That pretended port was therefore established, if at all, by officers who had no authority to that effect; and the Apollon was, in fact, found and did land her cargo in a place from which foreign vessels were excluded by the Spanish laws and regulations then in force.

The motives of the agents alluded to will best appear from the letters of the principal amongst them (the Spanish consular agent at St. Mary’s) to a correspondent, which were forwarded to my government, and copies of which have, I believe, been given to Mr. Hyde de Neuville. That consular agent represents the establishment of that pretended new port as a continuation of the arrangement which had supported them (the smugglers and illicit traders) during the American embargo and non-intercourse and the war with Great Britain, and under which they had acted to a vast extent from 1805 to 1815; and he further expresses his hope that the information, when it has reached France, may have a great tendency there to delay the negotiations on an adjustment of the tonnage difficulties. How far Captain Edou participated in these expectations I will not pretend to say. But he made himself a party to the plan by acting, so far as related to his ship, under the guidance of, and in concert Edition: current; Page: [193] with, that consular agent, and by going in person to St. Augustine to solicit the establishment of the pretended port.

The first decision of the American government in his case had no reference to any presumed infraction of the revenue laws of the United States, and did not, therefore, direct that his ship should be seized. It bears date the 9th of September, 1820, and simply states, what was sufficiently obvious, that the Apollon was embraced by the instructions already quoted of the 6th May, 1818,—that is to say, that the revenue laws should be enforced upon her without regard to the side of the river in which she might anchor. But after the ship had been seized for a presumed infraction of those laws, and when application was made for her release, government was in possession of the above-mentioned letters of the Spanish consular agent; the question was not whether the ship was embraced by the instructions, but whether an exception should be made in her favor; and it will not certainly be deemed harsh that under all the circumstances of the case, such as they were then known, it should have been left to be decided by the ordinary tribunals.

The ship has since been acquitted by a decision of the court for the district of Georgia. I have not seen the decree, but, from the manner in which it is mentioned in the despatches from my government, I am authorized to say that the inference which seems to have been drawn, that the decision implied that the seizure was illegal, or in any degree affected the main question, is erroneous. Indeed, there are many other obvious grounds on which an acquittal might have been pronounced in the first instance. Sufficient proof of the facts may not have been adduced; the facts proven might constitute an attempt to infringe the laws, and not a positive infraction; the infraction, if any was proven, might subject the captain to a penalty, and not the ship to be forfeited; there might be an omission or defect in the revenue laws, which rendered the provisions supposed to have been violated inapplicable to the case in question. In either of those cases, or if there was a doubt in the mind of the judge, who knew that there was an appeal from his decision, he would pronounce an acquittal.

Whatever may have been the grounds of the decree of that Edition: current; Page: [194] court, certain it is that the government of the United States was of opinion that on an appeal to the superior tribunal a decision would be had against the vessel; and that the President, in declining a further prosecution of the case, has been impelled by no other motive than that of removing what might be made an obstacle to pending negotiations, and of giving an additional proof of the earnest desire of the United States to entertain the most friendly relations with France, and to terminate by amicable arrangement the difficulties which have arisen in the commercial intercourse between the two countries.

I request your Excellency to accept the renewed assurances of the distinguished consideration with which, &c.

Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
July 2, 1821
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 182.

Sir,

I have the honor to enclose the copy of the letter I wrote the 28th ultimo to Mr. Pasquier on the subject of the Apollon:

Some of the observations are in reply to those made by him in our last interview; but you will perceive that I have generally taken rather new ground. All that could be said with respect to the effect of the non-ratified treaty with Spain was already contained in your communications, and you are aware that the doctrine is not generally admitted in Europe. I thought it equally dangerous and inconsistent with our general principles to assert that we had a right to seize a vessel for any cause whatever, short of piracy, in a place where we did not previously claim jurisdiction; and it appeared to me, from the general facts as well as from the documents transmitted, that we could with great propriety maintain the position that the pretended port of St. Joseph was included within the limits of our previous occupancy. I have at the same time brought in view the principal feature of the conspiracy to evade and violate our laws, and said nothing tending to lessen the force of the arguments heretofore used. There was, it seems to me, an intrinsic Edition: current; Page: [195] difficulty in the case, owing to the want of an Act of Congress extending at least the revenue laws of the United States to the places and waters occupied or claimed. This may give rise to an application for indemnity on the part of the parties, which would, however, be only a private claim, to be discussed when those of our citizens shall be taken into consideration by this government.

I had in the conversation with Mr. Pasquier alluded to the seizures at St. Sebastian’s, with the ostensible view of showing our consistency in considering the actual possession as superseding what may be called the legal title, since, whilst asking indemnity in that case for a groundless and unjust seizure and sequestration, we had made no separate demand for the supposed violation of the Spanish territory, had not considered the government of Spain as responsible, had made, indeed, no application to it for indemnity in that respect. My real object was, however, to remind this government of the little right they had to show or to affect such susceptibility in the case of the Apollon, particularly when it was recollected that this vessel was without the least delay brought to a fair trial before an independent tribunal, whilst we had in vain applied for ten years for a similar measure of common justice, which continued to be denied us even by the existing government. Upon reflection, I thought it sufficient to have alluded verbally to that subject. Our ground was strong enough in the case of the Apollon, without recurring to any considerations drawn from the conduct of the French, and I did not wish to run the risk of lessening in the smallest degree our claims for indemnities by using arguments which might have the appearance of justifying our acts by theirs, and of thereby suggesting some ground of justification for these.

I have the honor, &c.
Edition: current; Page: [196]
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
15th September, 1821
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 186.

Sir,

Nothing has taken place here respecting our affairs since my despatch of 2d of July last.

I have formerly mentioned that Mr. Mertens, late partner of Mr. Ridgeway’s house at Antwerp, had opened a negotiation for the sale of the claims arising from the property consigned to the said house, which had been sequestered at the same time and under the same circumstances as Mr. Gracie’s ships consigned to Mr. Parish’s house. Mr. Mertens, having obtained the consent of the American owners, wrote again to me on the subject; and I have the honor to enclose copies of his letter, of my answer, and of his reply. The Algerine claim to which he alludes was one the payment of which, although recognized by a solemn treaty, the parties in vain tried for several years to obtain. But as soon as it had been purchased by an association of French subjects residing in Paris, the sum necessary for its discharge was brought by the Ministers as an item of the budget, and has been accordingly voted by the legislative body. I have tried to ascertain whether the purchasers were not agents employed by this government with a view to discharge the debt with a sum less than its amount. So far as I have been able to obtain information on that point, it appears that they were speculators and had purchased on their own account, and that the claim, though admitted, is not yet finally liquidated and paid. Through what influence they were enabled to obtain that in which the original foreign creditors had failed I am unable to say; but that they do possess such influence is certain, both from that fact and from the offer of 50 per cent. on the capital which they have made to Mr. Mertens for the Antwerp sequestrations.

As Baron Louis, when Minister of Finances, had rejected Mr. Parish’s application for Mr. Gracie’s claim on the ground of an order of the council of state for a transfer of the proceeds of the sequestered Antwerp cargoes from the caisse d’amortissement to the treasury, which order he considered as tantamount Edition: current; Page: [197] to a condemnation, I was desirous to obtain a literal copy of it, in order to judge what foundation there was for that extraordinary inference. The enclosed copy of a decree dated at Trianon on the 5th of August, 1810, which has never been published, nor, to my knowledge, communicated to our ministers or government, was obtained through a private channel, and stated to be the order in question. On reading it, I was satisfied that could not be, since its 5th enacting clause confines its operation to American vessels which had entered French ports subsequent to the 20th March (probably May), 1809, the whole decree being indeed founded on the pretence of reprisals on account of the Act of Congress of that date, and the Antwerp vessels and cargoes having been seized in 1807. I am told, however, that there is another unpublished decree of July, 1810, applicable to those vessels, and of which Mr. Gracie hopes to obtain a copy.

But the Trianon decree was intended for the St. Sebastian, Amsterdam, and other cases of the same period. It is not a condemnation either in form or in substance; but it certainly announces the intention to condemn; it bears date the same day on which it was officially communicated to our minister that the Berlin and Milan decrees would be revoked on the first day of the ensuing November; and no one can suppose that if it had been communicated or published at the same time, the United States would, with respect to the promised revocation of the Berlin and Milan decrees, have taken that ground which ultimately led to the war with Great Britain. It is indeed unnecessary to comment on such a glaring act of combined injustice, bad faith, and meanness as the enacting and concealment of that decree exhibits; and I cannot suppose that it will ever be brought forward by this government for the purpose of repelling our claims to indemnity, especially as the grounds assumed for the measure are evidently mere pretences and altogether untenable. Yet when I first conversed, in 1816, with the Duke of Richelieu on the subject of our claims, he alluded to a statement prepared in his bureau for him, in which the Act of Congress of March, 1809, was mentioned as having afforded cause for reprisals.

Edition: current; Page: [198]

The copy of the Trianon decree was given to a friend of Mr. Parish by the Duke of Bassano, then secretary of the council.

I enclose a Greek copy and a French translation of an appeal of the Greeks to the citizens of the United States.

I have the honor, &c.

[Enclosure.]

DÉCISION DU 5 AOÛT, 1810.

Vu le rapport ci-dessus fait au1 conseil de commerce et des manufactures, d’où il résulte:

1. Que le gouvernement des États-Unis ne s’est pas borné par son acte du 1er mars, 1809, à ordonner qu’à dater du 20 mai suivant les bâtiments et marchandises françaises qui entreraient dans les ports seraient mis sous le séquestre, mais qu’il a ordonné la confiscation des dits bâtiments et marchandises:—

2. Qu’il a établi par le même acte que lorsque les communications avec la France viendrait à se rétablir, les confiscations continueraient à avoir leur effet:—

3. Que l’acte du 1er mars, 1809, a été mis en exécution toutes les fois que l’occasion s’en est présentée, non-seulement contre les marchandises, mais aussi contre les bâtiments français:—

Nous avons ordonné et ordonnons ce qui suit:

1. Les fonds provenants des ventes des marchandises américaines qui ont été effectuées jusqu’à ce jour, et dont le montant avait été mis en dépôt à la caisse d’amortissement, seront transportés au trésor public.

2. Les marchandises américaines qui sont mis sous le séquestre seront mises en vente, et les fonds en provenants versés au trésor public.

3. Les bâtiments américains sur le sort desquels il n’avait point été statué jusqu’à ce jour, seront également mis en vente et les fonds en provenants versés au trésor public.

4. Attendu que l’acte des États-Unis du 1er mars, 1809, ne contient aucune disposition contre les équipages de nos bâtiments, voulant toujours traiter les États-Unis aussi favorablement qu’il est possible, et n’usant qu’à regret du droit de représaille à leur égard, nous entendons que les équipages des bâtiments Edition: current; Page: [199] américains entrés dans nos ports ne soient point considérés comme prisonniers, mais soient envoyés dans leur patrie.

5. Les dispositions ci-dessus seront exécutées à l’égard de tous les bâtiments américains entrés et séquestrés dans nos ports depuis le 20 mars,1 1809, jusqu’au 1er mai de la présente année 1810, date de l’acte par lequel les États-Unis ont révoqué celui du 1er mars, 1809.

6. À l’avenir et jusqu’au 1er novembre prochain, époque fixée par la lettre de notre ministre des relations extérieures au plenipotentiaire des États-Unis pour la révocation de nos décrets de Berlin et de Milan (dans le cas où les conditions établies dans la dite lettre seraient remplies), les navires américains pourront entrer dans nos ports; mais leur déchargement ne pourra avoir lieu, à moins qu’ils ne soient munis d’une license signée de notre main, que sur un rapport fait en2 conseil de commerce, constatant qu’ils n’ont pas été dénationalisés par leur soumission aux arrêts du conseil britannique, et qu’ils n’out point contrevenu à nos décrets de Berlin et de Milan.

En notre palais de Trianon, le 5 août, 1810.

(Signé) Napoléon.
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
26th September, 1821
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 187.

Sir,

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, Edition: current; Page: [200] 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 Edition: current; Page: [201] 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 Edition: current; Page: [202] 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 Edition: current; Page: [203] 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.
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
27th September, 1821
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 188.

Sir,

I had the honor to receive your despatch No. 40, enclosing a copy of a letter from Mr. Connell, as agent for sundry insurance companies having claims on the French government.

I have some reason to believe that that gentleman’s letter to you grew out of the communications made by Mr. Mertens to the persons interested in the Antwerp sequestrations. He was not, however, sanguine in his expectations of obtaining justice from the French government, since he wrote for the express purpose of obtaining the approbation of the parties for his intended sale of the claims to some French subjects, at a loss of about half the principal and all the interest. Mr. Mertens has informed me that he has obtained the consent of those parties, amongst whom the insurance companies represented by Mr. Connell must be included. I beg leave to refer to my former despatches on that subject, and to my correspondence with Mr. Mertens, which has already been transmitted to the Department of State.

Whatever may have been the source whence Mr. Connell derived Edition: current; Page: [204] his information, he is certainly mistaken in thinking that there has appeared any symptom on the part of the French government to do us justice, even in the Antwerp cases, which are certainly amongst those against which it is almost impossible to raise any objection. The favorable inference he draws from the partial repayment to Hamburg, and from the admission of the claim of the Algerine Jews, is also, unfortunately, erroneous. I have already stated in a former despatch that this last claim had been recognized by a former treaty, notwithstanding which, and the evident solicitude of the government to cultivate friendly relations with the Barbary powers, it had not been admitted by the present government until after it had been purchased by a company of French speculators, the same who offer to purchase the Antwerp claims. With respect to the payment made to Hamburg, it was included amongst the cases embraced by the treaties of Paris of the year 1815. But, on account of the enormous amount of reclamations presented under those conventions, they were all reduced, either by virtue of private agreements, or, more generally, by decisions of the Duke of Wellington, who, by common consent, acted as an arbitrator to apportion the gross sum which France agreed to pay, and the four allied powers [agreed] should be received, in lieu of what she would have had to pay in consequence of the awards made by the several commissioners appointed by virtue of the treaties of 1815.

Both transactions were imposed upon France by superior force; the original treaties when she was invaded and half her territory occupied by the armies of the allies; the stipulated payment of a gross sum in lieu of the strict performance of those treaties, when an army of 100,000 men still occupied her principal fortresses; and this stipulation was made the express condition of their evacuation. I must add, and the observation has heretofore been made, that it would be extremely dangerous to refer to those stipulations and to the payments made by virtue thereof for precedents applicable to our claims. Of this the Duke of Richelieu was aware; and he drew an argument against us from the circumstance that, even in treaties which necessity alone had compelled France to sign, claims similar to ours had not been included, a certain class of vessels burnt at sea (not the Edition: current; Page: [205] Dolly and Telegraph) only excepted. My answer to this remark is unconnected with the subject of this letter, and will be found in my correspondence of the year 1816.

These observations are made only in order to show that there are no new circumstances giving a more favorable aspect to the prosecution of our claims, or making this a more auspicious time than heretofore to urge their settlement. In one respect the present moment is unfavorable; the state of the pending negotiations on other subjects is not calculated to render this government more flexible on this; and there is some reason to believe that their principal object in pressing their newly-raised pretensions under the 8th Article of the Louisiana Treaty is to obtain an equivalent for its abandonment, either in commercial advantages, or in a relaxation of our demands for indemnity.

I will, as heretofore, be ready to seize any proper opportunity that may offer to urge the general question, and more particularly a decision with respect to the Antwerp claims, which are now separated from the others and specially under the consideration of the Department of Foreign Affairs. I can only press a decision, as, until some answer shall have been made by this government, I have nothing to add to the arguments urged, not only in my general application, but in my letters to that Department on that particular class. The manner in which the demand should be urged may also vary according to the final result of the negotiation pending at Washington.

Nothing could gratify me more than to bring the subject to some determinate conclusion before my departure: nothing is more easy than to write to this government, pressing our right to have, at all events, an answer; this mode could long ago have been pursued had I only consulted my own feelings; if, using the discretion left to me, I have waited for what might be considered a favorable opportunity, not to bring the subject before the present government and urge the justice of our claims (which has been repeatedly done), but to demand a final answer, it has been solely for the sake of the parties interested, and in order not to place their claims on still worse footing than they already are.

Mr. Gracie has not yet obtained, although he has the promise Edition: current; Page: [206] of, a copy of the unpublished decree of July, 1810, by virtue of which it is suggested that the proceeds of the ships and cargoes sequestered at Antwerp were transferred from the caisse d’amortissement to the treasury.

I have the honor, &c.
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
23d October, 1821
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 191.

Sir,

I have the honor to enclose a copy of a note I addressed to Mr. Pasquier the 15th instant. It is much longer than I had at first contemplated; but as the result of the negotiation seemed to depend on the final instructions this government might now send to Mr. de Neuville, I thought it important to state fairly the question at issue, once more to refute the arguments used principally here in support of the high discriminating duties for which France still insists, and at the same time to point out, without committing my government, a mode which might have a chance of being acceded to on its part.

Discriminating duties on the value of the merchandise are undoubtedly the most favorable to the United States; but the basis proposed by Mr. de Neuville, and which you rejected, that of a similar reduction on both sides, preserving in each country the mode heretofore adopted by each, is, if the principle alone is taken into consideration without reference to the rate of duty, less disadvantageous to us than the other basis, founded on both sides on tonnage duties, of which you had given the option. In intimating, therefore, to Mr. Pasquier that if the rate of discriminating duties laid in France on the American navigation could be agreed on there would be no difficulty in settling the rate of duties to be laid in America on the French shipping, it was my intention to give a hope that if that first point was arranged, the principle of the basis proposed by Mr. de Neuville might perhaps be admitted. This would cost us nothing; and, if considered by this government as a concession on our part, may help them to extricate themselves from the situation in Edition: current; Page: [207] which they are, and facilitate an accommodation. That, however, depends altogether on their disposition to agree to reasonable terms with respect to the rate of duty; and I cannot expect that they will make any communication to me on that point. It is their interest, in order that it may in that way reach you, to impress on me the opinion that they will adhere to a high rate. On that question, which appears to me the only important one, the rate of the French discriminating duties to which we can agree, you must ultimately decide, and our merchants and captains are the best judges of the extent to which we may accede. I have in my note to Mr. Pasquier fairly, though in civil terms, stated the two principal causes of the inferiority of the French navigation, viz., the obstinacy of government in keeping in force ancient and ridiculous regulations, and the total ignorance of maritime affairs of the ship-owners, particularly those residing in Paris. I might to these have added the indolent and expensive habits of the sea-captains and other officers. Those several considerations taken together certainly give us for the present a decided superiority; and I incline to the opinion that a reduction on both sides of the discriminating duties to one-fourth of the rate at which they stood before the late extraordinary tonnage duties would still leave us more than one-half of the navigation. You will find that the surcharge on our cotton imported in vessels of the United States would at that rate be about two centimes, or seven-twentieths of a cent, per American pound.

It is true that an agreement founded on this basis, or on any other short of a total abrogation of the discriminating duties, will give us but a nominal equality; and I think that if we can pass such laws as will restore it in reality, it would be much better to wait until this government had become disposed to make an arrangement on that principle. But they are aware of the difficulties which we have to encounter; they know that we cannot retaliate directly by discriminating duties either on the French articles imported or on the American products exported in French vessels. Extreme means, such as an exclusion of those vessels or a prohibition of French manufactures, would be too hostile. Yet that something must be done is evident. The Edition: current; Page: [208] comparative statement contained in the latter part of my note to Mr. Pasquier shows the enormous difference now existing in favor of French vessels; and I annex the calculation on which it is founded. It is to be hoped that some efficient measures may be devised to counteract those adopted by France. No others have suggested themselves to me but a prohibition of the exportation of our cotton to American ports, and an increase of tonnage duty on the French vessels equal to the French surcharge of sixty-two to sixty-seven francs per ton, with a discretionary power to the President to increase it still further, so as to make always the duty equal to any rate to which this government might raise their own. I beg leave to observe that there is an error in your letter of 13th of August last to Mr. de Neuville. Alluding to my notes of 7th and 8th July, 1820, to Mr. Pasquier, you say that I had shown that the French surcharge, even if reduced to one-half, would still be nearly equal to the price of the freight: it was the whole of the surcharge, and not its half, that I had considered as equal to the freight.

I have the honor, &c.
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
13th November, 1821
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 192.

Sir,

The first time I saw Mr. Pasquier after he had received my note of the 15th October last, he mentioned that he intended to have a conference with me on that subject, and that he was collecting some materials that might enable him to discuss it. He repeated in substance the same thing a few days after, and added that he hoped to have it in his power to invite me to an interview within four or five days. I understood, though he did not say so positively, that that conference was to precede the decision of this government on the final instructions to be sent to Mr. de Neuville. A fortnight has, however, elapsed without my hearing further from Mr. Pasquier. In the mean while an ordinance has been issued continuing till the 1st of April next the premium on the importation by French vessels of cotton Edition: current; Page: [209] from American entrepôts. This being only a continuation of the existing state of things, it may be inferred that the project of increasing the difference of duty between the importations from American and European entrepôts has been abandoned. What may be the dispositions of this government on the main question I cannot conjecture; but it appears to me that the irritation arising from that cause has subsided, and will at least no longer form an obstacle to the discussion of our reclamations for indemnities. The ambassador of Russia continues to appear anxious that an arrangement may take place, and, as he speaks to me about it on every opportunity which offers, I presume that he holds a similar language to this government.

I have the honor, &c.
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
15th November, 1821
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 193.

Sir,

. . . I also enclose the copy of an extract of the unpublished decree of the 22d of July, 1810, by virtue of which the proceeds of the sequestered American property, including that seized at Antwerp, were directed to be paid into the treasury and applied [to] public purposes. It appears to be that, the substance of which at least was known to Baron Louis, the former Minister of Finances, and on which he founded his opinion, as communicated to Mr. Parish, that the property was definitively condemned. But although that decree, which is only a supplementary budget without legislative interference, and refers exclusively to matters of finance, must necessarily be in the possession of that Department, it seems that, not having a precise recollection of the details, they have not thought of looking there for the order in question, and that supposing that there must have been a special decree for that purpose, which they cannot of course find, since it does not exist, they have not been able to furnish the Department of Foreign Affairs with the copy which has been repeatedly asked for. Mr. Rayneval, the Under-Secretary of State, who is to make a report on Mr. Parish’s Edition: current; Page: [210] memorial, and on my letter to Mr. Pasquier of the 9th of May, 1820, which accompanied it, assured me not long ago that the want of that document was the only cause of the delay, and that he really believed that there was no such decree. I had not then the enclosed extract, and, as it has been obtained confidentially from the Duke of Bassano, I am not authorized to communicate it to this government even if it was thought proper to do it. So far as relates to the mere question of right, it cannot certainly be affected by the decree; but one of the principal grounds on which I have been able to separate the Antwerp claims from all others without injuring these is, that not only the claimants had not violated any of the unlawful decrees of Bonaparte, but that their claims were not affected by any subsequent act of his, and it would, therefore, be more convenient not to have to encounter any argument, however fallacious, which may be drawn from that source. This inconvenience would have been altogether avoided, and the order of July, 1810, would probably never have been alluded to, had it not been for the unfortunate application of Mr. Parish to the Department of Finances.

Having, upon the whole, reason to believe that the report of Mr. de Rayneval cannot be unfavorable, and that the dispositions of this government are rather more friendly than during the last fifteen months, I have concluded to press the subject at this time, and gave to Mr. Gracie a letter of introduction for Mr. de Rayneval, copy of which is enclosed. This gentlemen has, in a first interview, appointed another for the 19th instant, in which he has promised to state whether there was any objection, and, in his opinion, any necessity for my writing another official letter to Mr. Pasquier. You will see, by referring to that which I had written on the 9th of May, 1820, and which has not yet been answered, that it would be difficult at this stage of the business to adduce any new arguments, and that it is more eligible to wait till the objections are stated before an attempt is made to enforce and illustrate the ground which has already been taken.

I must add that, besides the motives just stated, I had another cogent reason to urge a decision at this time. You are already Edition: current; Page: [211] in possession of my correspondence with Mr. Mertens, and several circumstances which have lately come to my knowledge have impressed the belief that an extensive speculation was on foot for the purchase of our claims, and that persons whom I had not heretofore suspected might be concerned in it. I hope that my last letter to Mr. Mertens has already arrested the plan, and I will now be able to act in concert not only with Mr. Gracie, but also with Mr. John Connell, of Philadelphia, who arrived here two days ago, and who has powers of attorney from the insurance companies for a considerable portion of the claims arising from the sequestered cargoes consigned to the former house of Mr. Ridgeway, at Antwerp. There were in the whole seven sequestered there, four of which were consigned to his house and three to that of Mr. Parish. I have not seen the accounts of sales, but have been told that the amount exceeded four millions of francs.

I have the honor, &c.

[Enclosure.]

EXTRAIT DU DÉCRET DU 22 JUILLET, 1810.

ART. 1.

Seront versées dans la caisse des douanes pour le compte du trésor public, et affectées au service des exercices 1809 et 1810, les sommes provenantes:

1. De la vente des cargaisons américaines saisies à Anvers.

2. De la vente des cargaisons américaines remises par la Hollande.

3. De la vente des cargaisons des bâtiments américains saisis dans les ports de l’Espagne.

4. Du produit des saisies faites par la ligne des douanes en Hollande, et de celles qui seront faites par la même ligne, déduction faite de 2/5 pour les troupes et les préposés, etc.

10. De la vente des bâtiments américains, ottomans et neutres, qui seront saisis dans les ports de la Méditerranée et de l’océan.

ART. 2.

. . . Les autres produits ci-dessus detaillés, seront portés en recette comme produits extraordinaires des douanes affectés au service de 1810, etc., etc.

Edition: current; Page: [212]
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
16th November, 1821
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 194.

Sir,

I received last evening a note from Mr. Pasquier inviting me for this morning at ten o’clock to a conference, from which I have just returned.

He read to me some observations on my letter to him of 15th of October last, tending to show by very vague, and in some respects incorrect, assertions that ship-building and provisions were dearer in France than in the United States; that the wages of seamen were equally high; and that from their habits the maintenance of French sailors on board was also more expensive than that of the Americans. The article of wine was the only one which appeared to me to make a difference in that respect.

He also attempted to show that taking in our four principal articles of exportation to France, cotton, tobacco, rice, and potash, the old French surcharge did not amount to much more than 60 francs per ton. I pointed out at once the error of the calculation, arising from their having supposed that a ship carried only at the rate of 500, instead of 800, kilogrammes of tobacco per ton.

He then said that the difference between the two governments might be considered as that between a reduction of that surcharge to one-half, as proposed by Mr. de Neuville, and the reduction to one-fourth, as proposed by you; and that the question was whether any middle ground could be agreed on, each government receding in part from that which had been taken by each. I observed to him that I had already stated in my letter that you had not proposed a reduction to one-fourth, but at least one-fifth, of the old French surcharge, since your proposition of a duty of 1½ per cent. on the value could not be estimated at more than a tonnage duty of 13 francs per ton. But he was under the impression that your other proposal was to agree to a tonnage duty of three dollars per ton. I insisted that you had by that proposition offered only a duty of 1½ dollars, and, as he could not at the moment recur to the copy Edition: current; Page: [213] of your letter of 3d of August to Mr. de Neuville, we were obliged to postpone the discussion until he had ascertained the fact. You will at once perceive that if the principle of a mutual receding from the ground heretofore taken is assumed, it is important to insist that your proposal did not go beyond what I have stated.

As it was suggested in the course of the conversation that an arrangement might perhaps be concluded here, I stated explicitly that at the time when the negotiation was carried on here my instructions did not authorize me to propose anything beyond a mutual complete abrogation of all the discriminating duties; that the conciliatory proposal to agree to a reduction had been made at Washington; that I knew nothing more of the final intentions of my government in that respect than what appeared on the face of those proposals; and that even if I was disposed to agree to any modification of them, it would be on my own responsibility, and without being able to give any assurances that such modification would be ratified.

But the conversation turned principally on the cases of the French vessels taken on the coast of Africa by the Alligator, Captain Stockton, and sent to the United States for adjudication on the pretence of their being concerned in the slave-trade. Mr. Pasquier said that there was a fatality attached to our affairs, which tended perpetually to impede an arrangement by throwing in the way incidents of the most irritating nature. He then expressed himself with uncommon warmth on the cases in question. The seizure of vessels under the French flag at a time of general peace was, he said, a flagrant and intolerable violation of the law of nations. Such pretension, if insisted upon by the United States, must necessarily be resisted. If it was only the unauthorized act of a sea-officer, it should have been immediately disavowed, the vessels restored, and reparation made. A reference to courts of justice was altogether improper and useless. France could not recognize the right of the tribunals of any country, not at the time a belligerent, to take cognizance of such cases. And, since it was the act of an officer of the United States, there could be no pretence for a trial before a court, and government might and Edition: current; Page: [214] ought at once to have ordered an immediate restitution. The capture itself, he also said, was indeed an act of piracy, and the parties concerned, some of whom had by the recapture of the vessels fallen into the hands of the French authorities, might with justice have been tried as pirates.

