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more urgent, the diplomatists became more earnest. There was no longer a chance for settling these differences, except by a continuance of these hostilities, to be followed probably by an open declaration of war. For, with the relations then existing between France and the residue of the world, an arbitration was impracticable, as was hinted by her commissioners; and there was no prospect of an agreement between the diplomatists of the two countries. Then it was that the French commissioners declared that in truth there had been war. Their President said, (see Senate Doc. 633,) “that if the question could be determined by an indifferent nation, he was satisfied such a tribunal would say that the present state of things was war on the side of America, and that indemnities could not be claimed.” The French commission had previously (ibid., page 617) declared that the hostile acts of the United States had been war, and that France disguised the true state of her relations with the United States when she recognised them as a simple, temporary, and reparable misunderstanding;" “ that a new treaty between France and the United States ought to be before all a treaty of peace.' Upon these grounds the French denied that any indemnities were due, the United States having taken satisfaction by war. A treaty was then concluded, in September, 1800, adjusting other subjects of difference, and postponing further negotiation as to these particular disputes to a future and indefinite time. The United States commissioners justify this arrangement, (p. 634,) on the ground that it would extricate the United States from the war, or that peculiar state of hostility in which they are at present involved." The existence of war was thus admitted on both sides. The treaty provided for the payment of a large class of American claims which were made upon other grounds than those of treaty stipulations; it also provided for a release of captured vessels, and the adjudication of the cases then depending, upon the principles of the treaty. Three years afterwards, the treaty of Louisiana provided for the payment of damages to those Americans whose vessels had been detained by embargo at Bordeaux, and the two together covered nearly all of those cases ever acknowledged by France to have been good. Those claims for captures and seizures whose merits depended upon the construction of the treaties, she did not provide for. The largest class of cases for which we claimed indemnity were violations of our rights according to our construction of the treaties. But France justified them by her construction of those instruments. The two classes of claims pronounced by our Secretary to be most interesting (p. 563) were, first, where the vessel's lading, or any part thereof, consisted of provisions or merchandise coming from England or her possessions; and secondly, when they were seized for want of a “role d'equipage.” Now. France claimed, under the treaty of 1778, to be entitled to all the privileges given by Jay's treaty to Eng. land; and in order to exercise that right of seizing enemies' property in neutral vessels, she presumed everything of British growth and manufacture to be the property of an enemy, until clearly proved to the contrary. (See decree of Executive Directory, March 2, 1797, in which she makes this claim for that cause, and for the same reason assumes the right to require a role d'equipage.) Such was the state of the negotiation when the treaty was presented to our Senate for ratification. The Senate ratified, with the exception of the second article. This was probably stricken out because the Senate did not desire to keep open this cause of disputė. The subject had been pursued as far as it was due to the claimants or national honor to carry it. The treaty thus amended was ratified by Napoleon, with an assertion that by this amendment it was to be considered “that the two States renounced the respective pretensions which are the object of the said article." This treaty, thus altered again, was finally ratified by the Senate, and each State thus “ renounced its pretensions.” This is the state of the case upon which the claimants demand of us indemnity for spoliations committed on their commerce. We sacrificed their claims, they say, for a valuable public consideration, viz: for the abandonment of the claims for France under the treaty-or rather for the abandonment of the claim of France to the continued existence of the treaty; for that was her real demand. But it has been shown that France had no claims for the continuance of this treaty. It was abrogated for just cause by our government in 1798, and never renewed. It has been shown, too, that France had no claims on us for infractions of the treaty. The defence of the United States against all such accusations was ample and complete. We obtained, then, no valuable consideration in exchange for those claims; nor did we sacrifice them. We prosecuted them in every possible manner-by diplomacy, by hostilities, at the expense of blood and treasureuntil it became manifest that they could not be recovered, if at all, except by a long and bloody war, which the government was not bound to wage, under the circumstance-a war whose losses would have been peculiarly severe upon this very commercial interest. But is this the whole of the argument against these claimants? Had they, in fact, any claim for indemnities, in 1800, even against France? It is said, we know, that the French commissioners admitted the existence of just claims against them for indemnity. But did they ever define the classes which they admitted to be just, or ever designate the probable amount which would be due on such demands? For a certain class of claims, which they acknowledged to be just, they provided in the treaties of 1600 and 1803. But it is to be remembered that, in relation to the two classes of claims said by our Secretary to be most important, France defended herself under the treaty. It is true that some such general admissions were made early in the negotiation on the subject; but, at the close of the correspondence, the