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must be permitted to ask, would have been the the treaty of 1800, in his mind, put an end to liability of the United States under the 'onerous the pretence that the striking out of this article obligations' referred to, in case the Senate had relieved the United States from obligations so ratified the treaty, retaining this second article ? onerous as to form a valuable consideration for The binding force of the treaties of anity and the payments provided for in this bill. He commerce, and of alliance, and of the consular could not view the obligation released-a mere convention, was released, and the treaties and obligation to negotiate-as onerous at all, or as convention were themselves suspended by the forming any consideration whatever for a pecunivery article in question ; and the subjects of ary liability, much less for a liability for millions disagreement growing out of them were merely “Mr. W. said he now proposed to consider made matters of future negotiation “at a con- whether the effect of expunging the second arvenient time. What was the value or the ticle of the treaty of 1800 was to release any burden of such an obligation upon the United claim of value-any claim which France had States ? for this was the only obligation from ever acknowledged, or ever intended to pay. which our government was released by striking He had before shown, by extracts from the out the article. The value, Mr. W. said, was fourth and fifth articles of the treaty of 1800, the value of the privilege, being at perfect liberty, that certain classes of claims were saved by that in the premises, of assenting to or dissenting treaty, as it was ratified. The claims so re from a bad bargain, in a matter of negotiation served and provided for were paid in pursuance between ourselves and a foreign power. This of provisions contained in the treaty between was the consideration passing to the United France and the United States, of the 30th of States, and, so far as he was able to view the April, 1803; and to determine what claims were subject, this was all the consideration the go- thus paid, a reference to some of the articles of vernment had received, if it be granted (which that treaty was necessary. The purchase of he must by no means be understood to admit), Louisiana was made by the United States for that the striking out of the article was a release the sum of 80,000,000 of francs, 60,000,000 of of the claims, and that such release was intended which were to be paid into the r'rench treasury, as a consideration for the benefits to accrue to and the remaining 20,000,000 were to be applied the government from the act.
to the payment of these claims. Three separate “ Mr. W. said he felt bound to dwell, for a mo- treaties were made between the parties, bearing ment, upon this point. What was the value of all the same date, the first providing for the an obligation to negotiate at a convenient time?' cession of the territory, the second for the par. Was it any thing to be valued ? The conven- ment of the 60,000,000 of francs to the French ient time' might never arrive, or if it did arrive, treasury, and the third for the adjustment and and negotiations were opened, were not the payment of the claims. government as much at liberty as in any other “Mr. W. said the references proposed were to case of negotiation, to refuse propositions which the last-named treaty, and were the following: were deemed disadvantageous to itself? The "Art. 1. The debts due by France to citizens treaties were suspended, and could not be re- of the United States, contracted before the 8th vived without the consent of the United States; of Vendemiaire, ninth year of the French Reand, of consequence, the onerous obligations' public (30th September, 1800), shall be paid comprised in certain articles of these treaties according to the following regulations, trith inwere also suspended until the same consent terest at six per cent., to commence from the should revive them. Could he, then, be mistaken period when the accounts and vouchers were in the conclusion that, if the treaty of 1800 had presented to the French government.' been ratified with the second article forming a “Art. 2. The debts provided for by the prepart of it, as originally agreed by the negotiators, ceding article are those whose result is comprised the United States would have been as effectually in the conjectural note annexed to the present released from the onerous obligations of the convention, and which, with the interest, cannot former treaties, until those obligations should exceed the sum of twenty millions of francs again be put in force by their consent, as they The claims comprised in the said note, which were released when that article was stricken fall within the exceptions of the following artiout, and the treaty ratified without it? In cles, shall not be admitted to the benefit of this short, could he be mistaken in the position that provision.' all the inducement, of a national character, to ". Art. 4. It is expressly agreed that the preexpunge that article from the treaty, was to get ceding articles shall comprehend no debts but rid of an obligation to negotiate at a conve- such as are due to citizens of the United States, nient time?' And could it be possible that who have been and are yet creditors of France, such an inducement would have led the Senate for supplies, for embargoes, and prizes made at of the United States, understanding this conse- sea, in which the appeal has been properly lodged quence, to impose upon the government a within the time mentioned in the said convenliability to the amount of $5,000,000 ? He could tion of the 8th Vendemiaire, ninth year (301h not adopt so absurd a supposition; and he felt September, 1800).' himself compelled to say that this view of the ** Art. 5. The preceding articles shall apply action of the government in the ratification of only, 1st, to captures of which the council of