Knowing nothing of the facts but what had appeared in the newspapers, and so far as these went the whole proceeding being altogether unintelligible to me, and the seizure of these vessels appearing unjustifiable in itself and in flat contradiction with our refusal to agree to the proposal of England on the subject of the slave-trade, I avoided touching the main question otherwise than by saying that it was probable that the vessels had been seized as being really American, fitted in American ports, and owned by American citizens, and having surreptitiously obtained French papers. But there were other insinuations, which I repelled with as much warmth as they had been made. I told Mr. Pasquier that a pirate was he who acted without a commission from any government, and that an officer of the American navy might commit a wrong, for which redress could be obtained from his government, but never could or would be treated or considered as a pirate by any nation whatever; that without at all affirming that the cases in question came within the description of those of which the United States had a right to take cognizance, the assertion he had made was too broad, and that, on the same principle by which belligerent powers were in certain cases authorized to send in for adjudication and to try neutral vessels, cases might also occur, such as that of presumed piracy, which would in time of peace justify the seizure of vessels though apparently protected by the flag and papers of any nation; that there was no reason to complain of a reference to courts of justice, whose decision, whatever it might be, could not shelter our government from any just complaint against the conduct of its military or naval officers; that it must be perfectly immaterial to a foreign government whether, in conformity with our institutions, we preferred that mode to that of an administrative inquiry; that we would think it highly desirable could we find a similar remedy in France for injuries of a similar nature long since sustained, and for which Edition: current; Page: [215] the Administration had given no redress; and that, at all events, the temporary absence of the principal officers of the United States from the seat of government sufficiently accounted for the delay complained of.

I give nearly the substance of what was said, but not at all in the order in which it was said; for the conversation was extremely desultory, and there were several interruptions. Much of its warmth must, however, be ascribed to the national character; and it ended in an amicable manner. As I was taking leave, Mr. Pasquier requested me to write to you on the subject and to state how much irritation and mischief was produced by incidents of that kind. He said that he had a few days ago a meeting of persons (I understood eminent merchants) on the subject of an arrangement of our commercial affairs, to which, he was happy to say, they appeared very well disposed; but that they had expressed themselves with great heat on that occurrence, saying that it was impossible to know to what extent the Americans intended to carry their pretensions.

No mention was made of another incident which has lately taken place at Pensacola, but which tends to strengthen that feeling, and has been a subject of animadversion in other quarters. I have attempted to defend it by a recurrence to the fact that the Spanish authorities had, in 1803, carried away the archives of Louisiana contrary to the treaty; but permit me to say that, unless the military and naval officers of the United States are kept within proper bounds, our reputation of being the supporters of the principles of the law of nations will be lessened, and our friendly relations with other countries will often be inconveniently affected.

I have the honor, &c.
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
24th November, 1821
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 196.

Sir,

Mr. Pasquier invited me to a new conference, which took place this morning.

Edition: current; Page: [216]

After some explanations respecting the tenor of your proposition to Mr. de Neuville, and the quantity of tobacco which a vessel usually carries per ton in the trade with France, on both which points Mr. Pasquier acknowledged that he had been led into errors, and seemed to agree nearly with my statement, we came to the main question, that of the mutual reduction of the discriminating duties heretofore imposed by each country to which it might be possible to agree.

I said that if I had been intrusted with a discretionary power on that point, which was not, however, the case, I would not certainly have agreed to a higher rate than one-fourth part of the duties now existing; and he stated that, although willing to go farther than Mr. de Neuville had proposed, he could not instruct him to agree to so great a reduction. The discussion which ensued consisted in little more than a repetition of the facts and arguments heretofore urged on both sides.

Mr. Pasquier finally observed that if no agreement was made, France would recur to more efficient measures than those heretofore adopted for the purpose of securing to her navigation the importation of American products, and that her Act of Navigation, which has, it seems, never been repealed, would be enforced in order to exclude British and other foreign vessels from participating in that trade. I reminded him of what had already been so explicitly stated in my letter of the 15th of October last, that the difference now existing between French and American vessels, between American and European entrepôts, was already enormous; that it was hardly possible that it should be submitted to any longer by the United States; and that if it was either increased directly, or brought into practical operation by the exclusion of foreign vessels, measures would most undoubtedly be immediately adopted to counteract the plans of France, either by forbidding the exportation of cotton to American entrepôts and by increasing the tonnage duties on French vessels, or by other means as efficient.

As Mr. Pasquier agreed that if this was done, and if both countries carried to the utmost this species of commercial warfare, it must end in a complete annihilation of the commerce between them, I took the liberty to represent to him that this Edition: current; Page: [217] event, however it might affect the United States, would be far more injurious to France. I observed that if she consumed instead of repelling our grain and other provisions, which we had the means of raising to a much greater extent than there was demand for them, the loss of her market would be sensibly felt; but that she took of our produce only what was indispensable for her wants and manufactures, or for which we could always find another market. Having reduced her consumption of foreign tobacco to the smallest possible quantity, and to that which was indispensable to enable her to manufacture that of her own growth, she took of course only the strongest and most valuable qualities of ours, for which it was well known that there was no substitute anywhere else. France would either directly or indirectly purchase the same quantity of that article of our growth, whatever restrictive measures might be adopted with respect to navigation. As to potash, the whole quantity made everywhere was hardly equal to the demand, and was not susceptible of any increase. If France purchased that of the Baltic instead of ours, the only consequence would be that what we had been in the habit of selling to her would be sold to Great Britain or other countries. The same remark would apply with nearly the same force to our rice, and with this addition, that it was of a superior quality to that of the growth of any other country. And with respect to cotton, the great article of American importation in France, an article so much wanted that its consumption had, notwithstanding the obstacles to the commercial intercourse, considerably increased last year, where would she find a substitute? The whole of her system of spinning and manufacturing was founded on our cotton, and must be altered before the attempt was made. The supply from the Levant, already insignificant, must be still more reduced on account of the state of that country. The Brazil cotton, very valuable for some manufactures, could not replace ours in others without affecting the quality and increasing the price. From India alone could a large supply be obtained; and supposing that the French manufacturers should learn how to clean and spin the cotton of that part of the world, still, its inferiority to ours was acknowledged, and it could not be imported to advantage Edition: current; Page: [218] even by the nations who know how to use it, except when, on account of a bad crop in America or of an extraordinary demand in Europe, the cotton of the United States rose much above its average price; that is to say, when the French market was no longer wanted to consume the surplus of what we raised. It was, in a word, utterly impracticable for France to exclude that article without materially injuring her manufactures, both with respect to quality and price, without renouncing every expectation to compete abroad with Great Britain and other nations, and without increasing the contraband importation in France of British goods, which even now could not be prevented to a considerable amount. But if France could not exclude our produce, she could with great facility lessen by her measures the consumption of the products of her soil and industry in the United States. It was only gradually and with difficulty that the habit of French wines was introduced there. For her brandies substitutes could be found in Spain, in West India rum, and, above all, in the increased use of spirits distilled from our own superabundant supply of grain. The danger of our using China instead of French silk stuffs, the most valuable of the exports of France to the United States, was acknowledged; and even the English manufacturers of silk were on the eve of coming in competition with theirs in foreign markets. We now at least, and for the first time, consumed a considerable quantity of French produce and manufactures, and equal in value to the articles of our own growth consumed by France. If the interdiction of our navigation continued, this last amount would not be considerably lessened, whilst our consumption of French merchandise would naturally and necessarily almost entirely cease.

What effect these remarks may have produced it is impossible for me to say; and amongst the persons on whose advice the Ministry relies in this instance there are some who are not perhaps sufficiently acquainted with the subject to understand or foresee the consequences of the system they have recommended. I have urged every argument and stated every fact which appeared material, and do not expect that anything more will at this time pass between this government and me in that respect. Edition: current; Page: [219] Mr. Pasquier gave me to understand that he would immediately prepare his instructions to Mr. de Neuville, and send them probably by the way of England.

I have the honor, &c.
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
27th December, 1821
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 197.

Sir,

The elections made under the last law having brought into the chamber of deputies a majority belonging to that portion of the royalists who have heretofore been designated by the name of Ultras, a total change of Ministry has taken place. From the time of my arrival here there had not been, notwithstanding several partial changes, any material alteration in the system of policy pursued by government. But the men now appointed, though selected amongst the most moderate of their own party, are of a different cast, and, unless controlled by the state of the country and by public opinion, would be disposed to adopt another course of measures, so far as relates to the internal administration of France.

There has not yet been time to ascertain what may be the views of the new Ministers towards the United States. I believe that Mr. Pasquier had completed the instructions intended for Mr. de Neuville, and that they have been sent. To me Mr. de Montmorency, the new Minister of Foreign Affairs, has only spoken in general terms, expressing his wishes that the differences might be accommodated, and his great confidence in Mr. de Neuville. To others he has said that the negotiations pending with the United States were the most important affair belonging to his department, and that he was earnestly endeavoring to understand it thoroughly. I will in a few days ask him for a conference, and am in the mean while preparing a note on the subject of the Antwerp cases. This would have been sent sooner had I not been obliged to wait until the parties had supplied me with the necessary facts. There are still some important Edition: current; Page: [220] particulars on which I have not been able to obtain all the requisite information.

I have the honor, &c.
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
14th January, 1822
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 200.

Sir,

I have the honor to enclose the copy of a note which I wrote on the 10th instant to the Minister of Foreign Affairs on the subject of the Antwerp claims.1

The sales of the cargoes in question, including the estimated value of the potash and pearlash previously taken for the use of the War Department, and deducting the cotton sold to Fillietaz, for which compensation has already been made, amounted to near five millions of francs. The claim of Fillietaz appears to have been liquidated in the following manner. The sixth part was deducted from the principal; a reduction which was, as I understand, common to all the claims of the subjects of the Netherlands, the amount allowed under the convention of 1818 for that object not being sufficient to pay the whole of the claims which were admitted. For the five-sixths remaining, 5 per cent. stock was given, at the rate of 75 per cent. on its nominal value (which is precisely the same thing as if stock had been given for the claim without deduction at the rate of 90 per cent.), bearing interest, I think, from the 22d of September, 1818. The market price of stock when delivered (April, 1819) was about 67; it is now about 85 per cent. The price of foreign produce was so high in 1810, when the sales took place, that it brought from 100 to 200 per cent. advance on the prime cost. The claimants would therefore, notwithstanding the loss of interest and other deductions, be well compensated if their claim was admitted and liquidated on the same principle as that of Fillietaz.

The only other claims within my knowledge, with respect to Edition: current; Page: [221] which there has been no final condemnation either by the council of prizes or imperial decisions, are, 1st, the vessels and cargoes seized in 1810 at St. Sebastian and other Spanish ports in the possession of France, under color of reprisals for the Act of Congress of 1st March, 1809, and the sales of which amounted to about seven millions of francs; 2dly, four vessels and cargoes seized in Holland at the same time and under the same pretence, and which were delivered to the French government; with the amount of the proceeds of the sale of these I am not acquainted. These two descriptions and the Antwerp cargoes make up the sequestrations, the proceeds of which were directed by the decree of the 22d July, 1810, to be paid in public treasury; 3dly, the vessels burnt at sea before the Berlin decree and subsequent to the revocation of that and of the Milan decree; and the value of which is not ascertained, but is not believed to be considerable. There were three burnt after the revocation of the decrees, besides the Dolly and Telegraph; and four in 1805 by Admiral Lallemand. These last four and cargoes were valued at 627,000 francs, and, as the other neutral vessels burnt at the same time have been paid for under the convention of Paris, it is probable that the claim would be admitted if this government was not afraid of the precedent it would establish in favor of our other reclamations.

The claims for the sequestrations of St. Sebastian and Holland differ from that for the Antwerp cargoes, not as respects substantial justice, but in that, 1st, the first took place by virtue of, or were sanctioned by, a special decree (that of Rambouillet), and were made under color of reprisals; and, 2dly, the secret decree of the 5th of August, 1810, transmitted in my despatch No. 186, and the expression, confiscated, used in the Duke of Cadore’s letter to Mr. Armstrong of the 12th September of the same year, may afford an additional pretence to this government to say that the property was definitively condemned by that of Bonaparte. It is not, of course, my intention, in a despatch addressed to you, to state the obvious answers which may be made. My object is only to point out the objections which may, and probably will, be raised. With respect to the pretence of reprisals, it is sufficient to say that the Act of Congress of the 1st of March, 1809, Edition: current; Page: [222] was prospective, forbidding, after the 20th of May following, a certain intercourse, and affixing the penalty of confiscation in case of disobedience, whilst the Rambouillet decree was retrospective in its enactments and in its application. But, as that ground will principally be resorted to, as, indeed, the Duke of Cadore says expressly in his letter above mentioned that, as to the merchandise confiscated, the principles of reprisal must be the law in that affair, it would be important to ascertain whether, in point of fact, any one French vessel was actually confiscated for a violation of the Act of 1st of March, 1809. I presume that information may be obtained by addressing two circulars,—one to the clerks of the district courts, and one to the collectors of the customs.

But there are two grounds which have been or may be taken, and to which, as they would operate as a bar to all our claims, it was necessary particularly to attend. For that reason the suggestion that a payment in the treasury was tantamount to a condemnation was refuted at large in the enclosed note, and every fact collected which could bear on the subject. I could not answer directly in the same manner, and by arguments drawn from the law of nations and from the acts of this government, the other ground, which has been distantly hinted but not positively asserted, that the King’s government was not answerable for the acts of that of Bonaparte. But it is with that in view that I have alluded to the manner in which the arriéré has been paid, and to the indubitable fact that the existing government did continue to enjoy the benefit arising from the proceeds of the sequestered cargoes. This consideration, and the arguments to show that the payment in treasury was not a condemnation, are as applicable to the sequestrations under the Rambouillet decree as those of Antwerp.

I thought it expedient to speak tenderly of the conduct of the Minister of Finances (Gaudin, Duke of Gaëte) when the vessels arrived at Antwerp, because he has still some influence, is still employed as president of the bank, and may be called on by the present Ministers for explanations. But in saying, in another part of the note, that Baron Louis was not inconsistent with himself, and might, even in 1814, have considered the Antwerp Edition: current; Page: [223] cargoes as confiscated, I had less for object to soothe his feelings than to anticipate the objection which might be made,—that, in the report alluded to, the proceeds of the American sequestered cargoes were not enumerated amongst the deposits for which government was still responsible.

Although I have enumerated all the cases within my knowledge where actual condemnation had not taken place, I must add that it is possible that some vessels captured, and probable that some burnt at sea, whilst the Berlin and Milan decrees were in force, have not yet been definitively condemned. But there can be no expectation that indemnity will ever be obtained either for those or in any of the cases where there has been such condemnation. From all the documents I have yet seen, I do not believe that the amount of this last-mentioned class, after deducting the cases where the destination of the vessels was concealed, enemy’s property covered, or which generally might afford plausible grounds of condemnation, can exceed two millions of dollars in value. The Danish prizes and the vessels and cargoes seized at Naples are not included in that estimate. The amount of sequestrations and vessels burnt at sea, where no condemnation has taken place, may be estimated at about three millions of dollars. This last estimate cannot be far from the truth, since we know the amount of the two largest claims,—the St. Sebastian and the Antwerp sequestrations. The answer which this government may give to my last note will show whether we have anything to expect from its justice in any case whatever. For, if the Antwerp claim is rejected, there can be no expectation that they will voluntarily allow any other.

I have understood indirectly that the sufferers under the St. Sebastian sequestrations had made application to be paid out of the five millions of dollars allowed by the treaty with Spain. The government of that country had nothing to do with that transaction, which was the result of a French decree executed by French authorities in a part of Spain exclusively occupied and governed by France. And I apprehend, as the slightest pretences are resorted to, that the application may injure the claim here.

I have the honor, &c.
Edition: current; Page: [224]
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
28th January, 1822
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 203.

Sir,

I had yesterday a conference with the Minister of Foreign Affairs on the subject of the Antwerp claims. In the course of it I referred him to my letters to one of his predecessors of the 9th November, 1816, and of the 22d of April, 1817: to the first, in order that he might have a general view of the nature and extent of our claims; to the other, for the purpose of showing both the cause of the delay which had taken place on that subject, and that we had always considered the reclamations for the property sequestered and not condemned to be of such nature that the claims ought to be liquidated and paid in the ordinary course of business, and did [not] require any diplomatic transaction. I then stated that although our commercial difficulties might have justly claimed the more immediate attention of the two governments, yet there was this difference between the two subjects, that the last was only one of mutual convenience, each party being, after all, at liberty, though at the risk of encountering countervailing measures, to regulate its own commence as he pleased, whilst the question of indemnity for injuries sustained was one of right. In this case we demanded justice, and [I] was sorry to be obliged to say that, notwithstanding my repeated applications during a period of near six years, I had not been able to obtain redress in one single instance for my fellow-citizens; an observation which applied not only to cases which had arisen under the former government of France, but also to wrongs sustained under that of his Majesty. Such result could not escape the notice of my government, and had accordingly been complained of in the most pointed manner in the instructions I had from time to time received. There was indeed an aggravating and most extraordinary circumstance with respect to the applications relative to injuries sustained under Bonaparte’s government. Not only had I failed in obtaining redress, but I had not even been honored with an answer. It could not be concealed that such a course of proceedings on the part of France had a tendency to Edition: current; Page: [225] impair the friendly relations between the two countries, and might have an unfavorable effect even in the discussion of other subjects. I therefore earnestly requested that he would immediately attend to the reclamation now before him, and no longer delay the decision which we had a right to expect.

Viscount Montmorency at once answered that he had read the papers relative to the Antwerp sequestrations, and that he was struck with the justice of the claim. He regretted, he added, that the settlement of this reclamation should have fallen on the present Ministry; that a decision had not taken place in the year 1819; that such an objection as that complained of had at that time been raised by the Minister of Finances. This candid declaration was made, he said, in full confidence that I would understand it as an opinion formed on a first impression, and as being only his individual opinion. He had not yet conferred on the subject with the Minister of Finances or his other colleagues, which he promised to do without delay, and to lay the subject before the King as soon as possible. Speaking of our claims generally, he alluded to the hardship that the King’s government should be made responsible for all the misdeeds of Bonaparte; an observation to which I did not think necessary to answer, as he spoke only of the hardship of the case, and did not assert that the obligation did not exist. So far as I could judge of his intention, it was that something should be done at present that might soothe our feelings; and I do not believe that he would be disposed to go at this time beyond the Antwerp claims. I think, indeed, that if they could separate Mr. Parish’s from Mr. Ridgeway’s reclamation, which appears altogether impossible, they would grant indemnity only for the cargoes which had been consigned to the first house. It must be admitted that the subject is extremely unpopular with all parties, and that there will probably be a difficulty in obtaining the necessary appropriations from the legislative body. . . .

I have also the honor to enclose two memoirs of Mr. Delagrange in American cases pending before the council of state, which show the pertinacity with which the administration of the Douanes continue to insist, notwithstanding the decision in the case of the Eagle, that a sequestration is tantamount to a condemnation. Edition: current; Page: [226] Whether it is on account of that decision, or because, as asserted to me by the Under-Secretary of State in the Department of Foreign Affairs, they have not been able to find out the decree of 22d of July, 1810, that in this instance they insist on the sequestration instead of the payment in the treasury, I cannot say, and is not very material. The case of Faxon stands by itself, and I enclose the supplementary memoir in his behalf, principally on account of another most arbitrary decree of Bonaparte, dated 3d of October, 1810, which was altogether unknown to me. Had I had it when I wrote my long note of 10th of January last to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, I would have quoted it as an additional proof that when Bonaparte intended to confiscate, an express clause to that effect was inserted in the body of his decrees. The 10th Article of the treaty with Holland also shows that, at least at that time, he had not made any final decision on the American property sequestered, and that its fate was to depend on the political relations with the United States.

I have the honor, &c.
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
29th January, 1822
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 204.

Sir,

The conference I had on the 27th instant with the Minister of Foreign Affairs being devoted to the consideration of our claims for indemnity, our commercial difficulties were mentioned only in an incidental way. I inferred from what [was said] that Viscount Montmorency had not yet thoroughly investigated the subject, and he informed me that he had only confirmed the instructions previously transmitted or prepared by Mr. Pasquier. But from the manner in which he stated the King’s anxiety that this subject should be settled, I am induced to believe that he is really fatigued with that state of things—a disposition of which, if it does exist, I will not fail to avail myself in case the instructions given to Mr. de Neuville should prove insufficient, and the subject should be sent back here. It Edition: current; Page: [227] will be essential in that case that your ultimatum should be communicated to me.

As, the instructions being already transmitted, nothing could at this moment be done here, I ascribe to the same cause (to the King’s intentions) the repeated overtures made by Montmorency to Marbois, to obtain his opinion and perhaps his interference in the affair. This being mentioned to me by Mr. de Marbois, I communicated to him the substance of the last rejected proposals respectively made by you and by Mr. de Neuville, and my note of the 15th October last to Mr. Pasquier; and addressed also to him the letter of which copy is enclosed. He has appeared to me perfectly satisfied that our proposals ought to be accepted.

I must observe that this gentleman is the same alluded to in a former despatch as having suggested to me that we ought to make some concessions. I now learn that he and Mr. Laforest were consulted in 1820, when Mr. de Neuville was here, on the subject of the view which that gentleman had taken of our affairs; that they were both opposed to him, particularly as related to Louisiana, although his advice prevailed; and that the object in view in insisting on the preposterous construction of the 8th Article of the Louisiana Treaty was to obtain for a limited term of years a prolongation of the privileges granted by the 7th Article of the same treaty. This will explain why one of the Ministers, who was Mr. Lainé, did suggest to me, as mentioned in the same despatch, the propriety of our agreeing to such stipulation.

I have the honor, &c.
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
1st February, 1822
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 206.

Sir,

I had the honor to receive your despatch No. 45, which has been a longer time in reaching me than usual.

In a letter dated, I think, in September last, the copy of which is mislaid, I had communicated my intention of returning Edition: current; Page: [228] home next spring. But I must acknowledge that the situation in which the American claims are now placed, and the possibility that the negotiation relative to a commercial arrangement may be sent back here, make me now desirous of continuing here some time longer, rather than to return without having, notwithstanding my earnest endeavors, succeeded in any one subject which had been intrusted to my care. If the President shall have acted in consequence of my said letter, which was not, I believe, received at the date of your despatch No. 45, there will be no disappointment, as it was of course what I had expected. But if, as that despatch states, he shall have postponed his nomination of a successor until my answer to it should have been received, I will avail myself of his kind offer and remain here some time longer. In either case I request you to have the goodness to present my acknowledgments to him for this new proof of his continued confidence. I also beg, on account of the uncertain situation in which I will in the mean while remain, that you will be kind enough to let me know the result as soon as possible. . . . I have anticipated in my former despatches nearly all that I might have to say in the case of the Apollon. The ground which I took was that which, after my conference with Mr. Pasquier, appeared best calculated to produce an impression here and to discourage the intention of continuing to make it a national affair. In incidents of this kind, when more importance has been attached to them than they really deserve, time is, after all, the best remedy. Still, I do not think that the view I had taken of the subject was contradictory to that taken by you or by the President in his message. It is not asserted that we had a general right to make a seizure of a foreign vessel in an adjacent foreign province, but that the seizure was justified not only by the circumstances of the case, but by the peculiar situation in which we stood with respect to that part of the province where the seizure was made. The actual possession of Amelia Island and the nearly contemporaneous order issued by the Treasury were most important facts in relation to that situation. The inference I drew from those facts was conclusive if it could be supported; if erroneous, it did not impair the other arguments drawn from Edition: current; Page: [229] that relative situation, which had been urged by you and were already in the possession of this government.

Mr. Pasquier never returned any answer to my note of 28th June last.

Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
2d February, 1822
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 207.

Sir,

Viscount Montmorency, in the conference I had with him on the 27th ult., alluded, but in a very mild manner, to the capture by the Alligator of the French vessels on the presumption that they were engaged in the slave-trade. He appeared satisfied with the explanation I gave as to the course pursued in the affair, that of bringing it before courts of justice, but expressed his regret that the captain had again sailed on a cruise.

I did not think proper to allude to a fact which had come to my knowledge, that the British ambassador had made a few days ago a remonstrance to this government with respect to one of the prizes of the Alligator, retaken by the crew and carried to Guadeloupe, whence she is said to have sailed again for Africa with the American crew on board, and to have brought back a cargo of slaves to Guadeloupe. The information indeed is said to have been obtained from yourself, and having nothing from you on the subject was a sufficient reason for not mentioning it. But I found that Viscount Montmorency felt some uneasiness on account of the charges brought generally by England against France for conniving at the slave-trade contrary to the obligations of their treaty. He asked me, and he said he did not put the question to me as to a minister, whether I thought that the trade was carried on to the extent stated in Great Britain, and whether, in my opinion, it was necessary, in order effectually to prevent that evil, to assent to the measure proposed by Great Britain, to allow the cruisers of either nation to capture vessels of the other engaged in that trade.

I answered to his first question that I believed the accounts to be exaggerated, that I could not think that sixty thousand Africans were still carried annually to America; but that I had Edition: current; Page: [230] no doubt that the trade was still carried on to a very great extent; that American vessels and capital were probably employed in it (which had been the true cause of the captures made by the Alligator), but in a much less degree than either the Spanish, Portuguese, or French, and that the sales were undoubtedly connived at in the colonies of France.

With respect to the second inquiry, I observed that no nation was more jealous than the United States were of the pretensions of Great Britain on the subject of maritime rights; and I took the opportunity of stating the nature and magnitude of the injuries we had sustained by the unwarranted seizure of our seamen on the high seas under the pretence of their being British subjects. The government of the United States had heretofore refused to accede to the proposal of Great Britain. Yet such was the anxious wish that that trade might be effectually stopped, that a committee of Congress had proposed that some measure similar to that proposed by England might be adopted. How far this might be the expression of a general feeling, or whether a practicable plan could be devised that should be consistent with national rights, it was not in my power to say. But I would acknowledge that unless something of that kind was done, and unless all the European governments united in forbidding and by every means in their power preventing the trade, it appeared impossible completely to suppress it.

If France felt disposed to make an arrangement with Great Britain on that subject, there was a point on which, since he had asked my opinion, I would beg leave to call his attention. The government of the United States had principally objected to the new principle that such cases, supposing the capture to be permitted, should be tried before a mixed tribunal. I believe that we never would agree that the property and, above all, the persons of our citizens should, for any presumed violation of our own laws, be tried by a foreign or mixed tribunal. This was repugnant to our Constitution, but not less so to the rights of every independent nation, inconsistent with the protection that every government owed to its citizens or subjects, and liable to numberless abuses. If any agreement, therefore, was made, it appeared to me indispensable that, exclusive of every other Edition: current; Page: [231] restriction, it should be made an express and absolute condition that the vessel and crew that might be captured should in every instance be sent to the country under whose flag they sailed or to which they belonged, and be exclusively tried by the tribunals of their own country. Viscount Montmorency appeared struck with those observations.

Although I have thought it my duty to communicate what passed on that occasion, I do not believe that there is at this time any disposition on the part of France to make an arrangement with Great Britain on that subject. I much doubt their being in earnest in suppressing the trade; and I am certain that the attempt to do it through the means of a convention with that country would be generally unpopular. For the treaty by which France has agreed to forbid that traffic has already the appearance of having been compulsory, and they are already sufficiently mortified by that circumstance, and by the repeated remonstrances which that treaty gave a right to the British government to make against the infractions of the law.

I have the honor, &c.
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
4th February, 1822
Paris
Monroe
Monroe

GALLATIN TO MONROE.

Dear Sir,

I answered two days ago Mr. Adams’s letter of 6th November, and beg leave to reiterate the expression of my sense of your continued confidence and friendship. I wrote hastily, and did not do justice to my real motives for wishing at this moment to continue here some time longer. They are very far from being purely personal; but, thinking I saw a better prospect than heretofore to succeed in the arrangement of our various reclamations and of our commercial relations, I felt that my intimate knowledge of the subjects in question, and the experience I have acquired of the machinery of this government and of the men employed, might enable me, better than a new minister, to take advantage of any favorable circumstances. But, after having explained the cause which has produced a Edition: current; Page: [232] change in my resolution, I must add that I am perfectly aware that you may have acted on my letter of last summer, and that although a nomination to the Senate of a successor may not, on receipt of this, have taken place, yet such tenders of the office, arrangements, or other preliminary steps may have been made or taken as would render it improper or inconvenient not to make a new appointment. I beg you, in that case, to consider my last answer to Mr. Adams as if it had not been written, and I only request the favor of an immediate answer, in order that I may make arrangements accordingly either for staying or returning.

I have also written to Mr. Adams the substance of a conversation on the slave-trade. Referring to this and to the modifications there suggested, I beg leave to submit an observation to your consideration. The total suppression of that traffic has become such a popular topic in England that the Ministers are compelled to follow the stream, and to use everywhere every possible endeavor to obtain from other nations their assent to some measure tending to produce the desired effect. It seems to me, therefore, that if it was once judged convenient and practicable so to restrict and modify an arrangement on that subject with Great Britain as to render it consistent with national and private rights, it would not be impossible to obtain, in consideration thereof, some favorable adjustment of other concerns. The extension of our northern boundary—the 49th degree of latitude—is but of secondary importance; but our commerce with the British West Indies is an object of immediate and great interest. You have concluded to have, in that respect, all or nothing. All we will ultimately obtain: we have now nothing; and I think that we do not by that sacrifice hasten in any degree the time when we shall obtain everything we want. The sacrifice is, in the mean while, very great. I do not allude to the representations from Norfolk, but to the general depression of the price of provisions, particularly grain, which affects the whole country from James River to Vermont, and which, the accident of bad crops in Europe excepted, nothing can relieve but a free intercourse with the West Indies. That no permanent relief can be expected from the European market appears Edition: current; Page: [233] demonstrated. The mean price of wheat in France does not exceed, and has not for some years much exceeded, a dollar per bushel. In some districts it is less than three-fourths of a dollar. In England the price is only 40 per cent. higher. In both countries the corn-laws prevent the importation nine years out of ten. The markets of Portugal and Spain will grow every day worse for us. An arrangement with Great Britain, founded on the basis she had offered, would give us a free market in their West Indies for our provisions, instead of carrying, as we now do, our flour to England to be thence re-exported in British vessels to her islands, thereby lessening the consumption and reducing the price below the cost of production and freight. That arrangement would also secure us at least one-half of the navigation employed in the intercourse between those islands and the United States. I think it therefore worthy of consideration to examine whether it might not be proper, taking that proposal as a basis, to attempt (in case an arrangement respecting the slave-trade is thought practicable) to obtain modifications in it which would render it admissible; that is to say, that Great Britain should abandon the collateral conditions attached to her proposal (non-permission to export sugar, right without reciprocity to favor her provisions in the West Indies, &c., &c.) for the sake of making the agreement which they so earnestly wish on the subject of the slave-trade.