French commissioners insisted that all claims for indemnity had been discharged by the war. In the letter of the French commissioners, August 11, 1800, (see pp. 617, 618,) they take this ground distinctly. In the following September, the president of the French commissioners took the same ground, and declared that, “if it could be determined by an indifferent nation, such would be its decision”-(p. 633.) It is beyond dispute, that a treaty of peace which closes a war made in prosecution of a claim, closes that account, either by a provision for its payment, if the one making war conquers the other, or by the treaty itself, if the contest is closed by mutual exhaustion. If a State is insulted by outrages committed on those under her flag, or otherwise within her jurisdiction, she is entitled to satisfaction, either by payment made to her injured citizens by the wrong-doer, or else by the execution of preventive justice in declaring war and inflicting punishment for the wrong. In either case the satisfaction is complete: the presumption is that war retaliates the injury by the sufferings inflicted on the wrong-doer with whom it is waged; for punishment, as well as payment, may be a satisfaction for a wrong. If this be so, the question arises, if the hostilities waged against France were not a satisfaction of the claim, for the very same reason for which an openly declared war would have been so considered. It was war in all its features save that of an open declaration, which is not necessary to constitute a war. It inflicted the injuries and sufferings which war occasions; large sums of money were expended and blood was spilled in the contest. The inconveniences occasioned were so great as to lead to a more acceptable treaty, and to put a stop to the wrongs of which we complained. This state of hostilities effected all that a bloodier war could have done, unless we suppose, what is incredible, that we had conquered France; for, without a conquest, as was said by her commissioners, we could not have enforced a payment from her by war. Indeed, these hostilities constituted war itself, according to the declarations of the commissioners on one side, and the admissions of those on the other. If this be so, there was no sacrifice on the part of either State, for there were no unsatisfied claims between them. In the language of the clause last added to the treaty, it was a renunciation of “pretensions” on both sides, for rights they were not. But in truth this gov. ernment did not renounce the claims of our citizens against France: it renounced its pretensions as a State against France, as founded upon these claims: it renounced its right to claim satisfaction for them from that nation. It is true that such a renunciation, according to the law of nations, barred the claim; but does this constitute an obligation upon our government to pay the claimants itself, because of the abandonment of its duties towards them? This brings us to the question as to the duties and obligations of a government to its citizens in such cases. Is there no period at which the obligation of a government to pursue even the just demands of its citizens should stop? The obligations of a government to its people grow either out of particular engagements in its social compact, or from the nature of society itself. There is no obligation in any constitution of government with which we are acquainted which binds a government to insure its citizens against losses sustained by depredations from foreign powers. There is a natural obligation on it to dispense justice at home, and to maintain its rights as a society, according to the law of nations, amid the different States of the world. The measure of assistance which a citizen can claim of his government against the wrongs of a foreign power to herself individually, is that it should maintain its rights as a society under the law of nations. individual becomes a creditor of a foreign government by a transaction within its own jurisdiction, he has no pretence for asking his government to collect that debt. But if that foreign power invades a vessel sailing under its national flag, and despoils its owner illegally of the property which belongs to him, it is an insult to the flag under which he sails, and an offence to the nation of which he is a citizen. This is an offence to the whole of the people of whom he is one, and the government has a right to demand satisfaction. The most usual and cffectual reparation, is a payment in full satisfaction of the damages sustained by the wrong-doer. Another mode of vindicating the national honor is to declare war against the aggressor, and take satisfaction by punishing him for the wrong. The right of the government, in either case, does not arise from any obligation to collect the debt of its citizens, but to redress a wrong offered to it as a society, and to remove the stain of an insult from its name. If its obligation were to collect the debt of the citizen, its duty would not be fulfilled by waging war only, unless it obtained also a payment of this debt. And yet no one pretends that in such a case the citizen could demand the debt of his government because it had failed to procure payment from the foreigner who owed it. A government is bound, as far as it is able, to protect its citizens from theft, both at home and abroad. It punishes the thief at home, but it does not pay the losses of the sufferer. It makes war on the nation which robs him when under the protection of his own flag abroad, but it is not bound to make good its losses in this case more than the other. Preventive justice is the object, and that, when obtained, is a full discharge of the obligation of government in either case. But suppose there were circumstances which would make war, in such cases, ruinous to the government whose subject was wronged; would that government be bound to pay the losses of that citizen because it had failed to make war upon the aggressor ? Such cases have often occurred in the history of nations, and hard would it be, indeed, upon the other interests in a society if they were forced to make good the losses of one because