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such a disposition did exist; that the subject was new to him, but that he would, he hoped, be ready to discuss it on my return from Brussels. He added that there were, however, some difficulties in the way. The result of the revolutionary wars and treaties was that France had not now a treaty of commerce in force with a single European nation. With some powers she could not, under existing circumstances, treat on an equal footing, or with any expectation of making arrangements founded on a fair reciprocity. This objection did not apply to the United States; but it might be inconvenient to make a treaty with us alone. Perhaps we might find it practicable to come to an understanding, in conformity with which the commercial relations of the two countries might be arranged by the laws of each, without a formal treaty and without affording any cause of umbrage to other powers. I expressed my readiness to discuss the subject whenever he was disposed to do it, and will accordingly resume it on my return.
I have not, however, very sanguine expectations of a favorable result, or that anything more can be obtained than some modification of duties. The system of raising a large revenue on the consumption of tobacco, by a monopoly of its manufacture and a partial cultivation of the plant in France, opposes an insuperable barrier to any beneficial change in the existing regulations respecting the tobacco of the United States. I know, also, that the arrangements contemplated by the board to which I have alluded have for basis a reduction of duties on the importation of French manufactures in the United States; and the Duke de Richelieu alluded to the high rate of our duties on French wines. This last article is the only one on which we might, if equivalent advantages were obtained, reduce the duties without loss to the revenue, and without interfering either with our manufactures or agricultural produce, or affecting our commercial arrangements with other countries. I am aware that I have no authority to treat on that basis, but I submit the subject (that respecting French wines) to your consideration, because, although the quantity we consume is trifling, it has nevertheless been always considered here as of vast importance.
As connected with this subject, it is desirable that I should be furnished with the most recent statement that the Register's records can give of our importations from and our exportations to France. I have not received the general annual statements of importations and exports presented to Congress during their last session. What I principally want are the importations for the years 1815 and 1816, as they will enable me to show of what vast importance our consumption of French manufactures is to this country. Of this the silk manufacturers of Lyons are sufficiently aware. But I am confident that the amount, when correctly stated, will far exceed what this government may suppose it to be.
I have the honor, &c.
GALLATIN TO MONROE.
Paris, 12th July, 1817. SIR,—The communications first made by Mr. de Neuville to his government, and particularly the ground which he had taken on the subject of the Baltimore toast, had produced here a very unfavorable effect. Those which he has lately made must be of a very different character, and the effect is perceivable.
In the conversation which I had on the 10th instant with the Duke de Richelieu, he expressed his satisfaction at finding from his last despatches that the most favorable dispositions existed on the part of our government towards that of France. He made no allusion whatever to the subject of the postmaster. He then said that he wished it to be clearly understood that the postponement of our claims for spoliations was not a rejection; that a portion of them was considered as founded in justice; that he was not authorized to commit his Majesty's government by any positive promise, but that it was their intention to make an arrangement for the discharge of our just demands as soon as they were extricated from their present embarrassments. He still persisted, however, in his former ground, that they could not at present recognize the debt or adjust its amount.
I have the honor, &c.
GALLATIN AND EUSTIS TO J. Q. ADAMS, SECRETARY OF STATE.
HAGUE, 220 September, 1817. SIR, -The King of the Netherlands having selected the Hague for the seat of the negotiations between this country and the United States, we accordingly proceeded to this place, having previously had several conversations at Bruxelles with Baron de Nagel, the Minister for Foreign Affairs. The commissioners appointed to treat with us were Mr. Goldberg, Director-General of the Department of Commerce and Colonies, and Mr. Vanderkemp, member of the Council of Commerce. But, contrary to the expectations which we had formed on our first interviews with Mr. de Nagel and with the commissioners, after several conferences and four weeks of negotiation, we have been unable to come to an agreement on any of the points contemplated by our instructions.
The negotiations turned on three points,—the treaty of 1782 between the States-General of the Netherlands and the United States, the repeal of the discriminating duties, and the admission of American vessels in the Dutch colonies and foreign settlements.