Mrs. Gallatin requests to be affectionately remembered to Mrs. Monroe. We have all heard with great satisfaction that your health was restored. I request you to accept the assurances of my high respect and sincere attachment.

Your most obedient servant.
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
April 23, 1822
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 208.

Sir,

In several conversations I had with Viscount de Montmorency on the subject of the Antwerp cases, he always evinced a sense of the justice of the claim and a disposition that indemnity Edition: current; Page: [234] should be made. But I have not yet been able to obtain an official answer, and, finding that objections, which were not distinctly stated, were still made by the Department of Finances, I asked Mr. de Montmorency’s permission to confer on the subject with Mr. de Villèle, in order that I might clearly understand what prospect there was of obtaining justice. This was readily assented to, and I had accordingly an interview yesterday with that Minister.

I found that Mr. de Villèle had only a general knowledge of the subject, and had not read my note of 10th January last, to which I referred him, and which he promised to peruse with attention. It appeared, however, to me that, although he was cautious not to commit himself, he was already satisfied, from the inspection of the papers in his Department, and without having seen my argument, that the claim was just, and that the ground assumed by Baron Louis in his letter to Mr. Parish was untenable.

His objections to a payment of the claim at this time, supposing that on a thorough investigation it proved to be just, were the following:

1st. There were no funds at his disposal from which the payment could be made; and it was absolutely necessary that an application should be made to the Chambers for that purpose: a demand which would be very ill received, as it had been generally supposed that France was relieved from every foreign claim of that description.

2dly. Such was [the] amount of wrongs committed by Bonaparte, and the acknowledged impossibility that France could repair them all, that all the European powers, although with arms in their hands and occupying a part of the country, had consented to receive, as a payment in full, a stipulated sum which fell very short of the amount of their claims. The payment thus made by France had therefore been in every instance the result of an agreement (une transaction) founded on equitable principles and on an abandonment on the part of the foreign powers of a considerable part of their claims. It appeared to him impossible that an application for funds could be made to the Chambers for the purpose of satisfying American claims, unless it was also the result of a transaction of a similar nature.

Edition: current; Page: [235]

3dly. Even in that case the engagement to pay any sum at this time for that object would, for the reasons already stated, and for many others arising from the change of government, appear extremely hard. The only way to render it palatable was that it should be accompanied by the grateful information that our commercial difficulties were arranged in a satisfactory manner; he regretted, therefore, extremely that the discussion of the two subjects had been separated, one being treated in the United States and the other here; and he asked whether it was probable that the result of the negotiation at Washington would be known at Paris before the next session of the Chambers, which is to take place in June next.

I must say that these observations did not appear to be made with an intention of throwing new obstacles in the way of an adjustment of our claims, but for the purpose of stating the difficulties which this government would have to encounter in any attempt to effect that object. It was not the less necessary to reply [to] suggestions thus made; and I observed, with respect to the delays which had taken place, that they were to be ascribed solely to the French government. It was in consequence of the determination of the Duke of Richelieu, and I referred to my letter to him of the 22d of April, 1817; it was against my opinion, and notwithstanding my strong remonstrances, that the subject had been postponed and that provision was not made for our claims at the same time as for those of subjects of European powers. But I had taken care to remind the Duke of Richelieu, when the communication for the last object was made to the legislative body, that the American claims were not included in the settlement; and he had accordingly expressly stated in that communication that the sum to be voted would discharge France from all demands on the part of the subjects of European powers. This was so well understood that a subsequent grant of seven millions had been voted for the purpose of discharging the Algerine claims. Ours alone remained unsettled; and the Chambers must have expected, and could not therefore be astonished, that an application for that object should also be made to them.

As to the propriety of a convention for the general adjustment Edition: current; Page: [236] of the claims of American citizens, I informed Mr. de Villèle that this was precisely what the United States had asked; and I referred him to my note of the 9th of November, 1816, which to this day remained unanswered. The extraordinary silence of the French government was at least a proof of its reluctance to adopt that mode of settlement; and there was an intrinsic difficulty in what he called a transaction. The United States could have no objection to a partial admission and reimbursement of the claims of their citizens; but they would not, in order to obtain that object, sacrifice other reclamations equally just, and give that general release which France was desirous to obtain in consideration of that partial payment. Under those circumstances, it was a natural and perhaps a more practicable course to press a settlement of those claims which it might be presumed she intended ultimately to pay. To repel this, on the plea that a convention embracing the whole was a preferable mode, was an untenable position so long as our overture having the last object in view remained unanswered.

After having expressed my sincere wishes that an arrangement of our commercial difficulties might soon be effected, and having shown from a recapitulation of what had taken place at the time that the transfer of the negotiations for that object to Washington was owing to the French government, I stated that there was no connection whatever between that and the subject of our claims, and that even when discussed at the same place they had always been treated distinctly. Our reclamations were of much older date, and, not to speak of the former government of this country, they had since the restoration been pending for near four years before any discussion of our commercial relations had commenced. I was ready to acknowledge that it would be at any time an unpleasant duty for his Majesty’s Ministers to be obliged to ask funds for the purpose of repairing the injuries sustained during a former period by the citizens of a foreign nation; and I was sensible that the task would be more easy after the settlement than during the existence of other difficulties. But justice, and our perseverance, on which he might rely, required that the duty, however unpleasant, should at some time be performed; and I was the less disposed Edition: current; Page: [237] to acquiesce in new and vexatious delays on the ground alluded to, because the result of the negotiation was very uncertain. The delay in that respect was also solely due to the French government. They had thrown great obstacles in the way of an arrangement by blending other subjects with that immediately to be attended to. Afterwards they became sensible, in the latter end of September last, that it was necessary to send new instructions to Mr. de Neuville. I had in the month of October made every representation and given all the explanations which could be necessary. Yet the instructions to Mr. de Neuville were not, as I understood, sent till late in January, and had not yet, I believed, been received on the 12th of March. The success of the negotiation depended on the nature of those instructions, with which I was not acquainted. If they produced no favorable result, the consequence would only be that the commerce between the two countries would be lessened and flow through indirect channels, probably to our mutual loss and to the profit of the British manufactures and navigation. But, however this might be lamented, it was only a question of policy. Each of the two nations had a right to regulate her commerce as in her opinion best suited her interest. But with respect to our claims it was a question of right, the consideration of which ought not and could not be abandoned or postponed, even if the commercial relations should continue to be less extensive and less advantageous than they had formerly been or might again become in case a satisfactory arrangement respecting the discriminating duties was made. Whether the result of the negotiation could be known here in June it was of course impossible for me to say.

Mr. de Villèle, having taken memoranda, and promised [to] read the notes to which I had alluded, asked me whether there was any difference between Mr. Parish’s claim (meaning the three vessels consigned to his house) and that for the four other Antwerp ships; to which I answered most decidedly in the negative. He then, having the decree of 22d July, 1810, before him, inquired in what consisted the difference between the Antwerp claims and those for other property sequestered and embraced by the same decree, viz., the St. Sebastian seizures Edition: current; Page: [238] and the vessels given up by Holland. I answered, none whatever in substance, and that the reason why a specific application was made for the Antwerp claims alone in my letter of 10th of January last was that having already demanded indemnity for all the claims in my note of 9th November, 1816, the claimants who relied on the exertions of their government to obtain redress had generally thought it unnecessary to make separate applications. Mr. Parish, however, being on the spot, had urged a special decision in his case, and my government having, for the reasons already stated, acquiesced in that course, the Antwerp claims were in that manner first presented to the consideration of that of France. But I had expressly stated in my note that this was not in any way to be construed as an abandonment of other claims equally just, although their features might not in every respect be precisely the same. Between the Antwerp and the other claims for property sequestered and not condemned I knew none but merely nominal differences. The St. Sebastian vessels and cargoes had been seized and sold under an untenable and frivolous pretence, that of retaliation, to which a retrospective effect had been given. The Antwerp cargoes had been seized and sold without any pretence whatever being assigned for it. In neither case had a condemnation taken place. In both cases we had always claimed restitution or trial before the ordinary competent tribunal. The right to ask for such trial was in both cases derived from the law of nations, and it was for the Antwerp cargoes also founded on positive treaty stipulations.

Mr. de Villèle then said that he intended to shut up that abyss the arriéré, to ask from the Chambers in June the funds necessary for that purpose, and to pledge himself that the sum asked for that purpose would be the last, and would be sufficient to discharge every species of arrears without exception. He had not, he said, sufficiently examined the subject of our claims to give any decisive opinion, but he believed, at all events, that a reasonable indemnity for what had not been definitively condemned was the maximum of what could or should under any circumstances whatever be expected; and even for that he did not mean to commit himself: indeed, the decision belonged to Edition: current; Page: [239] another Department, but he would wish to know, for the purpose above mentioned, what was the aggregate of our claims for property of the last description.

I answered that this was a subject on which I had not sufficient information. I knew indeed generally, but not officially, that the sales of the property included in the decree of 22d July, 1810, amounted to more than fourteen millions of francs; but on that point the records of his own Department would give him the most precise information. Of the value of the vessels burnt at sea I had not any correct estimate. There might be other cases as yet unknown to me which would fall under the same description (of property not condemned). And, upon the whole, I had not in the present stage of the business attended to details of that kind, having been exclusively employed in pressing on the French government the justice of our claims, and having left for a subsequent discussion what related to their amount. I added that he must be sensible that I would not take any step which might be construed into an abandonment of the claims for property unlawfully condemned. He immediately answered that our conversation was not at all official, that he expected nothing of that kind or that would commit me, and he wanted only a rough estimate to guide him in his calculations. But he must say that the amount of sales was not in his opinion the proper basis of a liquidation. It was well known that the continental blockade had raised foreign produce to an extravagant rate, and we could not claim an indemnity for the advance arising from that cause.

I replied that, although I did not intend at this time to enter on the subject of liquidation, it was proper to remind him, 1st, that Bonaparte had, immediately before the sales, laid such extraordinary duties on the property already in port and sequestered that, whilst the Bayonne sales for the property seized at St. Sebastian amounted to about seven, the duties exceeded eight millions, so that the portion of the advance to which he alluded had already been detained by the treasury in the shape of duties; 2dly, that even allowing interest to the claimants would not compensate for the loss arising from the detention of the capital for such a number of years.

Edition: current; Page: [240]

It is not as yet possible for me to conjecture what effect the view which Mr. de Villèle seems to have taken of the subject may have on the decision of the present Administration, in which he has very justly a great weight. But should the decision be to open a negotiation for a general settlement of the claims, it may become necessary for you to transmit instructions on the various points with respect to which they had been asked in my despatch No. 67, of the 27th April, 1818.

I have the honor, &c.
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
26th April, 1822
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 209.

. . . The recognition of the independence of the Spanish-American provinces by the United States was rather unexpected, as the message of the President at the opening of the session had led to suppose that it would be postponed another year. I think, however, that it is not generally unfavorably received, and this principally on account of the hatred of all the governments against that of Spain. Great Britain of course likes it, and will be glad of a pretence to do the same thing substantially, though probably not in the same fair and decisive way. The other lesser maritime powers have the same feelings. Russia has now other objects to engross her attention. The continental powers are indifferent about it. For the feelings and opinions of this government I think I may refer you to the last numbers of the Journal des Débats, on the subject both of Mr. Zea’s note and the report of Congress on the President’s message. It was not my fault that that note was not better drawn. The Ministers have not mentioned the subject to me, but Monsieur, who always expresses himself in a very friendly way towards the United States, told me that he apprehended the “moral” effect of our recognition on the revolutionary spirit of Europe. I observed that ours was only the declaration of a fact; that this fact, which was undoubtedly a very important political event, was simply that America, having acquired the power, had determined Edition: current; Page: [241] to be no longer governed by Europe; that to this, when it had taken place, we must necessarily have given our sanction; that we had done it without any reference to the form of government adopted by the several provinces; and that the question, being one of national independence, was really altogether unconnected with any of those respecting internal institutions which agitated Europe.

I have the honor, &c.
Crawford
Crawford
13th May, 1822
Washington
Gallatin
Gallatin

CRAWFORD TO GALLATIN.

My dear Sir,

It is now nearly two years since I have received a letter from you. Your last was dated about the 30th of August, 1820.

The negotiation between France and the United States, which has been carried on here for two years past, concerning our commercial relations, is likely to terminate successfully. I know of nothing which will probably prevent it, unless our determination to support every officer of the government in violating the orders, laws, and Constitution of the government and nation should oppose an insurmountable obstacle to it. Captain Stockton, of the Alligator, has seized a number of French vessels, under the French flag, with French papers and French officers, and crews, at least, not composed of American citizens; yet we have tendered no satisfaction to the French government for this outrage upon their flag and upon the principles which we stoutly defend against England. A disposition to discuss has always characterized our government; but until recently an appearance of moderation has marked our discussions. Now our disposition to discuss seems to have augmented, and the spirit of conciliation has manifestly been abandoned by our councils. We are determined to say harsher things than are said to us, and to have the last word. Where this temper will lead us cannot be distinctly foreseen. We are now upon bad terms with the principal maritime states, and perhaps on the brink of a rupture with Russia, Edition: current; Page: [242] on account of the prohibition to trade with the North-West coast beyond the 51st degree of north latitude and to approach within 100 Italian miles of the islands on the Asiatic side. I have labored to restrain this predominant disposition of the government, but have succeeded only partially in softening the asperities which invariably predominate in the official notes of the State Department. If these notes had been permitted to remain as originally drafted, we should, I believe, have before this time been unembarrassed by diplomatic relations with more than one power. The tendency to estrange us from all foreign powers, which the style of the notes of the State Department has uniformly had, has been so often demonstrated, yet so often permitted, that I have almost given up the idea of maintaining friendly relations with those powers. But of late another embarrassment, no less perplexing in its tendency, has arisen. Our Mars has intuitive perceptions not only upon military organization, but upon fortifications and other military subjects. These intuitions of his have involved the President in contests with both Houses of Congress. He has contrived to make them those of the President instead of his own. A state of irritation prevails which greatly exceeds anything which has occurred in the history of this government. The Secretary of War is now, in the estimation of the public, lord of the ascendant. Certain it is that every appointment in Florida was made without my knowledge, and even the appointments connected with my own Department have been made without regard to my wishes, or rather without ascertaining what they were.

It is understood that an impression has been made upon the mind of the President that the rejection of the military nominations by the Senate has been effected by my influence.

I have known this for nearly two months, but have taken no step to counteract it, and shall take none, because I believe it will not be injurious to me to remain in this state, or even to be removed from office.

The latter, however, is an honor which I shall not solicit, although I do not believe it would be injurious to me in a political point of view.

You will perceive by the newspapers that much agitation has Edition: current; Page: [243] already prevailed as to the election of the next President. The war candidate, as Mr. Randolph calls him, is understood to be extremely active in his operations, and, as it has been said by religious zealots, appears to be determined to take the citadel by storm.

An impression prevails that Mr. A.’s friends, in despair of his success, have thrown themselves into the scale of his more youthful friend, lately converted into a competitor. You will have seen that Mr. Lowndes has been nominated by the South Carolina Legislature, or rather by a portion of it. This event, as well as the present course of the Secretary of War, it is believed, may be traced to the election of Governor Clark, of Georgia. This gentleman is personally my enemy. He was elected in 1819 in opposition to Colonel Troup by a majority of 13 votes. In 1821 he was opposed by the same gentleman. Mr. Calhoun, Mr. Adams, and Mr. Lowndes had conceived the idea that if he should be re-elected the electoral vote of Georgia would be against me. He was re-elected by a majority of two votes. Calhoun and Lowndes had through the year favored Mr. A.’s pretensions; they found, however, that it was an uphill work. Considering me “hors du combat,” and finding Mr. A. unacceptable to the South, each of them supposed that the Southern interest would become the property of the first adventurer. Mr. C. had made a tour of observation in Pennsylvania, whilst Mr. L. kept watch at home. When the result of the Georgia election was known, Mr. C. threw himself upon Pennsylvania, and Mr. L., who had remained in South Carolina until after the meeting of its Legislature, was nominated by a portion of it to the Presidency.

A conference took place between them, but no adjustment was effected, as each determined to hold the vantage-ground which he was supposed to have gained. The delusion as to Georgia has passed away; but Mr. C. cannot now recede, and entertains confident hopes of success. Pennsylvania he calculates upon, as well as upon many other States. Mr. Clay is held up by his friends, but has not taken any decided measure. I consider everything that has passed as deciding nothing. Everything will depend on the election of Congress, which takes place this Edition: current; Page: [244] year in all the States except Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee. My own impression is that Mr. C. will be the Federal candidate, if his name is kept up. If he should be put down (and I think he will be, especially if Pennsylvania should declare against him), Mr. Adams will be the Federal candidate. Mr. Clay will be up if Pennsylvania, Virginia, or New York will declare for him. At present there is not much prospect of either.

The stockholders of the Bank of the United States are becoming restive under the low dividends which they receive. A decided opposition to Mr. Cheves will be made the next year. I understand that many of the stockholders are for placing you at the head of that institution. I know not whether you wish such an appointment. The election of governor comes on next year. Many persons are spoken of for that office. Bryan, Ingham, Lowrie, and Lacock are among the number, and some intimations have reached me that if you were here you might be selected. Ingham is connected with Mr. Calhoun. The others are unfavorable to his views.

Present my respects to Mrs. Gallatin and every member of your family.

I remain, dear sir, your sincere friend, &c.
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
13th June, 1822
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 216.

Sir,

The conference I had on the 18th ultimo with Viscount de Montmorency on the subject of the American claims turned principally on the difficulties which this government would find in effecting an arrangement with us. The result of a free conversation on what was practicable seemed to be that a definitive agreement was preferable to a partial payment, and that the choice must, in that respect, be between the two following modes: either the payment of a stipulated sum in full discharge of the demands of the United States for spoliations, and to be distributed by their government, or a reference of the Edition: current; Page: [245] whole case to a joint commission, which, in case of disagreement, would refer the disputed points to a sovereign chosen by the two governments. Mr. de Montmorency appeared inclined to the last mode. I would prefer the first if we could agree on the sum and I was instructed to that effect. I am also inclined to think that the American claimants, who, from the few applications made, seem to have considered their case as desperate, would be pleased with an arrangement on that basis. Although Mr. de Montmorency appeared to continue to be personally well disposed, he did not conceal that there were objections in the council of ministers; and he stated, a few days after, that they were inclined to postpone the subject until the result of the negotiation at Washington was ascertained. I concluded, nevertheless, to insist for an answer to my last note, being satisfied that it would not amount to a rejection, which would have committed hereafter this government, and that there would be some advantage in obtaining something more than verbal from them. The answer of the 1st instant was accordingly received, copy of which is herewith enclosed. We had so many accounts of a near prospect of an arrangement being on the eve of being concluded between you and Mr. de Neuville that I waited a few days before I made a reply; but, having now heard of the adjournment of Congress without any convention having been made, I this day have made the answer, of which I have the honor to enclose a copy.

It will be difficult for this government, after the silence observed in Mr. de Montmorency’s answer, ever to say that the King is not responsible for the acts of Bonaparte, or to make any other equally general objection against the claims. But you will perceive that, if the question respecting discriminating duties was arranged, they might still, on the ground now assumed, refuse to consider that of indemnities until their claim under the Louisiana Treaty was also arranged; and the allusion to certain French reclamations is also of bad omen. I had supposed that nothing more was meant than the Beaumarchais claim and that which may be made for the Apollo; but I have been informed that within a few days researches are made of old claims for lands in Louisiana, amongst which the most worthy Edition: current; Page: [246] of attention is that of Marquis Lauriston, one of the present Ministry, a lineal descendant of Law, for a large concession at the time of the Mississippi scheme.

In the budget which has just been presented, application is made for an additional credit of more than 61 millions of francs to pay off the balance of the arriéré. No mention is made of our claims; but I think that enough is asked to enable government to pay a sum about equal to the amount of claims for property sequestered and not condemned.

I have had the honor, since the date of my last letter, to receive your despatches Nos. 46 and 47, and have accordingly made arrangements for a longer stay here; but you see that it is very doubtful whether my endeavors with this government will prove more successful than heretofore. Permit me to request again instructions on the subject of an arrangement for our claims on the basis of the payment of a gross sum, in case the proposal should be made. I think myself sufficiently authorized to make a convention for the appointment of a joint commission on the basis above stated. With respect to the French reclamations, there would perhaps be no objection to refer Beaumarchais’ claim, provided our citizens’ claims for contracts were also included.

I have the honor, &c.
Crawford
Crawford
26th June, 1822
Washington
Gallatin
Gallatin

CRAWFORD TO GALLATIN.

My dear Sir,

On the 24th inst. a commercial convention was signed by Mr. Adams and Mr. de Neuville. It is published in the Intelligencer of this day. If it is permitted to operate a few years, all discriminating duties will cease. I am, however, apprehensive that it will not be permitted to produce this effect.

The importations during the year ending the 31st of March last have greatly exceeded those of the preceding year. Notwithstanding the price of breadstuffs has considerably increased Edition: current; Page: [247] during the last six months, I am persuaded that the importations greatly exceed in value our exportations.

The pacification of the civil war, which for the last ten or twelve years has existed in Spanish America, has invited to commercial speculations in those regions which have tended to swell the amount of our importations. Much of the foreign merchandise which has been imported and is still importing will, it is presumed, be reshipped to those markets. Until returns can be had from these shipments, pecuniary embarrassment to a considerable extent will be felt in all our commercial cities. If those returns should not answer the expectations which have been cherished, failures to a considerable extent may be expected in the course of the year.

The receipts from the customs for the two first quarters of the year will be about $8,000,000, and probably an equal amount may be received in the third and fourth. If this amount shall be realized, we shall be able to pay off a part of the $2,000,000 of six per cents. of 1820.

The prospect of a war in Europe and the renewal of commerce, or rather the extent of commercial speculations now in train, have probably in some degree prevented subscriptions of six per cent. stock in exchange of five. This may, however, be attributed to the provisions of the Act itself, as the exchange may be made at any time before the 1st of October next. By delaying the subscription for a quarter, one-quarter of one per cent. is saved, and the uncertainty which still rests upon the question of war between Russia and Turkey will be removed. The relative prices of six and five per cent. stock still warrant the expectation that the exchange will be effected.

In my last letter I suggested the probability that the presidency of the Bank of the United States might be offered to you if you were in the United States at the time of the next election. Mr. Cheves has informed me confidentially that he will resign his office about the latter end of this year. He will declare this intention when the next dividend shall be declared.

If the place is acceptable to you, there is, I think, no obstacle in the way but your absence. If you are disposed to accept it, Edition: current; Page: [248] it will be proper for you to authorize your friends to say so. I have understood that the stockholders are desirous of having the president from among their directors. To this the government can have no objection, except that it will probably be injurious to the institution. Circumstances have occurred, and still exist, that make the bank exceedingly unpopular in many parts of the United States. It needs the countenance and support of the government to enable it to repel the acts of hostility which are continually directed against it. So long as the president is a government director, the attacks made upon the bank will to ordinary understanding be considered as made against the government. If, however, the stockholders should be at all tenacious on this point, they will find no obstacle to the gratification of their wishes on the part of the government.

As the commercial convention with France has been agreed upon, and as I understand that all the indemnity which will probably ever be obtained will have been obtained before you receive this letter, all inducement to a longer residence in France is at an end. Independent of the office to which I have referred, that of Governor of Pennsylvania will be disposed of next year. If you intend to engage in any way whatever in the concerns of this country after your return, I think you ought to be here during the next autumn. I believe there is no disposition in any party to re-elect Heister. The schismatics, who with Binns opposed Findlay at the last election, are desirous of uniting with their former friends in the next election. It is understood that they are desirous of bringing you forward; and I presume the great body of the party will meet them upon this subject. Ingham will be supported in caucus by those devoted to F.; but that, I believe, is only a small part of those who supported him in his last effort. Bryan, the late auditor, Lowry, and Lacock are spoken of; but no commitment has taken place, except by Ingham and his friends, who, it is understood, wish to connect that question with the election of Mr. Calhoun as President. The other gentlemen are understood to be decidedly opposed to the pretensions of the latter gentleman.

Edition: current; Page: [249]

Mr. de Neuville will be able to give you many details upon our local politics, with which he is pretty well acquainted.

The collision between the President and Senate upon certain military nominations has very much soured his mind, and given a direction to his actions which I conceive to be unfortunate for the nation as well as for himself. I hope, however, that a better state of feeling will, after the first irritation has passed off, be restored and cherished on both sides. The public seems to have taken less interest in this affair than I had expected. Two or three criticisms have appeared in the Intelligencer upon the conduct of the Senate; but they have attracted but little attention in any part of the Union.

The controversy which is going on between Mr. A. and R., and in which you are made a party, has attracted considerable notice, and will probably continue to command attention. You will readily perceive that the object of the party was less to injure Mr. A. than to benefit another, by placing him in a conspicuous point of view, and especially by showing that Western interests could not be safely trusted to persons residing in the Atlantic States.

I believe it is the wish of Mr. de Neuville that Count de Menou should remain here some time as chargé d’affaires, and perhaps eventually to succeed him. The Count desires it very much himself, and I believe no person more acceptable to the government could be sent. I understand that the President will write to you on this subject. I believe we are principally indebted for the commercial convention to the friendly disposition of Mr. de N. for this country. He has certainly had the arrangement of the difficulty much at heart, and I hope will continue to interpose his good offices to render permanent the provisional arrangement, with such modifications as experience may render necessary. If you can consistently with propriety further the views of those gentlemen upon this occasion, you will confer a particular obligation upon me.

My family have suffered much by bilious fever for the last twelve months. I have myself suffered much, and am now in a state of suffering from that cause. Through the whole spring we have had several of the family confined by it. To regain Edition: current; Page: [250] our wonted health I shall set out with my family for Georgia the 5th of next month, and shall not return before the 1st of October, when I hope to hear from you. Mr. Erving has lately returned, but brought me no letters. He is now in Boston.

Present my respects to Mrs. Gallatin and to the other members of your family, and accept the assurance of the sincere respect with which I have the honor to be your most obedient servant.

Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
10th July, 1822
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 222.

Sir,

In the hasty answer (No. 206) which I had the honor to make to your despatch No. 45, I briefly stated the reasons which had induced me to think that the view which I had presented to the French government of the case of the Apollo was not incompatible with that taken by you on the same subject. On a more attentive perusal of your despatch, I perceive that you also consider it as doubtful whether the ground which I had assumed could be maintained by the fact. I presume this must allude to the position which, in my letter of 28th June, 1821, to Mr. Pasquier, I had assigned to Bell’s River and to the pretended port of St. Joseph’s. This at least seems to me to be the only fact, not notorious, which is asserted in that letter. For the assumption that our jurisdiction was extended to that spot by the act of taking possession of Amelia Island and by the order of the Treasury of May, 1818, is only an inference from the presumed fact, an inference which may be erroneous, and must rest on the arguments adduced to support it.

With respect to the presumed position of Bell’s River I may have been mistaken, as I had no map where that stream was designated, and had never heard of it before. Yet I would not have ventured on the assertion on which the whole argument rested, had I not had the strongest reasons to believe it correct; and these I beg leave, in my own justification, to state.

Mr. Clarke, the consular agent at Savannah, in his letter of Edition: current; Page: [251] 14th September, 1820, to the collector of St. Mary’s, informs him that a Spanish port of entry is established on the west side of Bell’s River, an arm of St. Mary’s. In his private letter of 15th September (in possession of the government of the United States) he says that the port of St. Joseph’s lies on the west side of Bell’s River (an arm of St. Mary’s River), at Low’s plantation on the main, situated about midway between the town of Fernandina and St. Mary’s; entrance by St. Mary’s bar; a good depth of water up Bell’s River by the way of the harbor of Fernandina. In his letter of 29th September to A. Argote Villalobos, he pretends that the reason why the government of the United States had, after taking possession of Fernandina, compelled all vessels entering those waters to enter and clear at this customhouse, was because the Spanish government had no port of entry above; and, in the same letter, he alleges as a reason why there was no necessity to move the Apollo from Bell’s River, that the battery of Fernandina and four armed vessels in this harbor (St. Mary’s) might have stopped her departure to sea.

From these statements, made by Mr. Clarke himself, I thought it perfectly correct to state in my letter to Mr. Pasquier that “the spot where the Apollo was seized, and where she had proceeded after having anchored for some days opposite Fernandina, was higher up within the said harbor, on the southern side of St. Mary’s River, in an inlet of the same called Bell’s River, and about midway between the Spanish town of Fernandina and the American town of St. Mary’s.” It was the mouth or entrance of Bell’s River in that of St. Mary’s which I had understood Mr. Clarke, and which I intended to designate, as being midway between the two towns. This might have been expressed with more precision; but I transcribed Mr. Clarke’s expressions, and, however understood, it does not affect the argument.