they were too weak to protect him. If a State is too weak to avenge an insult, the injury which she sustains as a community is in the loss of national reputation, and not of the property of the citizen. But suppose in such a case that the two nations were equal in power, but that war would bring almost incalculable injuries on both, and that the wrongs offered by the one to the other proceeded from no design to insult, but a difference of opinion as to the construction of a treaty: in such a case war would manifestly be an injustice to both nations; and yet, must the nation thinking itself ag. grieved either wage such a war or pay indemnities to its citizens ? These are questions to which all would reply in the negative; a response which shows that the obligation of a government in such cases is to society, to maintain its rights as a nation, and not to an individual, for the collec. tion of his debt. Whether it will make war with another nation, for such a cause, is a question to be determined by a reference to the interests and honor of the society. The exercise of the war-making power can never be claimed as a matter of right due to an individual citizen. Can the citizen say you have maintained peace, a great public benefit, by failing to prosecute my just claims, and therefore 1 ought to be compensated by the public for such a benefit thus obtained? The peace thus maintained by the government was a common benefit-one in which the citizen had a share with all the rest; and why should the others be taxed to pay for his losses? The obligation of the government was to protect its rights as a nation, not to insure its individual citizens against loss. If it insures against loss by war, why not against losses by tempest? To do this, in either case, would be to compensate him twice. The merchant who conducts trade exposed to risks, insures against them in the shape of profits paid by the consumer. If he insures directly, he makes that insurance a part of the price of the commodity; or, if he becomes himself the insurer, he adds something to his profits to compensate him for his risk. The community thus insure him for losses in the shape of an increased price for his commodities. To pay him again from the national treasury would be to pay him twice. It may be said, perhaps, that he can only thus insure against risks which are probable, and that losses arising from such violations of the law of nations were not foreseen or provided against. The history of nations unfortunately presents too many instances of such depredations to justify the supposition that such risks are unknown to the trading community; and if it were so, such considerations could only apply to the first acts in a long series of spoliations. According to these views, we should have been under no obligation to pay these claims if we had failed to make war, unless, indeed, we had made a valuable use of them for public purposes, which we have endeavored to show was not the case. But in point of fact we did make the war. It was considered as war, and was so, for all the purposes which could make war a satisfaction of our supposed obligations to the claimants. If we had declared war to obtain payment for these claims, and failed to procure the money in the treaty of peace, we should have been under no further obligations to the claimants, as all admit. We should have been under no obligation, because we should have expended as much, or more, in the fruitless effort to recover them; because we inflicted injuries and punish. ment on those who had committed the wrong, and thus had done whatever we could to restrain them from repeating such outrages. Did not the hostilities which we waged cost us far more than the claims which occasioned them were worth, and did they not inflict such injuries on France as led to changed and better relations between us? There is no reason which could be urged for the one as a discharge of our obligations to the claimants, which does not apply to the other. What foundation remains, then, upon which these claims can be rested? The pretence that we obtained the abandonment of claims of France upon us by the sacrifice of their just rights, is shown to be fallacious; because, in truth, France had no such claims. They fail, therefore, to show any valuable consideration obtained in exchange for their rights. Nay, they fail to show that they had any valuable rights which were not secured, because there is strong proof that they did not exist, the right of satisfaction by payment having been lost in the satisfaction taken by war. Nor have they succeeded in showing that they had at any time a right to demand of us to make war upon France, or ourselves to pay their claims; and assuming that they had such a right, their demands upon us have been satisfied by the war, which is shown to have been waged for the protection of their rights.
But how come these claims here, after a lapse of fifty years, and how can we ever decide the question so as to get rid of it? If these claims upon our government were ever good, is it possible for us to pay them so as to do justice to the parties? How are we to discriminate between the good and the bad claims, so as to secure the government against mistakes and frauds? After the lapse of fifty years, most of the evidence is gone which would be necessary for a full and fair examination of their justice. Those who are interested preserve most of what is to be found, and as time rolls on, weaker and weaker evidence becomes the best of which the nature of the case is susceptible, until mere presumptions will suffice to charge the government, and scarce any protection will be left against frauds. To whom are we to pay these debts if they be duc? There are heirs, creditors, assignees. 'l'o whom shall the money be paid, and how are their several relations to the claimant to be ascertained? The chances for mistake as to the parties entitled are very great. Shall we pay to the administrator, who will probably be the agent of the claim, and leave him to settle the rights of the parties? How easy would it be for him to retain the money on a claim, established perhaps upon im