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owes no military service to the country in which he may temporarily have taken up his residence. The federal government has less than any other disputed this principle; on the contrary, it has affirmed it on more than one occasion, as well in its declarations to, as in its relations with, other powers.

The following persons are Frenchmen, and from that fact should be exempted from military service in the United States:

1st. Frenchmen born in France, or naturalized Frenchmen who have preserved their quality intact, whatever may have been the duration of their sojourn in this country.

24. Frenchmen by birth or by the fact of naturalization who have made a first declaration of intention to become citizens of the United States, but who have never taken out letters of naturalization.

3d The minor sons, born in France or in foreign countries, who are the issue of the above individuals.

4th The minor sons, even those born in this country, of French parents who are naturalized Americans, if they were born before the naturalization of their father.

5th The minor sons of unnaturalized Frenchmen who, born in this country, have done no act at the period of or since their majority which could be interpreted as a choice by them of American nationality, such as participating in the popular vote, forming part of the jury, or any other act for the performance of which the quality of a citizen is requisite. 6th. The preceding article applies equally to the major sons of naturalized Frenchmen, if they were born before the naturalization of their parents.

7th. Those major sons of Frenchmen naturalized as Americans who were born in the United States after the naturalization of their fathers. if they prove that they have recov. ered French national ty by complying with the formalities which are requisite to this effect. 8th. The major sons of for igners who were born in France, if they prove that they have claimed the quality of a Frenchman and have confirmed to the requirements of the law within the year that followed their majority.

9th. The preceding article applies equally to the children of a foreigner naturalized as a Frenchman, although they were born in a foreign country, if they were minors at the time of the naturalization of their parents.

10th The chldren born in France or in a foreign country of a foreigner naturalized as a Frenchman, who were majors at the period of that naturalization, if, taking advantage of the benefits of the law, they have claimed and obtained the quality of a Frenchman within the year which followed that of said naturalization.

Consequently, all Frenchmen included in the above-mentioned classes who shall be prepared to furnish the proofs thereof, and who shall declare under oath that they have performed no act of a character to make them lose their nationality derived from origin, shall retain all their rights to the protection of the Emperor's agents, and I therefore request you to issue to them without delay a certificate in conformity to the model hereto annexed.

The presentation of this certificate should suffice to suspend the action of the American authorities who are charged with the recruitment, so far as it may have begun to be exercised against any of these Frenchmen; and in case those authorities should deem it their duty to take no notice thereof, I request you to inform me of the fact immediately, in order that I may prepare to report the same directly to the government of the United States.

Finally, circumstances might be presented in which the scrupulousness of the French agent would have been surprised by the presentation of incorrect documents or by the taking of a false oath; I need scarcely tell you that you should receive on the spot, as I would myself receive them at Washington, in a spirit of impartial equity, the proofs which in this regard might be offered to us by the American authorities.

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There is one point to which I wish to call your attention. The peculiar constitutions of certain States admit to the right of voting foreign residents who have only made a first declaration with a view of becoming American citizens; now it has been asked what, in presence of the law of conscription, would be exactly the position of foreigners who have profited by this favor? The answer to this cannot be doubtful. If it was the intention of the legislators of a state to extend even to the privilege of taking part in the elections the civil rights, or rather the rights of citizenship, granted in various countries to the domi ciliated foreigner, in consideration of a first step with a view to obtaining naturalization, or from the simple fact of residence, we could only see in such a provision an act of internal police, and could not in any case allow it to be as-imilated in its effects to one which consists in obtaining letters of naturalization, and in becoming de facto and de jure a citizen of the United States.

The federal government, to which the Constitution has expressly reserved the right of granting naturalization, has never considered foreigners who have made the first declaration as citizens, whether they took part or not in the elections in virtue of the peculiar

constitution of a state; it has from the earliest period kept up the rule of refusing them passports.

Abandoned by us, Frenchmen placed in the position indicated above would, consequently, be not only without protection, but without nationality. I do not think that we ought to consent to this; and since the government of the United States does not consider them as American citizens from the fact of their voting, we ought to continue to consider them as Frenchmen, by assimilating in some sort the part which they may have taken in the elections under such circumstances to the services which they might have been called to render in certain cases in the ranks of a city guard-services which would not have entailed on them the loss of their nationality derived from origin. I therefore, sir, request you to issue certificates to such of our countrymen as may be found in the last condition of which I have spoken to you.