Considering the fact as established that the pretended port of St. Joseph’s was situated on an arm or inlet of St. Mary’s River, above the town and fort of Fernandina, I attempted, in my letter to Mr. Pasquier, to prove from our possession of the only Spanish fortified place in the harbor, from the motives which had induced us to take possession, and from the order of the Treasury of May, 1818, that the United States had at that time taken actual possession Edition: current; Page: [252] of all the waters of St. Mary’s, and, amongst the rest, of the spot where the Apollo was seized. This was only an inference, and the argumentative part of the letter. But permit me to add an observation relative to the order of the Treasury.

It directs the collector to enforce the revenue laws upon all vessels entering the river St. Mary’s, without regard to the side of the river in which they may anchor, and declares that those which may thereafter arrive must be considered as within the jurisdiction of the United States and subjected to the revenue laws in every respect.

When the collector wrote on the 26th August, 1820, on the subject of the Apollo, that vessel was still anchored opposite the town of Fernandina; and I have always been at a loss to understand why he should have hesitated at that time to enforce the order with respect to her, a course which would have saved us the trouble of this discussion. But he added that it had been represented to him as the intention of the captain of the ship to proceed beyond the town of Fernandina, and further within the waters of the province.

The answer from the Treasury of the 9th September, 1820, was, that the Secretary of State had been consulted on the case of the French ship alluded to, and that he was of opinion that it was embraced by the Treasury instruction of May, 1818. The collector, on receipt of this answer, seized the ship in Bell’s River, where she had in the mean while proceeded.

As this answer of 9th September established no new principle, gave no new instructions, and only declared the case of the Apollo to be embraced by the former instructions of May, 1818; as the collector did not consider the removal of the ship to Bell’s River as altering the question, and as his conduct was approved, I naturally concluded that you had considered the original order of May, 1818, as embracing the case and authorizing the seizure; and, having taken myself precisely the same view of the subject, I thought that to enforce it by every argument in my power was not only not inconsistent with the ground you had taken, but, in fact, supporting that on which the seizure had been authorized. It is true that the ground I assumed was different from yours, in that you had not carried, in your correspondence Edition: current; Page: [253] with Mr. de Neuville, the consequences following from the possession of Amelia Island and from the order as far as I have, and in that I omitted resorting to arguments drawn from other sources, which you had already exhausted, and which I had reason to believe would not remove the irritation felt by this government. But I did not think that in so doing I had assumed a ground incompatible with that taken at Washington; and I still hope that you will find that there is no substantial disagreement between them.

I was the more anxious to support the position which I had assumed, because, however strong the reasons alleged in justification of the seizure, still, if it was conceded that it was made on a spot not previously in our possession, it was liable to be considered as a violation of foreign territory and of the rights of the nation whose vessel had been seized. That for acts of that nature reparation has been obtained may be proven by the transactions relative to the Nootka Sound affair in the year 1790. It will be seen by reference to the documents in that case that Great Britain, before she would enter into a discussion of the main question, insisted, and that Spain agreed, that satisfaction should be given for the injury complained of; and that injury was the detention of British vessels in a place over which Great Britain denied that Spain had jurisdiction. I know that distinctions may be drawn; nor do I pretend to say that in that instance England had the right to ask the satisfaction, or that the United States ought to follow the example given by Spain. But the fact might nevertheless be quoted by France as a precedent; and it appeared to me important to avoid, if possible, a discussion on the right of making a seizure on territory not within our previous possession and jurisdiction.

This letter was prepared early in February last, but I did not think it worth while to send it whilst my longer stay here and further connection with the discussion of the subject remained so uncertain.

I have the honor, &c.
Edition: current; Page: [254]
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
29th July, 1822
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 224.

Sir,

I had the honor to receive your despatches Nos. 48 and 49, together with the copy of the convention signed on the 24th ult. by Mr. de Neuville and yourself. The terms are more favorable to France than I had been led to presume would be acceded to, and than was hoped for by this government. Great satisfaction has been shown on receipt of the intelligence, and it is probable, from the anxiety previously evinced on the subject, that the present Ministry would have been disposed to agree to a greater reduction of the discriminating duties. I hope, however, that the superior activity of our ship-owners and seamen will enable us to stand the competition, and that the convention, having been signed, will be ratified.

The first separate article is entirely in favor of the French, and would seem to be a gratuitous and unnecessary concession, unless it has been intended to get rid of the legal questions which had arisen with respect to our right of requiring the extraordinary tonnage duty from French vessels which had arrived at New Orleans.

Although my first impression was against the second separate article, and its operation is doubtful, I incline to the opinion that it would, upon the whole, be favorable to us. But its execution will be difficult, at least here; and I understand that the French merchants of Havre are opposed to it and hope that it will not be ratified by this government.

Viscount Montmorency has, on my request, agreed to a conference for Thursday next on the subject of our claims; but, from the manner in which he spoke, I fear that further delays are intended.

I have the honor, &c.
Edition: current; Page: [255]
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
8th September, 1822
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 230.

Sir,

I had, on the 17th ult., written to Viscount Montmorency, and again, on the 31st, to Mr. de Villèle, on the subject of our reclamations, only to remind them that the late convention had removed the only cause assigned for delay. I received last night Mr. de Villèle’s note of the 3d, of which copy is enclosed. I am inclined to think that Mr. de Neuville has also represented that it was necessary to give us some satisfaction in that respect, but to what extent I cannot say; and I have been too often disappointed to entertain very sanguine hopes.

The indisposition alluded to in my note to Mr. de Villèle was a rheumatic pain, which has confined me for four weeks. I begin to walk, and hope to be able to go out in a few days. But that circumstance has prevented my urging verbally the subject and my obtaining any correct information of the real intentions of the Ministry.

I have the honor, &c.
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
24th September, 1822
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 233.

Sir,

I had yesterday a conference with Mr. de Villèle on the subject of our claims. He expressed his wish that a general arrangement might take place embracing all the subjects of discussion between the two countries; stated those to be, the reclamations of the United States for spoliations on their trade, those of France on account of Beaumarchais’ claim, and of the vessels captured on the coast of Africa, and the question arising under the Louisiana Treaty; and asked whether I was prepared to negotiate upon all those points. I answered that I was ready to discuss them all; but that I must object to uniting the Louisiana question to that of claims for indemnity, as they were essentially distinct, and as I thought that, after all that passed, we had a Edition: current; Page: [256] right to expect that no further obstacle should be thrown in the discussion of our claims by connecting it with subjects foreign to them. Mr. de Villèle appeared to acquiesce in that observation, and I then said that with respect to the reclamations of France, I had already answered, in my letter of the 13th of June last to Viscount Montmorency, that I was ready to take them into consideration, provided there was a perfect reciprocity both in point of time and as related to the nature of the claims; and that Beaumarchais’ claim arising from a contract, if that was taken up, all the claims of our citizens of the same nature must also be embraced by the arrangement which was contemplated. I added, that although my applications for indemnity had heretofore been only for cases of spoliations contrary to the law of nations, yet the claims arising from contracts were numerous, and I mentioned those for supplies to St. Domingo during Le Clerc’s expedition, all of which had, by an arbitrary act of Bonaparte, been cut down to one-third part of the original amount.

Mr. de Villèle said that he had thought that the proper distinction to be made on both sides was, whether redress might be obtained before courts of justice or not, and that those claims alone ought to be embraced by an arrangement between the two governments in which such remedy could not be had. He then said that, as a difference of opinion might be expected in many cases between the commissioners to whom the business might be referred, it would be necessary to provide means for an ultimate decision in such cases, and asked (what he well knew) what means had been resorted to for that purpose in our arrangements with other nations on similar subjects.

On the last point I answered that we had either provided that an additional commissioner should be drawn by lot, or that the subject should be referred to a foreign sovereign selected by mutual consent; and Mr. de Villèle at once said that the last was by far the most eligible mode, and that the sovereign ought to be selected and named at the time of making the arrangement, without waiting for the contingency under which it might become necessary to appeal to him.

As to the distinction he had suggested, I observed that I could Edition: current; Page: [257] easily see how it would apply in relation to French claims; that the principle adopted in the United States was that no suit could be brought against them, but that all their agents or officers might be sued for damages without the authorization of the Administration; and that, according to that principle, the heirs of Beaumarchais could not, and the owners of the vessels captured on the coast of Africa might, obtain redress before the ordinary tribunals. But I could not accede to the proposal, because a great portion of our claims was for indemnities in cases where the tribunals had already condemned the property by virtue or under color of decrees violating the law of nations, our application in those cases being founded on the injustice of the decrees themselves. It might be that for that very reason those claims might, even with the distinction suggested, be considered as not excluded; but this was doubtful, and I was unable to judge how that distinction would generally apply to the claims of the citizens of the United States. Mr. de Villèle said that it was impossible that France should consent to pay for the property which had been actually condemned. I replied that it was equally impossible that the government of the United States should consent to abandon the claim; and that since there was such difference of opinion in that respect, it was precisely one of the cases in which a reference to a third party would become necessary.

Mr. de Villèle then said that it was his intention to propose to the King to appoint Mr. de Neuville to negotiate with me on the subject. I answered that I was ready to open the discussion with any person the King might be pleased to appoint for that purpose, and that certainly no one could be more agreeable than Mr. de Neuville; but that I thought it most eligible that the Cabinet and myself should, in the first place, agree on some general basis; that, after having left my application unanswered during six years, it appeared to me that we were entitled to something more than the notice of the appointment of a person to treat; that we expected, and in fact had asked, a decisive answer; and that I disliked every proposal which had the appearance of adding further delays to that which had already taken place. Mr. de Villèle disclaimed any intention of that Edition: current; Page: [258] kind; declared his inability, from want of time and of knowledge of the subject, to investigate it and to agree to any preliminary basis, and ended the conference by saying that he would, however, converse with Mr. de Neuville and request him to confer with me before he proceeded to an official appointment.

I have the honor, &c.
Jefferson
Jefferson
October 29, 1822
Monticello
Gallatin
Gallatin

JEFFERSON TO GALLATIN.

Dear Sir,

After a long silence, I salute you with affection. The weight of eighty years pressing heavily on me, with a wrist and fingers almost without joints, I write as little as possible, because I do it with pain and labor. I retain, however, still the same affection for my friends, and especially for my ancient colleagues, which I ever did, and the same wishes for their happiness. Your treaty has been received here with universal gladness. It was indeed a strange quarrel, like that of two pouting lovers, and a pimp filching both; it was nuts for England. When I liken them to lovers, I speak of the people, not of their governments. Of the cordial love of one of these the Holy Alliance may know more than I do. I will confine myself to our own affairs. You have seen in our papers how prematurely they are agitating the question of the next President. This proceeds from some uneasiness at the present state of things. There is considerable dissatisfaction with the increase of the public expenses, and especially with the necessity of borrowing money in time of peace. This was much arraigned at the last session of Congress, and will be more so at the next. The misfortune is that the persons most looked to as successors in the government are of the President’s Cabinet; and their partisans in Congress are making a handle of these things to help or hurt those for or against whom they are. The candidates, ins and outs, seem at present to be many; but they will be reduced to two, a Northern and Southern one, as usual: to Edition: current; Page: [259] judge of the event the state of parties must be understood. You are told, indeed, that there are no longer parties among us; that they are all now amalgamated; the lion and the lamb lie down together in peace. Do not believe a word of it. The same parties exist now as ever did. No longer, indeed, under the name of Republicans and Federalists. The latter name was extinguished in the battle of Orleans. Those who wore it, finding monarchism a desperate wish in this country, are rallying to what they deem the next best point, a consolidated government. Although this is not yet avowed (as that of monarchism, you know, never was), it exists decidedly, and is the true key to the debates in Congress, wherein you see many calling themselves Republicans and preaching the rankest doctrines of the old Federalists. One of the prominent candidates is presumed to be of this party; the other a Republican of the old school, and a friend to the barrier of State rights, as provided by the Constitution against the danger of consolidation, which danger was the principal ground of opposition to it at its birth. Pennsylvania and New York will decide this question. If the Missouri principle mixes itself in the question, it will go one way; if not, it may go the other. Among the smaller motives, hereditary fears may alarm on one side, and the long line of local nativities on the other. In this division of parties the judges are true to their ancient vocation of sappers and miners.

Our University of Virginia, my present hobby, has been at a stand for a twelvemonth past for want of funds. Our last Legislature refused everything. The late elections give better hopes of the next. The institution is so far advanced that it will force itself through. So little is now wanting that the first liberal Legislature will give it its last lift. The buildings are in a style of purely classical architecture, and, although not yet finished, are become an object of visit to all strangers. Our intention is that its professors shall be of the first order in their respective lines which can be procured on either side of the Atlantic. Sameness of language will probably direct our applications chiefly to Edinburgh.

I place some letters under the protection of your cover. You will be so good as to judge whether that addressed to Lodi will Edition: current; Page: [260] go more safely through the public mail or by any of the diplomatic couriers, liable to the curiosity and carelessness of public officers. Accept the assurances of my constant and affectionate friendship and respect.

Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
13th November, 1822
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 236.

Sir,

Mr. Hyde de Neuville called on me some days after my conference with Mr. de Villèle, and I am sorry to say that his conversation was very unsatisfactory. He said that he did not consider the present government as bound to pay the American claims arising from Bonaparte’s aggressions and decrees, and that any indemnity which might be made on that account must be considered as an act of generosity. He rejected altogether the supposition that this indemnity if made could extend to cases where a condemnation had taken place. And when speaking of the remaining cases, those of sequestration without condemnation, he insisted that for the vessels given up by Holland our recourse must be against that government, although the proceeds had been placed in the treasury of France, and that with respect to the St. Sebastian cases, the application of the claimants to the commissioners appointed to decide on the claims under our treaty with Spain was a bar against their presumed right to demand payment from France. He dwelt at the same time on the injustice on the part of the United States in not paying Beaumarchais, and on the wrongs sustained by France in the Florida seizures and in the capture of vessels on the coast of Africa. I saw clearly, upon the whole, that his return to France and his influence on our affairs must have the most unfavorable effect on our application for indemnity. I will not trouble you with the observations which I made in answer, as the ground taken and the arguments I have already used are familiar to you.

I concluded that the only chance of success was to wait for the return from Verona of Viscount Montmorency, and avoided pressing for any definitive step on the part of this government. But I received on the 8th instant a letter of Mr. de Villèle of Edition: current; Page: [261] the 6th, copy of which is enclosed, together with that of my answer of the 12th.1

There is no doubt that the attempt to blend the discussion respecting the claims with that concerning the construction of the 8th Article of the Louisiana Treaty is intended to postpone, if not to defeat, the first object. It must have been presumed that I could not have powers on the Louisiana question, and that in case I had, they could not be such as to authorize me to acquiesce in the construction contended for by France. From the tenor of the letter, as well as from other circumstances, I am inclined to think that government will persevere in insisting that the two subjects should be united in the same negotiation. I had received a suggestion to that effect from a respectable quarter, and I beg leave also to refer to the semi-official article in the Journal des Débats of the 8th instant, observing that that paper is considered as the organ of Mr. de Villèle’s sentiments.

It will now remain for the President to decide whether it is proper to send me powers on the subject of the Louisiana Treaty, and, in that case, whether it is for the interest of the United States to purchase the annullation of the 8th Article. That this government mean to make their claim under it an offset against the just demands of our citizens is obvious to me. Yet, as I may be mistaken, and as a change of Ministry or some unforeseen circumstances may unexpectedly give an opportunity of making an arrangement, I beg leave again to refer to the several letters in which I have applied for instructions on that subject. I must also observe that, although my powers authorize me to provide by convention for the just claims of French subjects against the United States, I have no instruction whatever on that point. The only French claims within my knowledge are those already mentioned, Beaumarchais’, the vessels seized in the waters of St. Mary’s River, and those captured by Captain Stockton.

I have the honor, &c.
Edition: current; Page: [262]
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
13th November, 1822
Paris
Monroe
Monroe

GALLATIN TO MONROE.

With respect to my longer stay here, I entertain a just sense of your partiality and kind feelings towards me; and I may add that so far as I am personally concerned the station is not only highly honorable, but more agreeable than any other public employment which [I] might fill. But considerations connected with my children and with my private affairs imperiously require my presence in America at least for some months. Under those circumstances I will, with your permission, return next spring, but take leave here as only going with leave of absence. I would probably be ready to return here in the autumn, and take care that the public interest should not in the mean while suffer. Mr. Sheldon is indeed fully equal to the task of managing all the current affairs of the mission, and France has given us the example of leaving a chargé for a short time. But this must not by any means prevent you from filling the place at once on my return if you think it proper. I will only thank you to let me know your intention in that respect as soon as possible after the receipt of this letter.

Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
19th November, 1822
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 237.

Sir,

I received last night, and have the honor to enclose, a copy of Mr. de Villèle’s answer (dated 15th instant) to my letter of the 12th. You will perceive that, without taking any notice of the reasons I had urged why a distinct negotiation should be immediately opened on the subject of the claims against both governments, he insists that this shall be treated in connection with the question respecting the construction of the 8th Article of the Louisiana Treaty. The object is too obvious to require any comments on my part, and this final decision leaves me no other course than to refer the whole to my government.

I have the honor, &c.
Edition: current; Page: [263]
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
5th January, 1823
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 241.

Sir,

I had, after his return from Verona, a conversation with the Duke of Montmorency on our claims. I complained in strong terms of the decision taken by Mr. de Villèle, and said that his insisting to connect that subject with the discussion respecting the construction of the 8th Article of the Louisiana Treaty would be considered in the United States as an attempt to avoid altogether the payment of the indemnities due to our citizens. I then stated that the reluctance evinced by the government of France to make a general arrangement on that subject had induced the President to authorize me to make a separate application for the Antwerp claims; that what had now taken place afforded an additional proof of the difficulties which stood in the way of a general transaction; and that, whilst this seemed to be indefinitely postponed, I hoped that the special application would at least be attended to and receive a favorable decision.

The Duke, after some general observations on the earnest desire of France that all the subjects of difference between the two countries should be definitively arranged, and declaring that this was the only motive for insisting on a negotiation embracing all those points, said that to take up at this time any special claim appeared to him inconsistent with the official communication made to me by Mr. de Villèle, and that we must wait at least till I had received an answer from my government, to whom I must of course have transmitted the correspondence. He promised, however, to lay my request before the King’s council, but without giving me any expectation that it would be favorably received.

It is probable that even this has been prevented by the Duke’s resignation, which took place a few days after our conversation; and I think it quite useless to renew at this time the application to his successor, Mr. de Chateaubriand. I will therefore wait till I receive your instructions in answer to my several despatches on this subject.

I have the honor, &c.
Edition: current; Page: [264]
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
18th January, 1823
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 244.

Sir,

On the return of the Duke of Montmorency from Verona, I had a preparatory conversation with him on the subject of the slave-trade, and promised to send him the copy of our laws prohibiting it. He resigned a few days after, and I have the honor to enclose the copy of a letter written this day to his successor, and accompanying the laws in question.

I found this rather a delicate subject. You are aware that the opinion generally prevails here that Great Britain, having taken care to provide her West India colonies with an ample supply of slaves during the years that preceded her act abolishing the trade, is not altogether disinterested in the earnestness with which she endeavors to enforce the prohibition in other countries; that she is not sorry that the growth and prosperity of the colonies of other nations, where the inequality between the sexes amongst the blacks prevents an immediate natural increase, should be checked by the impossibility of obtaining a sufficient number of cultivators. But it is the national pride which has principally been wounded by the manner in which the abolition of the slave-trade took place in France. It was not an act of their own, unless that passed by Bonaparte during the hundred days be considered as such, but the condition of the treaty of peace with England, and is considered as one of those imposed by a victorious enemy. The right this has given to Great Britain to interfere in a domestic concern, the perpetual though well-founded representations made by her minister of the infractions of the law, have a tendency to irritate, and have rendered the country, if not the Ministry, peculiarly susceptible on that subject. This will account for the manner in which I have deemed proper to treat it, to which must be added our own refusal to agree to the proposal of England to admit the reciprocal right of capture and the trial by a mixed commission.

There can be but little hope that our own representation will at this time produce any effect. Independent of the causes already assigned, the colonial interest, which, from ancient recollections Edition: current; Page: [265] and its connections with the noblesse and the commercial cities, is yet much stronger than might be expected, still entertains chimerical hopes respecting St. Domingo, is at bottom in favor of the slave-trade, and will, I think, prevent the men now in power from doing anything efficient.

I beg leave to take this opportunity of repeating a suggestion which, before I was officially connected with the subject, I had submitted in a private letter to the President.

Would not the objection to the proposal of Great Britain be considerably lessened if, by the proposed agreement, the captors (whether British or American) were bound, 1st, not to take any part of the crew from the captured vessel; 2dly, to send such vessel and crew for trial to the country under whose flag she sailed, and where they would be tried exclusively by the courts and according to the laws and forms of proceeding of their own country?

I have the honor, &c.

P.S.—January 22d. I have this moment received, and have the honor to enclose the copy of, the answer from Mr. de Chateaubriand to my letter to him of the 18th instant.

Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
27th February, 1823
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 250.

Sir,

I had designedly abstained from answering Mr. de Villèle’s letter of the 15th of November in order to be able to avail myself of any change in the Ministry, or of any other favorable circumstance which might arise. The more I have reflected on the ground assumed by this government on the subject of our claims, and on the attempt to connect their discussion with the question arising under the 8th Article of the Louisiana Treaty, the more I have felt satisfied that it was impossible that the United States should depart from the true construction of that article and acquiesce in that contended for by France, and that a renewed discussion on that subject would Edition: current; Page: [266] be unprofitable and lead to no result whatever. As a last but, I believe, unavailing effort, I have concluded to express that conviction to the French government, and have accordingly addressed this day to Mr. de Chateaubriand the letter of which I have the honor to enclose a copy.1

I have no doubt that there is not at this time any disposition to do us justice, and that if we were even to make some concessions with respect to the article above mentioned, we could not succeed in making an arrangement on the subject of the claims satisfactory to the parties, or such as the government of the United States would feel justified to accept. With that view of the subject, it appears to me evident that it is less disadvantageous to let the question rest for the present as it is than to entangle ourselves by consenting to blend it with the discussion of the Louisiana Treaty; whilst, on the other hand, the communication of this determination coming from me, before any specific instructions can have been received from you, is less peremptory than if founded on those instructions, does not commit government, and leaves the United States at liberty to resume at a more favorable time the negotiation on the ground which may then appear most eligible.

Independent of unforeseen circumstances which may alter the dispositions of this government, I can perceive but one mode calculated to produce some effect. It is that the parties interested should petition Congress, and that there should be some marked expression of the sentiments of that body in their favor. The apathy of the great mass of the claimants, and the silence preserved in that respect during so many years in all our public discussions, have undoubtedly produced here the impression that very little interest was felt on that subject, and in some degree contributed in rendering our efforts to obtain justice unavailing.

I have the honor, &c.
Edition: current; Page: [267]
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
28th February, 1823
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

Dear Sir,

There not being at this time the least prospect of a settlement of our claims, I do not perceive any reason connected with the public service for protracting my stay in this country. I will terminate as far as this government will allow what relates to the fisheries, although I would have wished to hear from you on the subject; and some heavy losses I have experienced at home, as well as certain family circumstances, imperiously requiring my presence there, it is my intention, if nothing new and important of a public nature shall take place, to take my departure in the course of the spring. I had already written a private letter on that subject to the President, to which I had hoped to have received an answer before this time, and in which I had asked only for leave of absence. But, this being an unusual course, it may be better at once to appoint a successor, and I wish it to be done. If the President shall think it more eligible to wait for the meeting of the Senate, you know that Mr. Sheldon is fully competent to carry on the current business, and I believe him equally so to act on any incident that may arise. As to the still uncertain war with Spain, nothing can possibly be necessary here on our part than perhaps some remonstrance in case of infractions of our neutral rights. There is no disposition on the part of France to commit acts of that kind; and that subject is also quite familiar to Mr. Sheldon.

I have, &c.
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
18th April, 1823
Paris
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

No. 257.

Sir,

I had the honor to receive your despatch No. 55, and intend to avail myself of the leave of absence granted by the President, and to take my departure in about a month, leaving Mr. Sheldon as chargé d’affaires.

I beg you to express my thanks to the President, but to repeat Edition: current; Page: [268] that it is not my wish that another appointment should be delayed on my account, if deemed useful.

I have the honor, &c.
Crawford
Crawford
26th May, 1823
Washington
Gallatin
Gallatin

CRAWFORD TO GALLATIN.

My dear Sir,

Your letter of the 27th of September last was received some time in December thereafter, and is the [last] letter I have had from you.

Some time in December I understood you had applied for leave of absence, and shortly after was informed that it had been granted.

In the latter end of April the President showed me a private letter from you, dated in the early part of March, in which you declare your determination to leave France the 10th of this month; and a few days afterwards I was informed that Mr. Adams had requested you to remain. I understand that this request had been made in consequence of the expected rupture between France and Spain. It would therefore appear that the reasons you assigned for believing your presence at Paris would be useless have not been considered good by the Secretary of State. To me they appeared conclusive when I read the letter, and reflection has only confirmed my first impressions. It is not pretended that the war with Spain will favor the efforts which have for twelve years past been made without success to procure indemnity for unjust spoliations committed upon our merchants. Infractions of our neutral rights must then be apprehended before a successor could be sent. The interest of France to strip Great Britain of an excuse to interfere in the war is the best guaranty that can be offered for her scrupulous respect for neutral rights. All that an American minister can do during the present year at Paris will be to give information of what is going on, and speculate upon what may possibly be done in the progress of the war. If the Secretary was at Paris, or if his protégé, Mr. Edition: current; Page: [269] Everett, was there, the curiosity of the government to grasp at future events would have ample gratification. I do not know Mr. Sheldon well enough to form an opinion of his capacity to minister to this propensity of man, but I presume he would supply it with as much, if not as delicate, food as it would receive from you:

Some of the little people who buzz about the government have, I understand, been very busy in the expression of their opinions that the change of relations between France and Spain renders highly important that you should remain. The people have had their cue, and repeat their lesson by rote, for if they were capable of reasoning themselves, they would see the folly of their declarations. It is impossible that reflecting men, whose judgments are not led astray by some strong impression resulting from selfish purposes, can believe that it is of any importance to have a minister at Paris at this moment.

The reason, then, assigned for this request is not the true one. That must be sought not in Paris, but in the United States. You will understand it as well as I do, upon a moment’s reflection. Your presence in the United States during the present year may not suit the views and projects of certain gentlemen; it is therefore necessary to devise some cause for keeping you at Paris. It is possible that if Mr. Rush was disposed to return, some cause connected with the rupture between France and Spain would be discovered to render his stay in London necessary. As that gentleman, however, has written a number of letters to his friends in Pennsylvania, which may have an effect somewhat similar to that which is apprehended from your return, it is possible that it may facilitate his return.

I have written this letter under an impression that the request of Mr. Adams may arrive at Paris before you leave it. Your friends are desirous of your return, and will be disappointed if you do not. I have understood that Mr. Astor has received a letter from you as late as the 17th ult., which is indicative of your intention to return; but Mr. Astor thinks you will not, and that you ought not. He is probably governed in this opinion by his interests and wishes. If you do not return in the Montano, which, it is now said, will not sail before the 20th of this Edition: current; Page: [270] month, he will see you before this letter reaches you, as I shall confide it to the care of Mr. Erving, who, it is understood, will not sail until the arrival of the Montano.

Your friends Lacock and Roberts are very decided on the question which now attracts the attention of the nation. Indeed, there are but few exceptions among your old political associates. Many of them, unfortunately, are no more, and new men have filled their places: the new-comers, however, have a high respect for your character, talents, and opinions, and wish to see and converse with you upon this question.

Mr. Macon, to whom I presented yours and Mrs. Gallatin’s respects, begged me to assure you both, in my next letter, of his undiminished friendship and affection.

Present my respects to her and to the other members of your family, and accept the assurance of the sincere regard with which I remain

Yours, &c.
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
24th June, 1823
New York
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

Sir,

I arrived here this morning, after a passage of thirty-four days from Havre. Nothing had taken place at the time of my departure which altered our relations with France. In a conference with Mr. de Chateaubriand on the 13th ult., I complained of the want of disposition evinced by France to arrange the subjects of difference between the two countries, and of the manner in which the question had been treated by her government, and by him in particular. It is unnecessary to repeat to you what was said on the subject of the American claims; but I dwelt on his last letter to me respecting the fisheries, and told him that if he intended to preserve an amicable understanding with the United States, he must answer the arguments used in support of their claims, instead of simply saying that they did not alter his view of the subject, and, above all, suspend every act of aggression pending the discussion. I also adverted to his not having given any explanation on the subject of the second Edition: current; Page: [271] separate article of the commercial convention, and observed generally that that apparent determination on the part of the French government to avoid every discussion had an unfriendly and offensive aspect, which could not fail ultimately to produce an unfavorable effect on our relations. What I said seemed to produce at least some momentary effect, and Mr. de Chateaubriand sent me, two days after our interview, the enclosed letters for Count de Menou, which may perhaps contain some instructions arising from that conversation. You need not, however, expect anything beyond words, or that justice shall be done in any respect. With respect to the fisheries, although France may abstain from positive aggression, and of this I have no assurances, she will again act as formerly unless fully satisfied that the government of the United States will resist.

