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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 TO GALLATIN.
MONTICELLO, September 8, 1816. DEAR SIR,—The jealousy of the European governments rendering it unsafe to pass letters through their post-offices, I 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 3 inches, our average of rain for that month, we had only } of an inch; in August, instead of 94 inches our average, we had only 18 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, 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.
GALLATIN TO MONROE.
PARIS, 12th September, 1816. 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
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 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.
GALLATIN TO MONROE. No. 6.
Paris, 25th September, 1816. 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