prizes shall have ordered restitution, it being ston's list were embraced in No 3 of the prowell understood that the claimant cannot have visions of the treaty, as he had numbered them, recourse to the United States otherwise than he was unable to say; but this much he could he might have had to the government of the say, that he had found nothing to satisfy his French Republic, and only in case of the insuffi- mind that parts of both those classes of claims ciency of the captors; 2d, the debts mentioned were not so included, and therefore provided for in the said fifth article of the convention, con- and paid under the treaty; nor had he been able tracteu before the 8th Vendemaire, and 9 (30th to find any thing to show that this treaty of September, 1800), the payment of which has 1803 did not provide for and pay all the claims been heretofore claimed of the actuıl govern- which France ever acknowledged or ever inment of France, and for which the creditors tended to pay. He was, therefore, unprepared have a right to the protection of the United to admit, and did not admit, that any thing of States; the said fifth article does not compre- value to any class of individual claimants was hend prizes whose condemnation has been or released by expunging the second original arshall be confirmed; it is the express intention ticle from the treaty of the 30th September, of the contracting parties not to extend the 1800. On the contrary, he was strongly imbenefit of the present convention to reclama-pressed with the belief that the adjustment of tions of American citizens, who shall have es- claims provided for in the treaty of 1803 had tablished houses of commerce in France, Eng- gone to the whole extent to which the French land, or other countries than the United States, government had, at any period of the negotiain partnership with foreigners, and who by that tions, intended to go. reason and the nature of their commerce, ought “Mr. W. said this impression was greatly to be regarded as domiciliated in the places strengthened by the circumstance that the claims where such houses exist. All agreements and under the Bordeaux embargo were expressly bargains concerning merchandise, which shall provided for in this treaty, while he could see not be the property of American citizens, are nothing in the treaty of 1800 which seemed to equally excepted from the benefit of the said him to authorize the supposition that this class convention, saving, however, to such persons of claims was more clearly embraced within the their claims in like manner as if this treaty had reservations in that treaty than any class which not been made.
had been admitted by the French government. - From these provisions of the treaty, Mr. W. “ Another fact, Mr. W. said, was material to said, it would appear that the claims to be paid this subject, and should be borne carefully in were of three descriptions, to wit:
mind by every senator. It was, that not a cent * 1. Claims for supplies.
was paid by France, even upon the claims re“ 2. Claims for embargoes.
served and admitted by the treaty of 1800, un“ 3. Claims for captures made at sea, of a de- til the sale of Louisiana to the United States, scription defined in the last clause of the 4th for a sum greater by thirty millions of francs and the first clause of the 5th article.
than that for which the French minister was - Ilow far these claims embraced all which instructed to sell it. Yes, Mr. President, said France ever acknowledged, or ever intended to Mr. W., the only payment yet made upon any pay, Mr. W. said he was unable to say, as the portion of these claims has been virtually made time allowed him to examine the case had not by the United States; for it has been made out permitted him to look sufficiently into the docu- of the consideration money paid for Louisiana, ments to make up his mind with precision upon after paying into the French treasury ten milthis point. He had found, in a report made to lions of francs beyond the price France herself the Senate on the 14th of January, 1831, in fa- placed upon the territory. It is a singular fact vor of this bill, by the honorable Mr. Livingston, that the French negotiator was instructed to then a Senator from the State of Louisiana, the make the sale for fifty millions, if he could get following classification of the French claims, as no more; and when he found that, by yielding insisted on at a period before the making of the twenty millions to pay the claims, he could get treaty of 1800, to wit:
eighty millions for the territory, and thus put ** 1. From the capture and detention of about ten millions more into the treasury of his nafifty vessels.
tion than she had instructed him to ask for the "62. The detention, for a year, of eighty other whole, he yielded to the claims and closed the vessels, under the Bordeaux embargo.
treaty. It was safe to say that, but for this specu“13. The non-payment of supplies to the West lation in the sale of Louisiana, not one dollar India islands, and to continental France. would have been paid upon the claims to this
“4. For depredations committed on our com- day. All our subsequent negotiations with merce in the West Indies.'
