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PAGE Post Office Department
Frontispiece River Navigation in 1830 and 1911
1367 Bostonians Break up Abolition Meetings
1393 Lynching of Abolitionist Lovejoy at Alton, Illinois
1394 People of Charleston, S. C., Burning Abolition Mail
1394 Attempted Assassination of Andrew Jackson
1451 Martin Van Buren, (portrait)
1528 (sketch of his Kinderhook home on tissue) President Van Buren's Proclamation concerning Tonnage Duties 1549 Last Page of Same
1550 Cartoon on the Hard Times of Van Buren's Administration .
1579 Cartoon on Popular Suffering during the Hard Times
1580 The United States Military Academy at West Point, N. Y., 1840
1840 : 1607 The Capitol in Washington, 1839
1779 Africans on Deck of Slaver “Wildfire"-A Cotton Field
adopted after the best reflections I could give to the subject, and I hope will meet the approbation of the President. My first impressions were that I ought to follow my inclinations, demand my passports, and leave the Kingdom. This would at once have freed me from a situation extremely painful and embarrassing; but a closer attention convinced me that by so doing I should give to the French Government the advantage they expect to derive from the equivocal terms of their note, which, as occasions might serve, they might represent as a suggestion only, leaving upon me the responsibility of breaking up the diplomatic intercourse between the two countries if I demanded my passports; or, if I did not, and they found the course convenient, they might call it an order to depart which I had not complied with. Baron Rothschild also called on me yesterday, saying that he had conversed with the Comte de Rigny, who assured him that the note was not intended as notice to depart, and that he would be glad to see me on the subject. I answered that I could have no verbal explanations on the subject, to which he replied that he had suggested the writing a note on the subject, but that the minister had declined any written communication. Rothschild added that he had made an appointment with the Comte de Rigny for 6 o'clock, and would see me again at night, and he called to say that there had been a misunderstanding as to the time of appointment, and that he had not seen Mr. de Rigny, but would see him this morning. But in the meantime I determined on sending my note, not only for the reasons contained in it, which appeared to me conclusive, but because I found that the course was the correct one in diplomacy, and that to ask for a passport merely because the Government near which the minister was accredited had suggested it would be considered as committing the dignity of his own; that the universal practice in such cases was to wait the order to depart, and not by a voluntary demand of passports exonerate the foreign Government from the odium and responsibility of so violent a measure. My note will force them to take their ground. If the answer is that they intended only a suggestion which I may follow or not, as I choose, I will remain, but keep aloof until I receive your directions. If, on the other hand, I am told to depart, I will retire to Holland or England, and there wait the President's orders. In either case the derangement will be extremely expensive and my situation very disagreeable. The law was not presented yesterday, but will be to-day, and I have been informed that it is to be introduced by an exposé throwing all the blame of the present state of things on Mr. Sérurier and me for not truly representing the opinions of our respective Governments. They may treat their own minister as they please, but they shall not, without exposure, presume to judge of my conduct and make me the scapegoat for their sins. The truth is, they are sadly embarrassed. If the law should be rejected, I should not be surprised if they anticipated our reprisals by the seizure of our vessels in port or the attack of our ships in the Mediterranean with a superior force. I shall without delay inform Commodore Patterson of the state of things, that he may be on his guard, having already sent him a copy of the message. I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,
Mr. Livingston to the Count de Rigny.
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
Paris, January 14, 1835. Ais Excellency COUNT DE RIGNY, etc.:
The undersigned, envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary of the United States of America, received late last night the note of His Excellency the Count de Rigny, minister secretary of state for foreign affairs, dated the 13th instant.
The undersigned sees with great surprise as well as regret that a communication made by one branch of the Government of the United States to another, not addressed
to that of His Majesty the King of the French, nor even communicated to it, is alleged as the motive for a measure which not only increases actual subjects of irritation, but which necessarily cuts off all the usual means of restoring harmony to two nations who have the same interests, commercial and political, to unite them, and none but factitious subjects for collision.
The grave matter in the body of his excellency's note demands and will receive a full answer. It is to the concluding part that his attention is now requested. The undersigned, after being informed that it is the intention of His Majesty's Government to recall Mr. Sérurier, is told “that this information is given to the under. signed in order that he may communicate it to his Government and in order that he may himself take those measures which may appear to him the natural result of that communication, and that in consequence thereof the passports which he might require are at his disposition.” This phrase may be considered as an intimation of the course which, in the opinion of His Majesty's Government, the undersigned ought to pursue as the natural result of Mr. Sérurier's recall, or it may be construed, as it seems to have been by the public, into a direction by His Majesty's Government to the minister of the United States to cease his functions and leave the country.
It is necessary in a matter involving such grave consequences that there should be no misunderstanding, the two categories demanding a line of conduct entirely different the one from the other.
In the first, he can take no directions or follow no suggestions but those given by his own Government, which he has been sent here to represent. The recall of the minister of France on the grounds alleged could not have been anticipated. Of course no instructions have been given to the undersigned on the subject, and he will not take upon himself the responsibility which he would incur by a voluntary demand of his passports, although made on the suggestion of His Majesty's Government. If this be the sense of the passage in question, the duty of the undersigned can not be mistaken. He will transmit the note of His Excellency the Comte de Rigny to his Government and wait its instructions. Widely different will be his conduct if he is informed that the conclusion of the Comte de Rigny's note is intended as a direction that he should quit the French territory. This he will without delay comply with on being so informed and on receiving the passports necessary for his protection until he shall leave the Kingdom.
Leaving the responsibility of this measure where it ought to rest, the undersigned has the honor to renew to His Excellency the Comte de Rigny the assurance, etc.
Mr. Livingston to Mr. Forsyth.
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,
Paris, January 16, 1835. Hon. J. FORSYTH, etc.
SIR: The wind being unfavorable, I hope that this letter may arrive in time for the packet.
By the inclosed semiofficial paper you will see that a law has been presented for effecting the payment of 25,000,000 francs capital to the United States, for which the budgets of the six years next succeeding this are affected, and with a condition annexed that our Government shall have done nothing to affect the interests of France. It would seem from this that they mean to pay nothing but the capital, and that only in six years from this time; but as the law refers to the treaty for execution of which it provides, I presume the intention of the ministry can not be to make any change in it, and that the phraseology is in conformity to their usual rms.