Page images
[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

research, and the patience of investigation, are equally made to show that the Administration had prevented the unnecessary and unknown to him.

passage of the bill, and various private conversations have Besides these considerations, said Mr. J. the extent of been reported here to strengthen the impression. But the privileges claimed under the act of Parliament for the charge is as groundless as the other attempts to put placing them “on the footing of the most favored Nation," this Government in the wrong. When the gentleman was not distinctly understood. If, by it, they expected to from Maryland applied to the President and the Secretary be placed on the footing of Guatemala and Denmark, who of State, they both said it might be repealed; they made have a perfectly free cade, it could not be conceded to no objection; they did not dissuade him; they both told Great Britain, unless she made the same concession. The him there was no longer any difficulty in the adjustment mere right, and the very doubtful right as to its effect, of of this affair with Great Britain ; that the negotiations carrying from the Colonies to Europe, could not be consi- were about to be resumed. It was a mere question, whe. dered equivalent to the concession. Understood in the ther it was better to give them this in advance, or to hold limited sense, there could be no objection, and there was it in our hands until the negotiation. But they left him none here to meet Great Britain on the terms proposed. entirely at liberty ; and be so stated it in his speech, last The import of those words is distinctly known here, and year. He said, “there was no difference on this subject, it is presumed is so in England. , But it was desirable to “ except as to the manner. The Committee of Commerce be explicit, and not to be involved in the interpretation of “ think it better to be done by negotiation.” And be now words. We have already had a tedious correspondence says he took his measures with the approbation of the with one foreign nation ; and, under the pretensions aris- | President, and the concurrence of the Secretary of State. ing out of the construction of these expressions, our citi- | The Chairman of the Committee of Commerce also ap. zens find themselves deprived of an immense amount; plied to the President and Secretary of State. They told their property seized upon the Ocean under the most il-him the discriminating duty might be repealed; but that, legal decrees, either burnt, confiscated, or condemned, alone, would not meet the terms of the British act of Par. without judicial formality, and paid over to the French liament, and would not supersede negotiation. They Treasury. And, when they demand indemnity for these thought that a subject about which we had been for ten robberies, which every nation has received, they are for years legislating, ought to be finally closed by a treaty, years deferred, under different pretences, and at last, this which would embrace all the points, with regard to the unfounded claim against the American Government is set extent of the trade, the luties, and charges; and that the up to defeat the just claims of our citizens. This lesson, commercial rights of the nation ought to be fixed permawhich will be long and painfully remembered in this coun- nently, and not left to changing legislation. Besides try, is sufficient to guard us against the danger of these which, the free navigation of the St. Lawrence, which espressions.

was not provided for, was an object equally interesting, The Executive of the United States determined to ac. and ought to be connected with it. The repeal of the cept the terms of the British Government, and it was be- duty was not considered an object of any great moment. lieved here that no further difficulty could occur ; and the Mr. Johnstoy said, he had examined, with the greatPresident says in his message, “in the renewal of the di- est candor, all the transactions of 1824 and 1825, with. "plomatic missions on both sides, between the two Govern- out being able to find any want of respect to Great Bri. “ments, assurances have been given and received, of the tain, any inattention to her rights or interests, or any ner continuance and increase of mutual confidence and cordi- glect or indifference to our own; nothing by which the " ality, by which the adjustment of many points of differ- argument that has been resorted to, can be justified. It "ence has already been effected, and which affords the sur-must not be forgotten, that, during all these discussions, “est pledge for the ultimate satisfactory adjustment of those Great Britain has refused us the free right to navigate the “ which will remain open, or may hereafter arise.” The St. Lawrence to the Ocean, while she is permitted to indisposition of Mr. King continued from his arrival until pass, with her merchandise, to Upper Canada, through all expectation of his recovery, so as to be able to conduct our jurisdiction, over the same waters—the effect of the negotiation, was abandoned. This was so apparent, which is to place all the productions of the country borthat the British Minister kindly invited us to send an ad-dering on the Lakes, under a charge very burthensome junct Minister, to enable them to proceed with the Minis. and oppressive, and almost prohibitory. The operation ters then appointed, and preparing to treat, on their part, of this duty on flour was very onerous on that part of our on the important subjects then pending between the two country especially. This Government attempted to con. Governments. Mr. Gallatin was immediately designated, nect the right of navigating that river, with the colonial as a man most competent for this duty. He was consult question ; but which the British Government continually ed, and consented to engage in it. He was appointed, refused. The discriminating duty was resorted to, in the with full powers, furnished with instructions, and the Bri- first instance, because it was peculiarly necessary to take tish Government was notified that the instructions would a stand in favor of the agricultural interests of these peoarrive by the last of May, only two months from the date ple. The American productions on the St. Lawrence of the invitation. The British Government had scen that and the Lakes, have not only the long voyage, and all the the causes of delay, during the last year, were beyond additional expense of freight and insurance, but they paid