Accept, &c.,

Consul of France at

Mr. Seward to Mr. Mercier.

Washington, November 4, 1862.

SIR: I have carefully read your excellency's note of the 31st of October, in which I am requested to express my concurrence in the views of the laws affecting the claims of persons who may claim exemption from military service in the United States on the ground of a supreme allegiance to the Emperor of the French. You arrange such persons into ten distinct classes, and ask from me a categorical opinion in regard to the title of persons belonging to each of these classes to the waiver or exemption.

This government could not justly be asked to express itself upon even one proposition of that character, unless an actual case of the draft of a person falling within the terms of the proposition should arise. It would be still more inconsistent to pronounce categorically upon the several propositions of the same character if circumstances should not render such a proceeding indispensable to the protection of any individuals, or to the interests of the United States. I am satisfied, from what has already fallen under my notice, that there is no probability that cases will arise requiring so comprehensive an examination of the subject. Returs of drafted persons have been received at this department from three States, in all including two hundred and seventeen persons. Of them only two persons have claimed exemption on the ground of their owing allegiance to France. Each of these presented his claims directly to the department, under the official invitation extended for that purpose, without the intervention of any diplomatic or consular agent of the French government. One has already been pronounced exempt, and the other probably will be on the coming in of the evidence in his case.

I could not at present sanction all the positions assumed in your proposed circular. At the same time only inconvenience could result from unnecessarily controverting any of them. I propose, therefore, as the best way, to leave you at entire liberty to issue such instructions to your consuls as you think proper, and upon your own responsibility, reserving at the same time for myself a consideration of principles involved as the cases actually arise.

By the words a priori in your circular, I understand you to mean prima facie, and if this is so, I have no objection to make; otherwise it would be necessary for me to say that while I should pay the highest possible respect to a consular certificate of the facts in a case, I could not admit it to be conclusive so as to prevent my receiving contradictory evidence to rebut it and deciding in any case, as a full examination of all conflicting evidence should require.

To conclude, I would observe that the apprehensions of timid persons have very much magnified hazards of the draft. I am satisfied that it will be entirely easy to dispose of the claims to exemption as they arise, to the entire satisfaction of your government and my own, without attempting to agree upon a protocol on a subject whose conflicts of law are so often encountered.

I have the honor to be, with high consideration, sir, your obedient servant, WILLIAM H. SEWARD.

Mr. HENRY MErcier, &c., &c., &c.

Mr. Mercier to Mr. Seward.



Washington, November 6, 1862.

SIR: I have received the note which you did me the honor to write to me, under date of the 5th of this month, in reply to my communication of the 31st of October, relative to the measure which I have deemed it my duty to recommend to your attention, with a view of establishing in a certain way the nationality of Frenchmen residing in the United States, who might find themselves in danger of being reached by the law of recruitment.

A previous understanding in regard to this question between the government of the United States and the legation of the Emperor seemed to me particularly desirable, because, in my opinion, it could not fail to prevent all difficulties. I do not doubt, indeed, that the government of the United States, on being called to decide in regard to the case of such or such foreigners who might be unduly taken off by the conscription, would render full justice to the applicants, and would grant them the exemption to which it would be ultimately proved that they were entitled; but that reparatory measure could not remove from foreigners who would become the subject of it all the inconveniences of an enrolment unjustly imposed, and would leave existing, in more than one case, their right to reparation or indemnity from the government of the United States. Hence I still think that a general preventive measure would offer great advantages; and in case that, outside of that which I had the honor to submit for your examination, it should please the government of the United States to adopt another, such whose efficaciousness and applicability appeared to it better adapted to the necessities of the moment, you could be assured, sir, that I would take pleasure in modifying in this new direction the instructions which the consuls of the Emperor in the United States are soliciting from me, in view of the many difficulties which have been raised, and of the just apprehensions which are felt by our countrymen.

As to the importance which the American authorities might attribute prima facie to the certificates of nationality issued by the Emperor's consuls in the United States, I would take the liberty of observing to you that the French law has surrounded the issuing of these certificates with numerous formalities, with a view of preventing any error or any fraud; and that a certificate issued without those formalities having been complied with, might, in certain cases, render an agent liable to a penalty of two years' imprisonment.

