« PrécédentContinuer »
conformable with the duties of the Tariff; the amount of reimbursement depending upon the nature of the objects of which the cargo is 'composed; so that it may be more considerable for a small Vessel than for a large Ship, according as the merchandize loaded thereon is liable to pay more or less duties. It is not, then, in reality, from the duty of tonnage, on which, in the first instance, the reciprocity is applicable, that the representations of The United States can draw the question. Upon consideration, the Government of The Netherlands cannot help thinking, that they have demonstrated, that the representations of the Chargé d'Affaires of The United States, in 1823 and 1824, were not based upon a system of reciprocity; and it is probable that, if Mr. Everett had not gone away during the deliberations on a new Report, which was about to be made upon this matter, he would have understood that there were no reasons for granting the reimbursement of 10 per cent of the duties of entry and clearance to American Ships, which he claimed.
These were the circumstances, Sir, when the Notes, which you did me the honour to address me on the 10th and 24th December last, arrived in Holland, and they caused the matter to be taken into consideration anew.
In order to understand, with certainty, if the state of the navigation between the Kingdom and The United States, could actually admit of a more favourable reception of the above-mentioned representations than in 1823 and 1824, the state of the Ships and their cargoes, which sailed between The Netherlands and The United States in the 3 last years, was taken.
It is evident, from this Table, that there were entered, in the Ports of The Netherlands, under the American Flag, In 1823.
136 Ships. 1824
98 Do. And, during the first 6 months of 1825
55 Do. Under the Flag of The Netherlands, In 1823
2 Do. .1824
5 Do. And, during the first 6 months of 1825....
5 Do. And cleared under the American Flag, In 1823....
97 Do. And, during the first 6 months of 1825
66 Do. Under the Flag of The Netherlands, In 1823
6 Do. 1824
11 Do. During the first 6 months of 1825..
7 Do. This disproportion, in the number of American and National Ships engaged in the commerce between the two Countries, is too striking
not to recognize in it the inequality of advantages which exist in the reciprocal relations, and ought to convince the Government of The Netherlands that the legislative provisions of The United States in favour of its Flag, had produced no benefit to it.
The cause of this difference in the navigation of the two Nations, ought to be principally attributed to the tendency of the Tariffs of duties in the two countries, by which, although the Ships of The Netherlands, and their cargoes, are treated in the American Ports on the same footing as the National Vessels, they are still in a worse condition than the American Ships, and their cargoes, in the Ports of The Netherlands, even if they were considered only as Foreign Vessels. And how could the Ships of The Netherlands transport their '
merchandize to The United States, when they find there the principal productions of the Kingdom, as, for example, geneva, sail cloth, cheese, and many other articles, charged so high, as to pay, calculated from the original price, from 50 to 100 per cent. of the value. These articles, justly including a part of the provisions and necessaries of the Crews, with which it may be useful, sometimes, for the Captains to part with, or which they are often obliged to sell, the impost upon them presses essentially upon the navigation, as, also, the dues of pilotage, upon the footing of Foreign Ships, as they have been demanded and paid, even recently, at Norfolk, by the Brig Mary, Captain James Almeida. But another disadvantage to the Ships of The Netherlands, in the Ports of The United States, is found in the facility of desertion, and the power which the Tribunals claim in the differences between the Crews, without admitting the claims of the Consuls on this subject, or acknowledging their right of decision. In fine, in the limitation of the cargoes which the Ships of The Netherlands are permitted to bring to America, to duties equal with the Americans.
It is easy to conclude, from hence, on one side, that the reciprocity of duties of navigation for the Ships of The Netherlands, to an equality with those of The United States in American Ports, is of little or no utility to the former, because the Merchants of the Kingdom can find po profit to charge upon the merchandize entering into their commerce, and more especially the products of the National industry, on account of the excessive duties imposed upon them; and that the Owners or Captains cannot be tempted to offer facilities in the freight. On the other hand, it is evident that, in consequence of the liberal stipulations of the Tariff of The Netherlands, especially in regard to the products of The United States, and the equality of the duties of tonnage, the American Ships may bring, continually, their merchandize, with advantage to The Netherlands, although some articles, as coffee, sugar, &c. are subjected to a heavier duty than National Vessels pay, and although they do not receive a restitution of 10 per cent. To this it
may be added, that, by a Law of 24th March last, which was put in force on the 1st of April following, and which I take the liberty of enclosing, the duties of entry upon cotton, tobacco, and sugar, all prime articles of importation for Americans, have been fixed so low, that they amount scarcely to 1 per cent. of the value. Besides, it is to be observed that the Ships of The United States do not pay in the Ports of The Netherlands higher Pilotage dues than National Ships. Moreover, the Consuls of The United States are in full possession of the rights and prerogatives which the Consuls of the most favoured Nations enjoy in The Netherlands. Their decisions, in point of differences between American Crews, are respected ; and the Au. thorities comply, without difficulty, to their claims for the restoration of Deserters.
All these advantages to the American Flag ought not be forgotten, and it must be acknowledged, that the navigation and commerce under this Flag, any thing appearing to prove a different treatment, are much more favoured in the Kingdom, than the navigation and commerce under the Flag of The Netherlands are, in The United States, although it be treated on the footing of the National Flag,
From this explanation, one must justly be convinced, that the Go vernment of The United States has no subject of real complaint, in regard to the treatment which its Flag experiences in The Netherlands; but, it may see, on the contrary, in the new dispositions of the Tariff, the liberality of the Custom House system of The Netherlands. It will be observed, at the same time, that an equal treatment of American Ships with the National, with regard to the premium of 10 per cent. could be based only upon a reciprocal advantage for the commerce of The Netherlands, relative to the duties of importation in America.
