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1848. 15 February.
Gallatin to William Maxwell.
Gallatin to Garrett Davis
Gallatin to Henry A. Muhlenberg .
Gallatin to John A. Rockwell
WRITINGS OF GALLATIN.
GALLATIN TO MONROE.
Paris, 12th July, 1816. 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
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
govern with the utmost mildness.
GALLATIN TO MONROE. No. 2.
Paris, 6th August, 1816. 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
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.
GALLATIN TO MADISON.
Paris, 12th August, 1816. 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