I embrace this opportunity to renew to you, sir, the assurances of my high consideration. HENRI MERCIER.

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Mr. Mercier to Mr. Seward.


Washington, November 6, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to send you herewith the copy of a complaint which Mr. François Bougére, an old French resident of New Orleans and honorably known in that city, has just laid before the manager of the consulate of the Emperor, in relation to an act of spoliation of which he has been the victim on the part of the federal authorities.

The steps which Mr. Bougére has tried with the military governor of Louisiana have up to this time led to no result; and I therefore proceed to call the kind attention of the government of the United States to an affair whose gravity could not have escaped it, and the consequence of which has been to reduce in a single day to the most absolute destitution a Frenchman whose antecedents have been represented to me as excellent in all respects, and who appears to have never departed from the strict neutrality which the Emperor's government has not ceased to recommend to its citizens under existing circumstances.

I embrace this opportunity to renew to you, sir, the assurances of my high consideration.

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MR. CONSUL: The undersigned, François Bougére, a native of Angers, (Maine et Loire,) France, an inhabitant of Louisiana since 1819, has the honor to inform you that, being on his plantation, in the parish of St Charles, on the 28th of August, 1862, a column of troops of the United States, commanded by Colonel Thomas and Captain Grout, of the 8th Vermont, took by force on his plantation seventy-two slaves of various ages and distinct sexes, proceeding from families bought by him a long while prior to 1848, besides horses, mules, carriages, linen, jewelry, and stores, the whole, according to a statement annexed, amounting to the sum of seventy thousand eight hundred dollars. Moreover, that, being deprived of his workshop, of seventy-two negroes, mules, &c., &c., it was impossible for him to gather his present crop of corn and about three hundred hogsheads of sugar and molasses which would have been produced, and he will lose by this fact eighteen thousand dollars.

The undersigned thinks it his duty also to inform you that he has taken numerous steps with the local authorities, in order to obtain in a friendly manner the restoration of his slaves, horses, mules, &c., but that all his efforts have been fruitless. Having, therefore, no longer any hope of success with the authorities who govern this State, he proceeds, full of confidence, to solicit your intervention, to the end that the facts above enumerated may be brought to the knowledge of the minister plenipotentiary of France at Washington, and even to that of the government of his Imperial Majesty, in order that, protected by them, his claim and his protest may be taken into consideration, and that justice may be done to a French subject who has never lost his nationality nor borne arms against the United States.

The losses suffered by the undersigned amount to more than eighty-eight thousand dollars, as is proved by the annexed list, and all the fruit of his labor and savings for nearly forty years.

Relying, Mr. Consul, on the warm sympathy that you have always evinced for your countrymen, I beg you to accept in advance my sincere thanks for all which you may deem it your duty to do in my behalf, and the assurance of my profound respect.

The CONSUL OF FRANCE at New Orleans.


A true copy:


Manager of the Consulate of France.



Claim of Mr. François Bougére, of the parish of St. Charles, Louisiana.


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1. Trasimond, sugar maker, 30 years old
2. Kellec, cart driver, 20 years old...........
3. Eugene, field hand, 25 years old
4. Camise, engine man, 26 years old......
5. Térence, field hand, 25 years old
6. Edouard, cooper, 20 years old............
7. Antoine, field hand, 22 years old..
8. Lanoute, field hand, 18 years old.......
9. Celestin, field haud, 17 years old

10. Simon, cart driver, 30 years old.............

11. Simonnette, field hand, 30 years old....
12. Dominique, field hand, 19 years old......
13. Felix, cart driver, 20 years old...
14. Amédée, cart driver, 17 years old.....

15. Eugene Lamadon, cart driver, 30 years old..

16. Patrick, coachman, 40 years old..

17. Joe, blacksmith, 25 years old...

18. André, creole, field hand, 60 years old

19. Julien, cooper, 58 years old..

20. Adolphe Petit, stable boy, 17 years old 21. Charles, stable boy, 16 years old

22. Severin, stable boy, 15 years old





1, 200




1, 200



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1. Rose, 24 years old.

2. Nonne, 23 years old..

3. Elizabeth, 32 years old.......




4. Joséphine, 31 years old......


5. Aimée, 21 years old


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