In consequence of this system, I am authorized to express to the Government of The United States, the desire and good will of his Majesty the King of The Netherlands, to have, ulteriorly, a fellow feeling with the President, in case of a similar disposition, and a wish to consent to a reciprocal diminution of the duties of entry upon the original merchandize of The Netherlands, or brought with Ships under its Flag, so that, in consenting to new advantages to American Ships in The Netherlands, its Flag may also reciprocally receive a more advantageous treatment than at present, in the Ports of the United States, and that, on this hypothesis, agreements may be adopted, in regard to merchandize, as well as to the subject of navigation, all which, by favouring the prosperity of the two Nations, may, at the same time, draw closer the bonds of amity which exist between the two Governments.
Be pleased to accept, upon this occasion, &c. The Hon. H. Clay. C. D. E. J. BANGEMAN HUYGENS.
(7.)-Mr. Clay to the Chevalier Huygens.
Department of State, Washington, 25th October, 1826. I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your Note of the 15th ultimo, communicating, according to instructions received by you from the Government of The Netherlands, the explanation which it has to offer, of the inequality existing in the Ports of that Kingdom, between the duties to which Vessels of The United States and National Vessels are subjected. The President, to whom I have submitted your Note, has been anxious to find, but has been unable to perceive in it, a satisfactory explanation of that inequality.
The Negotiations in 1817, to which you refer, had in view, among other objects, that of placing the Vessels of the two Countries, in their respective Ports, upon a footing of perfect equality, in regard to im. post and tonnage duties, so as to leave a fair competition between them, in the transportation of the subjects of commerce. The Act of Congress of the 20th April, 1818, was founded upon express assurances from the Government of The Netherlands, that no inequality existed, in the Ports of The Netherlands, between the Vessels of the two Countries in the above particular; and it accordingly repeals the discriminating duties of The United States, in regard to Dutch Vessels, the repeal to take effect from the time the Government of The Netherlands abolished the discriminating duties on its part. All that had passed between the Governments of the two countries on this subject, prior to the Article in the Tariff of The Netherlands of the 22d August, 1822, entitled us to conclude, that there was a perfect understanding between them, that no discriminating duties should exist in the Ports of the one, operating to the disadvantage of the Vessels of the other. This mutual understanding ought to have all the effect of a solemn Contract; and The United States have accordingly so treated it, from the passage of their Act of Congress in 1818, to the present time. For more than 4 years have their Vessels been subjected to a charge, in the Ports of The Netherlands, of 10 per cent. on their cargoes, greater than is paid by Dutch Vessels. We have, again and again, remonstrated against this inequality : and now, we are informed, in your Note, as a reason for not fulfilling the engagement, that the navigation of The Netherlands has not derived all the benefit which its Government anticipated, from the equalization of duties. If that even were the result of experience, it certainly could afford no justification for the non-execution of an arrangement which ought to be regarded as guarantied by National faith.
The Government of The United States demands no new concessions from that of The Netherlands. It requires only, that the equality which had been stipulated by their mutual Laws, and which had existed prior to the Tariff of August, 1822, shall be fairly enforced. It can perceive no reason for not giving effect to that stipulation, in the
state of the trade between The United States and the Ports of Rotterdam, Amsterdam, and Antwerp, which is described by you. The President would be happy to see the greatest commercial activity prevailing between those, and all other Ports of The Netherlands, and The United States ; but that is a matter beyond the controul of either Government, and must be left to the wants of consumption and to individual enterprize. Nor can it be admitted, that the Government of The Netherlands is justified in making the discrimination which exists in its Ports, by the fact of the Act of Congress of January, 1824, having extended to other Powers the same liberality which our Laws dispensed to The Netherlands. We came under no restriction in that respect, to your Government; and it is the desire of The United States, to place their navigation with all Countries on the equal and liberal footing of perfect reciprocity.
We can comprehend very clearly, that the aim, as you state, of the restitution of 10 per cent. of the duties levied in the Ports of The Netherlands in behalf of Dutch Vessels, is to encourage them. The object of our discriminating Laws was to encourage our navigation. Relinquishing that object, and depending on equal competition, we abolished them in regard to The Netherlands, and placed the Vessels of the two Countries, in that respect, in our Ports, in a condition of entire equality. And it is precisely because the tendency of the 10th Article of your Tariff is that of encouragement to Dutch Vessels, and discouragement to all Foreign Vessels, including American, that it disturbs the equality which ought to exist between Dutch Vessels and those of the United States, that we are authorized to expect its repeal. The fact of the existence of the inequality cannot be affected by the form of the privilege which is enjoyed. Whether it be that of a direct bounty to the Native Vessel, or compels the Foreign Vessel to pay more, and allows the Native to pay less duty, or be laid upon the cargo, or upon the tonnage, the effect is the same. The object of a mutual abolition of discriminating duties, in the Ports of the two Countries, was to leave to their Vessels a fair and equal competition in the transportation of commodities between them. But can such an equality of competition exist, if, in the Ports of one Country its Vessels pay 10 per cent. less than those of the other, or, what is in effect the same thing, after paying a like amount of duty, receive back 10 per cent. of that amount ?
You remark, that the 10 per cent. is not a diminution of the duties of navigation, because it is calculated, not upon the capacity of the Vessel, but on the amount of duties on the cargo with which she may be laden. But its effect is the same; that is, to favour the Dutch tonnage employed in the trade between The Netherlands and The United States.
Protesting against the principle, that a Nation is absolved from the