moment to renew those conferences. I may safely,
however, assure your Excellency, that the same friendly
dispositions still continue, and the same desire of
facilitating and encouraging a commerce between the
two nations, which produced the former appointment.
But our nation is, at this time, proposing a change
in the organization of its government. For this
change to be agreed to by all the members of the Union,
the new administration chosen and brought into activity,
their domestic matters arranged, which will require
their first attention, their foreign system afterwards
decided on and carried into full execution, will require
very considerable length of time. To place under
the same delay the private claims which I have the
honor to present to your Excellency, would be hard
on the persons interested: because these claims
have no connection with the system of commercial connection,
which may be established between the two nations,
nor with the particular form of our administration.
The justice due to them is complete, and the present
administration as competent to final settlement as
any future one will be, should a future change take
place. These individuals have already lingered
nine years in expectation of their hard and perilous
earnings. Time lessens their numbers continually,
disperses their representatives, weakens the evidence
of their right, and renders more and more impracticable
his Majesty’s dispositions to repair the private
injury, to which public circumstances constrained
him. These considerations, the just and honorable
intentions of your Excellency, and the assurances you
give us in your letter, that no delay is wished on
your part, give me strong hopes that we may speedily
obtain that final arrangement, which express instructions
render it my duty to urge. I have the honor,
therefore, of agreeing with your Excellency, that the
settlement of this matter, formerly begun at Paris,
shall be continued there; and to ask that you will
be pleased to give powers and instructions for this
purpose to such persons as you shall think proper,
and in such full form as may prevent those delays,
to which the distance between Copenhagen and Paris
might otherwise expose us.
I have the honor to be, with sentiments of the most
profound respect, your Excellency’s most obedient
and most humble servant,
TO THE COUNT DE MONTMORIN.
Paris, June 20, 1788.
Having had the honor of mentioning to your Excellency
the wish of Congress, that certain changes should
be made in the articles for a consular convention,
which had been sent to them, I have now that, conformably
to the desire you expressed, of giving a general idea
of the alterations to be proposed.
The fourth article gives to the consuls the immunities
of the law of nations. It has been understood,
however, that the laws of France do not admit of this;
and that it might be desirable to expunge this article.
In this we are ready to concur, as in every other case,
where an article might call for changes in the established
laws, either inconvenient or disagreeable.