human control, and were as unforeseen as unavoidable. 105 cents a barrel, duty, which brought those articles in· If Mr. King had been furnished with instructions, he could to market upon very unequal terms ; and it was espe

not have proceeded ; and if he could, he would have been cially due to those people to remove, if possible, the so furnished in good time. If he had been instructed, duty on them. Mr. J. said, he would not here discuss they would not have been applicable to the new state of the right of passing from the great inland seas, which bething's, growing out of the acts of Parliament, passed long equally to both nations, to the Ocean, the common about the time of his arrival ; and, if the Minister had property of all, through a Strait which connects them, been able to proceed to the negotiation, it was late in the and especially, as that Strait passes, at some points, Fall before their Ministers assembled for that purpose. through the territorial limits of the United States. If

At the last session, a memorial, praying the removal of Great Britain shall be deaf to the great right of this pas. the discriminating duty, was referred to the Committee of sage under the laws of Nations, we shall be obliged to Commerce ; who made a report declining legislation, be- exercise the same power over her right of passage through

cause it was a proper subject for negotiation. A bill for the same waters within our territorial limits, and to divert · that purpose was, however, introduced, but not acted on, our trade into an opposite direction. But all those re

for want of time; and, upon this, an attempt has been strictions are equally injurious, and oppressive, and vex

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

atious, to all parties. But the interest which this Governo ports allude especially to the enumerated ports, and to no inent has manifested in the right of navigating the St. others. To those ports, which, in consequence of having Lawrence-a right heretofore so valued by our people in customhouses, and being ports of entry, admit vessels of that quarter, so essential to their happiness—is treated by other nations. It seems equally difficult to misconceive the the gentleman of Maryland in a very sneering and cava. meaning of the committee in the House of Representa. Tier manner. He says it was a “laughable attempt," tives, when they say we cannot be satisfied with a “few and that “ he could have seen through the flimsy veil." free ports, or places of depot." Great Britain has openThe right of navigating the St. Lawrence to the Ocean ed this trade to the rest of the world-we cannot accept of is not a new subject. It has been claimed for several less; we expect the trade with the usual places in her years, and frequent attempts have been made to secure it. Colonies, in consideration of their trade with 'ours. We it is a right founded in public law, gravely and zealously shall not be satisfied to have a free port at Halifax, and at urged, and is still in discussion with the British Govern. Bermuda, as places of depot. We cannot accept of less ment. Whatever estimate he may form of it, or to what than all the enumerated ports in the West Indies. If Great erer unworthy motives he may attribute the negotiation Britain should open the port of Halifax only, all the Ameon the subject, if the gentleman had read the memorial rican productions for the West Indies would concentrate from St. Lawrence, he would have seen the value of this there, from which port they would be transported in Bri. privilege, and attribute the conduct of the Government tish vessels. We cannot, therefore, admit, in practice, a to a proper sense of the rights and interests of those principle which would exclude our shipping from a due whom it concerns.

