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Mr. Seward to M. Berthemy.

Washington, March 14, 1867.

SIR: With reference to our conversation of this morning, I have the honor to communicate to you a copy of an *opinion rendered by the Hon. Henry Stanbery, the Attorney General, in relation to the right of foreign residents at Valparaiso to reclamations against Chili on account of losses sustained by them in consequence of the bombardment of that city.

Accept, sir, a. renewed assurance of my highest consideration.


M. BERTHEMY, §c., dc, Q0.

M. Berthemy to Mr. Seward.

[Translation. ]

‘ T’Vashington, July 8, 1867.

Mr. SECRETARY OF STATE: My predecessor had the honor to send you, on the 28th September last year, a copy of the code of maritime signals adopted by the governments of France and England, asking you at the same time to be so good as to let him know whether the government of the United States was disposed to adhere to this new mode of international communication. Since that I have myself had occasion, the 7th January last, to revert to that communication, on completing it, by sending a note relative to the application of this new code, and the establishment of an electro-semaphoric service on the coasts of France.

While makingaccount of the time which the study of a plan of this kind requires, I think, Mr. Secretary of State, on looking back to the date of the first note from M. de Montholon on the subject, that I might anew remind you of the value which the government of the Emperor would attach to information of the manner in which the government of the United States regards a question which interests in such high degree all maritime nations.

Accept, Mr. Secretary of State, the assurances of my high consideration,

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Mr. Hunter to M. Berthemy.

Washington, July 24, 1867.

SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of the 8th instant, asking whether any action has been taken by this government for the adoption of a new code of maritime signals now in ' the governments of France and Great Britain, which subject was first brought to the notice of this department by the Marquis de Montholon on the 28th of September, 1866. In reply, I have the honor to state that the matter was submitted for the consideration ‘of the Secretary of the Treasury, who informed the department that


* For this enclosure see instruction to the United States minister to Chili, No. 22, of the 2d October, 1866. "

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competent persons would be selected with a view to examine into, and if deemed practicable, to commend the adoption of this code by the United States government, for the merchant service. No further information upon the subject has been received. I shall, however, cause a translation of your note to be laid before the Secretary of the Treasury, and will request him to inform the department of any decision which may have been reached in regard thereto. Accept, sir, the assurances of my very high consideration. ' W. HUNTER,

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DEAR MR. SEWARD: In conformity with the wish you were pleased to I

express, I send you enclosed an extract from-a despatch from the Marquis de Moustier, relative to the protection of French interests in Mexico; and I join hereto, with all thanks, the interesting letter from Mr. Hall.

' Please accept, dear Mr. Seward, the assurance of my best regards.

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PARIS, July 19, 1867. it i

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I wrote on the 15th of this month to Mr. Dano to instruct him to bring away with him our two consuls at Vera Cruz and Tampico, and I re nest him to confide the protection of our countrymen to the agents of a. friendly power. have indicated to him those of the United States as being most naturally called upon to charge themselves with these cares. It is therefore to them that he will address himself, most probably. I beg you to inform Mr. Seward of this, and I doubt not that the federal government will authorize its representatives in Mexico to accept such mission.

Accept, &c.

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Mr. Seward to Mr. Bertbemy.

Washington, November 20, 1867.

MY DEAR Mn. BERTHEMY: I received from Mr. Plumb, United States chargé d’afi‘aires in Mexico, a despatch yesterday, with which he communicated, with expressions of due appreciation, a copy of a polite note which he had received from Mr. Lavalette, minister of the interior, in charge ad interim of the ministry of foreign relations at Paris. In that note Mr. Lavalette expressed the thanks of the Emperor’s government to Mr. Plumb for the attention which the United States had promised should be given by Mr. Plumb to the interests of French subjects in Mexico. Mr. Lavalette proceeded, in the same note, to say that as soon as Mr. Dano should return he would have an understanding with him to designate, if he had not already done so before his departure, a person

who could, in friendly guise, assist Mr. Plumb in the labors of the chancery relative to French affairs. Mr. Lavalette further promised that he would write again to Mr. Plumb by one of the earliest couriers. Mr. Plumb has also, with a subsequent despatch, transmitted to me a note which was addressed to him by Mr. Farine, on the 29th of October, which note was written in conformity with the views and purposes which have been made known to Mr. Plumb by Mr. Lavalette.