France of a similar character, and our present “Mr. W. said the comparison of the two relations with that country, growing out of priclassifications of claims would show, at a single vate claims, justify this position. What, then, view, that Nos. 2 and 3 in Mr. Livingston's list would have been the value of claims, if such were provided for by the treaty of 1803, from fairly existed, which were not acknowledged which he had read. Whether any, and if any, and provided for by the treaty of 1800, but were what portions of Nos. 1 and 4 in Mr. Living- | left for future negotiation at a convenient
time?' Would they have been worth the five that, therefore, the desire to get rid of these millions of dollars you propose to appropriate treaties, and of any onerous obligations conby this bill ? Would they have been worth tained in them, was only the desire to get rid further negotiation ? He thought they would of an obligation to negotiate at a convenient not.
time ;' and that such a consideration could not “ Mr. W. said he would avail himself of this have induced the Senate of the United States to occasion, when speaking of the treaty of Louisi- expunge that article from the treaty, if thereby ana and of its connection with these claims, to that body had supposed it was imposing upon explain a mistake into which he had fallen, and the country a liability to pay to its citizens the which he found from conversation with several sum of five millions of dollars-a sum much gentlemen, who had been for some years mem- larger than France had asked, in money, for a bers of Congress, had been common to them full discharge from the onerous obligations? and to himself. The mistake to which he al- relied upon. luded was, the supposition that the claimants “3. That the treaty of 1800 reserved and under this bill put their case upon the assump- provided for certain portions of the claims; that tion that their claims had constituted part of payment, according to such reservations, was the consideration for which Louisiana had been made under the treaty of 1803; and that it is ceded to the United States; and that the con- at least doubtful whether the payment thus sideration they contended the government had made did not cover all the claims ever admitted, received, and upon which its liability rested, or ever intended to be paid by France; for was the cession of that territory for a less sum, which reason the expunging of the second artiin money, than was considered to be its value, cle of the treaty of 1800, by the Senate of the on account of the release of the French govern- United States, in all probability, released noment from those private claims. He had rested thing which ever had, or which was ever likely under this misapprehension until the opening to have value. of the present debate, and until he commenced “Mr. W. said, if he had been successful in an examination of the case. He then found that establishing either of these positions, there was it was an entire misapprehension; that the Uni- an end of the claims, and, by consequence, a ted States had paid, in money, for Louisiana, defeat of the bill. thirty millions of francs beyond the price which * The advocates of the bill conceded that two France had set upon it; that the claimants un- positions must be established, on their part, to der this bill did not rest their claims at all up- sustain it, to wit: on this basis, and that the friends of the bill in “1. That the claims were valid claims against the Senate did not pretend to derive the liability France, and had never been paid. And of the government from this source. Mr. W. “2. That they were released by the governsaid he was induced to make this explanation ment of the United States for a full and valuain justice to himself, and because there might ble consideration passing to its benefit by means be some person within the hearing of his voice of the release. who might still be under the same misappre “If, then, a state of war had existed, it would hension.
not be contended that any claims of this cha“ He had now, Mr. W. said, attempted to racter, not reserved or provided for in the establish the following propositions, viz.: treaty of peace, were valid claims after the ra.
“1. That a state of actual war, by which he tification of such a treaty. His first proposimeant a state of actual hostilities and of force, tion, therefore, if sustained, would defeat the and an interruption of all diplomatic or friendly bill, by establishing the fact that the claims, if intercourse between the United States and not reserved in the treaty of 1800, were not France, had existed from the time of the pas- valid claims. sage of the acts of the 7th and 9th of July, “ The second proposition, if sustained, would 1798, before referred to, until the sending of the establish the fact that, inasmuch as the valunegotiators, Ellsworth, Davie, and Murray, in able consideration passing to the United States 1800, to make a treaty which put an end to the was alleged to grow out of the 'onerous oblihostilities existing, upon the best terms that gations' in the treaty of amity and commerce, could be obtained; and that the treaty of the the treaty of alliance, and the consular conten30th of September, 1800, concluded by these tion; and inasmuch as these treaties, and all negotiators, was, in fact, and so far as private obligations, past, present, or future, onerous' claims were concerned, to be considered as a or otherwise, growing out of them, were sustreaty of peace, and to conclude all such claims, pended and made inoperative by the second not reserved by it, as finally ratified by the two article of the treaty of the 30th of September, powers.