I did not leave Mr. de Chateaubriand without adverting to the affairs of Spain. That our sympathies were entirely on her side, and that we considered the war made on her by France as unjust, I did not pretend to conceal; but I added that the United States would undoubtedly preserve their neutrality, provided it was respected, and avoid every interference with the politics of Europe. Even in the questions connected with South America they had not interfered, and, although their wishes were not doubtful, they had neither excited nor assisted the Spanish colonies. But I had every reason to believe that, on the other hand, they would not suffer others to interfere against the emancipation of America. If France was successful in her attack on Spain, and afterwards attempted either to take possession of some of her colonies or to assist her in reducing them under their former yoke, I was of opinion that the United States would oppose every undertaking of this kind, and it might force them into an alliance with Great Britain. Mr. de Chateaubriand answered in the most explicit manner that France would not make any attempt whatever of that kind or in any manner interfere in the American questions. If he was sincere, he must have received some hint from the British government similar to mine; for you may recollect the declaration that the armies and fleets of France would be at the disposal of Spain whenever Ferdinand was restored to his former power.

Edition: current; Page: [272]

I have spoken in the same manner and as explicitly on that subject to the ambassador of Russia; and I added that the Spanish colonies might remain such as long as it suited them, but that if not Spanish colonies they must be altogether independent, and that we would not consider the establishment of a Bourbon or other European prince in Mexico or Peru as tantamount to independence. Let them choose their own forms of government, provided they were free of any foreign influence whatever. I took the opportunity to speak of Russian America, and to observe how contrary to sound policy it was to attempt to extend settlements in that remote quarter without any real national advantage and without the means of protecting them in case of rupture with any maritime power. General Pozzo di Borgo seemed to coincide with me in opinion on both points. I think that he fears that the part taken by Great Britain in the Spanish affairs may have a tendency to unite us with her. As the avowal of his opinion in favor of the Greeks had nearly cost him his place, he is more cautious even with me than formerly; he has, however, told me that the change in the Emperor’s opinions must be ascribed to the murders of the Duke of Berry and of Kotzebue. This last act particularly, connected with Sand’s character and the almost justification by German professors, had produced a powerful effect on his mind.

The resistance made in Catalonia, and the last movements of Mina, the result of which was not yet known, had produced some sensation. Any check in any part of the extended French line would produce a great effect on both sides and probably compel the invaders to retreat. I think, however, that they will go as far as Madrid and try to negotiate. The British government is undoubtedly using unremitted endeavors in France and in Spain to effect that object.

It is my intention to be at Washington, on my way to the Western country, in about three weeks.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, sir, your most obedient and very humble servant.

Edition: current; Page: [273]
Jefferson
Jefferson
August 2, 1823
Monticello
Gallatin
Gallatin

JEFFERSON TO GALLATIN.

Dear Sir,

A recent illness, from which I am just recovering, obliges me to borrow the pen of a granddaughter to acknowledge the receipt of your welcome favor of June 29, from New York. I read it with great satisfaction. Occasional views, to be relied on, of the complicated affairs of Europe are like a good observation at sea, which tells one where they are, after wandering with the newspapers till they are bewildered. I keep my eye on the cortes as my index, and judge of everything by their position and proceedings. I do not readily despair of Spain. Their former example proved them, and the cause is the same,—their constitutional cortes and king. At any rate, I despair not of Europe. The advance of mind which has taken place everywhere cannot retrograde, and the advantages of representative government exhibited in England and America, and recently in other countries, will procure its establishment everywhere in a more or less perfect form; and this will insure the amelioration of the condition of the world. It will cost years of blood, and will be well worth them.

Here you will not immediately see into our political condition, which you once understood so well. It is not exactly what it seems to be. You will be told that parties are now all amalgamated; the wolf now dwells with the lamb, and the leopard lies down with the kid. It is true that Federalism has changed its name and hidden itself among us. Since the Hartford Convention it is deemed even by themselves a name of reproach. In some degree, too, they have varied their object. To monarchize this nation they see is impossible; the next best thing in their view is to consolidate it into one government as a premier pas to monarchy. The party is now as strong as it ever has been since 1800; and, though mixed with us, are to be known by their rallying together on every question of power in the general government. The judges, as before, are at their head, and are their entering wedge. Young men are more easily seduced into this principle than the old one of monarchy. But you will soon see Edition: current; Page: [274] into this disguise. Your visit to this place would indeed be a day of jubilee: but your age and distance forbid the hope. Be this as it will, I shall love you forever, and rejoice in your rejoicing, and sympathize in your evils. God bless you and have you ever in his holy keeping!

Monroe
Monroe
October 15, 1823
Oak Hill, Virginia
Gallatin
Gallatin

MONROE TO GALLATIN.

Dear Sir,

The state of our affairs with France having become more unfavorable since your return home, makes it very important that we should be represented there by a minister of the first grade employed by the United States, and of most weight, as soon as it may be practicable. In addition to former difficulties, her government has formally rejected our right to the fisheries in the Strait of Belle Isle, in regard to Newfoundland, as contended for by you, and warned a frigate from entering Cadiz with a minister sent to a government with whom she treats, and which is of course recognized by herself. The general doctrine also contended for by her government in entering and making war on Spain cannot be acquiesced in, and may require notice both here and there. It would be very gratifying to me, as I am satisfied it would be to the public, if you could resume your station, if it were only for the winter, so as to meet the present crisis. I have taken no step in regard to a successor, in the hope that you might return, of which be so kind as to inform me as soon as convenient after the receipt of this.

With great respect and regard, I am, dear sir, yours.
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
26th October, 1823
New Geneva
Monroe
Monroe

GALLATIN TO MONROE.

Dear Sir,

Our mail is so slow and irregular that your letter of the 15th reached me only this day. I had already Edition: current; Page: [275] stated that the situation of my affairs rendered my return to Europe extremely improbable. I have found them still more complex and deranged than I had expected, and it is, at all events, impossible that I should return this winter. This would have been communicated to you before now, had I not understood, on leaving Washington, that you would appoint a successor the moment you thought the public service required it, without taking the trouble of writing to me on the subject. It was at least my intention and wish that it should be so.

It would be gratifying to the people of America, and refreshing to the friends of liberty in Europe, to hear the President of the United States publicly reproving the principle of the Spanish war; the only objection is that we have been heretofore silent on similar occasions,—on the aggressions of Europe against republican France, on the invasion by France of Switzerland, Spain, &c.

I expect to have the pleasure of seeing you about the middle of November, as I intend to call at Washington for the purpose of settling my accounts. I remain, in the mean while, with great respect and regard, dear sir, yours.

Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
February 11, 1824
Baltimore
Chandler Price
Price, Chandler

GALLATIN TO CHANDLER PRICE, AND OTHERS.

Gentlemen,

I had the honor to receive your polite letter of the 4th instant, and am gratified to find that my endeavors to obtain justice for our fellow-citizens, though unsuccessful, have met with your approbation. The object of my last visit to Washington was to point out those parts of my correspondence with my own government the publishing of which at this time might, in my opinion, have been prejudicial to the interest of the claimants. They consisted of statements of conversations with the French Ministers, in which objections were made by them and answered by me, some of which at least may not be renewed or officially brought forth; of communications of some secret decrees of Bonaparte, which might be urged against some Edition: current; Page: [276] of the claims, but which are not perhaps known to the present French government, and which, at all events, they have been heretofore unable or ashamed to produce; and of informal suggestions for the settlement of our demands, or of my own opinion, given at several times, of the prospect of success to the different classes of claimants, and of the most practicable means to obtain partial redress or to make a general arrangement. As it may, however, be useful to you in the further prosecution of the claims to have some information on the subject, I will try to give it as far as can be done in the compass of a letter.

The principal objections urged verbally and inofficially against the claims were, 1st, that in the conventions imposed on France by the allied powers for indemnities to their subjects, no claim was included of the same description with ours. To this objection I thought it safe and proper to make an official answer, which will be found in the correspondence communicated to Congress; and it has since appeared that in one instance at least (the claim of Fillietaz) a part of one of our own claims has been deemed by the government of the Netherlands to be embraced by the said conventions, and has accordingly been paid. Vessels burnt at sea have also been provided for by those treaties; but, upon the whole, so small a portion of our claims would be embraced by the stipulations in favor of the subjects of the allied powers, that it will be found safer, except in special cases, to rely on the general answer which I first gave.

2dly. That, in similar and cotemporaneous cases, we had obtained no indemnities from England and Naples. Independent of the obvious and general answer that an unjust refusal from those powers did not lessen our claim on France or justify her in pursuing the same course, I observed, with respect to England, that we had actually sought redress against her by war; that, although unable to obtain it by the treaty of peace, we had, by a cotemporaneous declaration, preserved our rights, and had never abandoned them; that it was true that they were nevertheless impaired by the resort to war, whilst the reverse was the fact with respect to France; and finally, that a very considerable, indeed the greater, portion of our claims on France were either for sequestrations without trial or for condemnations by Edition: current; Page: [277] improper authorities (imperial decisions), instead of a trial by the ordinary tribunal in conformity with existing treaties, or for seizures under decrees executed suddenly and without previous notice, or to which a retrospective effect had been given, and in some cases (Antwerp) made although no existing decree could be applied to them; whilst the decrees of England, however unjust and in violation of the law of nations, had at least always been accompanied with proper notice of the time when they would be put in force, had never received a retrospective construction, and had uniformly been carried into effect by the ordinary and previously established courts of admiralty. With respect to Naples, after stating that we had not abandoned our claim on that government and that we considered the ground assumed by it as untenable, I said that the reason assigned by the Neapolitan Ministry for their refusal was such as could not and would not be alleged by France. The reason thus assigned was that the King of the Two Sicilies had never been dethroned, and had, during the whole contest, maintained undisturbed possession of an important part of his dominions (Sicily) and waged constant war against the invaders of the other part; that the possession of his continental dominions by the enemy could, therefore, be only considered as a military occupation, and not as an established government de facto, any more, and for the same reason, than that of Joseph Bonaparte in Spain, which we had never recognized; and that he, the King of the Two Sicilies, having ultimately gained possession of his whole kingdom, was no more responsible for the outrages committed against neutrals by the invaders than he would have been if they had been perpetrated by any enemy whatever that happened to gain possession of part of the country for the period of a single campaign. And it was evident that this argument, such as it was, was wholly inapplicable to the situation of France, to Napoleon, who had for so many years been in the full and undisturbed possession of all its territories, and had been recognized as her sovereign by all the powers of Europe and of the civilized world.

3dly. That the present government of France was not bound to make compensation in cases which had been finally adjudged under Bonaparte’s reign; a position which embraced all the cases Edition: current; Page: [278] of condemnation, and which, as already known to you, it was attempted to extend to all our claims (vessels burnt at sea only excepted) by giving a false construction to the order for transferring the proceeds of sales of sequestered property to the treasury, and pretending that that order was tantamount to a condemnation. This last attempt has been repelled, and will not probably be renewed; but the ground that the actual condemnations are final will certainly be taken. It is obvious enough that when we ask redress from a government and not from their tribunals for injuries arising from flagrant violations of the law of nations, it is preposterous to refuse it because the injury has been consummated, the capture, trial, and condemnation under unlawful decrees being all parts of the same system, to which the final process and decision can give no sanction. The principle, absurd as it is, will nevertheless be maintained, because the French government can avow it without fear of the public opinion in France revolting against it, since it has been uniformly adhered to with respect to their own subjects; the most just claims of French subjects against their own government having, I believe, without exception, been rejected if there had been a decision against them under Bonaparte, or if barred by some of his very unjust acts of limitation. It is proper here to advert to those secret decrees of Bonaparte which have been or may be construed into acts of condemnation and add to the mass of claims attempted to be excluded under this head. Two of these decrees only have come to my knowledge, but there may be more in reserve. The first is the order already alluded to, by virtue of which the proceeds of sales of sequestered property were transferred from the sinking fund to the treasury. Of the existence of that decree the French government is certain, since without it the money could not have been paid, as it actually was, into the treasury; but the men in power, not knowing that it was to be found in, and was only one of the clauses of, a long decree or imperial budget (a species of supplementary appropriation law by which Bonaparte used to enact in council when those of the legislative body proved insufficient), and thinking that it was a distinct act for that special purpose, have not heretofore been able to produce or indeed to discover the text. It is simply Edition: current; Page: [279] an order for the payment into the treasury of the moneys arising from the sales of the American property seized at Antwerp, of that sold at Bayonne (St. Sebastian’s, &c., seizures), and of the American vessels delivered by Holland to France in consequence of a special unpublished treaty; which moneys, together with certain other funds, are by the decree appropriated to defray the additional expenses provided for by the budget. The other secret decree is of a cotemporaneous date with the official communication to Mr. Armstrong that the Berlin and Milan decrees would be revoked on certain conditions in the month of November next ensuing; it embraces all the vessels and cargoes seized in France or in the dominions of her allies subsequent to May, 1809; or, in other words, all the sequestered American property with the exception of that seized in Antwerp; and, under pretence of retaliation, it directs a disposition of the proceeds in terms not amounting to condemnation but susceptible of being so construed. This decree may not be known to the present French government, or they may be ashamed to avail themselves of such a mean and perfidious act; certain it is that it has never been alluded to. It was sent to me from a private but authentic source, and was sent through mistake instead of another document. I have no copy of it, but left one in the archives of the American mission at Paris, and sent one to the Department of State.

4thly. That the seizures at St. Sebastian’s and in Holland were avowedly made in retaliation of the Act of Congress of March, 1809. The fact that such was the pretence set up by Bonaparte cannot be denied; and he never abandoned that ground; at least, it will be found that in the last letter from his Minister of Foreign Affairs to Mr. Armstrong the determination is expressed to try those cases according to the law of retaliation. This ground may probably be taken by the present government of France, but, not having been distinctly avowed, no opportunity offered to discuss it. The answer will be found in the well-established principle that the law of retaliation cannot go beyond its avowed object,—that of obtaining redress for the injury actually sustained, and in the following facts, viz.: 1st, that the Act of Congress complained of was nothing more Edition: current; Page: [280] than a prohibition to import French or English merchandise, or to admit in our ports French or English vessels, accompanied by the usual clause of forfeiture (as in all other revenue laws) in case the law was infringed; which prohibition was an act lawful in itself, forced on the United States by the previous violations of the law of nations by France and England, and inoffensive to either by being made common to both; 2dly, that this Act was communicated to the French government immediately after its passage, without calling any complaint on its part; instead of which, about seven months after that communication, and without any previous notice, the pretended decree of retaliation was issued. It is very clear that had France issued a decree, with proper notice, forbidding the entrance of American vessels in Spanish and other ports in her possession, none would have attempted to enter such ports, and the seizures in question would not have taken place; 3dly, that it is believed (though this fact requires investigation) that not a single French vessel was forfeited under the Act of Congress complained of.

5thly. That the present government of France is not responsible for any of the injuries committed against the Americans by that of Bonaparte. This doctrine, not having been distinctly asserted, has not been discussed; and it is so contrary to the acknowledged law of nations, to the treaties of France with the allied powers, and to the uniform recognition of all the laws and acts of Bonaparte’s government in relation to French subjects and to the internal concerns of France, that it is not probable that it will be officially sustained. Still, the sentiment, half concealed, half avowed, is entertained; and, together with the want of a sense of justice and with the magnitude of the claims, is the real objection to their admission, everything else which has been mentioned being nothing but pretence and evasion. And the most candid of the French Ministers have declared that they would never grant indemnities for condemnations; that such was the mass of injustice committed by Bonaparte that France was unable to make full compensation for it; that the allied powers, with 500,000 men occupying France, had been so sensible of this truth that they had agreed to accept, in full discharge of the indemnities claimed by their subjects, a sum falling very short Edition: current; Page: [281] of their just demands; and that the United States must agree to a transaction founded on similar principles. On this I will only observe that the British subjects were more than compensated in full, and that, as far as I could form an estimate, the subjects of the other powers received on an average about one-half (or perhaps rather more) of their just demands, to which may be added that ours stand, on the whole, on higher grounds in point of justice than many of theirs which were allowed.

You will, from what precedes, form a correct estimate of the difficulties which stood and stand in the way of an arrangement. And you will see by the correspondence that the whole is now arrested by the demand of France that the subject should be treated in connection with the question arising under the 8th Article of the Louisiana convention. I consider the pretension set up by France under color of that article, and her interference in the case of Beaumarchais, as intended only to obtain better terms in the adjustment of the claims of American citizens.

It being ascertained that the French government would not make compensation in the cases of condemnations, and it being impossible that that of the United States should abandon that description of claims, three modes only suggested themselves of coming to a practicable result, viz.:

I. To attempt to obtain, gradually, payment for the claims which France seemed disposed to allow, without entering into any convention, and reserving therefore, unimpaired, the rights of our fellow-citizens in cases not allowed. It was on that ground that the Antwerp claims were first pressed, as the most unexceptionable. Some progress was made; but Mr. de Villèle, as soon as he took up the subject, declared his opposition to any partial payment, and that a transaction must be made for the whole.

II. To accept in full compensation for all our claims a gross sum, to be distributed by commissioners appointed by the government of the United States. It is not probable that the French government will offer a reasonable sum; and the distribution would be very embarrassing to ours. It seems to me that they could and would make no distinction between sequestrations and unlawful condemnations.

III. To refer all the claims to a joint commission, half Edition: current; Page: [282] American, half French, with a stipulation to refer to a foreign sovereign the decision (as to principle, but not for liquidation) of the cases on which the commissioners should disagree.

Mr. Brown is instructed to press again the subject. Should he fail, you may now be able to judge what course it is best for the claimants to pursue. It was in the Antwerp cases that I was asked whether they had not better sell the claim. I advised against it, because the claim seemed irresistible, because there appeared some prospect to obtain payment, and because, if compelled to sell, I wished, considering the means to which the claimants might be compelled to resort, that the transaction might not take place whilst I was minister of the United States to France.

I believe that the correspondence communicated to Congress will supply all the necessary information not contained in this letter, and I think that it would be advisable to have the said correspondence republished in some newspapers, in order to make the scattered claimants acquainted with the state of the business, and in order to produce some national feeling in favor of the claims. Some parts would then also, perhaps, find their way in the French papers; and there is still in France something like a public opinion, which has its weight.

I regret that I had not more consoling information to give you; but it is proper that you should be in possession of the whole subject. The only advantage gained during a negotiation of more than six years (besides removing prejudices of a general nature arising from our war with England, which gave us the unfounded appearance of concert with Bonaparte) is, that France, unable to deny the justice of our claims and to repel our arguments, has declined the discussion; and that, after so long a silence and even the little she has said, it seems impossible that her government should dare hereafter to deny altogether their responsibility, or advance any of those sweeping objections which would embrace the whole of our claims.

You will have the goodness to excuse this scrawl. I have not time to correct and transcribe.

I have the honor to be, with great respect, gentlemen, your most obedient servant.

Edition: current; Page: [283]
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
19th February, 1824
Washington
Walter Lowrie
Lowrie, Walter

GALLATIN TO WALTER LOWRIE.
NOTE ON MR. GALLATIN’S CITIZENSHIP.

Mr. Gallatin arrived in the United States in the year 1780, and became a citizen under the laws of Virginia in October, 1785, having taken the requisite oath of allegiance for that purpose at that session of the court of Monongalia County. Having been elected a Senator of the United States in February, 1793, it was naturally objected that he had not been nine years a citizen of the United States, as required by the Constitution. The facts had been stated by himself and were known at the time when he was elected.

The grounds on which his eligibility was sustained were, 1st, that having come to the United States as a minor, during the Revolutionary contest and prior to the adoption of the Articles of Confederation, he was embraced by that compact, and must be considered as a citizen; 2dly, that he had been an inhabitant of a State more than nine years before his election, which was sufficient to give him the rights of citizen under the Articles of Confederation. It was provided by the 4th of those Articles that “the free inhabitants of each of these States (paupers, vagabonds, and fugitives from justice excepted) should be entitled to all privileges and immunities of free citizens in the several States.” An extract from the 42d number of the Federalist was quoted to show that at the time when the Constitution of the United States was under consideration that clause was construed in the sense contended for. And the provision substituted in lieu thereof in the Constitution, viz., that “the citizens of each State shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens in the several States,” was adduced in proof that the presumed defect in the expression used in the Articles of Confederation was understood and corrected by the framers of the Constitution. The several facts contained in the statement were brought forward in order to establish the time when and the age at which Mr. Gallatin had come to the United States, and to prove that prior to February, 1784, being nine Edition: current; Page: [284] years before his election, he had become, in the usual and technical meanings of the word, an inhabitant first of the State of Massachusetts and afterwards of that of Virginia, and, as such, entitled to the privilege of citizen in the several States, or, in other words, a citizen of the United States.

It was contended, on the other hand, 1st, that the assertion that his coming to the United States at the age and time and under the circumstances above mentioned entitled him to the privileges of a citizen, was contrary to the laws of the several States, as well as to the usages and general law of nations; and, 2dly, that the construction put on the above-mentioned clauses in the 4th Article of Confederation was inadmissible, and that the term inhabitants therein used must necessarily be taken as applying only to such as were also citizens of the State.

That such was the opinion of Mr. Gallatin was inferred from the fact of his having thought it necessary to take the oath of allegiance in 1785, for the express purpose of being admitted a citizen of Virginia.

The case was argued before the Senate by Mr. Gallatin for himself, and by Mr. William Lewis, of Philadelphia, in behalf of the petitioners against the election. The question was afterwards discussed with much ability by Messrs. King, Ellsworth, Strong, &c., against Mr. Gallatin’s eligibility, and by Messrs. Monroe, Taylor, Burr, Baldwin, &c., in favor of it, and finally decided against the election by a majority of two votes.

But this decision applied only to the subject of debate. That if Mr. Gallatin had taken the oath of allegiance before February, 1784, he would have been entitled to a seat in the Senate, or that he had become a citizen of the United States in October, 1785, and therefore prior to the adoption of the Constitution, never was or could be disputed.

After having been chosen in 1789 a member of the convention for revising the constitution of Pennsylvania, he was elected, in October, 1790, a member of the House of Representatives of that State. The new constitution provided that no person should be a representative who had not been a citizen and inhabitant of the State three years next preceding his election. Mr. G. must, therefore, have been deemed a citizen of the State in October, Edition: current; Page: [285] 1787, prior to the adoption of the Constitution of the United States, the earliest date which can be assigned for the adoption being the day of 1788, when the Constitution was adopted by nine States.

In October, 1794, a few months after the decision on his eligibility to the Senate, he was elected a member of the House of Representatives for the Congress beginning on the 4th March, 1795, to which he would not have been eligible unless he was a citizen of the United States seven years before, that is to say, on the 4th March, 1788, and prior to the adoption of the Constitution. His seat was not contested nor any doubt suggested on his eligibility at a time when all the facts connected with his right to citizenship were fresh in the memory of every person and on record. But, without reference to particular dates, if not a citizen of the United States at the time of the adoption of the Constitution, he was at no time eligible to a seat in Congress, and he must have been for ten years a member either of that body or of the Legislature of Pennsylvania contrary to the provisions of the Constitutions of that State and of the United States. For, if he was not a citizen of the United States at the time of the adoption of the Constitution, he never was and is not now one, since he has not, subsequent to the year 1785, performed any act which could bestow the right upon him. Had there been the least foundation for assuming this ground, there is no doubt that the attempt would have been made. For the part he took in Congress in the year 1798-1799 had rendered him so obnoxious to at least a portion of the party in power that an amendment to the Constitution was recommended by the State of Massachusetts and by some of the adjacent States, but arrested in its progress by the Legislatures of New York and Pennsylvania, the effect, if not the sole object, of which was to render him incapable of holding a seat in Congress.

It seems, however, to have been lately suggested that a person admitted citizen of a State prior to the adoption of the Constitution of the United States was not a citizen of the United States at the time of the adoption of the Constitution. The grounds for that opinion are not distinctly understood, but it seems altogether untenable.

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The several States assumed the name of the United States in the very act by which they declared their independence; but being bound at that time by no compact, and having no common government, it was not till after the ratification of the Articles of Confederation, in the year 1781, that there could be any citizens of the United States.

The power of naturalization was not by those Articles vested in the general government, and remained, therefore, as every other power not thus delegated, with the States respectively. It was equally obvious that, unless express provision was made for the purpose, the union of the several States, whether by those Articles or by the subsequent adoption of the present Constitution, did not of itself create citizens of the United States or communicate to citizens of a State the right of citizenship in the several States. The power of granting or refusing that right to a citizen of another State would have remained as entire with the several States as that of naturalizing foreigners had no provision been introduced on the subject, first in the Articles of Confederation and afterwards in the Constitution. It was accordingly enacted, with a variation in the expression, by the Articles of Confederation, that the inhabitants, and by the Constitution, that the citizens, of each State should be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens in the several States. There is no other provision affecting the subject in either of those instruments, except that in the present Constitution which gives to Congress the power of establishing an uniform rule of naturalization. With the exception of foreigners naturalized in conformity with the Acts of Congress passed since the adoption of the Constitution, all native- or foreign-born citizens of the United States are such by virtue of either the one or the other of the clauses above mentioned of the Articles of Confederation and of the Constitution. Were it not for those provisions, the citizens of the several States would not be entitled to the rights of citizenship in another State unless admitted to those rights by such State; they would not be citizens of the United States. The citizens of the United States contemplated by the Constitution are, with the exception above mentioned, exclusively the citizens (or perhaps, under the Constitution, the Edition: current; Page: [287] inhabitants) of each State, declared either by the Act of Confederation or by the Constitution to be entitled to the privileges of citizens in the several States.

The clause in the Constitution may perhaps be considered as having had a retrospective effect. This might at least be inferred from the provision which renders ineligible for Senator any person who had not been nine years a citizen of the United States, as there was no person who, strictly speaking, was such prior to the ratification of the Articles of Confederation in 1781, since which time less than eight years had elapsed when the present Constitution was organized. But the Articles of Confederation are sufficient to decide the question on which a doubt has been raised.

Under the Confederation the several States preserved, and they did exercise, the right of admitting citizens. By the 4th Article the inhabitants of each State became entitled to the privileges of citizens in the several States, or, what has been shown to be tantamount, became citizens of the United States. That provision was not at all limited to those who were inhabitants of each State at the time of the ratification of the Articles of Confederation, but was prospective, and necessarily embraced all those who might thereafter become inhabitants of a State.

The foreigners, therefore, who, during the existence of the Articles of Confederation, became inhabitants, or, taking the expression in its most limited sense, were admitted citizens of any State, became thereby entitled to the privileges of citizens in the several States, and were, to all intents and purposes, citizens of the United States at the time of the adoption of the Constitution of the United States. The contrary opinion would lead to the extraordinary conclusion that the several thousand foreigners naturalized under the laws of the States prior to the adoption of the Constitution of the United States, not being then deemed citizens of the United States, would be forever ineligible, whilst those naturalized under the Acts of Congress subsequent to the adoption of the Constitution would, as citizens of the United States, become eligible to either House of Congress.

Edition: current; Page: [288]
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
16th May, 1824
Fayette County, Pennsylvania
B. Ruggles
Ruggles, B.

GALLATIN TO B. RUGGLES, U. S. Sen.

Sir,

I had the honor to receive your letter of the 1st instant, informing me that at a meeting of Republican members of Congress, held pursuant to general notice on the 14th of February last, I was recommended to the people of the United States as a suitable candidate for the office of Vice-President of the said States at the coming election.

I entertain the highest sense of the honor done me by the distinguished citizens who composed the meeting; and, if elected, I will accept with gratitude the elevated office for which they have thought it proper to recommend me to the people of the United States.

I have the honor to be, with great respect, sir, your most obedient servant.

Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
May 22, 1824
New Geneva, Pennsylvania
Walter Lowrie
Lowrie, Walter

GALLATIN TO WALTER LOWRIE.

Dear Sir,

Your and Mr. Ruggles’s letters of 1st instant were detained one day at the post-office, and reached me at the moment of my departure from Baltimore. As I had previously written to you that I would abide by the decision of our friends in Congress and stand as a candidate for Vice-President, if they ultimately concluded that it was most advantageous for the public cause that I should be retained on the nomination, I had not believed it necessary to make a formal answer to Mr. Ruggles’s notification. Indeed, I think that the great solemnity given at the last elections to the Congressional nominations of President and Vice-President, and the making it a part of the proceedings to publish the answers of the persons nominated, has been injurious to the Republican interest. It is that which has furnished a pretence to attach to the whole the odium of being an attempt to dictate to the people. Formerly those meetings were as efficient; and yet there was no publication, with the formalities Edition: current; Page: [289] of chairman, secretary, answers of candidates, &c.; they were matters of public notoriety, with only the appearance of an understanding between the members to support the persons agreed on. I allude particularly to the two very important elections which wrested the power from the Federalists, that in 1799 of Governor McKean, and in 1800 of Mr. Jefferson, in the preparatory meetings for both of which I was an efficient member. I am sure that no answer of Mr. Jefferson, and I believe that none of Mr. Madison, was ever published. A different course originated either with Senator Bradley or General Smith as chairman of the Congressional meeting,—a useless and, I think, injurious parade. As it is, however, thought necessary, I have written an answer to Mr. Ruggles, and have said so much only to account for its delay.

I had no doubt that Edwards’s charges would recoil on himself whenever the subject was investigated. The mischief consists in his short recapitulation of half a dozen broad charges, which has been reprinted in almost every newspaper of the Union, and read by everybody, whilst few only will peruse, and not all of these be able to appreciate, the conclusive answer of Mr. Crawford. I hope that the report of the committee of investigation will contain some short and pointed denial of the charges which may also be read by all.

