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throw out this suggestion, which deserves to be taken into consideration by the government, before adopting definitive measures, and serves, in some degree, to excuse conduct that would otherwise justly subject the authors of it to the reprobation of all honest men.
Since the affair has been the subject of so much conversation, I have taken occasion to point out to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and to other public characters here, the immense advantages which Belgium, in the event of a rupture with France, would have derived from the treaty which her ministry lately rejected, and especially from the "free ships free goods" principle, the object of M. Nothomb's especial abhorrence, although its only effect would have been to make this country, in that contingency, the carrier and agent of a mighty commerce. They seem very much struck with the glaring absurdity of their recent conduct, and M. de Muelnaere went so far as to tell me he had been thinking a great deal on the subject, and had come to the conclusion that M. Behr had done a very good thing rather too soon. Perhaps, by delaying the negotiation for some time, you may bring them to a more public and practical recantation of their error, if indeed you think it worth your while to move the matter again at all.
I have the honor to be, etc.,
H. S. LEGARÉ.
Legation of the United States,
To the Hon. JOHN FORSYTH, etc.,
Sir,-Permit me to congratulate you on the result of the protracted investigation and discussion of Mr. Rives' treaty in the French Chamber of Deputies. I apprehend, from all that I hear of the eagerness of the Court of the Tuilleries on this subject, as well as from the scope and spirit of M. Thiers' speech, no serious difficulty from the condition with which the fulfilment of the treaty has been clogged in order to save appearances. It is, all things considered, as small a sacrifice as could have been made by the ministry to the vanity of the vainest of nations, deeply wounded by the course the matter has taken.
As this great question seems now to be in a fair way of being settled, and the prospect lately held out, by a possible rupture with France, of my being very much and very usefully employed in my present situation, being, in consequence, removed, I avail myself of this opportunity to request that the President will give me permission to return home on the 1st June, 1836. I shall then have served the entire four years for which, I under
stood, the appointment to be made; and suppose there can be no objection, after so long an absence in the public service, to my devoting my attention once more to my private interests. trust, too, that, in resigning into the President's hands a commission, with which he was pleased to honor me without any solitation whatever on my part, I may confidently count upon his approbation for the manner in which I have discharged its duties,-conscious, as I am, of having been zealous to do all that in me lay, in a comparatively humble, however honorable station, to maintain the interests and dignity of my country. My object, however, in troubling you with this request at so early a period, is to add to it another, which I venture to make only because, I presume, there is nothing objectionable in it. From the tenor of one of my last letters from Charleston, I am led to think that my presence there may be necessary, at least desirable, sooner than the time just mentioned. I do not know that it will, and sincerely hope the contrary, but in case I should receive information to that effect, in the course of the summer, it would be a great favor to me to have the permission I ask for so shaped, as to make it optional for me to return in October. I shall be extremely indebted to you to let me hear from you on this subject at your earliest convenience, as, should the President be good enough to comply with my wishes, and events make it necessary to avail myself of the conditional permission, I should by all means desire to avoid a winter passage across the Atlantic, which, in my present state of health, would, I fear, do me serious harm. I have the pleasure to announce that the Queen of the Belgians has given birth to a second son and heir to the crown,—an event ardently desired by all friends of the country and its dynasty, and universally rejoiced in as a pledge of order and stability to the new government.
I have the honor to be, etc.,
H. S. LEGARÉ.
Legation of the United States,
To the Hon. JOHN FORSYTH, etc.,—
Sir, I have now the satisfaction of being able to enclose the paper you instructed me to procure. I send copies of it both in the original Dutch and in a French translation. They were furnished me by Mr. Patterson, explanatory extracts from two of whose letters (marked A.) accompany them.
You will remark that in these letters Mr. Patterson, besides the principal object of our inquiry, alludes to two others of great importance, as to which he conveys information that deserves
attention. To what he says of the sugar trade, it ought to be added in explanation that, in consequence of a very considerable drawback having been allowed on the re-exportation of refined sugars, the sugar refineries of Antwerp, for the supply of the North of Europe especially, have been so successful and are so much multiplied as to be fast distancing all competition. It is in supplying these establishments with the raw material, which their own navigation has not as yet so much as attempted, that ours has found its chief employment in that port. Hence we are deeply, and, as yet, exclusively interested in getting rid of the very high duty imposed on the importation of that commodity. What Mr. Patterson says of the projected innovation as to whale oil, speaks for itself.
