DescriptionEdward Livingston Autograph Letter Signed as minister plenipotentiary to France describing the "disturbed situation" of France. Five and one-half pages, 7.5" x 9.25", Paris, April 9, 1834. From 1833 to 1835, Livingston was charged with finalizing the 1831 indemnity treaty, which was negotiated by W. C. Rives. This letter reads in part:
"The representation of our commercial distress, exaggerated I hope, has had an unfavorable effect on our affairs here and I think may have been one of the causes which produced the vote of the Chamber of Deputies rejecting the appropriations for our ministers who gave notice to our merchants that we will neither protect their commerce nor enforce the performance of treaties. Our countrymen here however expect better things and look to restrictions which will soon bring these people to a server of their true interest. You will doubtless see in a message from the President the circumstances attending this unexpected breach of faith. I need not therefore detail them, and I could not if I would, for I am now, and have been for sometime past suffering under a fever and ague produced by the climate of 'La Belle France'. . . . France is in a disturbed situation, but their government will crush all opposition; for which it has abundant means, a well disciplined army between 3 & 400,000 men. The funds . . . to attack them and the legislative . . . to the most arbitrary measures; add to which the . . . folly of the republican party in avowing the ultra Robispurian doctrines of the revolution and improving upon them by the equally . . . avowal of an ultimate design to seize on the property of the rich. You will see by the papers that a . . . has broken out at Lyons. It began on Wednesday & continues while I am writing but before my letter is sealed it will be suppressed with prodigous slaughter, there will be other insurrections and they will share the same fate. Whether I am recalled or not write to me. . . . I shall in all . . . pass a few weeks in London."
In Rives' indemnity treaty of 1831, France had bound itself to pay an indemnity of twenty-five million francs for French spoliations of American shipping. In turn, the U.S. agreed to pay France nearly two million francs to satisfy French claims. Livingston's negotiations were conducted with excellent judgment, but the French Chamber of Deputies refused to make an appropriation to pay the first installment. As a result, the relationship between the two governments became strained and Livingston was instructed to close the legation and return to the U.S. This letter is toned with smoothed folds.
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