We will have a hard, perhaps unsuccessful, struggle in Pennsylvania. As yet this part of the country seems to be divided between Jackson and Clay, with [a] few old Republicans in favor of Mr. Crawford, who is less known and is not a Western man. The opposition in this State should, I think, be directed against General Jackson as the most formidable opponent here, though not elsewhere; and I think that the correspondence, the publication of which you have forced, affords sufficient proof that, whatever gratitude we owe him for his eminent military services, he is not fitted for the office of first magistrate of a free people and to administer a government of laws. His doctrine of paying no regard to party in the selection of the great officers of government is not only in direct opposition to the principles of the Republican party and to his own opinions in 1801, whilst he was one of them, but it is tantamount to a declaration that political Edition: current; Page: [290] principles and opinions are of no importance in the administration of government. If this is true, if talents and virtue are the only considerations to be attended to in the choice of heads of Departments and of those high offices generally (where there is necessarily much discretion, and which have a marked influence on all the external and internal operations of government), the people of the United States, Republicans and Federalists, have been in the wrong from the establishment of our Constitution to this day. The Republicans had certainly no right, if that doctrine be true, to oppose General Hamilton or to object to Mr. Adams’s election. But the doctrine is altogether untrue. General Jackson has confounded the excesses to which party spirit may lead, which no one denies, but of which no party was ever less guilty than that of the Republicans of the United States, with the essence and foundation of that party, which is nothing but adherence to a set of principles and to a system of measures essential, in our opinion, to the maintenance of our free institutions, to a wise administration of our government, to the prosperity of the country, to the happiness of the people. It is for the support and advancement of all these that we deem it important to select men for the offices in question whose political opinions are not discordant with those principles and that system. Disregard that distinction, and you immediately lose sight of the principles and substitute men to measures, faction to party, and ultimately and unavoidably favoritism to a selection founded on correct political opinions and merit. I could say much more on that subject, too comprehensive for the limits of a letter. But, without dwelling on the trite though not less true observation that parties constituted as ours were watch one another and are one of the best safeguards against illegal or oppressive measures, I will add a single remark. It is not my solitary opinion, but that also of our wisest and most enlightened statesmen, that the greatest danger to our free institutions, and particularly to the permanence of the Union, will be found less in any great and real difference of interest amongst its several sections than in the disordinate ambition of individuals, especially of disappointed individuals. These are and will be more effectually kept in check and controlled by the force of party and by the bond Edition: current; Page: [291] resulting therefrom than by any other means whatever. I am sure that this on reflection will appear obvious to you, and I come to a more tangible topic.

In avowing that he would have punished, through the medium of a court-martial, men presumed to be guilty of political offences in their civil character and who did not belong to the army, General Jackson has expressed a greater and a bolder disregard of the first principles of liberty than I have ever known to be entertained by any American, or, indeed, by any person professing himself to be either a Republican or only a friend to a government of laws. This avowal accords, indeed, with his general conduct. He entertains, I believe, very sincere but very erroneous and most dangerous opinions on the subject of military and Executive power. Whenever he has been intrusted with the first, he has usurped more than belonged to him; and when he thought it useful to the public, he has not hesitated to transcend the law and the legal authority vested in him. Hence his collisions with the judiciary at New Orleans and Pensacola, and hence his assumption of the power of making war against a foreign nation, evinced in his second capture of Pensacola and in his deliberate orders to take St. Augustine under a certain contingency; measures which he believes himself to have been perfectly correct, although they were not authorized by the Executive, and although they could not, according to our Constitution, have been thus authorized without a special previous Act of Congress. It is because he entertains and avows such opinions, it is on that ground that, without any personal disrespect or want of gratitude for his great services, it is to me incomprehensible that he can be supported by Republicans and real friends of liberty. I believe it impossible that he can be elected; but it is to me at least a deep matter of regret that he should be seriously supported in any quarter of the Union, above all in Democratic Pennsylvania. Is it possible that the people should lend arms to the enemies of their rights, to the scoffers of free government? that they should add one more proof to those with which the history of mankind abounds, and which the face of the globe and even of Europe exhibits, that, dazzled by military glory, they, the people, are naturally disposed to sacrifice their rights and liberties to the Edition: current; Page: [292] shrine of that glory, and to substitute the worship of a chieftain to the exercise of those rights and to the maintenance of that liberty? The French, indeed, have given a late sad example in the oversetting of the republic and submission to a first-rate man. An apology might be found in inveterate habits not yet corrected. But I still hope that our fellow-citizens will dispel the delusion and prove themselves true to their former and inborn principles. They are the last hope of liberty and of man, and have the highest duties to perform. No effort should be spared to recall forcibly those truths to their minds.

I remain very respectfully, dear sir, your most obedient servant.
Walter Lowrie
Lowrie, Walter
25th September, 1824
Butler
Gallatin
Gallatin

WALTER LOWRIE TO GALLATIN.

My Dear Sir,

The subject of which this letter treats has given me the most severe pain of mind. The bearer, our mutual friend General Lacock, will inform you of the situation of my family, which has prevented me from accompanying him to see you.

From the most authentic information communicated to me by our friends in North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, and New York, the most serious fears are entertained that Mr. Calhoun will be elected by the electors; or, if he should not, his vote will be so great that his chance in the Senate will be almost conclusive in his favor. On this subject I have not a feeling I would not be desirous that you should know. No man can desire your success more than I do. Still, my dear sir, I believe your chance of success is now almost hopeless; and, assuming that as a fact, what is to be done? The question has been met by a number of our friends, and they have suggested the arrangement which Mr. Lacock will make known to you. This plan has the approbation of as many of our friends as it was possible to consult, all of them your most decided friends. They are, however, afraid of your success, and wish, if possible, to have an arrangement made with Mr. Edition: current; Page: [293] Clay, to which if he would consent, it would go far to secure the election of Mr. Crawford.

After the most deep and anxious reflection I have been able to bestow upon the subject, I would advise you to withdraw from the contest. How that should be done in case you approve of it, I do not know. Your feelings and views of the best manner of doing it would be conclusive with me. The arrangement submitted to Mr. Lacock and myself contemplated your remaining on the ticket till near the election in case Mr. Clay would consent; and if he would not consent, then for you to remain on the ticket to the last. I confess I do not like this conditional arrangement, and the letter of Mr. Dickinson makes me dislike it more. These points are all open, and I was most desirous of seeing you and getting your views upon them. In case you approve of having your name withdrawn, it occurs to me that the best manner would be in a letter to Judge Ruggles, which might be published a few days after Mr. Lacock’s departure. In that case, Clay would not be informed of it till Mr. Lacock would have seen him, and his decision might be different than if he knew absolutely that you had withdrawn. If you prefer the other, however,—that is, to place your withdrawing on the contingency of Mr. Clay’s co-operation,—I am perfectly satisfied. Indeed, I feel quite at a loss how to advise in the case. Indeed, in this whole communication I write under the greatest pain and embarrassment. Every step I have taken in regard to your name being placed before the nation was dictated by the purest friendship to you and the clearest sense of duty to my country. To have had any agency in placing you in a situation at all calculated to wound your feelings or give pain to your mind is to me a source of painful reflection. This, added to the perplexed state of public opinion and the uncertainty of the final result, brings with it a distress of mind I have never heretofore experienced.

I am, my dear sir, with sincere esteem, your friend.
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Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
October 2, 1824
Fayette County, Pennsylvania
Walter Lowrie
Lowrie, Walter

GALLATIN TO WALTER LOWRIE.

Dear Sir,

Your letter of the 25th of September, received on the 29th, has caused me much perplexity, not from any hesitation as to the principles which should govern my conduct, but from want of sufficient knowledge of the facts.

It is evident that I ought not to decline from mere personal motives and in order to avoid the mortification of a defeat, especially if this should be in any degree injurious to the public cause. There is in a nomination a mutual though tacit pledge, of support on the part of those who nominate, of standing a candidate on the part of the person nominated.

But my withdrawing would be proper in case my continuing to stand should either appear injurious to the election of Mr. Crawford or prevent the election of a proper person to the office of Vice-President. On either the one or the other of those grounds I consider your communications decisive so far as relates to New Jersey and New York. There may be no difficulty with respect to Georgia and any other State where the choice of electors remains with the Legislature. The embarrassment is principally in relation to Virginia and North Carolina. I am sensible that my name is in itself of no weight anywhere; but it is not for me, consulting only my feelings, to decide whether, after the active exertions of committees and individuals in favor of the two candidates nominated at Washington, the withdrawing the name of one on the eve of a popular election, and without substituting another in his place, may prove favorable or injurious to the success of the Republican tickets.

With that view of the subject, my answer to Mr. Lacock was that I would leave the decision with the central committee of correspondence for the State of Virginia. To that State I am more particularly bound, as the only one where, to my knowledge, the nomination of Washington was confirmed in full by the Republican members of the Legislature. The committee is their legitimate organ; and from their local situation they also are best able to form an opinion concerning North Carolina, Edition: current; Page: [295] with which last State there was hardly time to consult, and whose arrangements on the subject of the election are not known to me. Our friends in those districts of Maryland which may be favorable to us might also be consulted.

I am still of the same opinion; but, considering how little time remains, and how much would be lost by corresponding with me, I enclose my declaration that I wish my name to be withdrawn, not directed to Mr. Ruggles, since he is not to judge whether and when it must be used, but intended for publication in the newspapers at the discretion of the committee for Virginia, who will of course consult, if necessary, with Mr. Van Buren on the subject.

There will be no necessity for that consultation if they think it advantageous in the Southern States that my name should be withdrawn prior to the election of electors. They may at once, in that case, publish my declaration, since it is ascertained that the effect will be favorable in the North. To me that course would be the most agreeable. The publication must, at all events, be made before the result of the election of electors is ascertained, and prior to their being elected by the Legislature of New York.

In order to avoid delays as far as depends on me, I will enclose copies of my declining and of the substance of this letter both to Mr. Van Buren, at Albany, and to Mr. Stevenson, at Richmond, to be communicated by him to the committee of correspondence, as I do not know their names. But he may be absent, and it will be necessary for you to write not only to Mr. Van Buren, but also to Richmond, enclosing copy of my declining and of such parts of this letter as will put them in full possession of the subject.

The publication of my declining should be made, as far as practicable, simultaneously in the National Intelligencer and principal State papers.

I advised Mr. Lacock against negotiating in person with Mr. Clay, as I thought that it would only encourage him to advise his friends in New York to make no compromise that would not secure him a part at least of the votes of that State for President. The only way, it seemed to me, was to convince him, by the Edition: current; Page: [296] choice of electors there, that he had no chance for that office. This, however, was an opinion on a subject in which I can have nothing more to say.

Of your friendship, sincerity, and patriotic motives I am most perfectly satisfied. My nomination has been a miscalculation, and, however painful the result may be to our feelings, having nothing to reproach ourselves with throughout the whole transaction, there is nothing in it, save the effect it may have on the public cause, that can give us any permanent uneasiness.

I have but one observation to add. From my experience both when Mr. Jefferson was made Vice-President and when, in 1808, Mr. Clinton was re-elected to the same office, I know that nothing can be more injurious to an Administration than to have in that office a man in hostility with that Administration, as he will always become the most formidable rallying-point for the opposition.

I remain, respectfully and sincerely, your friend and obedient servant.

Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
October 2, 1824
New Geneva, Fayette County
Andrew Stevenson
Stevenson, Andrew

GALLATIN TO ANDREW STEVENSON.

Sir,

I received on the 29th ult. a letter from Mr. Lowrie, of Pennsylvania, informing me that there was no longer any expectation of my being elected Vice-President, and that my name was injurious to the success of the Republican electoral ticket in some quarters, and that if withdrawn it would facilitate the substitution of another person in my place. My confidenee in Mr. Lowrie is great; his information with respect to New Jersey and New York appeared to be decisive; but I had doubts on the propriety of my withdrawing (a step most agreeable to my own feelings) without having more positive information on the effect it might have on the elections in the Southern States, and without the consent of those who had done me the honor to support my nomination.

I cannot better express my sentiments on that subject than by Edition: current; Page: [297] enclosing the copy of my answer to Mr. Lowrie; and to avoid delays I enclose also a duplicate of my withdrawing, to be used in the manner stated in my letter to Mr. Lowrie.

I believe my nomination to have been a miscalculation. Having been made, I feel anxious that no act of mine should aggravate its injurious consequences to the Republican cause, whilst on the other hand I wish nothing to be omitted which can repair the evil. Had I had sufficient information I would at once have decided for myself. Deprived of it, residing in a sequestered spot, fearful of committing a mistake, I leave the decision to those friends of the common cause who appear to me the most proper persons to make it.

My feelings towards the State of Virginia are already expressed in my letter to Mr. Lowrie. I beg leave to reiterate the same sentiments to the committee of correspondence, for whom, in fact, this communication is intended, and which I take the liberty to address to you because I do not recollect the name of the chairman. I request you to have the goodness to give them both this letter and the enclosures, and have the honor to remain, respectfully, sir, your most obedient servant.

Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
October 2, 1824
New Geneva, Pennsylvania
Martin Van Buren
Van Buren, Martin

GALLATIN TO MARTIN VAN BUREN.

Sir,

I received on the 29th ult. a letter from Mr. Lowrie, stating that it was ascertained that I could not be elected Vice-President, and intimating that the continuance of my name was injurious to the Republican electoral ticket in some quarters, and that my withdrawing would facilitate a plan you had in view for substituting another candidate. Although Mr. Lacock, who brought Mr. Lowrie’s letter, gave me the outlines of that plan, although the information given by Mr. Lowrie himself was decisive with respect to New York and New Jersey, yet, not having seen either your letters to him or those (save one) from his other correspondents, I was left uninformed as to the effect of my withdrawing Edition: current; Page: [298] on the elections in the Southern States. Satisfied that my nomination was a misfortune founded on miscalculation, I felt equally anxious to do no act that might aggravate the evil, to omit none that might have a tendency to remedy it. To give you my full view of the subject I cannot do better than to enclose a copy of my answer of this day to Mr. Lowrie; and to avoid delays I also enclose a duplicate of my withdrawing, to be used in the manner stated in that letter. I have written to the same effect, enclosing also a duplicate, to Mr. Stevenson, member of Congress at Richmond, and requesting him to give both to the committee of correspondence, whom I do not know. But as he may be absent, and my letter may miscarry, it will not preclude the necessity on your part to correspond with them. It is proper to add that in my letter to Richmond I have said that, as the injurious effect of my nomination in the North was ascertained, they might immediately publish my declining being a candidate if they thought this would have a favorable effect on the elections of electors in Virginia and North Carolina. On the whole, it would be fairer (if not actually injurious in that quarter) to publish immediately; and, at all events, the publication must be made prior to the appointment of electors by the Legislature of New York.

I advised Mr. Lacock not to open a negotiation in person with Mr. Clay, from a conviction that it would only increase that gentleman’s hopes of success for the first office, and that the appointment of electors in New York friendly to Mr. Crawford was the only means of inducing him to decline. For the office of Vice-President I would prefer Mr. Sanford, a Northern man, a pure and unambitious man, and who is already nominated by Mr. Clay’s friends to the West. But if you wish to preserve our party, have anybody in that place rather than an enemy of Mr. Crawford, such as Mr. Calhoun. I know the effect of having had Mr. Jefferson for Vice-President in 1797-1801, and Mr. Clinton, then a decided opponent of the Administration, in 1808 to his death.

I return my thanks to all my friends for their partiality and support, and have the honor to remain, respectfully, sir, your most obedient servant.

Edition: current; Page: [299]

[P.S. to both letters.]

The enclosed declaration of my withdrawing, directed to no one, is rather awkward, and I do not admire coming before the public in the first person. But it is a voucher; and it may be better that the article in the newspapers should run in the usual style of “We are authorized to state,” &c.

[Enclosure.]

Understanding that the withdrawing of my name may have a favorable effect on the result of the approaching election of President and Vice-President of the United States, I request that I may no longer be considered as a candidate for the office of Vice-President.

Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
October 7, 1824
New Geneva, Pennsylvania
C. W. Gooch
Gooch, C. W.

GALLATIN TO C. W. GOOCH.

Sir,

Mr. Lowrie sent me, and I received yesterday, your letter to him of 15th ultimo. The first intimation on the subject I received from him or any other person was on the 29th, prior to your letter reaching him; and on the 2d instant I wrote to him and to Mr. Stevenson, M.C., at Richmond, the letters of which I enclose copies in order to guard against the contingency of Mr. Stevenson’s absence from Richmond. Referring to these, I can only add, having now seen yours, which would have been decisive with me, that I am clearly of opinion that my withdrawing ought to be published immediately. This course would be most agreeable to my feelings, is the fairest with respect to the people, and is now, in my view of the subject, free of any objection. I leave, however, the decision with the committee, with the reiterated request to consult nothing but what will tend to promote the success of the Republican cause. I am personally entirely out of question, and only regret that the fact of the injury my name did to that cause had not been earlier ascertained and communicated directly to me.

I was pleased to find by your letter that you entertained the same opinion I did in regard of the intended negotiation by our Edition: current; Page: [300] own friends and at this moment with Mr. Clay. I strongly advised against it, from a conviction that it would only tend to keep his hopes alive and to induce him to exert every nerve to persuade his friends in New York to come to no compromise that did not insure him at least a part of the votes of that State for President. The appointment of electors there can alone convince him that he has no chance of being placed on the return, and compel him to yield.

My greatest apprehension is for the State of North Carolina, where from the beginning I feared that there was great danger of the Jackson mania spreading, as in Pennsylvania, beyond the control of all the men of sense and friendly to a government of laws.

I have the honor to be, respectfully, sir, your obedient servant.

Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
October 7, 1824
New Geneva, Pennsylvania
Walter Lowrie
Lowrie, Walter

GALLATIN TO WALTER LOWRIE.

Dear Sir,

I received yesterday yours of 3d instant, and now return the enclosed from Mr. Gooch, which would have been decisive with me if received prior to Mr. Lacock’s visit to me. You will have seen by mine of 2d instant that I had anticipated the course you recommend; and to guard against the contingency of Mr. Stevenson’s absence from Richmond, I send duplicates by this mail to Mr. Gooch.

I can assure you that, excepting the momentary perplexity respecting the proper course to be pursued by me, in which your letter by Mr. Lacock put me, I have felt much less on the occasion than I think you have on my account; probably because I had anticipated a defeat from the time of the first Harrisburg convention; principally, I think, because I have long since learned that, with the exception of domestic afflictions, there was nothing in the events of this life worth any real regret where we had nothing wherewith to reproach ourselves.

With sincere respect, I remain your friend and servant.
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Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
May 5, 1825
New Geneva, Pennsylvania
James Trimble
Trimble, James

GALLATIN TO JAMES TRIMBLE.

Sir,

I had the honor to receive by yesterday’s mail your letter of 23d ult., enclosing the copy of a commission appointing me one of the canal commissioners under the Act of the Legislature of the 13th of April last.

It would have been highly gratifying to me to have had it in my power to assist in promoting an object which I ever had so much at heart as the internal improvements of the State. But the situation in which after a long absence I found my affairs, and that of my family at this moment, render it utterly impossible for me to leave this vicinity at this time. I am therefore compelled, though with much regret, to decline the appointment. I request you to return my thanks to the governor for this mark of his confidence, and have the honor to be, respectfully, sir, your obedient servant.

Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
10th November, 1825
Baltimore
Henry Clay
Clay, Henry

GALLATIN TO HENRY CLAY.

Sir,

I had the honor to receive your letter of 8th instant, informing me of the President’s intention to nominate me one of the ministers of the United States at the contemplated congress of Panama.

An appointment so honorable in itself would be highly gratifying to me, and it is with reluctance that I decline accepting it; but I think that I could not, without much danger, encounter a tropical climate; a consideration to which, for the sake of my family, I may be permitted to yield, as, in the intercourse with men to whom the English and French are not familiar, my usefulness would be essentially lessened by my ignorance of the Spanish language.

I request the President to accept my respectful thanks for Edition: current; Page: [302] this distinguished proof of his confidence, and have the honor to be, &c.

Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
14th November, 1825
Baltimore
Henry Clay
Clay, Henry

GALLATIN TO HENRY CLAY.

Private.

Dear Sir,

No one can be more sensible than I am both of the importance of laying the foundation of a permanent friendship between the United States and our new sister republics, and of the distinguished honor conferred on the persons selected to be the representatives of our glorious and happy country at the first congress of the independent powers of this hemisphere. But, without affecting any false modesty, I cannot perceive that I am peculiarly fitted for that mission, either by knowledge of the language, things, or men of South America, or by being known to them. My personal objection has been already stated. I had none whatever to a sea-voyage or to embarking from an Atlantic port. On the receipt of your friendly letter of the 11th, I had further private inquiries made from men thoroughly acquainted with the country, as if the object had been a commercial establishment, and without my name being mentioned. The result of these, and the decided opposition I would have to encounter in my family, compel me, though with great reluctance, to persist in declining the appointment. I will preserve a grateful sense of yours and the President’s partiality in my favor, and I beg you to accept my thanks for your conduct towards me on this occasion.

Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
23d January, 1826
Baltimore
T. W. Cobb
Cobb, T. W.

GALLATIN TO T. W. COBB.

Sir,

I had the honor to receive your letter of 19th instant, requesting some explanatory information respecting the western boundary of the State of Georgia, as described in the articles of agreement and cession between that State and the United States.

Edition: current; Page: [303]

The line as therein defined was proposed by the commissioners on the part of the State; and the two points on the Chattahoochee and on the Tennessee Rivers were shown by them to the commissioners of the United States on some maps used on the occasion.

Although, from the imperfection of all those existing at the time, it must have been presumed that the two points in question were not laid down on any with perfect precision, yet I understood that they were both well known, and could not be mistaken on the ground. That there was more than one place of the name of Nickajack I had not heard before the receipt of your letter.

The Nickajack intended by the articles of cession was represented to be very near the place where the northern boundary of Georgia (understood at that time to be a few miles south of the 35th degree of latitude) crossed the Tennessee River. It is thus laid down in Lewis’s map of the United States, published in 1795. A copy of this map still in my possession was one of those used by the commissioners. I marked on it at the time the line agreed on, as well as the imperfection of the map permitted, and the blue or green color by which the then Mississippi is thereon distinguished from Georgia according to that line was put on by me. As before stated, Nickajack was considered as being laid down there with tolerable correctness; but I cannot speak so positively as to the other extremity of the line, viz., the bend above Uchee Creek, that creek not being designated on the said map, and the meanders of the Chattahoochee being certainly drawn much at random. I do recollect that there was at least one other map used by the commissioners, on which Uchee Creek was laid down; but I do not remember what it was; and either it did not belong to me, or it has been mislaid or destroyed. It was undoubtedly from that map that I must have laid down, on Lewis’s map, the point of departure on Chattahoochee River above Uchee. Yet my impression, perhaps erroneous after such lapse of years, is that the point, as understood by the commissioners, was south of that laid down by me on my map. I am also under the impression that this point, viz., the first considerable bend of the river above Uchee, was represented to be from Edition: current; Page: [304] five to ten miles above the mouth of that creek. But these impressions are but floating recollections, on which little reliance can be placed.

With these observations I transmit Lewis’s map, above alluded to. That it is the identical map used at the time, and that it is the one on which I laid down the line, I know, not only from its being thus laid down, but from the boundary-lines of the several Yazoo companies being also designated on the map, which was done in the ensuing year for the use of the commissioners of the United States when that subject came before them. The estimate of the contents of the Mississippi Territory, in the report of the commissioners of the United States to Congress on the Yazoo claims, was also calculated by me, at least in part, from the same map.

My answer to your letter was delayed on account of an useless search for other maps. My collection of manuscript ones, which was valuable for the time, and amongst which there were some connected with the subject in question, had been left in the Treasury, and was destroyed in 1814. Lewis’s map, herewith transmitted, being intended for the use of all the parties concerned, I will thank you to acknowledge its receipt. Perhaps it would be best to deposit it in the Department of State.

I have the honor, &c.

Copy of a certificate written by Mr. Gallatin on Lewis’s map of the United States sent to Mr. T. W. Cobb.

Having been requested, as one of the former commissioners of the United States, to give such information as I might possess respecting the western boundary-line of Georgia as described in the articles of agreement and cession between the United States and the State of Georgia, I do hereby certify that to the best of my recollection this map is one of those which was used by the commissioners; that at the time when the agreement was made, or at farthest within one year thereafter, I laid down the said line from the Tennessee to the Chattahoochee River as it now appears on this map, and put on the blue and red colors by Edition: current; Page: [305] which Georgia is therein distinguished from the then Territory of Mississippi, which line was thus laid down in conformity with the said articles of agreement as correctly as our knowledge of the geography of the country and the imperfection of this map permitted; that Nickajack is laid down on this map nearly where it was understood and represented actually to be by the commissioners of Georgia; but that I do not recollect, Uchee Creek not being designated on this map, from what other map, or on what authority, the point of the aforesaid line (from Nickajack to the Chattahoochee) which strikes the Chattahoochee River was laid down on this map.

Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
3d May, 1826
Baltimore
Henry Clay
Clay, Henry

GALLATIN TO HENRY CLAY.

Dear Sir,

I have just received your letter of yesterday. A special mission to England suits me far better in every respect than the appointment of resident minister, which to that country is ruinous; and to abandon it on that account at the end of one year, though Mr. King does it, would be unpleasant. There are other reasons for my preference, with which I need not trouble you. It appeared to me when at Washington that, although an extraordinary mission may fail, that course apparently agreeable to the British government was also that which promised the best chance of success. And whoever may be contemplated as Mr. King’s successor, it is hardly possible that one can be found who will not be better disposed to act in concert with me than Mr. K. would have been. I think that you will agree with me that, in that case, I should be first named in the special mission. To Mr. King I must necessarily have yielded, he being an older public servant than myself.

I have the honor, &c.
Edition: current; Page: [306]
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
7th May, 1826
Baltimore
Henry Clay
Clay, Henry

GALLATIN TO HENRY CLAY.

Dear Sir,

In your letter of the 2d you said, “Had you better go out in the character of a special minister, or as the successor of Mr. King? These are questions on which your wishes would have attention and friendly consideration. In either alternative it is not desired that you should protract your abode in England, &c.” I was thence induced to think that the question was still open, and I answered accordingly.

On general grounds I still believe a special mission best calculated to insure success. The negotiation has already failed twice in the hands of two successive ministers resident. One vested with a similar character will have no greater weight than they had, and labor under the increased difficulties arising from that double failure. But the British government, disposed as they are to keep on good terms with the United States, would deliberate seriously before dismissing a special minister without coming to any arrangement. I know that motive to have had its effect on former occasions.

I feel at the same time the change in the aspect of the nomination arising from Mr. King’s resignation, and the difficulty there may be, under existing circumstances, to persuade the Senate to acquiesce in the simultaneous appointment of a successor to him and of a special minister to negotiate; but I thought that, independently of the reason which I have given, the importance of the negotiations, the situation of the slaves commission, and the wish of the British government that two persons should be appointed on our side, afforded sufficient ground for the measure.

Of all this the President must judge, and, having expressed both my opinion on the subject and my personal wishes, it only remains for me to say that if he decides to appoint only a successor to Mr. King, vested with powers to negotiate, I will, though with lessened hopes of success, accept the appointment, with the understanding respecting the time of my return expressed in your letter.

I have the honor, &c.
Edition: current; Page: [307]
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
June 20, 1826
New York
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

* * * * * * * * * *

Without taking literally what you said, that I might write my own instructions, I understood that it was intended to leave me sufficient latitude and discretion to enable me to avail myself of circumstances, and to give every chance of success to the mission. And I hope that some attention will have been paid to the memoranda I left with you.

I have the honor, &c.
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.
June 26, 1826
Washington
Gallatin
Gallatin

J. Q. ADAMS TO GALLATIN.

Private.

Dear Sir,

In the event of Mr. J. A. King’s resignation as secretary of the legation to Great Britain, Mr. Lawrence will, at your recommendation, of course be appointed and nominated to the Senate in his place. This assurance you are authorized to give him, should you make to him the proposal suggested in your letter of the 20th instant. From the family relation existing between Mr. King and Mr. Lawrence, I presume the latter will understand that Mr. King should be left altogether to his unbiased option to form his determination.

I hope the instructions which you have received from the Department of State have been satisfactory to you. The minutes which you left with me have received full attention. I am entirely confident that any discretionary power which you may deem it advisable to exercise for the benefit of our country and the success of the mission will be cordially approved by me, and hope, in case of need, will receive all candid support from the Senate and House of Representatives as well as from the enlightened opinion of the people.

Wishing you a prosperous voyage, a satisfactory service, and Edition: current; Page: [308] all possible contentment, political and personal, I remain, with the highest respect and regards, your friend and servant.

Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
29th June, 1826
New York
Henry Clay
Clay, Henry

GALLATIN TO HENRY CLAY.

No. 1.

Sir,

I had the honor to receive on the 26th instant, through Mr. Ironsides, your despatches Nos. 1 to 4, dated 19th to 21st of this month, together with the accompanying books and documents.

There has not been time sufficient thoroughly to examine instructions so voluminous and applying to so many important subjects; and I embark to-morrow. This must be my apology if I have not fully understood some parts of the instructions, and for any erroneous views of the subject which may be discovered in the cursory observations I beg leave to submit to your consideration.

I. North-Eastern boundary. I had understood that it was intended to confide to me the negotiation which the government of the United States is desirous to open with that of Great Britain, in order to attempt to settle the differences on that matter, and to avoid the difficulties which lie in the way of a settlement of the question in the mode stipulated by treaty. And my full powers, which must be communicated to the British commissioners at the very outset of my negotiation, authorize me to treat and to sign a convention or treaty on the boundaries generally between the two countries. But, according to the instructions, I am only authorized to try to have the subject referred to a direct negotiation at Washington; and should that attempt fail, and the British commissioners agree to the other proposal, that of a statement of the case agreed to by both parties and to be exhibited to the umpire, the modifications of that statement if it is drawn by the British government, or the preparing of it if drawn by the government of the United States, are also to be referred to Washington without any agency on my part.

