Register of Debates in Congress, Comprising the Leading Debates and Incidents of the Second Session of the Eighteenth Congress Page: 46
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APPEN*DI X— To Gales & Seatoris Register.
18th Congress, ,
2d Session. \
Negotiations with France.
[ H. of K.
new Minister. I shall, however, take the earliest oppor-
tunity that my healthwill allow, to mention the subject
to him, and ascertain what his views of it are.
I have the honor to be, with great respect, sir, your
most obedient and humble servant,
Extracts of a letter from JUr, James Bnvtn to Mr.
" Fams, October 23, 1824.
" The packet ship which sailed from New York on
the 1st of September, brought me the letter which
you did me the honor to address to me on the 14th of
" In conformity with the instructions contained in that
letter, I have addressed one to the Baron de Damas,
-Minister of Foreign Affairs, a copy of which I now en-
close. 1 expect to receive his answer in time to be sent
by the packet which will sail from Havre on the 1st of
next month, in which event it may probably r . ach Wash
ington aboutthe 15th of December."
" The recent changes which have been made in the
ministry, of which 1 have already informed you, do not
justify any very strong expectation that a change of
measures, in relation to our affairs at this court, will fol-
low. The same individuals fill different places in the
ministry from those which they formerly held, but, in
all probability, adhere to their former opinions in rela-
tion to the subjeets of discussion between the United
States and France Oil the point to which my letter to
the Baron de Damas„pai'ticui:.rly relates, the Count de
Villele has already given his deliberate views in his let-
ters to Mr. Gallatin, dated 6th and 15th November,
1822, and I have every reason to believe that they remain
unchanged. Having bestowed much attention on the
subject, it is probable his opinion will be, in a great mea-
sure, decisive as to the answer which shall be given to
my letter. It is the opinion of many well-informed
men, that, in the course of a few months, important
changes will be made in the composition of the minis
try. As these changes, however, will proc'eed from
causes wholly unconnected with foreign affairs 1 ani by
no means sanguine in my expectations, that, under any
new composition ofthe ministry,we may hope for a change
of policy as it relates to our claims. The 8tl> article oi
the Louisiana treaty will be continually put forward as a
bar to our claims, and its adjustment urged as often as
we renew our claim for indemnity."
"The Journal des Debats, of this morning, states,
that, at a superior Council of Commerce and of the Co-
lonies, at which his Majesty yesterday presided, Mr. de
St. Cricq, President ofthe Bureau de Commerce, made
a report on the commercial convention of the 24th
June, 1822, between the United States and France."
Mr. Drown to Baron de Damas.
1'ahis, 22d October, 1824.
Sir: I availed myself ofthe earliest opportunity to
transmit to my government a copy ofthe letter which I
had the honor to address to the Viscount de Chateau-
briand, on the 28th day of April last, together with a
copy of his answer to that letter, dated 7th of May.
After a candid and deliberate consideration ofthe sub-
ject of that correspondence, my government has sentme
"recent instructions to renew vvitii earnestness the appli-
cation,already so frequently and so uneffec.tualiy made,for
indemnity to our citizens for claims notoriously just,
and resting on the same principles with others which
have been admitted and adjusted by the government of
In reply to that part of the Viscount de Chateaubri-
and's letter, in which he offers to op'en with me a nego-
tiation upon American claims, if that negotiation should
also include French claims, and particularly the ar-
rangements to be concluded concerning the 8th article
of the Louisiana treaty, I have been instructed to de-
clare, that any just claims which the subjects of France
may have upon the government of the United States,
will readily be embraced in the negotiation ; and that
I am authorized to stipulate any suitable provision for
the examination, adjustment, and satisfaction of them.
The question relating to the 8th article of the Louisi-
ana treaty, is viewed by my government as one of a very
different character. It cannot be blended with that of
indemnity for individual claims, without a sacrifice, on
the part of the United States, of a principle of right.
Every negotiation for indemnity necessarily presuppOseS
that some wrong has been done, and that indemnity
ought to be made; and the object of every treaty-stipu-
lation respecting it, can only be to ascertain the extent
ofthe injury,and to make provision for its adequate re-'
paration. This is precisely the nature of the negotiation
for American claims which has been for so many years the
subject of discussion between the governments of the
United States and of France. The wrongs done to our ci-
tizens have never been denied, whilst their right to in-
demnity has been established by acts done by the
French Government in cases depending upon the same
principles under which they derive their claim. By
consenting to connect with such a negotiation that re-
lating to the 8th article of the Louisiana treaty, the Unit-
ed States would abandon the principle upon which the
whole discussion depends. When asking for reparation
for acknowledged wrong, the United States have been
told that France will not discuss it with them, unless
they will first renounce their own sense of right, snd^ad-
mit and discuss, in connection with it, a claim, the jus-
tice of which they have hitherto constantly denied. In
any negotiation commenced under such circumstances,
the situation ofthe parties would be unequal. By con-
senting to connect the pretensions of France under the
8th article ofthe Louisiana treaty, with claims for indem-
nity for acknowledged injustice and injury, the United
States would be understood as admitting that those pre-
tensions were well founded ; that wrong had been done
to France, for which reparation ought to be made. The
government of the United States, not havirig yet been
convinced that this is the case, cannot consent to any
arrangement iwhich shall imply an admission so con-
trary to their deliberate sense of right.
I am authorized and prepared, on behalf of the United
States, to enter upon a further discussion ofthe 8th arti-
cle of the Louisiana treaty, in any manner which may be
desired, and by which they shall not be understood pre-
viously to admit that the construction of that article,
claimed by France, is well founded; and also to renew
the separate negotiation fur American claims, embracing,
at the same time, all just claims which French subjects
may have upon the government of the United States.
The change which has lately taken place in his majes-
ty's department of foreign affairs, encourages the hope
that this important subject will be candidly reconsider-
ed : that the obstacles which have arrested the progress
of the negotiation may be removed; and that the subjects
of contestation between the two governments may be
ultimately adjusted upon such principles as may perpe-
tuate the good understanding and harmony which hive
so long subsistedbetwe^n the United States and France.
Should I, however, be disappointed in the result of
this application, it is to be seriously apprehended that, as
the United States have not hitherto seen, in the course
ofthe discussion, any just claim of France, arising from
the 8th article of the Louisiana treaty, so, in the perse-
vering refusal of the French government to discus3 and
adjust the well-founded claims of citizens of the United
States to indemnity for wrongs, unless in connection with
one which they are satisfied is unfounded, the United
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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/m1/422/: accessed October 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.