It is some time since I informed you that the Mexican government, in consenting to the exercise of good offices for foreigners belonging to other nations residing in Mexico, had taken care to insist that those oflices should be employed in an unoflicial and not in an ofiicial manner, and that this government had directed its representatives to Mexico to acquiesce in the course thus proposed by the Mexican government. It is under these circums nces that Mr. Plumb has transmitted Mr. Lavalette’s letter and Mr. Farine’s note to me, it being manifest that both of those papers were written before the authorities at Paris had received information of the special reservations upon which the Mexican government insists. It also appears that when Ms‘. Plumb received the communications of Mr. Lavalette and Mr. Farine he had not yet received the instructions of this department to acquiesce in the course which the French government had indicated. _

I have endeavored to rectify the situation of this affair in Mexico by two despatches* upon the subject, which have been transmitted to Mr. Plumb, and of which I have the honor to give you copies for the information of the Emperor’s government.

It is hardly necessary to acknowledge the liberal and friendly sentiments manifested by Mr. Lavalette.

Faithfully yours,

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DEAR Mr. SEWARD : I have received with two accompanying annexes, which contain your instructions to Mr. Plumb, the letter you were pleased to write to me the 20th instant relative to the protection of Frenchmen settled in Mexico.

I have already made known to the Marquis de Moustier the conversation I had the honor to hold with you on this subject, and the government of the Emperor is certainly now informed of the conditions under which the good olfices of the United States will be exercised. Be it as it may, I will not fail to transmit these documents to it; they will not, I think, modify its confidence in the eificiency of the support which French interests would find, in case of need, at the hands of your legation in Mexico, and which are guaranteed by the cordial assurances you have pleased to authorize me to transmit to Paris.

Accept, dear Mr. Seward, the assurances of my most sincere respect.


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" For enclosures see instructions to the United States minister to Mexico, Nos. 20 and 23 of the 19th and 20th of November, 1867.



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Washington, January 4, 1867.

SIR : I have the honor to transmit herewith to your excellency a copy of the text of the monetary convention, concluded December 23d, 1865, between France, Belgium, Italy, and Switzerland.

As you will see, Mr. Secretary of State, this act, which went into force the Ist of August last, has reconstituted, under the guarantee of an international contract, a monetary union which had existed in fact between these four states, but which diverse measures, adopted without preliminary understanding, had broken up during late years; These measures, adopted successively in Switzerland, in . Italy, and in France, had a sole object, that of putting an end to the abnormal disappearance of fractional silver money, or standard change money,indispensable for payments of trifling amounts. To the same evil they opposed the same remedy, the lowering of the standard, but according to difl‘erent rules and proportions. ‘ The Swiss pieces, for instance, coined at the standard of eight hundred thousandths fine, while those of France and of Italy'were at the standard of eight hundred and thirty-five, had to be refused in the public treasuries of the empire, as well as in those of the kingdom of Italy. The inconvenience of this state of things was not long in becoming apparent, and causing, perhaps more keenly than in past time, the appreciation, by the populations of the four bordering States, of the advantages of the monetary communion by which they had been formerly benefited. For the purpose of satisfying the just claims and pressing interests of trade, the government of the Emperor last year proposed to Belgium, to Italy, and to Switzerland, to intrust to a mixed international commission the care of re-establishing the ancient uniformity by taking account of facts accomplished. and of the new conditions of the monetary circulation of Europe. Commissioners appointed by these diiferent states assembled at Paris under the presidency of M. de Parieu, vice-president of the council of state, and, in stating the causes for the convention of the 23d December last, they have fully met the immediate end which was assigned for their labors, according to the expression used by the minister of finance of Belgium, on submitting to the Belgian chamber the project of law intended to sanction the convention : “ This act contains in effect, within itself, saving the unity of stamp, a monetary sys-' tem, complete for moneys, (coin,) properly so called, to the exclusion of billon, (base coin.)”