Edition: current; Page: [309]

This course will render my task very simple and easy, and though somewhat unpleasant to me on account of the apparent discrepancy between the powers and the instructions, I may give an explanation at the time of communicating the powers. But it seems to me that there may arise cases under which a more enlarged authority would be advantageous to the public service.

The great inconvenience of a reference to a third power is acknowledged, and much injury may arise to the United States from the manner in which the subject will be presented to that sovereign if no statement of the case is agreed on. Prussia is amongst the powers I am directed to propose. She lives in daily and deadly fear of Russia, relies for support principally on England, and has nothing to fear or to hope from the United States. Mr. Canning, in one of his notes to Mr. King, says that she is less under the influence of Russia than is generally supposed. There is little doubt that she will be the choice of England. But even if struck from our list, the same considerations, though with less force, will apply more or less to every other European sovereign. But supposing that we have an umpire who, if not altogether impartial, may have sufficient respect for character not to commit a flagrant injustice, he may find sufficient pretences to cover this in the very imperfect and improper manner in which the proceedings of the commissioners have been carried on.

At the first outset the British commissioner refused to concur in surveying and ascertaining the meridian line from the source of the St. Croix River to the point contended on the part of the United States to be the north-west corner of Nova Scotia, and he equally refused to have the residue of the boundary, as claimed by the United States, surveyed under the joint authority of the commissioners. In a suit between individuals where the title to a tract of land or certain boundaries are in question, the first order of the court is to direct a survey to be made which shall clearly exhibit the conflicting claims of the contending parties. Such survey decides no question, and is intended only to enlighten the tribunal; to place all the facts before it. In the case now under consideration, the survey of the territory, Edition: current; Page: [310] showing the lines contended for by each party, was equally necessary, either to enable the commissioners to make a correct decision, or with a view to the contingent reference to a third power. The refusal to concur in so reasonable a demand was so preposterous that a stand should at once have been made on that ground; instead of which, if I understand rightly the proceedings, the commissioner of the United States assented to a survey, under the joint authority of the commission, of the river Restook, and to an ascertainment by barometric observations of the height of certain hills or ranges of hills; thereby seeming to admit that the extraordinary ground assumed by the British government was tenable, and, in fact, more tenable than our own. Finally, the British commissioner made a very long report to both governments, in which all the facts and arguments on that side of the question are embodied and brought together in view. And, on application for the report of the commissioner of the United States, I was informed at the office of the Department of State that there was no other but a reference to the arguments of the agent and to other papers and maps, most of which were made without the joint authority of the commission, and are only to be considered as ex-parte evidence.

These facts are alluded to only for the purpose of calling once more your attention to the very unfavorable position in which the United States may be placed before a third power. If the British government shall reject the two proposals I am authorized to make, that for a direct negotiation at Washington and that for a statement of the case mutually agreed to; and if, according to the instructions, I acquiesce in the immediate reference to a third power, you will have to decide on official reports and complete evidence on one side, and on inofficial statements and ex-parte evidence on ours, it is much to be apprehended that, with the right entirely on our side, a decision may be given against the United States and the undeniable territorial rights of the State of Maine. Every effort at least ought to be used that may avert that result, either by increasing the chance of a direct negotiation, or by raising reasonable objections against a reference unless a joint statement shall be agreed on, or all the informal or ex-parte maps, surveys, &c., on our part shall be Edition: current; Page: [311] admitted by Great Britain as of equal weight with those on their part.

A previous direct negotiation is not provided for by treaty. If, when we ask for it, the British commissioners shall acquiesce in our demand, but insist that the negotiation shall be carried on in London, and not at Washington, I am not authorized to agree to this, and the chance of a negotiation may be lost. I beg leave to observe that, provided we can only obtain that a negotiation shall be opened anywhere, it not only gives a chance of an amicable final settlement of that important point, but it also gives us opportunities of supplying the want of a joint statement and the defects in the proceedings of the commissioners, by inserting in the protocol such paper or papers in support of our claim as will be a substitute for either, and must necessarily go as an official paper before the umpire, if a reference becomes still ultimately necessary.

Finally, the negotiation may be protracted to a certain extent, giving thereby, also, a chance of a better sense of justice and more friendly disposition pervading the British counsels; and it may ultimately be transferred to Washington, if that course should appear to both parties best calculated to promote a friendly arrangement.

With this view of the subject, I respectfully submit to the consideration of the President the following modifications to that part of the instructions:

1. That I may be authorized to open the negotiation on that point in London, in case either this should be insisted on by the British commissioners, or I should think that course most favorable to the interest of the United States. I think that I may be safely trusted in that respect. It has ever been my first wish not that business should be transacted by me, but that it should be done in the manner most advantageous to the public service. Whilst in France I did not hesitate to have the negotiation respecting discriminating duties referred to Washington the moment I was satisfied, and experience proved that my decision was correct, that there was a better prospect in that way of adjusting the differences on that subject. But I do not care how strict and limited the authority that may be given to conclude Edition: current; Page: [312] an arrangement. The important point at present, in my view of the subject, is to open a negotiation rather than to make immediately a final adjustment or compromise. In thus limiting the authority, the difficulty may be obviated which may arise from the necessity of consulting the wishes of the State of Maine before a conclusive arrangement can be made.

2. That, in case of a refusal on the part of Great Britain either to open a negotiation at Washington or London, or to agree to a joint statement of the case, I may not be bound to propose an immediate reference to a third power; but that I may be allowed to raise such previous objections to that reference as I may think tenable and consistent with good faith. A demand that a survey of the country in dispute, exhibiting the lines contended for by each party, should previously be made under the joint authority of both governments, or if, on inspection of the maps, arguments, &c., they shall appear sufficient, that these maps and surveys, though taken ex parte, should be admitted as if made by common consent, are the first that occur to my mind; but other objections as valid may be suggested by a further inspection of the proceedings and documents. And this is one of the reasons why I have already requested that they might all be transcribed and forwarded to me.

II. The boundary west of the Stony Mountains. The parallel of the 49th degree of north latitude will intersect the Caledonia River a short distance above its mouth, leaving the mouth to the United States, and almost the whole course of the river to Great Britain. This renders it improbable that she will accede to our proposed line without modification. A deviation not greater than what may be sufficient to give them the mouth of that river would be of no importance to the United States, and might facilitate an arrangement. The two governments being in some degree committed by the respective rejection of the line proposed by each, the pride of both may be saved by a small alteration of the line; and this consideration is in practice not to be altogether disregarded.

The time proposed for permitting British subjects to continue in settlements heretofore made south of the 49th degree of latitude seems too short. Five years are hardly sufficient to close Edition: current; Page: [313] and withdraw from the business in which the occupants are engaged. If no adjustment of the boundaries can be concluded, and the convention of 1818 is prolonged, ten years’ possession will be allowed, merely in order to prevent collisions. An equal or even longer period may certainly be allowed for the sake of coming to a final arrangement. And I should suggest fifteen instead of five years as the longest time that should be allowed for the final evacuation of the country by British traders, if that period should be insisted on, as a condition of such an arrangement. The British are excluded from any share of the Indian trade within our limits east of the Stony Mountains, not by virtue of any special treaty stipulation, but as a natural consequence of the territorial sovereignty of the United States. To provide specially for that exclusion west of the Stony Mountains does not seem necessary; but, if deemed useful, it seems to me that it should be extended to the whole Indian country, as otherwise an unfavorable inference might be drawn against our right to exclude on the east side of the mountains.

III. St. Lawrence navigation and intercourse with Canada. This subject, though perhaps less important at this time than other points of difference, and although the real interest of Great Britain does not essentially differ from ours on that question, is one of the most difficult and intricate to arrange by treaty.

Generally speaking, two courses present themselves: 1, to insist on the right and wait for a favorable opportunity to assert it, even at the risk of losing for the present the advantages which might be derived from a practical arrangement; 2, to waive for the present without renouncing the right, and to make a commercial arrangement which may remove or lessen the evils now complained of.

To look simply at the letter of the Articles A and B, the first course appears to be that which the President has determined to adopt. The Article B is stated to be a minimum, to secure the least that we can take. And it provides that the navigation of the St. Lawrence within the British dominions shall ever remain free and open to the citizens of the United States, and that, to render effectual that right, his Britannic Majesty will permit them for five years to have places of deposit at Quebec and Edition: current; Page: [314] Montreal, and afterwards either to continue that permission, or to assign them an equivalent establishment on the banks of the St. Lawrence. Nothing more can be asked as a matter of right. It is a complete admission, though not recognition, of the right claimed by the United States, and with all the characteristics belonging to a matter of right, viz., perpetuity and want of reciprocity. In this last respect, the real reciprocity consists only in the right obtained by the British to navigate that part of the channel of the St. Lawrence which is exclusively within the United States; but they are admitted in none of the navigable lakes connected with the St. Lawrence which are exclusively within the United States, whilst the citizens of the United States are to enjoy the navigation of the St. Lawrence within the British dominions. This want of reciprocity would hardly be proposed in a commercial arrangement founded solely on mutual convenience; its propriety rests on the inherent right of the citizens of the United States to navigate the river St. Lawrence through its whole extent.

I am sure that, if this is the ground really intended to be adhered to, I can add nothing to the forcible argument urged by Mr. Rush, and I certainly can entertain no hope of succeeding better than he did. Neither this nor any of the preceding observations is made for the purpose of raising any objection whatever against that course, if it has been decided on. I only fear that I may mistake the object in view. Perhaps it is not intended that I should strictly adhere to the Article or Articles A and B. There are several passages in the instructions whence it might be inferred that the intention was to waive the right for the present without renouncing it, and merely to make a temporary practical arrangement. Thus it is there said that it is more agreeable to turn from a protracted discussion which, although we are entirely confident of having the right on our side, may terminate by leaving each party in possession of the same opinion which he entertained at its commencement, to the consideration of some practical arrangement which, if possible, shall reconcile the views of both, and that the mutual interests of the two countries, independently of any considerations of right in the navigation of the St. Lawrence, should produce an arrangement satisfactory to Edition: current; Page: [315] both parties. And again, though literally limited to the Articles A and B, it is anticipated that such an arrangement may be made when, without any authority to discuss them, I am instructed to take any counter-proposals which the British government may offer for reference to my own. For what purpose is that reference if in fact the Article B secures the least that the United States can take?

But if the reference alluded to is only intended as an act of courtesy towards the British government, if it has been determined not to treat on the subject of the navigation of the St. Lawrence, properly so called, unless the substance of the Article B and which is common to the Article A can be obtained, I do not understand what objection there can be to secure by a treaty stipulation, if practicable, that exemption from duties of our produce or of the principal articles of it when imported into Canada, which it seems it would be satisfactory to obtain, though with no better guarantee than some assurances of the British government. This exemption, or at least a considerable reduction of the rate of such duties, would be a mere commercial regulation, unconnected with and not at all affecting the question respecting the right of navigating the St. Lawrence, and would, it seems, afford at this time more relief than any other measure. It is in fact nothing more than confining the treaty stipulation to the subject-matter of that paragraph of the Article A which is not common to the Article B. I have been led to take this view of the subject from the perusal of the report of the committee of the Legislature of New York, dated March 28, 1825. Though they may not be authority on questions of international law, they must certainly be allowed to understand the practical question, the interest of their constituents, the real grievance of which they complain, the remedy which will remove it.

In that report the committee say expressly that “the right to navigate the St. Lawrence can be of very little use to us unless we are allowed to trade at Montreal, and that our trade there is placed on a liberal footing;” and again, alluding to the right of deposit, that “it will afford a very uncertain and feeble protection to our Northern citizens.” The reasons for both opinions are given at large in the report, and they appear to be correct, so Edition: current; Page: [316] far at least as relates to the lumber trade, which, since the great canal is navigable, constitutes almost the sole object, and for a long time will continue to be the principal object, of exportation from the United States to Canada. To be liable to no duty or to an inconsiderable duty there, is the only efficient remedy to the evil, unless resort be had to retaliation.

It would follow that if, contrary to expectation but in conformity with the instructions, the Article B was to become part of a treaty, it would for the present afford no relief to the inhabitants of the St. Lawrence country. And we would, moreover, lose thereby what is considered by them as the only mode of obtaining redress, since the British obtaining by that article the right of navigating that channel of the river St. Lawrence which is exclusively within the dominions of the United States, their exclusion therefrom could no longer be used as retaliation for the purpose of compelling them to repeal the extraordinary duties complained of. This, it will be perceived, is another difficulty in the way of an amicable arrangement on that subject. Had I any opinion to give upon it, it would be this:

First, to determine whether it is best to adhere to the right of navigating the river St. Lawrence without compromise, or to waive the right for the present, but without renouncing it.

In the first case, to try to obtain by treaty an exemption or considerable reduction of duty on the principal articles of our produce exported into Canada, stipulating a reciprocal exemption or reduction on similar Canadian produce, including fur, imported into the United States, and to be silent on the subject of the navigation of the St. Lawrence, unless the British assent to give up the point in the manner provided by the Article A.

In the second case, to try to make a temporary arrangement, both for the navigation and for the importation of our produce, similar in substance but not in form to the Article A. But to give this any chance of success there must be reciprocity, and I apprehend that the British would ask the right to navigate Lakes Champlain and Michigan, to which there may not be any objection, provided there is an express provision against this giving them the right of participating in the trade with our Indians.

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In no case whatever to propose the Article B.

IV. Colonial trade. Not having the late Acts of Parliament, and on account of the many details belonging to the subject, I cannot say that I understand yet fully the scope of the instructions. One branch only has struck me, because it was new to me. It relates to the claim of carrying colonial produce in American vessels to any foreign other than British ports. In case the British should refuse this privilege, or decline the offer of a general abolition of discriminating duties everywhere and without regard to the nature or origin of the merchandise, I am instructed to have a clause inserted reserving the right to each party to restrict the trade between the United States and the British colonies to the direct intercourse between them. I wish to understand precisely what is meant by these last words. Is it intended to prevent British vessels coming to the United States from the British colonies from going from the United States to any other port, British or foreign, than the British colonies? or to prevent any British vessel, unless she has come from the British colonies, from sailing from the United States for the said colonies? or is any other restriction contemplated? A clause in general words may be proposed; but explanations respecting its operation will be asked.

V. Articles proposed to Mr. Rush by the British commissioners at their twenty-second conference. I presume that, these articles being generally for the convenience of Great Britain, though authorized to accede to several of them, this is discretionary, and not to be done unless a satisfactory result has been obtained on other points.

But permit me to add some observations on some of those articles. 1. Mutual delivery of criminals. This subject of extradition has ever been in practice one of the most delicate and difficult of the law of nations. Even when free of many abuses, and confined to the offences of murder and forgery, the surrender of a citizen will ever be odious, and even that of an alien unpopular. National pride may feel interested in the question; but the difference between our penal codes and that of Great Britain, and those perhaps existing in the administration of justice in the two countries, form a solid objection. Questions on Edition: current; Page: [318] the evidence in support of the demand for surrender perpetually arise in the countries where the principle has been adopted. The article of the treaty of 1794 with Great Britain, which embraced a similar provision, was originally opposed as interfering with State rights, and the only attempt within my knowledge to carry it into effect was not fortunate. The case of Jonathan Robbins gave rise to two important questions: Was the act committed murder, for which the man should be surrendered? or piracy, according to the law of nations, for which he was punishable and ought to be tried in the United States? Ought his claim to be a citizen of the United States to have been examined before he was surrendered? The excitement caused by the surrender of this man, its effect on popular opinion, are well known. Is it wise, is it sound policy, on a question of doubtful utility and minor importance, to awaken ancient recollections and feelings,—perhaps to endanger a whole convention in other respects acceptable?

2. Deserters. The surrender of those belonging to the navy has, by every successive Administration, been considered as intimately connected with the question of impressment, and as a concession to Great Britain, not to be made unless she expressly renounced her pretensions to impress on board the vessels of the United States.

3. Protection to merchants in case of war. This article is unexceptionable, but does not go far enough. The protection should be extended to all vessels belonging to either party and being in the ports of the other party at the time of the war being declared or known. The United States acted on that principle at the commencement of the last war, whilst Great Britain seized and condemned the American vessels in her ports. Indemnity was afterwards refused, and the distinction maintained between property on shore or floating. To abolish this should be insisted on on our part.

I have not time to transcribe or to correct; and this letter bears evident marks of the haste with which it has been written. Whilst I request that the observations it contains may be respectfully submitted to the President, I need hardly add that, in the mean while, the instructions shall be faithfully executed Edition: current; Page: [319] to the best of my abilities. But it is a matter of considerable regret that they had not sooner been made known to me.

I have the honor, &c.
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
30th June, 1826
New York
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

Dear Sir,

I have this moment received your friendly letter of the 26th instant. I regret that I cannot say that my instructions are satisfactory. They are on almost every subject of the most peremptory nature, leaving no discretion on unimportant points, and making of me a mere machine. They presuppose that every subject has a priori been so completely analyzed that it is not susceptible of any other modification than those suggested in the instructions; that nothing must be left to unforeseen circumstances; that nothing will arise from the proposals that may be made by the other party; that no new mode of adjusting a difficult point can occur to the agent; that nothing must be left to his discretion. I have, in a letter dated yesterday, stated some of the inconveniences which it appeared to me were likely to arise from a strict adherence to the instructions. This was necessarily done in great haste. On some points I may be mistaken; on others I feel great confidence that I am right. I am sure that an enlargement of the discretionary power would be of public and great utility. By obeying the instructions as they are to the best of my ability, I shall have performed my duty and be discharged of any responsibility. But I seriously fear that this course, notwithstanding my best and most faithful endeavors, will be injurious in some important points, and produce a failure in others. I am far from saying that even with an extension of power I will succeed; but I am sure it will make the chance of success much greater.

You have been pleased to express your confidence that any discretionary power which I may deem advisable to exercise for the benefit of the country and the success of the mission would meet with your approbation. But how can I do this safely or Edition: current; Page: [320] even lawfully under the present instructions? It is not difficult to remove this difficulty. Let it only be officially announced to me, in answer to my letter of yesterday, that the instructions are intended to guide but not absolutely to bind me; that they express the views of the subject entertained by the Executive, but that I may nevertheless, either generally or as to the points adverted to in my letter, or as to some of them, or under other limitations that may be deemed proper, exercise a reasonable discretion. I am not afraid of incurring responsibility where discretion is allowed, but I cannot do it in the face of strict and positive injunctions.

Whatever may be decided in that respect, you may rely on my zeal and the sincerity of my endeavors in bringing the subjects of difference with Great Britain to a favorable issue.

Accept, I pray, my best wishes for the success of your Administration and for your personal welfare, as well as the assurance of the high respect and sincere regard with which I have the honor to remain, dear sir, your friend and obedient servant.

Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
19th August, 1826
London
Henry Clay
Clay, Henry

GALLATIN TO HENRY CLAY.

No. 3.

Sir,

I arrived here on the 7th instant, and addressed on the ensuing day a note to Mr. Canning, of which and of his answer copies are enclosed.

Mr. Huskisson and Mr. Addington are out of town; and it is not probable that a negotiation with those gentlemen can be opened before the middle of next month.

Of the important events which have taken place in Europe since my departure from the United States I have as yet no other information than what is derived from newspapers.

I have the honor, &c.
Edition: current; Page: [321]
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
28th August, 1826
London
Henry Clay
Clay, Henry

GALLATIN TO HENRY CLAY.

No. 5.

Sir,

The unexpected order in council for interdicting the intercourse in American vessels between the United States and the British colonies in South America and the West Indies placed me on my arrival in a more difficult situation than had been anticipated.

It was evident that that act would produce a similar one on the part of the United States, to interdict the same intercourse in British vessels; it was probable that the indirect intercourse through New Brunswick and Nova Scotia would not be permitted by my government; but I could not judge whether any further steps might be deemed necessary.

Although without instructions on that unforeseen contingency, and although the order in council did not appear to infringe any positive right of the United States, I thought I ought not to be silent on the occasion, since this would be construed as acquiescing in the unsatisfactory explanations given by Mr. Canning.

I have, accordingly, addressed to him a note, of which a copy is enclosed.1 In this I have simply exposed the nature and true import of the order in council, avoiding to say anything that might impede a negotiation, and leaving the course open for any further measures which the President may think proper to adopt. The opportunity was at the same time taken to state the reasons for the delay in renewing the negotiations, and why an Act had not been passed for placing the navigation and commerce of the British possessions abroad upon the footing of the most favored nation. This was deemed the more important, as I cannot assign any other rational motive for the suspension of the intercourse but a desire to regulate it altogether by Acts of Parliament, without leaving us any other option than that of either accepting such Acts in toto and without any modifications, or of having no intercourse whatever with the British colonies. This conjecture is strengthened by the tenor of the Edition: current; Page: [322] third article of the British counter-project offered to Mr. Rush in the year 1824.

I have the honor, &c.
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
September 13, 1826
London
Henry Clay
Clay, Henry

GALLATIN TO HENRY CLAY.

No. 8.

Sir,

After we had, in the conference of the 11th instant with Mr. Canning, disposed for the present of the subject of the proceedings of the commission appointed under the St. Petersburg convention, Mr. Canning informed me that he had prepared an answer to my note of the 26th of August, relative to the order in council of the 27th of July, and that I would receive it either that evening or the ensuing day. He then said that the government of the United States seemed to have considered the intercourse with the British colonies as being of the same nature with that with Great Britain itself, and which ought, therefore, to be adjusted by mutual arrangement. Great Britain could not consider it in that view. An intercourse with her colonies was only permissive, and accordingly regulated by her own laws. I asked whether this was only the declaration of an abstract right, or whether I was to understand that it was the intention of Great Britain to act accordingly, and to decline entering into negotiations with the United States on that subject; to which the answer was immediately given that such was the intention of his Majesty’s government.

I replied that, this declaration being important and altogether unexpected, I must wait till I had received Mr. Canning’s intended note before I could express an opinion upon it. I would only observe at present that every species of foreign trade was permissive. There was no nation that had not and did not exercise the right of regulating the intercourse of foreigners with its own territories, wherever situated. And yet almost every nation had found it convenient, if not necessary, to adjust that intercourse by conventions or treaties. So long as the colonial system was preserved entire, every species of intercourse with Edition: current; Page: [323] foreign nations was altogether prohibited. Whenever it suited the policy of a nation having colonies to open that intercourse, the same question would recur as with respect to home possessions, viz.: Was it more convenient to regulate it by mutual arrangements than by the conflicting laws of each party? In the present case it had always been thought that an intercourse between the United States and the British West India colonies was beneficial, and therefore a proper subject for negotiation. And accordingly there had never been a negotiation of a commercial nature between the two countries in the course of which the subject of that intercourse had not been taken up. The determination now communicated to me was, therefore, entirely unexpected, and avowed a change of policy.

Mr. Huskisson said in reply that, generally speaking, it had been the constant usage of nations to make commercial treaties respecting the intercourse with territories which were not colonies, but that, on the contrary, it had never been customary to make such treaties respecting colonial intercourse. This had always been considered as a subject exclusively belonging to the mother-country. Great Britain never had—he did not know of any nation that ever had—made a treaty on that subject. It was true that, so long as a partial intercourse was admitted by England between her colonies and the United States only, it had been attempted, but without success, to regulate it by a conventional arrangement. But a material change had taken place in her policy; and I understood Mr. Huskisson to say that he had, during the negotiation of 1824, given notice to Mr. Rush that such a change was intended. The British colonies were now opened on certain conditions to all nations, and Great Britain could not enter into arrangements on that subject with the United States without exposing herself to much inconvenience with respect to other nations.

Mr. Canning, in allusion to my having stated in my note to him that the delay in renewing the negotiations must in a great degree be ascribed to Mr. King’s state of health, added that, according to information received from Mr. Vaughan, the Secretary of State at Washington had told him that he could not have instructions prepared for that subject before the month of Edition: current; Page: [324] last May. To this I replied that I had spoken in general terms, and that the cause I had assigned was, as I understood, that of the delay in preparing the instructions. I was not, however, at all prepared to discuss the subject; and it was only for the sake of information that I would ask whether it was also intended to decline a negotiation as respected the intercourse by inland navigation with Canada. To this Mr. Huskisson answered that, the British North American colonies being adjacent to the United States, there was no objection to treat of the intercourse by land or inland navigation on the ground of mutual convenience, but not on that of a right on the part of the United States, a subject on which the British government had given their answer in 1824.

The objects of negotiation were then mentioned by Messrs. Canning and Huskisson to be the renewal of the convention of 1818, the boundary west of the Stony Mountains, and the North-East boundary. I said that I reserved the question (on which I had not yet formed an opinion) whether, on account of the refusal to treat of the colonial intercourse, I ought to refer to my government the propriety of renewing the convention of 1818. No observation was made on the Western boundary. Concerning the North-East boundary, Mr. Huskisson said that, for the purpose of reference to a third power, it seemed necessary that we should agree to some kind of statement whereby some distinct and intelligible questions should be submitted to the umpire for the decision.

On my asking at what time the British commissioners would be ready to open the negotiation, Mr. Huskisson expressed his utter reluctance to do it now, it being the only time allowed him and his colleagues for relaxation, and mentioned November as sufficiently early for every purpose. He added that the meeting of Parliament would be no impediment to our transacting business. I said that I was of course ready at any time, and that the earliest day would suit me best; and I alluded to the time when Congress must necessarily adjourn. But I abstained from pressing further that point, as it appeared certain that he would have refused altogether an earlier meeting than he proposed; and, as the colonial intercourse was out of the question, there Edition: current; Page: [325] was no advantage, with the apparent temper, in the immediate discussion of any subject.

I have the honor, &c.
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
13th September, 1826
London
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

Private.

Dear Sir,

I wrote this day to the Secretary of State announcing that this government is disposed to offer £250,000 in lieu of the indemnity which might be obtained under the slave convention. The fact is, that the inofficial proposal was received last afternoon, but marked as a private and confidential communication, not to be either made public or used hereafter in argument in case it was rejected. There was annexed an estimate in substance as follows:

Principal of claims, allowing all the indisputable and one-half of the doubtful, £180,000
one-half of twelve years’ interest at 5½ per cent., on the ground that two questions might be referred, whether interest or no interest, and whether at 6 or at 5 per cent., allowing half the chances to be ours, 59,400
To cover, and will more than cover, the interest accruing on instalments payable after 1st May, 1827, 10,600
£250,000

The instalments to be £100,000 on May 1, 1827; £100,000 on 1st November, 1827; £50,000 on 1st May, 1828.

Mr. Addington, who left the proposal whilst I was out, sent me a note stating he was not charged with any farther communication on the subject, and that Mr. Canning had informed him that the proposition in question was the only one he could have occasion to submit to my consideration. This is all I have to say in addition to the contents of my letter to Mr. Clay, to which I beg leave to refer. I am in great haste in order to be in time for this week’s Liverpool packet. With great respect, &c.

P.S.—I believe that the principal difference between the Edition: current; Page: [326] above estimate of principal, £180,000, and that of Mr. Cheves, £200,000, arises from the British government placing the Louisiana slaves, valued at about £32,000, amongst the doubtful claims, and of which (a reference having been asked on that point) we would have the chance of only one-half. I believe the estimate of Mr. Jackson of indisputable claims to be £140,000.

Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
14th September, 1826
London
Henry Clay
Clay, Henry

GALLATIN TO HENRY CLAY.

No. 10.

Sir,

I received last night at ten o’clock Mr. Canning’s answer (dated 11th instant) to my note of the 26th of August. It is much too long to be transcribed in time for this packet. In hopes that this letter may yet reach Liverpool in time, I enclose a transcript of the last paragraphs, which is all that I have time to do.

The enactment alluded to in the first line of the enclosed transcript is that clause of the Act of Congress of 1823 which I had overlooked in my note of the 26th of August to Mr. Canning, and which provides in substance that no British ship entering an American port from the United Kingdom or from any other British possession, except directly from the West India colonies, shall be allowed to clear out from any port of the United States for any of those colonies. It is made a prominent reason for the course now adopted by this government, that this clause was suffered to remain in force after the restrictions of the Act of Parliament of 1822, on which it was professedly founded, had been done away by the Act of Parliament of 1825, and I understand that enactment to be the pretension, recorded in the Act of Congress aforesaid, which, so long as it remains the law of the United States, will prevent the British government from consenting to any renewal of the negotiation upon the colonial intercourse.

In your instructions to me you observe, in relation to the Act of Parliament of 1825, that according to its provisions “the foreign vessel is restricted to a direct intercourse between the Edition: current; Page: [327] country to which it belongs and the British colony, adhering in this respect to the old principle of her Navigation Law.”

I am thence led to infer that it was not understood that the restriction was done away by the Act of Parliament, and that to that circumstance must be ascribed the continuance in force of the corresponding restriction of the Act of Congress of 1823.

Mr. Canning’s note is not written in the most assuaging manner, and there are at least some observations which might have been omitted. I will take my own time to answer it.

I have not time to add anything more, and have the honor to be, &c.

Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
20th September, 1826
London
Henry Clay
Clay, Henry

GALLATIN TO HENRY CLAY.

No. 12.

Sir,

I have now the honor to enclose Mr. Canning’s note of the 11th instant, on which I will for the present abstain from making any comments. But there is a subject on which I request to be instructed as soon as possible.

