Register of Debates in Congress, Comprising the Leading Debates and Incidents of the Second Session of the Eighteenth Congress Page: 43
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APPENDIX-—To Gttles Seitfoii'iMesister.
I8th Congress,, }
2d Session. s
Negotiations ivilh France.
[H. of R.
tivo countries, and the expression of his satisfaction at
the prospect of being soon relieved from the labor
which the affairs of Spain had thrown upon him, and hav-
ing thus more time to.devote to those of the United
States, and others not of the same pressing nature. He
avoided any intimation of a disposition to take up the
claims by themselves, and it can hardly be expected that
the trench Government will, at this time, relax from the
ground they have so lately taken upon that point. I in-
formed him that I should "communicate in writing' an an-
swer to the overture made by Count' de Menou, at
Washington, for uniting in a new negotiation this sub-
ject with that of the Louisiana treaty, in substance the
same as that gentleman had already received there, and
should again press upon the French Government the
consideration of the claims by themselves; to which he
replied, that any communication I might make, would
be received and treated with all the attention to which it
was entitled, on his part."
Mr. Sheldon to the Viscount tie Chateaubriand.
Paris, 11th Oct. 1823.
Sm: Sir. Gallatin, during liis residence as Minister of
the United States in France, had, upon various occa-
sions, called the attention of his Majesty's government
to the claims of our citizens for the reparation of wrongs
sustained by them, from the unjust seizure, detention,
and confiscation, of tlieir property, by officers and agents
acting under authority of the government of France.—
During the past year, his Majesty's ministers had con-
sented to enter upon the consideration of these claims,
but they proposed to couple with it another subject,
having no connexion with those claims, either in its na-
ture, its origin, or the. principles on which it depended—
a question of the disputed construction of one of tile ar-
ticles of the treaty of cession of Louisiana, by virtue of
which France claimed certain commercial privileges in
the ports of that proyince. Mr. Gallatin had not re-
ceived from his government any authority to connect
these two dissimilar subjects in the came negotiation, or
indeed to treat upon the latter, which had already been
very amply discussed at Washington, between the Se-
cretary of State of the United Slates, and his Majesty's
minister at that place, without producing any result, ex-
cept a conviction, on the part of the government of the
United States, that trie privileges for French vessels, as
claimed by the Minister of France, never could have
been, and were not in fact, conceded by the treaty in
question. A stop was then put to the negotiations al-
ready commenced in relation to the claims, and with
which had been united, on the proposition of the French
government, and as being naturally connected with it,
the consideration of certain claims of French citizens on
the Government of the United States.
The charge d'affaires of France at Washington has
lately, on behalf of his government, expressed, to that of
tile United States, a wish that this doable negotiation
might be resumed, and that a definitive arrangement
might be made, as well in relation to the disputed arti-
cle of the Louisiana treaty, as of the subject of the
claims upon tlse one side, and upon the other. The Gt5- t
vernment of the United States has nothing more at bwt j
than to remove, by friendly arrangements, every subject j
of difference which may exist between the two coun- j
tries, and to examine, with the greatest impartiality aud j
good faith, as well the nature and extent of the stipula- j
lions, into which they have entered, as the appeals *o
their justice ru:vle by individuals claiming reparation
for wrongs supposed to have been sustained at their
But these two subjects are essentially dissimilar; there
are no points of connection between them ; the princi-
ples upon which they depend are totally different ;_they
have no bearing upon each other, and the justice which is
i!ae to individuals ought not to be delayed, or made de- *
pendent upon the right or the wrong interpretation, by
one or the other party, of a treaty having for its object
the regulation of entirely distinct and different interests.
The reclamations of American citizens upon the go-
vernment of France, are for mere justice; for the repa-
ration of unquestionable wrongs; indemnity or restitu-
tion of property taken from them, or destroyed forcibly,
and without right. They are of ancient date, and justice
has been long and anxiously waited for ; they have been
often represented to the government of France, and their
validity is not disputed. Similar reclamations, without
greater merit or stronger titles id admission, presented
by citizens of other nations,have been favorably received,
examined, and liquidated ; and it seems to "have been,
hitherto, reserved to those of the United States, alone,
to meet with impediments at every juncture, andtoseek
in vain the moment in which the .government of France
could consent to enter upon their consideration.
Although the question arising under the 8th article of
the Louisiana treaty has, already, been fully examined,
the government of the United States is ready, if it is der
sired by France, and if it is thought that any new light
can be thrown upon it, to discuss the subject farther,
whenever it shall be presented anew by France to tlieir
consideration. But they are convinced that, by blend-
ing it with the claims, not only will no progress be made
lowartls its solution, but that these last, standing upon
their own unquestionable character, ought not to be
trammelled with a subject to which they are wholly
I am instructed to bring them anew before your Ex-
cellency, and to express the hope of the President, that
his Majesty's government will not continue to insist up-
on connecting together two subjects of so different a na-
ture, but that the claims may be taken up on their own
merits, and receive the consideration which they de-
serve, unincumbered with other discussions.
I request vour Excellency to accept the assurance, &c.
Extracts vf a letter froni the Secretary of State to J\fr.
Washington, 23d Dec. 1823.
"You will immediately, after your reception, earnestly
call the attention of the French government to the
claims of otir citizens for indemnity."
" You ivill, at the same time, explicitly make known
that this Government cannot consent to connect this dis-
cussion with that of the pretension raised by France, on
the construction given by her to the 8th article of the
Louisiana cession treaty. The difference in the nature
and character oft.be two.interests is such that they can-
not, with propriety, be blended together. The claims
are of reparation to individuals for their property, taken
from them by manifest and undisputed wrong. The
question upoti the Louisiana treaty is a question at right,
upon the meaning of a contract. It has been fully, de-
liberately, and thoroughly investigated, and the govel-n-
mentof "the United States ;;re under the entire drift So-
lemn conviction that tlie pretension of Prance is utterly
unfounded. V.'e are, nevertheless, willing' to res'uniethe
discussion, if desired by France; but, to refuse justice
to individuals, unless the United States will accede to
the construction of an article in a treaty, contrary to what
they believe to be its real meaning, .would'be not only
incompatible with the principles Ct' equity, but submit-
ting to a species of compulsion derogatory to the lienor
of the nation."
Extract of a letter (JVot 2) from James Brown, Ex-
traordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of the United
"2Sth April) 1824.
<• 1 have, in a letter to M. de Chateaubriand, copy of
which I have now tha honor to send, made an effort to
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Gales, Joseph, 1761-1841. Register of Debates in Congress, Comprising the Leading Debates and Incidents of the Second Session of the Eighteenth Congress, book, 1825; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc30752/m1/419/: accessed March 30, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.