share of the trade in our own productions. This would Mr. Jonsstox said, his duty obliged him to follow be to permit ourselves to be circumvented by that “inthe remarks of the gentleman from Maryland, however sidious policy," to which the gentleman alluded last sestedious the details, or desultory the discussion might ap- sion, and of the effect of which now, he seems to be enpear. To those who understand the subject, it will be un- tirely unconscious. interesting ; to those who do not, it will be fatiguing, if The gentleman from Maryland has made a great not disgusting. My only resource is, to make my re- lamentation on the ruinous operation of the discrimi." marks as brief as is consistent with clearness. The gen. nating duty levied on American vessels in the British tleman says, “Mr. King having arrived in England, with ports. This duty amounts to 15 cents, estimated by " out being charged particularly on that point, (the Bri- the barrel ; while the duty on importation amounts to * tish proposition,) the British Parliament passed their 105 cents a barrel. The American Government made a "acts of the 27th of June, and two acts of the 5th July, firm stand against this latter onerous imposition, injurious “1825.” He leaves the inference to be drawn, if the fact alike to our agriculture and navigation. But the gentle. is not clearly expressed, that these acts of Parliament were man has stigmatized the efforts of the Administration to passed in consequence of his not having instructions. remove this tax upon our productions ; while an exaction Now, what is the fact? The British Government gave of one-sixth in amount, is magnified into a most ruinous us their propositions, which were referred to this Govern. effect upon the navigation. At the last session he said, ment late in 1824. A busy and eventful Winter succeed- page 7, “But how are the ports open ? Why, by our ed; and, as soon as the new Administration was organized, “paying the enormous duty of 94 cents per ton, &c. upon a Minister was despatched, who arrived the very day the “our vessels, and I shall not be much surprised, if they first act passed. They did not wait for our answer, but “ should consent to be kept open forever on those terms... created a new state of things, that would, in all proba- The duty of 105 cents a barrel on flour is nothing ; but bility, hare superseded the instructions, if any had been this enormous duty of 154 cents a barrel (being levied as given. But, when these laws passed, they could not have tonnage) is calculated to produce the most important ef. known any thing with regard to his instructions. It was fects upon our trade. In the same speech he says, page three months, during which the Minister was sick, before 11, “il, then, we were relieved from the alien duties of he had an interview with Mr. Canning ; and more than "impost and tonnage, there can be little doubt our flour four months before his presentation, prior to which, the “would go direct, and that two thirds at least, perhaps negotiations could not be resumed. It is, therefore, alto. “three-fourths, would be carried in American vessels: even gether gratuitous to say, the laws passed in consequence “under all these disadvantages it is certain that more than of the want of instructions. They are general laws, re "ten barrels of flour are exported to the colonies, in Amelating to the trade of the Colonics with all nations. And “rican vessels, for one in British.” But the gentleman has here permit me to remark upon the extraordinary disclo complained of this also : he says “ that we pay four-fifths sure of the gentleman, with regard to these laws. He has of this duty;" “ that we pay $ 190, while they only pay stated that, at the last session, having learned from the ten ; it is a mere financial calculation.” He deprecates Secretary of State, that the British acts of Parliament this ruinous state of things. It appears that, in spite of were in his office, he went to see the President, and found this enormous duty, our vessels enjoyed the carrying trade : that he had not seen them. The impression made on the that they carried our productions to British markets, minds of those who heard him, was, that he intended to while British vessels, free from this duty, could not. These fix on the Secretary of State and the Executive a gross articles there sell, of course, for enough to pay cost, and colpable neglect of their duty ; that the subject had freight, and charges; and, if British vessels did not pay excited no interest ; that the President was ignorant of the same in our ports, the reason is obvious. The gentle, the existence of these laws; and that he had awakened man has gone much further, and said, “ the act of 1822 the Government to the consideration of the subject. These was everything we could wish.” It was limited to a direct lars had then been in the possession of the Government trade, “but did we complain! We paid a heavy duty three months. I would appeal to the candor of the gen- on flour, equal to 105 cents, and a similar duty on all other tleman himself; I would appeal to his knowledge of the articles, and that in cash ; but that was all right, and he fact, that the paper cases containing the foreign coires- seems to exult in the triumph over the Government, in pondence, are regularly carried to the President, to the having failed to accomplish the removal of this duty on great interest he has always manifested in this subject; our four, live stock, and lumber--what he pronounces to the indefatigable labor with which he devotes himself" to have been a very silly demand," and which they have to all the duties of his station ; and I would ask him if he surrendered as "untenable.” But, as it regards the artibelieves the President of the United States had no know- cles prohibited, he says it is a curious coincidence, that we ledge of those laws?

