James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Claude Adam de La Motte, 12 December 1801 (Abstract)

§ From Claude Adam de La Motte

12 December 1801, Le Havre. Acknowledges receipt of his commission as vice commercial agent at Le Havre. Learned on Livingston’s arrival at Lorient of the French government’s refusal to grant an exequatur to Cathalan at Marseilles. Had requested one for himself through a friend but was refused because of his French citizenship. Has therefore asked Livingston to make the request through regular channels. Believes the French government should have informed the U.S. had it wanted his nomination changed and points out that under the French Constitution the option is reserved to the citizen and not to the government. If a French citizen accepts a foreign appointment he loses his political rights, but the choice is for the citizen to make. This provision is maintained in the proposed civil code to the extent that anyone who accepts a foreign appointment without government authorization will lose his civil rights.1 In any event, the Le Havre area will not be unprovided for, as Dobell is already performing his functions as agent. Should La Motte be unable to act as vice-agent, he will inform the U.S. government. Had sent the American commissioners in France an account of his expenditures from 1794 to 1798, totaling 1,713 livres, which Davie was to take with the supporting vouchers to the U.S. Requests that the account be paid.

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