My instructions were prepared without any expectation of the measures since adopted by this government on the subject of the colonial trade. Is it still intended that the convention of 1815, renewed in 1818, should be now again renewed?

Experience has indeed shown that, as far as relates to navigation, the result of that convention is highly favorable to the United States. Yet I cannot judge of the effect which the apparent determination of this government to exclude them altogether from the colonial trade, open to all other foreign nations, may or ought to have on the general policy of America towards Great Britain.

I have also some reason to believe that some modifications will be proposed to the convention. From Mr. Huskisson’s declaration in Parliament, and from some expressions of Mr. Addington in a conversation with him, it seems probable that the principal of those modifications will be the proposal to allow the importation from the United States and in American vessels of goods the produce of any part of the world, on condition of Edition: current; Page: [328] the like privilege being granted to British vessels in the ports of the United States, and in both cases without any discriminating duties.

This would accord with the spirit of my instructions, and is consistent with the policy of the United States. The only question is whether, supposing the convention to be renewed, a proposal which will apply to the intercourse between the United States and only the European dominions of Great Britain should be accepted. I would rather incline to the affirmative, if the convention is to be renewed at all.

I have the honor, &c.
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
22d September, 1826
London
Henry Clay
Clay, Henry

GALLATIN TO HENRY CLAY.

No. 13.

Sir,

I have the honor to enclose the copy of my answer to Mr. Canning’s note of the 11th instant, relating to the order in council of 27th of July last.

It would have been easy to make it much longer; but it appeared to be unnecessary to repeat in detail arguments which have been so often brought forward; and the only difficulty consisted in selecting and condensing such as could not in a reply be omitted. The ground is left open for my government to give to the world a more comprehensive view of the whole subject, if they shall think it worth their while.

On three points we were perhaps vulnerable: 1, the delay in renewing the negotiation; 2, the omission of having revoked the restriction on the indirect intercourse when that of Great Britain had ceased; 3, too long an adherence to the opposition to her right of laying protecting duties. This might have been given up as soon as the Act of 1825 had passed. These are the causes assigned for the late measures adopted towards the United States on that subject; and they have undoubtedly had a decisive effect as far as relates to the order in council, assisted as they were by the belief that our object was to compel this country to regulate the trade upon our own terms.

Edition: current; Page: [329]

But even this will not account for the refusal to negotiate, and the apparent determination to exclude us altogether hereafter from a participation in the trade of the colonies. There is certainly an alteration in the disposition of this government towards the United States since the year 1818, when I was last here. Lord Castlereagh and Mr. Robinson had it more at heart to cherish friendly relations than Mr. Canning and Mr. Huskisson. The difference may, however, be in the times rather than in the men. Treated in general with considerable arrogance till the last war, with great attention if not respect during the years that followed it, the United States are now an object of jealousy; and a policy founded on that feeling has been avowed. I beg leave to refer on that point to the enclosed speeches of Mr. Huskisson, particularly to those of 21st March, 1825, and 12th May, 1826, in which you will also find in substance much of what is contained in Mr. Canning’s note of the 11th.

I had at first been tempted to allude to this in my answer, the latter part of which on reflection I suppressed, as upon the whole it did not appear necessary to tell them that we understood their policy, since they cannot doubt it; or what would be the obvious consequence of its being pursued, as this is a subject better to be treated verbally. A copy of the suppressed part is enclosed, on account of its references to Mr. Huskisson’s expressions.

As it appears to me to be the true interest of both countries to come to some arrangement on that subject, I believe that this will ultimately take place. Some time must be allowed to assuage the feelings which have been generated on both sides. The British West India colonies cannot be supplied on reasonable terms from Europe; and their North American colonies have not a sufficient surplus of their own for this purpose. That surplus imported here from Canada amounts to about 100,000 quarters of wheat, equivalent to 160,000 barrels of flour. Prior to the introduction of wheat from Canada into England on a moderate duty (5 shillings per quarter) the importation did not exceed 20,000 quarters, and it was allowed that we supplied the British West Indies with two-thirds—I think myself with seven-eighths—of their consumption in flour. Edition: current; Page: [330] I told Mr. Canning that their attempt was nothing more than an experiment to give to their colonies the benefit of the corn laws, which it is understood that the Ministry wishes to have repealed here. They have but a single weapon to enable them to hold out,—the extension of the warehouse system in Canada,—and, if this should prove insufficient, a repeal of the duties now laid there on produce imported by inland navigation will give them the command of the whole that is raised for exportation in that portion of the United States bordering on the Lakes and on the St. Lawrence. It cannot be concealed that both that section and Upper Canada are susceptible of a rapid and great increase in population and natural product. We also know that under the operation of the Acts of Parliament and of Congress now in force our commerce with the British West Indies is much less than formerly. Our exports to those colonies, on the average of the years 1802, 1803, 1804, amounted annually in value to six millions of dollars, and Demerara and other conquered Dutch colonies are not included. One-half of this amount consisted of flour, corn, meal, rice, and other vegetable provisions. The total amount of these last-mentioned articles exported to those colonies, including Demerara, and to the British North American provinces, did not in the year 1825 exceed 1,100,000 dollars, a difference which cannot be accounted for by the reduction of prices alone. In the former years our exportation of articles now prohibited, consisting chiefly of salted fish, pork, and beef, amounted annually to 1,600,000 dollars. It is true that, although the trade is now much less important than formerly, the want of a market for our agricultural produce in the grain-growing States is now much more severely felt than then.

Viewing the question only in a commercial light, I should think it would be best not to betray too much anxiety, and to be satisfied with the prohibition of the intercourse as already provided for by law.

It is possible that no answer will be given to my note, improbable that any can be prepared before Mr. Canning’s return. It cannot be expected that I will have anything material to communicate before the commencement of November.

I have the honor, &c.
Edition: current; Page: [331]
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
18th October, 1826
London
J. Q. Adams
Adams, J. Q.

GALLATIN TO J. Q. ADAMS.

Dear Sir,

I had intended next spring, before my return to America, to have made an excursion to Paris once more to see some of my friends. Mr. Canning’s absence and the dispersion of the other members of the Cabinet having left me literally without anything to do here, I embraced what was the most favorable opportunity of making that journey, from which I have just returned. My letter of yesterday to the Secretary of State contains the substance of the information I was able to collect there; and I will now add some particulars which, as they involve the names of individuals, I did not wish to remain of record in the Department of State.

In the course of a long conversation with Pozzo di Borgo, the state of our relations with Great Britain was alluded to. I told him that the Emperor’s decision in the case of slaves carried away and the convention relative thereto had not been carried into effect by Great Britain in conformity with what we considered their real intention and meaning; that the British government had offered to compromise the matter by payment of a sum of money which fell short of our expectations; but that we were nevertheless inclined to accept it, principally on account of the reluctance we felt to trouble the Emperor by an appeal asking from him further explanations of his decision. Pozzo immediately expressed his wish that we might compromise or otherwise adjust the matter without making such an appeal, which, particularly at this time, would be, as he thought, extremely inconvenient to the Emperor; and speaking of the Maine boundary question, with which and its possible consequences he appeared well acquainted, he appeared also desirous, though he did not express himself as positively as on that of slaves, that Russia should not be selected as the umpire. I only observed that if there was any inconvenience in being obliged to make decisions which might not please both parties, that inconvenience was less to Russia than to any other power, and that a compensation for it was found in the additional degree Edition: current; Page: [332] of consideration accruing to the monarch in whom such confidence was placed. All this, however, corroborates what I have stated in my official letter respecting an approximation between Russia and Great Britain, and the disposition of the Emperor to interfere less than his predecessor in affairs in which he has no immediate interest.

The most remarkable change discoverable in France is the extinction of Bonapartism, both as relates to dynasty and to the wish of a military government. This, I am happy to say, appears to have had a favorable effect on our friend La Fayette, who was very ungovernable in all that related to petty plots during my residence at Paris as minister, and to whom I had again spoken on the same subject in the most forcible manner whilst he was in America. His opinions and feelings are not changed; but he appears to be thoroughly satisfied of the hopelessness of any attempt to produce a change at present; and he confines his hopes to a vague expectation that, after the death of the present King and of the Dauphin, the Duke of Orleans will dispute the legitimacy of the Duke of Bordeaux and become a constitutional king. This is such doubtful and distant contingency as is not likely to involve La Fayette in any difficulties.

Mr. de Villèle complained to me of those expressions in the President’s message which declared Hayti to have placed herself in a state of vassalage to France, as calculated to increase the dissatisfaction amongst the people of the island at the late arrangement. He said that he was aware of the objections of a very different nature which we had to a recognition of the independence of Hayti, but did not see the necessity of alleging the reason alluded to. As I did not wish and did not think it at all proper to enter into any discussion of the subject, I answered, as if in jest, “qu’un tribut, imposé à une colonie comme le prix de son indépendance, était contraire aux grands principes.” I forgot to mention the circumstance to Mr. Brown, and do not know whether the thing had already been complained of to him. If so, its being repeated to me—and they were almost the first words Mr. de Villèle addressed to me—shows that it must have made a deep impression on the French government.

Edition: current; Page: [333]

This reminds me that I received here a communication from a respectable quarter stating that, a few days before the publication of the order in council of July last, one of the King’s Ministers had complained to a confidential friend of the general tone of the American (United States) diplomacy towards England, still more so as respected manner than matter, and added that it was time to show that this was felt and resented. As to manner, the reproach cannot certainly attach either to Mr. Rush’s or Mr. King’s correspondence; and I know, from a conversation with Mr. Addington, that in that respect Mr. Clay’s has been quite acceptable. On looking at your own communications, I am satisfied that those to the British Ministers can have given no offence whatever, and that what they allude to and which has offended them is your instructions to Mr. Rush, printed by order of the Senate, and which have been transmitted both to Mr. Canning and to Mr. Huskisson; a circumstance, by the by, not very favorable to negotiations still pending. That they have no right to complain of what you wrote to our own minister is obvious; still, I think the fact to be so.

I forgot to mention in my letter of yesterday to the Secretary of State that there is some alarm amongst the legitimates about a plan of Metternich to change the line of succession in Austria, on a plea of the presumed incapacity of the heir presumptive; and that the King of the Netherlands has at last, by his unabated and exclusive attention to business and by his perfect probity and sincerity, so far conquered the prejudices of the Belgians as to have become highly respected and almost popular amongst them.

I have the honor, &c.
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
21st October, 1826
London
Henry Clay
Clay, Henry

GALLATIN TO HENRY CLAY.

No. 15.

Sir,

Mr. Canning having, in his note of the 11th ult., expressly stated that the restrictions on the indirect or circuitous intercourse in American vessels between the United States and the British West Indies had, from January last, been removed Edition: current; Page: [334] by Great Britain, I could not but take it for granted that he understood the Acts of Parliament better than we did; besides which, there was in the 4th Section of the Act of the 5th July, 1825, a reference to a law of navigation permitting foreign ships to export goods from British possessions abroad to any foreign country whatever; and Mr. Canning had verbally informed me that he had submitted his note to the law officers of the Crown.

In my answer of the 22d ult. I therefore conceded that I had, and admitted that my government might have, overlooked the provisions of the Acts of Parliament to that effect.

I have not yet, nevertheless, been able to discover the Act by which the restrictions alluded to, and which were imposed by that of the 24th June, 1822, have been removed. It is not of 5th July, 1825, which contains no enacting clause to that effect, but only the general reference above mentioned; nor is it that of 27th June, 1825, the 6th Section of which in its utmost latitude does not embrace vessels of the United States.

I do not mean to say that the provision respecting the said restrictions may not be found in some Act which has hitherto escaped my research. But, as I cannot obtain satisfactory information till after Mr. Canning’s return; as there is a bare possibility, however improbable in itself, that he may have committed a mistake; and as letters by this packet may be the last that will reach you before the meeting of Congress, I thought it best to let you know the fact that I had not yet discovered the Act in question, in order that, in any communication which may be made by the President on the subject, such guarded language may be used as will avoid commitment either way. I should think that, unless you have been more successful in your search than I have been, you may with truth say that the existence of an Act of Parliament repealing the restrictions in question is no otherwise known to the government of the United States than by Mr. Canning’s declaration in his note aforesaid.

I have the honor, &c.
Edition: current; Page: [335]
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
27th October, 1826
London
Henry Clay
Clay, Henry

GALLATIN TO HENRY CLAY.1

No. 16.

Sir,

. . . Although there is no prospect that any arrangement will shortly take place on that subject, yet it is desirable to be prepared for any contingency. And I wish that the President would take into consideration whether, supposing an arrangement either by convention or by mutual modification on both sides of existing laws or regulations to be practicable, it would be proper, so far as relates to navigation, to agree to the terms contained in the Acts of Parliament.

The most important of the restrictions on the indirect or circuitous trade—that which limited the exportations from the British West Indies in American vessels to the United States—has been repealed, and there remain but two. Such exportations cannot be made in American vessels to Great Britain or her dependencies; a point on which we cannot insist, and which is already given up by the instructions; and the importations into those colonies of American produce must, if made in American vessels, be direct from the United States. Is it necessary on that account to insist on the right of preventing British vessels, other than those coming direct from the colonies, from clearing from the United States for those colonies? Or, in other words (for it is clear, with such a resolution, no arrangement is practicable), is it worth while on that account to continue to cut off altogether the intercourse between the United States and the British colonies? On that question I beg leave to submit two observations: 1st. The right of importing produce of the United States into the British West Indies from other places than the United States is in itself of no great value. It might occasionally be convenient, when the market of Cuba or of other ports in the Gulf of Mexico was glutted with American produce, to have a right to take it in American vessels to the British West India ports; but it is but rarely that these will not, from the same causes, be also glutted at the same time, and that the expense of a double Edition: current; Page: [336] voyage and freight could be incurred. 2dly. Whilst contending for a nominal reciprocity, we must acknowledge that the other party must consider how far this reciprocity will be real. It is now ascertained that four-fifths of the tonnage employed in our intercourse with Great Britain itself are American, and only one-fifth British. Considering the species of population, the climate and commercial capital of the West Indies, and the distance of Great Britain, it is utterly impossible that the direct intercourse between the United States and the British West Indies should not, with equal duties and charges on the navigation, be carried on in a still greater proportion in vessels of the United States. The only compensation in that respect to Great Britain is to be found in the circuitous voyages which British vessels may make from that country through the United States to her West India colonies. And I feel quite confident—I think every man acquainted with the subject will be of the same opinion—that even granting them that privilege will leave more than three-fourths of the intercourse to our vessels.

I apprehend more danger from another source. Unless the rate of duties on our produce when imported direct from the United States into the West Indies, as compared with that laid on it when imported from the British North American colonies, can be limited by convention, it appears to me doubtful whether an understanding without convention would not be preferable. At present our flour imported direct from the United States into the British West Indies pays five shillings per barrel. If imported into Halifax, St. John’s, or Bermuda, and there warehoused, it pays no duty; and if re-exported thence to the British West Indies, which under existing laws can be done only in British vessels, it pays there only one shilling per barrel. This difference of four shillings may not be sufficient to cover the expense and charges of a double voyage, unloading, warehousing, and reloading. But if the rate of duties can be increased at will by Great Britain, she may easily so lay them as that our flour may be delivered on cheaper terms in the West Indies through that circuitous course than direct from the United States, which would at once give her the best part of the navigation. If, therefore, neither the rate of duties can be limited by convention, Edition: current; Page: [337] nor a condition inserted that no greater duties shall be raised on produce of the United States when imported direct from the United States than when imported from other countries, including Great Britain and her colonies, I would strongly incline to the opinion that it would be best, whenever an arrangement becomes practicable, that it should [rest] on a mutual understanding and on the respective laws of the two countries, rather than it should become altogether binding on the United States, and deprive them of the right of countervailing such disproportionate duties as I have alluded to.

It will not escape you that the intercourse by sea between the United States and the British West Indies and North American colonies has always been considered as necessarily connected together by the British government, and that this connection has been kept up in the Acts of Parliament, in the articles proposed to Mr. Rush, and indeed in all former proposals on their part. The condition to which I allude as necessary on our part in case of a convention differs essentially from that which has been absolutely rejected by Great Britain, and which I am instructed to give up. It applies not to the produce of British colonies similar to our own, but to our own when imported into the West Indies from the British colonies. But what renders the subject in that respect still more complex and difficult to arrange by treaty is, that it would be necessary to make a distinct provision as relates to American produce imported into Canada by inland navigation. This, indeed, will probably be, if it is not already, sufficiently protected without any interference on our part. But what relates to that subject, and to the St. Lawrence generally, will be the subject of a distinct despatch.

I have the honor, &c.
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
5th November, 1826
London
Henry Clay
Clay, Henry

GALLATIN TO HENRY CLAY.

No. 19.

Sir,

Mr. Canning’s attention, in our interview of the 4th instant, was principally turned to my official note to him of the Edition: current; Page: [338] 22d September last,1 on the subject of the colonial intercourse. He said he had hesitated and had not yet made up his mind whether to answer it or to instruct Mr. Vaughan to give you some explanations on the subject generally. He asked me whether I thought it probable that that correspondence would be published; and, on my answering that it was possible, he seemed inclined himself to make an answer to the note.

He alluded particularly to the last paragraph of my note, and when speaking of instructions to Mr. Vaughan, I understood that his object was to remove any impression that the proceedings of this government arose from any hostile feeling towards the United States. I did not deny that the paragraph in question was calculated to convey that opinion; and I told Mr. Canning that in the original draft of my note I had connected with that sentence an allusion to Mr. Huskisson’s declarations in his Parliamentary speeches, that it was the policy of England to favor the navigation of other less dangerous nations rather than that of the United States, formidable rivals in time of peace, &c., and that I had struck it out from a belief that, as part at least of an official note, it was not calculated to reconcile the two countries. As neither Mr. Huskisson’s observations nor the effect they must have had on us could possibly be denied, Mr. Canning did not attempt to make a direct answer, and said it was much better to make no allusion to Parliamentary speeches or proceedings of the same description; for, added he, there is a tremendous report of a committee of Congress which has almost the appearance of a manifesto issued on declaring war. I allowed that there were indeed some very strong expressions in the report in question, which is that of a committee, of which Mr. Baylies was chairman, on the territory west of the Stony Mountains; but that it was not the act of government, nor of any of the branches of government, nor of any minister presumed to speak the opinion of his government; that it expressed only the opinion of the members of the committee, whose report had not been approved, nor, as I believed, been taken into consideration by the House of Edition: current; Page: [339] Representatives. Mr. Canning said it was a dangerous power we gave to our committees, as a report of that kind, considered, as it was here, as a state paper, might in critical times decide the question whether the good understanding between the two countries should continue or not.

My general impression from the whole tenor of the conversation is that, whenever the proper time for an arrangement respecting the colonial intercourse arrives, it is probable that it must be done by a mutual understanding and not by a convention. The most pointed expression in that respect which fell from Mr. Canning was, that they might not be disposed in 1829 to have that intercourse placed on the same footing as in 1826. I only observed that, supposing both governments to be of opinion that it was best to let the intercourse be governed by the respective laws of each country, yet such was the situation in which they were now both placed, that there must be at least a previous mutual understanding before there could be any intercourse whatever; an observation in which he seemed to acquiesce.

I have the honor, &c.
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
November 8, 1826
London
Henry Clay
Clay, Henry

GALLATIN TO HENRY CLAY.

No. 21.

Sir,

I have received an informal explanation of the inquiry I had made respecting the Acts of Parliament affecting the colonial intercourse.

The statement made in my despatch of the 27th ult.1 is correct as relates to the facts. But it is asserted that although the Act of 6 Geo. IV., ch. 105, repeals, from the 8th July, 1826, amongst many other Acts, that of 3 Geo. IV., ch. 44, and although the Navigation Act of 6 Geo. IV., ch. 109, does not repeal any Act totidem verbis, yet, being declared to be the navigation law of the British Empire from the 5th January, 1826, it virtually repeals every Act concerning navigation the provisions of which Edition: current; Page: [340] are not contained in it, and therefore that the limitation of the Act 3 Geo. IV., ch. 44, or any other which prevented foreign vessels from exporting to any country produce from the British West Indies, was thus virtually repealed from the 5th January, 1826. How far this position agrees with the acknowledged rules for construing statutes I am not qualified to say, and is not very important.

I have the honor, &c.
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
14th November, 1826
London
Henry Clay
Clay, Henry

GALLATIN TO HENRY CLAY.

No. 24.

Sir,

In the conference of yesterday, at which the convention was signed, it was agreed that we should meet on to-morrow, the 15th, in order to enter on the negotiations on the other subjects. I believe that we will commence with that of the territory west of the Stony Mountains. I wrote to you at the time that I would not assent to the renewal of the convention of 1818 until I knew whether the steps taken by this government respecting the colonial intercourse had not produced some change in the President’s opinion respecting that renewal. If I receive no counter-order by the time it ought to reach me, I will conclude that none is intended, and act on the subject of that convention according to my instructions.

I received late last night Mr. Canning’s reply to my note of the 22d of September concerning the colonial intercourse. There is not time to transcribe it by this packet, as Mr. King has much to do and must set off to-day. It displays ingenuity and cleverness, but is altogether argumentative, containing nothing important or new or that changes the aspect of that question. Neither in this nor in any conversation has any symptom appeared of a disposition to change the ground assumed or to open again the intercourse in any shape.

I think the St. Lawrence question hopeless. I have not had time to write to you, as I intended, on that subject. My principal object was to state with precision the actual legislation of Edition: current; Page: [341] Great Britain as affecting that subject, or, generally, that of the intercourse by inland navigation between the United States and Canada. Any proposal founded on our right to navigate the river would not even be listened to; and I do not believe that they would even admit in a temporary agreement an express reservation of the right. I believe that all that can possibly be done at present will be to suggest such alterations in their own laws as may place the trade of our citizens in that quarter on as good footing as possible. This will leave our right entire till a better opportunity offers to bring it forward.

Mr. King is the bearer of the convention. I part with him with sincere regret, both on public and personal account. Mr. Lawrence is expected here to-morrow night.

I have the honor, &c.
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
November, 1826.
Henry Clay
Clay, Henry

GALLATIN TO HENRY CLAY.

No. 28.

Sir,

I have the honor to enclose a copy of Mr. Canning’s note of the 13th instant on the colonial intercourse, which was received on the 14th, and too late to be transmitted for the Liverpool packet of the 16th.

I might have animadverted on some parts of it. I had not denied the right of Great Britain to regulate, so far as depended on her own legislation, the intercourse between her colonies and the rest of the world. I had only insisted that that right did not extend to a power of controlling the laws of the United States on the same subject and operating within their own dominions.

Whilst insisting on their right to regulate as they deemed proper that intercourse with themselves and in that way, I did not pretend that they could claim, as a right, a participation in that trade. I had only adduced the circumstances connected with it, which made that claim a rational one, and the reasons why the United States had refused to enter into any agreement not founded on just and fair reciprocity. But it appeared to me unnecessary to travel again on the same ground and protract Edition: current; Page: [342] unprofitable discussion. On reading again Mr. Canning’s two notes and my own, I thought I might let the question rest on them, and I have only sent him the answer of this day, copy of which is enclosed.

I have already expressed my opinion that, whenever an arrangement may take place, it will be both much more practicable, and at least as advantageous to the United States, that it should be by an understanding only founded on the respective laws of the two countries. Whether an opportunity will, within any short time, present itself to effect that object in a manner consistent with the dignity of the United States, is quite uncertain; but it is best to be prepared for every contingency, and I hope that the President may be vested by Congress with sufficient powers to meet any state of things which may occur during the recess.

I have the honor, &c.

Upon reflection, I have concluded to suspend my answer to Mr. Canning.

Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
27th November, 1826
London
Henry Clay
Clay, Henry

GALLATIN TO HENRY CLAY.

No. 30.

Sir,

In a private letter which I wrote to the President about two months ago, I mentioned that I was informed, through a respectable channel, that one of the King’s Ministers had, about the time that the order in council of July last was decided upon, expressed his great dissatisfaction at the language of the government of the United States in their diplomatic intercourse with Great Britain, to which he added that the United States seemed as if they wished to take an undue advantage of the temporary distresses of England, and that it was time for her to make a stand and to show her displeasure. Satisfied that nothing offensive whatever could be found in the diplomatic correspondence proper, either here or at Washington, I thought that, however extraordinary it might appear, the British Minister might have taken offence at some expressions in Mr. Adams’s instructions Edition: current; Page: [343] to Mr. Rush, which would naturally be written with more freedom of style than letters addressed to a British Minister. In this conjecture it now appears that I was mistaken.

It has been ascertained by my informant (who is well known to Mr. Rush, and he may give you his name) that it was Mr. Canning who made the complaint to a confidential friend, at which time, without mentioning to what he alluded, he also said that the language used by America was almost tantamount to a declaration of war, or words to that effect. This has at once pointed out to me what was the subject of complaint. I have stated in a former despatch my conversation of the 5th instant with Mr. Canning, in which he used the same language and nearly in the same words in reference to Mr. Baylies’s report on the territory west of the Stony Mountains. It is most undoubtedly that report which has given great offence, and I am apt to think that, though not the remote or only, it was the immediate cause of the order in council. Indeed, it is clear, from what you have justly observed in reference to the construction finally put, in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, on the Act of Parliament of July, 1825, and from the communication made to you in the winter by Mr. Vaughan respecting the appointment of an additional person to negotiate with the United States, that there was not at that time any disposition to refuse to negotiate on the subject of the colonial intercourse, or to exclude us altogether from it.

To the same cause must be ascribed the symptoms of susceptibility, not to say irritability, which have been shown in our last conferences on the Western territory. Great Britain certainly does not wish to be at war with the United States. The annual discussions in Congress on the establishment of a territorial government on the Pacific had shown what were the feelings in America on that subject, and, though not pleasant to the ears of the British Ministers, had been rather useful. These discussions had created sufficient alarm to make this government desirous of settling the matter, as appears by Mr. Canning’s letter, referred to in my instructions. But Mr. Baylies’s report struck beyond the mark, not at all in the arguments given in support of the American claim or to repel that of the British, but in Edition: current; Page: [344] the charges of inordinate ambition against Great Britain, and, above all, in the kind of defiance with which the report concluded. There are some points which no nation or government having such high notions of national honor and dignity as the United States and Great Britain will bear tamely to be touched upon in that manner. I think that Mr. Canning’s mistake was, from the manner in which committees are selected here, to have supposed that the report of a committee of Congress, not approved by the House, had in fact any or much more weight than a speech by one of its members. I have mentioned that I had explained this; but it seems that the impression is not yet erased. This shows the necessity of a concert, on all that is connected with the foreign relations of the country, between the Executive and the committees of Congress.

From what I have said you will easily infer that an arrangement on that Western territory is both more difficult and more important than had been apprehended. If none can be made, it will be necessary to come to some understanding with Great Britain which, without affecting the rights of either party, may prevent collisions, and yet enable us to acquire a solid footing in that country.

I have the honor, &c.
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert
December 22, 1826
London
Henry Clay
Clay, Henry

GALLATIN TO HENRY CLAY.

No. 42.

Confidential.

Sir,

I had an interview on the 20th instant with Mr. Canning on the affairs of the Peninsula and its possible consequences. He entered at large on the views of the British government and on the steps which they had been compelled to take. They had repeatedly urged the evacuation of Spain by the French army as anti-British and giving an artificial support to the fanatic party. Mr. de Villèle had declared that the French government was equally desirous that it should speedily take place, and the King had last summer written an autograph letter to Ferdinand announcing that the troops would be withdrawn in Edition: current; Page: [345] April next. But the situation of Spain was such that this desirable measure would in all probability be necessarily protracted. It had then been distinctly announced to France that Great Britain was bound to protect the independence of Portugal, that she would not interfere with purely internal divisions in that country, but must assist it if attacked by or with the connivance of Spain. Measures had accordingly been taken in concert by England and France to prevent any such event happening, in consequence of which the Spanish government had entered into the engagements which I have mentioned in my despatch of October. These had been broken through the ascendency of the Apostolic party, perhaps contrary to the will of Ferdinand and of his Ministry. But those circumstances would explain why the British Ministry waited so late, and until the casus fœderis was perfectly clear, before they resorted to decisive measures.

It is, however, clear that Mr. Canning waited too long. He ought in October to have insisted on the recall of Du Moutiers, the French ambassador at Madrid, a tool of the Congregation party, and whose presence would certainly be considered in Spain as an evidence that France would support the Spanish Apostolic party. And he would have prevented every danger of Spanish co-operation with the Portuguese Anti-Constitutionalists had he sent the British troops to Portugal a month sooner. He was evidently uneasy on two accounts. Those troops might arrive too late; Miguel’s and the Queen Mother’s party is strong; the mass of the people superstitious and ignorant; the army, which has been organized under the Queen’s influence, not to be relied on; the new government not yet well organized. On the other hand, there has been a crisis in Paris, and it was still doubtful whether Villèle or the Congregation would prevail. You will see by this morning’s papers that, according to all appearances, Mr. Canning is relieved from anxiety on that subject, and that the French Ministry will act in concert with him. This, if fully confirmed, will in all probability arrest the Spanish party and prevent a war. But this was not certain on the day of our conference.

After Mr. Canning had concluded what he had to say, and Edition: current; Page: [346] from which his extreme desire that peace might be preserved was evident, I told him that, satisfactory as the views of the British government in that respect appeared to me, yet [it] was by no means certain that actual war between England and Spain could be avoided, and I must call his attention to the consequences such an event might have on the relations between the United States and Great Britain. That was the object of the interview I had asked.

It was, I said, understood between Great Britain and the United States that Cuba should not fall in the hands of either. I