| prohibit the same articles by our duties. This is too pal. The gentleman has drawn a very uncandid argument pable for serious refutation. He seems to suppose the from the terın ports. He cannot be ignorant that those trade petfectly reciprocal, because the same articles are


The Colonial Trade Bill.

(FEB. 23, 1827

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

prohibited. The articles they prohibit, we can furnish :) was imposed, was the point in dispute. The existence the articles he supposes prohibited here, they cannot fur of the duty, no matter when levied, was the material part nish. This is reciprocity in name-not in substance. But of the fact ; and it is now said that these export duties we have no prohibitions, and articles depending on a and charges are equally levied on British as on American foreign market cannot be protected by our laws. The ex vessels. They are, notwithstanding, onerous on comportation of flour, beef, pork, tobacco, cotton, &c. is a merce. Trade can only be profitably carried on with a proof that they do not require, and cannot receive, pro- freight both ways; but, if the export duty, and other tection from our laws. No article is exported until the charges, prevent the British sugars from arriving in our home market is supplied, and when in a foreign market, ports on equal terms with other sugars, it follows, that the protection is lost; and it is a political absurdity to they cannot be brought here ; or, if brought, with a loss suppose that any article which we export is protected by equal to those charges. And this is the real state of the a prohibitory duty at home. The gentleman from Mary- case. All the return cargoes are losing voyages; and land has asserted, with his usual tone of confidence, that therefore it is, that, of five millions of dollars of sugars there were no discriminating duties in the British Colonies. which we import, only $158,000 are British sugars; and We know that, in 1822, orders were issued to the customs nearly one-half of the value of our exports (deducting in the Colonial ports, to equalize the duties, and charges ashes, and other articles that go to Europe) is sent back and fees, on American and British vessels ; which would in gold and silver, and in both ways the freight on the rehave been unnecessary if there had been no inequality. turn voyage is lost. Their ports had been opened by proclamation, when The gentleman from Maryland has also said, that, by their necessities required it: and it is probable that dis- the existing regulations, our productions are admitted criminations existed in favor of their own vessels. The into Canada free of duty, and that they pay only one shil. Collector, at Jamaica, speaks of this order “as a new era ling a barrel on flour, when imported into the West Inin their commerce;" and says “it remains to see how it dies. I apprehend he is entirely mistaken so far as the will work." This order was communicated to us late in law operates. Flour, smuggled into Canada, and shipped that year. The law of 1815 gave the President power to as British flour, will, no doubt, escape the duty, but remove the duty on foreign vessels, whenever satisfied American flour pays the duty in Canada. It is true it that no other or higher duties or charges were made on may be deposited at the warehouse at Quebec, but all American vessels in their ports than on their own. The articles pay the duty when delivered from the warereport stated that no satisfactory proof was furnished. It house ; and these being imported into the British Islands, is now answered that there were no such duties to abolish. pay only one shilling duty on importations there from a Then it was more easy to furnish the proof; but they refus warehouse. This is made manifest by a memorial from ed to furnish it, or the pledge of the Government to the fact. the St. Lawrence, now on the table ; in which, on the 1st

