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DOMESTIC COMMISSIONS FOR THE ADJUSTMENT OF
Chapter A. French Indemnity: Convention of April 30, 1803.
C. Indemnity under the Florida Treaty.
D. East and West Florida Claims.
E. The Van Ness Convention.
F. The Danish Indemnity: Convention of March 28, 1830.
Treaties of 1778.
FRENCH INDEMNITY: CONVENTION OF APRIL 30, 1803. At the close of the American Revolution the relations between the United States and France were regulated by two treaties, one of amity and commerce and the other of alliance, both of which were concluded on the 6th of February 1778. Before the end of the century various provisions in these treaties became the subject of international discussion. These provisions will be cited in the narration of the disputes that arose concerning them; but it may be useful now to refer to some of them, which figure most prominently in the history of subsequent events.
By Article XVII. of the treaty of amity and commerce, Treatment of Prizes. it was provided that the ships of war and privateers of either party might, in time of war, freely carry their prizes into the ports of the other party; that such prizes should not, when so brought in, “be arrested or seized"; that they should not be subject to "search," or to "examination" as to their "lawfulness;" but that they might be taken away at any time to the places expressed in the commissions of their captors, which commissions the captors should be obliged to show. On the other hand, it was provided that "no shelter or refuge" should be given by either party to vessels which had "made prize of the subjects, people or property" of the other party; but that such vessels, if forced in by "stress of weather, or the danger of the sea," should be required to depart "as soon as possible."
By Article XXII. of the same treaty it was provided Foreign Privateers. that neither party should permit privateers having commissions from any prince or state in enmity with the other party, to fit out in its ports, or to sell their prizes, or even to purchase victuals, except such as should be necessary for a voyage to the next home port.
Free Ships, Free Goods.
By Article XXIII. it was provided that free ships should make free goods.
By Article XI. of the treaty of alliance, which was described (Article II.) as a “defensive alliance,” the "essential and direct end" of which was "to maintain effectually the liberty, sovereignty and independence" of the United States "as well in matters of government as in commerce," the United States, in return for the guaranty of "their liberty, sovereignty and independence, and also their possessions," guaranteed "to His Most Christian Majesty the present possessions of the Crown of France in America, as well as those which it may acquire by the future treaty of peace." And in order "to fix more precisely the sense and application" of
this article, it was declared (Article XII.) "that in case of a rupture between France and England the reciprocal guaranty declared in the said article shall have its full force and effect the moment such war shall break out."
Five years after the signature of the definitive treaty Consular Convention of of peace between the United States and Great Britain, a consular convention between the United States and France was concluded. The negotiations which resulted in its signature began in 1782. On the 25th of January in that year a scheme of such a convention, which had been approved by Congress, was sent to Franklin with instructions to make it the basis of a formal treaty. On the 29th of July 1784 he signed a convention, but it proved to be unsatisfactory to Congress on grounds which are fully set forth in a report made by Mr. Jay, as Secretary for Foreign Affairs. The original scheme of Congress, from which Franklin had departed, was regarded by Mr. Jay as being also in many respects open to objection, but he recommended that, as the negotiations had proceeded so far, Mr. Jefferson, who had succeeded Franklin at the Court of Versailles, should be directed to negotiate a convention in substantial conformity with it. Instructions were given in accordance with this recommendation, and on November 14, 1788, Jefferson concluded. a new convention. Mr. Jay, though he apprehended that it would prove more inconvenient than beneficial to the United States, advised that it be ratified, since it adhered to the plan to which the United States was already committed.3
Powers of Consuls.
By Article VIII. of this convention it was provided that consular officers should "exercise police over all the vessels of their respective nations," and should "have on board the said vessels all power and jurisdiction in civil matters in all the disputes which may there arise;" and that they should "have an entire inspection over the said vessels, their crew, and the changes and substitutions there to be made." It was, however, provided that these functions should be "confined to the interior of the vessels," and that they should not be permitted to interfere "with the police of the ports" in which the vessels might happen to be.
The ratifications of this convention were exchanged Commercial Discontents. at Paris on the 6th of January 1790; but before the close of the year a controversy arose between the two countries in regard to matters of commerce. By royal decrees of December 29, 1787, and December 7, 1788,5 exceptional favors were granted to commerce with the United States in respect of various articles, such as whale oils and spermaceti, fish and fish oils, agricultural products, products of the forest, and certain manufactured articles. But, in spite of favors, the commerce of the United States tended to revert to its former channels. Commerce with England increased, while trade with France languished and failed. The development of this tendency produced in
1 March 9, 1786, Dip. Cor. 1783–1789, I. 218.
2 Dip. Cor. 1783-1789, I. 232.
3 Am. State Papers, For. Rel. I. 89.
5 Id. 116.
6 Id. 120.