Things remain here, and throughout Europe, very much in statu quo, an armed neutrality and suspicious peace, which has hitherto been proof against provocations to war, that, at any previous period, would have covered Europe with blood and ruins. This indisposition of mankind to go to war is strongly encouraged, no doubt, by the unprecedented development of their industry, with all the accompanying blessings, under the existing state of things. Witness the cotton trade, for example. When I was in Europe sixteen years ago, the merchants and manufacturers of Glasgow and Liverpool universally predicted a glut and fall of prices, which did indeed take place and continue for some time. Production is, since that period, at least doubled, and is now going on at a rate of increase out of all proportion greater; so much so, that Mr. Patterson mentioned to me, last week, that inquiries, prompted by this progress of the manufacture in Europe, had been addressed to him, by persons interested in it, as to the probable sufficiency of the supply of the raw material, high as prices are already. Speaking with one of the most experienced men of business in Europe, some time ago, of this, to me, unexpected rise, I asked him what it could be owing His answer was that he could ascribe it to nothing but the effects of the universal peace, which were great beyond all calculation,—so much so, that their house found themselves every year underrating them in their anticipations. Specimens of this most beneficent progress in true civilization are the change brought about in the German custom-house system by the King of Prussia, an immense step to what I have more than once had the honor of calling the attention of the Department, and the projected construction of a rail-road from Antwerp to Cologne, opening to the whole commerce, fostered by this wise Prussian system, a new and unobstructed outlet by the Scheldt, and destined, perhaps, to undo what the treaty of Westphalia did, to build up Holland at the expense of this and other surrounding nations, by giving her the keys of that river and the VOL. I.-26
Rhine. A part of this road (from Mechlin to Brussels) is actually finished and in use. I do not know whether I ought to apologise for troubling you with these remarks. They appear to me worthy of your notice, not only as a Minister of a most flourishing commercial and agricultural country, but, as one whose education and social position forbid him to be indifferent to a subject above all others, in my opinion, connected with the true progress of the civilization and happiness of mankind. I have the honor to be, etc.,
H. S. LEGARÉ.
P. S.,-18th May. The Moniteur, of this morning, happening to contain some important papers relating to the very subject of this despatch, I enclose it under its envelope. You will there see that the Chamber of Commerce of Bruges expresses, in so many words, its opinion that the allowance of 10 per cent. is not enough, and that it ought to be increased to 25 or 30. I ought to mention, also, that, in spite of the obvious tendency of the times to a gradual relaxation of the old commercial system, and approximation to the freedom of intercourse which nature and reason conspire to recommend, there are symptoms of quite a contrary kind in Belgium, of which you may look upon these papers as specimens. The truth is that, in a mere pecuniary point of view, Belgium lost immensely by her late revolution. The activity of Dutch commerce, the great monied capital of Holland,—and, above all, the markets afforded by her important colonies for the sale of Belgian manufactures, all these and other advantages were suddenly withdrawn, and have left a chasm not likely to be filled up, except, possibly, by the effect of the rail-road, which is still future and contingent. Meanwhile, their commerce and manufactures languish and call loudly for the old nostrum, protection.
[The Publishers regret that want of space compels them to omit the remainder of Mr. LEGARÉ's Diplomatic Correspondence.]
Mr. Legaré to I. E. Holmes, Esq.
My dear Holmes,-I began a letter to you the other day, but it was owing to the state of my mind and the impression made upon me by reading your State-rights manifestoes-in so lugubrious a strain, that I determined it was not fit to be sent as a remembrancer of me to one who, wild as some of his notions are, is, in the main, all that his best friend would wish him to be. I have often thought of my taking leave of you in Washington, which was the first time (though by no means the last) that I felt myself a good deal overcome by my separation from those I love. You thought I should not bestow a recollection upon you, once I formed my grand associations in Europe. How little even you, with whom I have used less disguise than with almost any person besides, know of my character! I have had the honor of dining with two kings, and have been as well received as I had any right to imagine I should be, and yet, I assure you that I never thought more, and more affectionately, of you and all my little circle of friends, than in the most brilliant scenes I have found myself in, and even at Neuilly and Laken. Every circumstance, for instance, of our excursion to Georgetown in the spring, or rather, winter,-from our first meeting on the wharf to our separation at Georgetown,-every word, every laugh, almost every thought,-is as distinctly in my recollection now as if it were but yesterday; and the glories of Versailles, the freshness and beauty of the most highly cultivated gardens and groves that adorn the palaces of kings, excite in me feelings far less deep and intense, than those with which I dwell upon the sands and quagmires and pine-barren of our own low country. Ah, why should such a happy state of things,-a society so charming and so accomplished,-be doomed to end so soon, and, perhaps, so terribly!
I was grievously disappointed with every thing in Paris but the Royal family and Ma'mselle Taglioni, the celebrated opera dancer,-oh! yes, I beg her a thousand pardons,-and Ma'mselle Mars, the great comic actress. As for the regeneration of the people of France, it is all in my eye,-they are as much regenerated as I am, and not half so much, for I flatter myself