1800, until further negotiation, by the common “2. That the treaty of amity and commerce, consent of both powers, should revive them, the and the treaty of alliance of 1778, as well as Senate of the United States could not have exthe consular convention of 1788, were suspended pected, when they expunged this article from by the 2d article of the treaty of 1800, and the treaty, that, by thus discharging the governfrom that time became mere matters for negotia- ment from an obligation to negotiate ‘at a contion between the parties at a convenient time; venient time, they were incurring against it a
liability of millions; in other words, the dis- gave to us the liberty of her ports for our armed charge of the government from an obligation to vessels, privateers, and prizes, and guarded the negotiate upon any subject ‘at a convenient privilege by the same prohibition to other time,' could not have been considered by the powers ; and by the second we guaranteed to Senate of the United States as a good and valu- France, for ever, her possessions in America, able consideration for the payment of private and France guaranteed to us, for ever, “our libclaims to the amount of five millions of dollars. erty, sovereignty, and independence, absolute
“ The third proposition, if sustained, would and unlimited, as well in matters of government prove that all the claimsever acknowledged, orever as commerce.'. Such were the obligations in intended to be paid by France, were paid under their original inception. Will it be contended the treaty of 1803, and that, therefore, as claims that they were not mutual, reciprocal, and equal, never admitted or recognized by France would and that, in each instance, the one did not form scarcely be urged as valid claims against her, the consideration for the other ? Surely no one no valid claims remained ; and, consequently, will take this ground. the expunging of the second article of the treaty “ If, then, said Mr. W., the obligations imof the 30th of September, 1800, released nothing posed upon each government by these articles which was valid, and nothing remained to be of the respective treaties were mutual, recipropaid by the United States as a liability incurred cal, and equal, when undertaken, they must by that modification of that treaty. Here Mr. have remained equal until abrogated by war, or W. said he would rest his reasoning as to these changed by treaty stipulation. No treaty, subthree propositions.
sequent to those which contain the obligations, But if the Senate should determine that he had affected them in any manner whatever. If, had been wrong in them all, and had failed to as he had attempted to show, war had existed sustain either, he had still another proposition, from July, 1778, to 1800, that would not have which he considered conclusive and unanswer- rendered the obligations unequal, but would able, as to any valuable consideration for the re- have abrogated them altogether. If. as the lease of these claims having passed to the United friends of the bill contend, there had been no States in consequence of their discharge from war, and the treaties were in full force up to the onerous obligations' said to have been the signing of the convention of the 30th of Sepcontained in the former treaties. These 'one-tember, 1800, what was the effect of that treaty, rous obligations, and the only ones of which as originally signed by the negotiators, upon he had heard any thing in the course of the de- these mutual, reciprocal, and equal obligations ? bate, or of which he had found any thing in the The second original article of that treaty will documents, arose under the 17th article of the answer. It did not attempt to disturb their treaty of amity and commerce, and the 11th mutuality, reciprocity, or equality, but suspendarticle of the treaty of alliance ; and, in relationed them as they were, past, present, or future, to both, he laid down this broad proposition, and made all the subject of future negotiation which would be fully sustained by the treaties at a convenient time.' themselves, and by every act and every expres “But, Mr. W. said, the Senate of the United sion on the part of the American negotiators, States expunged this article of the treaty of and the government of the United States, viz. : 1800, and refused to advise and consent to rati
“ The obligations, liabilities, and responsi- fy it as a part of the treaty ; and hence it was bilities, imposed upon the government of the contended the United States had discharged United States and upon France by the 17th themselves from the onerous obligations of article of the treaty of amity and commerce of these articles in the respective treaties, and had, 1778, and by the 11th article of the treaty of by that act, incurred, to the claimants under alliance of 1778, where mutual, reciprocal, and this bill, the heavy liability which it recognizes. equal: each formed the consideration, and the If the expunging of that article discharged the only consideration, for the other; and, therefore, United States from obligations thus onerous, any release which discharged both powers did it not discharge France from the fellow oblifrom those liabilities, responsibilities, and obli- gations ? Was not the discharge, made in that gations, must have been mutual, reciprocal, and manner, as mutual, reciprocal, and equal, as the equal; and the release of either must have obligations in their inception, and in all their formed a full and valuable consideration for the subsequent stages up to that act? How, then, release of the other.'
could it be contended that the discharge of the “Mr. W. said he would not trouble the Senate one was not a full and adequate consideration by again reading the articles from the respective for the discharge of the other? Nothing upon treaties. They would be recollected, and no one the face of the treaties authorized the introducwould controvert the fact that, when the trea- tion of this inequality at this step in the official ties wire made, these articles were intended to proceedings. Nothing in the record of the procontain mutual, reciprocal, and equal obligations. ceedings of the Senate, when acting upon the By the first we gave to France the liberty of article, indicates that they intended to pay five our ports for her armed vessels, privateers, and millions of dollars to render this mutual release prizes, and prohibited all other powers from the equal between the two powers. The obligations enjoyment of the same privilege ; and France I and responsibilities were reserved as subjects of
future negotiation, upon terms of equality, and that not only the American government, but the the striking out of that reservation was but a American negotiators, treated these obligations mutual and reciprocal and equal release from under the treaty as, in all respects, mutual
, rethe obligation further to negotiate. This much ciprocal, and equal; and if the fallacy of the arfor the reciprocity of these obligations as derived gument that the United States had obtained to from the action of the sovereign powers them- itself a valuable consideration for the release of selves.