At this time the gold and silver coinage of these four states is conducted under conditions that are identical. In what relates especially to fractional silver of the piece of five francs real change of standard money, which alone can meet the demand for small transactions, the standard of eight hundred and thirty-five thousandths has been definitely adopted ; this is the figure which, already adopted in France and in Italy, has seemed best to satisfy the conditions of the problem which was in discussion for a solution—that is to say, to give to fractional metallic currency of the union the highest intrinsic value and the qualities of a good alloy, at the same time doing away the premium they had reached from the relative depreciation of gold, which allowed speculation to melt them up and export them at a profit.

Express provisions limit, moreover, the emission of this legal small change, and serve also as the corrective of the lowering of the standard value. Precise

rules reduce to the smallest possible figures the allowancesfor cost of fabrication, so as to maintain the money of the union in a constant normal condition. In fine, you will remark, Mr. Secretary of State, a clause which is detached from the rest of the stipulations, exclusively destined to determine the monetary regulations of the four countries. I desire to say something of that accession which article twelve guarantees to any other State. This clause may be considered as the manifestation of a wish that sprung up in the proceedings of the international conference, and has not been without influence on the happy issue of the negotiations. After havin brought about the disappearance of divergencies of which they recognized the inconveniences, the delegates of France, of Belgium, of Italy, and of Switzerland, seeing a population of seventy millions of souls henceforth endowed with the same monetary system, must quite naturally have been led to fix attention on an interest more general. Without entering on the examination of a question which it was not their mission to solve, they expressed in the name of their governments the desire to see the union, as yet restricted to four countries, become the germ of a union more extended, and of the establishment of a general monetary circulation among all civilized States.

The government of the Emperor would be very happy to see this proposition well received, but, at the same time, cannot dissemble the difliculties and objections it might encounter. But it doubts not, at least, that the views which are thus inspired answer the necessities which henceforth must press upon the solicitude of the governments. In proportion as the solidarity which now exists between economic interelts becomes more and more close, each nation, in view of advantages already realized, better understands the importance of removing the obstructions still met with in international relations, one of the most onerous and annoying results assuredly from the diversity of coinage which multiply the fluctuations of exchange. The idea of the unification of the monetary systems makes, then, every day fresh progress. It is under its influence that, since the 24th January, 1857, there has been concluded the treaty which has markedly simplified the monetary régime of the States comprised in the ancient Germanic confederation ; and more recently, in 1865, the same tendency has manifested itself in the discussions and in the votes of the German commercial diet ; in fine, the convention, even of the 23d December, has been spontaneously the object on the part of several foreign governments of an investigation which bears suificient evidence of their solicitude about the interests which attach to it. A new monetary law has already introduced in the Roman States the regime stipulated by the convention of Paris ; and, in the United States, public opinion has been called to this question even in the deliberations of Congress.

If, for the moment, objections too weighty prevent the federal _ government from adhesion to the convention of 236. December, the government of the Emperor would not the less attach special value to being informed of these obstacles, and to learn what observations may have been drawn forth by the examination of this international act. In the absence of more immediate results, there would be incontestable advantage in being enabled to appreciate exactly the nature and extent of the difliculties that must be thought of removing, in order to arrive at monetary uniformity ; and from the moment it is allowable to look toward the practical solution of such a problem, it becomes the duty of governments to follow it up, without exclusive ideas, mutually enlightening each other in their researches. Thus, also, in case the federal government, without wishing to accede to the union actually constituted, should be, disposed either to enter into arrangements destined to establish equations between some of its monetary types of gold or silver and those which the convention may determine, or to take part in an international conference at which might be discussed the means of arriving at a more extended monetary understanding, the

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