But he has attempted to fix upon the Cabinet a miser- of January last, they complain that the duties are prohiable sophism. He has misquoted the law of 1815, and bitory and ruinous to their trade. Masts, timber, and then founded his argument upon his own error. He says ashes, are admitted to go to the United Kingdom, and the law of 1815 authorized the President to remove the beef and pork to Newfoundland, as if from Canada. It discriminating duty from those nations who should repeal would be a very wise policy in Great Britain to draw all theirs; and then he involves them in the absurdity of de. the trade of the St. Lawrence and the lakes into the ciding that, as the Colonies had no such duties to repeal, sphere of her commerce. In the first place, it would supthey did not come within the letter of the law. The an- ply her Colonies; it would carry the trade through her swer is, that this is a mis-reading of the law. By the law towns ; give the transportation to her shipping ; and of 1815, “the repeal of the discriminating duties is to open an extensive commerce for the supply of the whole "take effect in favor of any foreign nation, whenever the of the country depending on the St. Lawrence and the 4' President of the United States shall be satisfied that the lakes. She has, however, hitherto refused to treat on “ discriminating or countervailing duties of such foreign the right of navigating that river from the lakes to the “nations, so far as they operate to the disadvantage of the ocean, for reasons peculiar, but no doubt satisfactory to * United States, have been abolished.No evidence was herself. The gentleman from Maryland has ridiculed furnished, before the session of the succeeding Congress, the idea of our consoling ourselves with a new trade, when his power ceased. If no duties of that kind existed, that will compensate for the loss of the British Colonial the fact was not known here, and the proof was more trade. Has not an extensive and lucrative trade opened easily furnished: but, until it was furnished, the Presi- with all the South American States, and is it not constantly dent had no power to remove ours. I have adverted to and rapidly increasing ? Will not the vessels, thrown out this merely to show the importance of accuracy in facts of the trade with the Colonies, engage in new enterprises? in all public discussions; and the fallacy, as well as the / Will they not every where come in competition with Brifutility, of all reasoning, however logical, founded on er- tish ships? Does he immagine that American genius and roneous premises; and it evinces the high obligation of enterprise are exhausted ? That all the sources of trade those who impute error, absurdity, or ignorance, to others, and all the avenues of commerce are explored ? Does he to be correct themselves in their facts, and clear in their believe that the nation which can navigate with the least inferences. The report of the last session stated that an expense, that can overcome all competition, has already American vessel, arriving at a bad market, cannot proceed arrived at its ultimatum ? That our tonnage will not in. to another island without paying double duties, and that crease, and our commerce expand ? Does he not know onerous and heavy duties and Colonial fees are exacted : that any obstruction of this intercourse will divert this to which the gentleman from Maryland then replied, “it trade into a new direction, and that not the least sensible is true, sir, that onerous and heavy duties and colonial effect will be produced in our markets, or in the tonnage fees had been exacted in the Colonies, and operated as employed ? There is a great probability that both will be stated in the report." The fact is now unimportant, and increased. Provisions rose, in Barbadoes, one hundred I will not waste time in pursuing it. Mr. Adams says to per cent., on the day the interdict took effect, in certain Mr. Canning, “ that other charges and even duties, dis- anticipation that our interdict would follow, as a matter criminating to the disadvantage of the United States, of course. We may confidently rely upon the sagacity have continued to te levied in several of the enumerated and enterprise of our People, to push their fortune's ports, until a late period." An accidental error in the wherever a sail is seen, or a dollar is made : and if we report, which states that the export duty of four per cent. have the wisdom and the firmness to close our ports upon was levied by the act which imposed the duty oii impor- British vessels, so far as to prevent them from carrying tation, has been seized on, as if the act in which the duty our productions to their colonies, they will be carried in

Fee. 23, 1827.]

The Colonial Trade Bill.


our vessels with increased profit, and will be consumed in take the direction of New York; we shall bring all our the Colonics at very high advances, and with ruinous ef. productions within the sphere of our commerce, and confect upon their trade, as well as injury to their shipping centrate it in the great Northern emporium. Even when