Our instructions being wholly silent on the first point, we could only presume that it was not the intention of our government that the treaty should be abrogated or materially altered; and we proposed that its stipulations should be extended to Belgium and Louisiana, both of which were acquisitions made subsequent to the year 1782. The Dutch commissioners agreed to the proposed extension; but both they and Baron de Nagel evinced a strong desire either that the old treaty should be set aside to make room for new stipulations, or that the principles which it contains on the subject of neutral rights should be abandoned. Besides other unimportant modifications, they objected to the 5th Article as calculated to involve either nation in the wars of the other, and particularly insisted that the latter part of the 11th Article, beginning with the words “declaring most expressly,” should be struck out. Although the ostensible objection to that paragraph was its being a mere abstract declaration, it will not escape you that it contains an important principle not
altogether unconnected with the question of impressment. We uniformly answered that it was not the wish of the United States, nor did the experience of the long period during which the treaty had been in force justify the apprehension, that either nation should or could be involved in any war on account of any
of its stipulations, and that, our government not having anticipated the objections now made, we did not feel ourselves authorized to agree to any important alteration. The Dutch commissioners finally withdrew their proposed amendments, in compliance, as they said, with our wishes, but added that they would, in signing a new treaty, make a written declaration expressive of the meaning they attached to those articles of the former one to which they had objected. Although the preservation of that treaty will not probably form an insuperable bar to any future arrangements with this country, they may in other respects be facilitated, in case our government shall think proper to abrogate it and to substitute provisions similar to those adopted in the treaty of 1799 between the United States and Prussia.
We had at first connected the repeal of the discriminating duties with the admission in the colonies, and proposed a general and unqualified repeal without distinction of place or merchandise, provided the American vessels and cargoes were admitted on the same footing in the Dutch East and West India settlements. But that admission was offered by them only on the footing of the most favored nations, and on the express condition that the United States should, as an equivalent for it, make some additional concession.
The privilege of being admitted at Surinam on the same footing as the most favored nations was of no value, since we are in fact the only nation whose vessels are received in that colony; and we were aware that we ought not to accede to any stipulation on that subject which might be inconsistent with the general policy of the United States towards Great Britain and the other powers who have colonies in the West Indies. After having unsuccessfully urged every argument calculated to show the unreasonableness of the system adopted towards the United States with respect to an intercourse absolutely necessary to those colonies, and the baneful effect of those restrictions on the pros
perity of the colonies themselves, we declared that we preferred to have no treaty stipulation on the subject of that intercourse rather than to accept an admission on the terms proposed, even if the demand of an additional equivalent was withdrawn.
We could not urge altogether on the same grounds the propriety of being admitted without restriction in the East Indies; we knew that the trade now enjoyed by us with Java was profitable and had excited the jealousy of the Dutch merchants, who wish to see us excluded; and the terms on which we had heretofore accepted the admission in the British possessions in that quarter were well known to this government. We therefore proposed the projet of an article founded in substance on the same basis ; but we altogether refused to give or promise any additional concession, or any other equivalent than was to be found in the general advantages of our commerce. This last condition of an equivalent was, however, notwithstanding every effort on our part, pertinaciously adhered to, on the preposterous ground that a distinction must be made in favor of the nations who, having colonies, could offer reciprocal advantages which we had not to give. This determination was the more unexpected, as Baron de Nagel had in conversation given us reason to believe that he thought the demand unreasonable. Although the equivalent was not defined in the proposal delivered by the Dutch commissioners, they stated verbally that they would wish a reduction of our duties on cheese, gin, and some other articles of their growth; but that they would be satisfied with a promise to grant to the subjects of the Netherlands a participation in the commerce of any colonies which we might acquire during the existence of the proposed treaty. The first proposition was evidently inadmissible, and on the second we stated that neither had the United States any desire of acquiring colonies, nor could we on the face of a treaty avow or admit such an intention. It was only in the last conference that they gave us to understand that if we had agreed to their proposal on the subject of the repeal of discriminating duties, they might have found therein a sufficient equivalent for admitting us in the East Indies on the footing of the most favored nations.
With respect to those duties, it had been without difficulty