these private claims in the release of itself from “What was to be learned from the action of these obligations, was not utterly and entirely their respective negotiators ? He did not doubt disproved by these facts ? Was not the release but that attempts had been made on the part of the obligations on the one side the release of of France to exhibit an inequality in the obliga- them on the other? And was not the one retions under the treaty, and to set up that ine- lease the necessary consideration for the other ? quality against the claims of our citizens; but How, then, could it be said, with any justice, had our negotiators ever admitted the inequality that we sought our release at the expense of the to exist, or ever attempted to compromise the claimants ? There was no reasonable ground rights of the claimants under this bill for such a for such an allegation, either from the acts of consideration ? He could not find that they our government or of our negotiators.
When had. He did not hear it contended that they the latter fixed a value upon our obligations as had : and, from the evidence of their acts, re- to the privateers and prizes, and as to the guarmaining upon record, as a part of the diplomatic anty, in the same article they fixed the same correspondence of the period, he could not sup- price, to a franc, upon the reciprocal obligations pose they had ever entertained the idea. He of France; and when the former discharged our had said that the American negotiators had al- liability, by expunging the second article of the ways treated these obligations as mutual, recip- treaty of 1800, the same act discharged the corrocal, and equal; and he now proposed to read responding liability of the French government. to the Senate a part of a letter from Messrs. Here, then, Mr. W. said, must end all preEllsworth, Davie, and Murray, addressed to the tence of a valuable consideration for these claims French negotiators, and containing the project passing to the United States from this source. of a treaty, to justify his assertion. The letter | The onerous obligations were mutual, reciprocal, was dated 20th August, 1800, and it would be and equal, and the respective releases were murecollected that its authors were the negotia- tual, reciprocal, and equal, and simultaneous, tors, on the part of the United States, of the and nothing could be fairly drawn from the act treaty of the 30th of September, 1800. The ex- which operated these mutual releases to benefit tract is as follows:
these claimants. "1. Let it be declared that the former trea- “Mr. W. said he was, then, necessarily brought ties are renewed and confirmed, and shall have back to the proposition with which he started the same effect as if no misunderstanding be- in the commencement of his argument, that, if tiveen the two powers had intervened, except so the United States were liable to pay these far as they are derogated from by the present claimants, that liability must rest upon the treaty.
broad ground of a failure by the government, "2. It shall be optional with either party after ordinary, and, in this instance, extraordito pay to the other, within seven years, three nary efforts to collect the money. The idea of millions of francs, in money or securities which a release of the claims for a valuable consideramay be issued for indemnities, and thereby to tion passing to the government had been exreduce the rights of the other as to privateers ploded, and, if a liability was to be claimed on and prizes, to those of the most favored nation. account of a failure to collect the money, upon And during the said term allowed for option, what ground did it rest? What had the gove the right of both parties shall be limited by the ernment done to protect the rights of these line of the most favored nation.
claimants ? It had negotiated from 1793 to “<3. The mutual guaranty in the treaty of 1798, with a vigilance and zeal and talent alalliance shall be so specified and limited, that its most unprecedented in the history of diplomacy. future obligation shall be, on the part of France, It had sent to France minister after minister, when the United States shall be attacked, tó and, upon several occasions, extraordinary misfurnish and deliver at her own ports military sions composed of several individuals.
Bestores to the amount of one million of francs'; tween 1798 and 1800, it had equipped fleets and, on the part of the United States, when the and armies, expended millions in warlike preFrench possessions in America, in any future paration, and finally sent forth its citizens to war, shall be attacked, to furnish and deliver at battle and death, to force the payment of the their own ports a like amount in provisions. claims. Were we now to be told, that our It shall, moreover, be optional for either party failure in these efforts had created a liability to exonerate itself wholly of its obligation, by against us to pay the money? That the same paying to the other, within seven years, a gross citizens who had been taxed to pay the exsum of five millions of francs, in money or such penses of these long negotiations, and of this securities as may be issued for indemnities.' war for the claims, were to be further taxed to
"Mr. W. asked if he needed further proofs pay such of the claims as we had failed to col