The gentleman has animadverted upon the bill, and, in the interdict is removed, we shall find canals more safe speaking of its limitation to vessels by sea, he says “it than the dangerous rapids of the St. Lawrence ; the ex« creates a terror in his mind he dare not express." He pense less; the route to Europe and the West Indies has greatly exaggerated the danger, as well as miscon. shorter; a more steady and ample market; and a cheaper ceived the operation of the bill, and the nature of the supply for the consumption of the interior. We have trade. Mr. J. remarked that he had, on several occa- been heretofore induced to give great importance to the sions, said, that there was great diversity of opinion with right to navigate that river ; but, if the hopes now creat. regard to the extent of the interdict, that he had re-ed by the canals in operation are realized, it will equally ported the bill in this form, under the impression that it comport with the interests of individuals, and the protec. corresponded with the bill of the House of Representation of our own institutions, by drawing our productions tires, that he had since beard that they had stricken it into our own channels, and holding at command our own out, but of wbich they had not notified him ; that he resources. The gentleman has said, that the point so considered that question as open to amendment. He had long contended for, had been given up. Mr. J. said, the distinctly stated to the House, that he was in favor of an Secretary of State had, in 1825, sought information from entire interdict, embracing all Canada, for the same rea. the highest sources ; but, before any communication was son that he was in favor of the interdict. He desired to made with regard to the British proposition of 1824, the make it effectual, by cutting off any indirect supply of acts of Parliament arrived ; so that, on that subject, whatthe Colonies, by which they could evade our laws and ever opinions were entertained here with regard to those sustain their new policy. He was moreover satisfied, proposals, no answer was given, and, consequently, no that, by closing all communication, our trade would not point was given up. But the British Government superbe materially affected. It would take a new and circui. seded the necessity of deciding that question by their acts tous course, in our vessels, to British Colonies. There of 1825, by which they opened the Colonial ports, and is, however, nothing in this bill to excite any terror in permitted American vessels to enter on the same terms the mind. It is nothing more than the laws of 1818 and as her own, and to carry her productions to any foreign 1820, which were two years in operation without any country whatever. The Government of the United States serious consequences. The laws were enforced and determined to accept the terms. It was all they could obeyed. They were severely felt in the Colonies, and expect or wish. They saw no further difficulty in relaled to the act of 1822, which opened the ports. It is tion to this subject. They thought this concession on the clear that the provisions of the bill will prevent any com- part of Great Britain was made in the spirit of those libemunication fror any of the New England States with ral ideas she had lately professed. It was every where New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Their ports cannot be thought that the extent of this concession on the part of approached but by water, and in violation of this law; Great Britain was equivalent to the circuitous voyage and it is much easier to prevent the shipment of bulky and the removal of the discriminating duties. There was articles, like flour and lumber, tban to protect the reve. then, and still are, men, who believe the right to make nue now from violations by smuggling. The temptation the triple voyage is a dangerous experiment to the shipto introduce goods now, to avoid the duties, is one hun-ping interest; but the better opinion seems to be, that dred-fold greater than to transport lumber and four to we may engage in a fair competition with her, and that the ports of St. John's or Halifax. It is well known that we ought not to hesitate to meet her on fair and liberal the New England States have no flour for exportation, | terms. This became the settled opinion of the Adminis. and that, if any flour was sent in this illicit and exposed tration, of which the gentleman was fully informed in the route, it would be the flour of the Middle States, which most unreserved cominunications with them. our vessels would carry there : which is better than the! The gentleman has gone out of his way to pass a genepresent state of things, by which we are forbidden to ral and indiscriminate censure upon the several Adminiscarry our productions, and the British vessels allowed to trations of the country, neither warranted by the facts go with them direct to the Colonies. As to Canada, it nor illustrative of his argument. He says “we have lost will be seen that she will profit very little by the four in all our treaties with Great Britain.” He has entered trade. The ports will be closed with ice by November, into detail, and ascribes it openly “to the want of inforand will not be again open until May; her flour could not “mation.” It happens, however, that these treaties have arrive before June in the Colonial markets, where it could been negotiated by a succession of the ablest men-the Tiot compete with the fresh four daily arriving by other elder Mr. Adams, Mr. Jay, Mr. Monroe, the President, routes, with less charges of freight. But, by leaving Ca-l Mr. Clay, Mr. Gallatin, and others. We have also had at nada open for the present year, no injury could result, | that Court Mr. Pinckney, a profound scholar, an able and next session will be time to close that, if it becomes jurist, an orator, and a statesman ; and yet the want of necessary. It is further to be observed, that the princi- information is publicly ascribed, in this place, as the apopal trade with Canada is in ashes, masts, spars, &c. which logy for the treaties, by which it is alleged we have lost are not intended for the Colonial trade, but which go di- on every occasion with Great Britain. Perhaps no counrect to England, and which it could not be our policy to try has furnislied such an illustrious example of great abiprefent, and which, until the Oswego Canal is finished,lity in the diplomatic line. We have in that list names cannot find an outlet in any other way. Although I pre- the most distinguished in the age in which we live, and fer an absolute and entire interdict of all commerce co-almost all who bave added to the glory of the country. extensive with the object, yet, I confess that I see no We have Franklin, Adams, Jefferson, Ellsworth, Jay, langer in the bill, and am utterly at a loss to imagine the Marshall, Monroe, King, Pinckney, Adams, Clay, Crawcause of the terror which he cannot express. In the course ford, Gallatin, and many others of great distinction. Four of another year, this entire interdict will effect an im- of them have attained the highest bonors of their counportant revolution in the commerce of the Lake country, try; three have stood at the head of the Federal Judiciaand will be attended with effects highly favorable to the ry; and all of them, except one, in the highest ranks of commerce and navigation of this country. As soon as that profession, to which the gentleman found it necessaa the prohibition takes effect, and the Canal from Oswego ry to make particular allusion. This severe reflection, to the New York Canal opens the communication from Lake altogether undeserved and unnecessary, upon the result Ontario to the Hudson, all the trade of that country will of our diplomatic intercourse with Great Britaip, is an


The Colonial Trade Bill.

(FEB. 23, 1827

appropriate counterpart to the high drawn panegyric pro- and necessary effect of this measure. If it is viewed as a nounced last Winter upon the British Cabinet. The menace, it has existed since 1823, and would require an treaty of 1794 was negotiated by Mr. Jay-a patriot and a act of legislation to prevent its operation. But, with a destatesman. It was approved by the Senate, and ratified sire to prevent any collison, and to avoid offensive retaliaby President Washington. Much opposition was created, tion, we propose to suspend the operation of this law, at the time, to the terms of the treaty, in consequence of and to postpone the execution of the interdict, until the our political relations and feelings towards the two great 30th of September, and longer, if you will. Great Bribelligerents ; but a more favorable opinion has since been tain will see in this, our moderation ; we offer her the pronounced. The right of trading with the Colonies in most liberal terms; all that she has ever demanded. The the West Indies was conceded, in vessels of seventy tons, causes of any delay will be explained ; full time is afford. and with a promise that, at the end of the war, they would ed to deterinine on her course, but with a perfect knowextend the privilege. This proves that the right to trade ledge that the interdict is only suspended. We all agree

of negotiation, as early as 1794. This, the gentleman tender to her ; that we will not permit any nation to trade says, was an important concession, and ought to have been to our ports from any ports closed against us; and that, accepted. But there were men then, who thought these if she refuses, the interdict must follow. It is a question terms unequal, and rejected the 12th article. It was not of time ; my own opinion was, and it is unchanged, that then considered a boon, granted without equivalent ; but the interdiction should have followed instantly upon as a question, how far the limited trade to the Islands was theirs ; their Colonies would have instantly felt its effect; a just equivalent for the free admission into our ports. while our trade would have suffered littte from the deBy the same treaty, our vessels had admission into all the rangement. Our vessels would have merely changed the East India ports, but paid a discriminating duty. By the direction of their voyage. Convention of 1815, we were admitted into four of the By the amendment, our ports are left open during the largest ports, which were quite sufficient for our com- whole of this year to British vessels ; they will consemerce, and on the same terms, and paying the same du- quently supply their Colonies, and deprive our vessels of ties and charges as British vessels. This treaty was every that trade, as well as the trade which would have naturalwhere acceptable ; and there is no doubt that the pre- ly risen up on the suppression of the direct trade. Our sont trade, freed from discriminating duties, is more bene. I vessels will, therefore, be thrown out of employment, or ficial than a trade with all the East India ports, paying compelled to find some new object of pursuit. On the that duty. I see nothing in all this, to justify the broad first of January, their Colonies will be supplied for six assertions, of want of information, and of losing in all months ; at the expiration of which period, they will reour treaties with Great Britain ; and there is a striking in-ceive the supplies of Canada, and two years will elapse consistency in employing this argument now, in order to before they will, in any way, feel the effect of the interinduce us to yield still more to the claims of Great Britain. dict : in the mean time, our vessels, engaged in this But, Sir, said Mr. J. I remember to have heard it said, trade, will have been thrown out of service, or entered at the time, that we were peculiarly happy in the selec. on other pursuits, and considerable time will be required tion of the Ministers at Ghent. It was a matter of some to enter again into the competition with those regularly pride to our country, but of which it is invidious now to established in it. In fine, the postponement for one speak. But it was a subject of remark in the British Par- year, is nearly equivalent to the entire loss, and is equally liament. The Marquis of Wellesley said, “ that, in bis an abandonment of our prirciples and our interest. “ opinion, the American Commissioners had shown the The interdict merely proposes to do, prospectively, what "most astonishing superiority over the British, during Great Britain has already done : it proposes to postpone “the whole of the correspondence.”

the operation of a positive law, for six months, from mo. I have now traced the two Governments through all the tives of respect to her. This is not enough. We must transactions connected with this subject. I can find humiliate the country, confess our errors, withdraw our nothing to diminish my confidence in the justice and li- interdict, and make our submission. Great Britain has berality of my own Government, and I do not envy the placed herself where she was in 1818–claiming to carry gentleman the ungracious task he has undertaken of put on all the trade from this country to her Colonies. We ting his own country in the wrong-a task that must be stand with our ports open, as by the law of 1823; and painful to his pride and patriotism, in proportion as he we propose to do now what we did under like circumInav esteem himself successful in the effort. It is said stances in 1818 and 1820. The proposition of the amend. that an interdict contains a menace, and that Great Bri- ment is to refuse to take the same ground, and to act tain will not act under such a measure of coercion. The upon the same principles. It is a retrograde movementinterdiction is the natural state of things, and the neces- a sacrifice of principle to temporary expedients; and is -sary consequence of her own acts. We have been per- marked by a want of consistency and firmness. Our petually excluded from the Colonies by the ordinary laws ports were left open from 1815 to 1818. It produced no of navigation, which was by no means offensive to us. relaxation of her stern policy. We were compelled then When she has opened these ports, it has been known to to resort to defensive measures ; and what was the result be an exception to a system of exclusion. It has been of that experiment? It produced the deepest distress, equatiy well settled, that our ports are open, and our trade and threatened the ruin of the Colonies. Memorials free, unless an exception is adopted, to operate on those were, in 1822, addressed to Parliament, representing in who deny us the same privileges. The principle by the strongest terms the condition to which they were rephich we have been governed is, “that, where any na- duced. They attributed their distress chiefly to the in“tion may refuse to the vessels of the United States a terruption of their commerce with the United States, the “carriage of the produce or manufactures thereof, while loss of an extensive market for exchange, and the ad. “ such produce or manafactures are admitted by it in its vanced price of provisions. They say the sugar Colo“ own vessels, it would be just to make the restrictions nies are dependent on the United States for supplies of “reciprocal.” Great Britain has, while repealing her dry provisions, staves, and lumber. The Assembly of navigation laws, and op ening the Colonial ports to the Jamaica said, “our supplies from the United States, of rest of the world, reverted to the exclusion of our vessels. "lumber and provisions, which are essentially serviceable She knew that, by a standling law of this country, the Pre. " to aid the natural defects, or the failures of our climate sident had power, and it was made his duty, to close our" and soil, are straightened by the total interruption, of ports whenever they closed theirs. It was the natural “ that trace. The regulated and limited commerce wbich

« PreviousContinue »