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if those of the Proclamation, and the Foreign tonnage and impost duty, should remain.
In the course of this Correspondence and of these Conferences, which continued through the whole of the late Session of Congress, Mr. Canning, with great earnestness, pressed the claim of admission for British Vessels, from the Colonies, free from all discriminating duties and charges, on the argument that there were no discriminating duties or charges operating against Vessels of The United States in the Colonies. On the 13th of January, 1823, he addressed to this Department a Note, claiming, distinctly, the withdrawal of all the discriminating duties, and particularly the application to British Vessels coming from the Colonies, of the fair and full operation of such Acts of Congress, including that of March 3, 1815, as appear to have an immediate application to the case.
In support of his argument, that there were no discriminating duties operating against us in the Colonies, he then, and at other times, communicated Copies of Documents from a few of the enumerated Ports, certifying that British and American Vessels paid the same fees, or that, by the Act of Parliament, they paid the same duties; or that they paid the same Custom-House expenses; and he constantly urged, that these were sufficient to establish the fact, that our Vessels and their cargoes paid in the Colonies no other or higher fees, duties, or charges, than British Vessels, and consequently, the claim, that British Vessels from the Colonies should pay no higher or other duties, fees, or charges, than our own. But he invariably declined pledging himself or his Government to any declaration that there were no discriminating duties in the enumerated Ports, and we have now satisfactory information that, in some of them, there were, and still are, discriminations to our disadvantage, besides those of the Act of Parliament.
The Act of Congress of 1st March , 1823, “ to regulate the Commercial Intercourse between The United States, and certain British Colonial Ports," was introduced into the Senate by their Committee of Foreign Relations, at an early period of the late Session. In maturing it, they had before them the Act of Parliament of 24th June, 1822, the President's Proclamation, and the Correspondence between Mr. Canning and this Department concerning it. While it was in discussion before the Committee of the Senate, Mr. Canning, to whom a Copy of the Bill had been communicated, made some written remarks upon it, which were immediately submitted to the consideration of the Committee. The full import of the term elsewhere, in the 2d, 3d, and 5th sections of the Act, which formed the principal subject of those remarks, was deliberately examined and settled, as well in Senate, as upon a consultation by the President with the Members of the Administration; and was explicitly made known to Mr. Canning.
The principle assumed by the Act, was not the repeal, but the suspension, during the continuance of the admission of our Vessels into the Colonial Ports by the Act of Parliament, of our two Navigation Acts.
In return for the opening of the Colonial Ports to our Vessels, by the Act of Parliament, we opened our Ports to British Vessels from the same Colonial Ports. But, as a power was left to the King, by an Order in Council, to prohibit the trade and intercourse, it was necessary to be prepared for that contingency, if it should occur, by making the revival of our Acts of Navigation, also, contingent upon the same event,
As, by the Act of Parliament, the intercourse in our Vessels was limited to direct Voyages, both to and from The United States, and the enumerated Ports, the same limitation was prescribed for the intercourse in British Vessels, by the Act of Congress. One of Mr. Canning's remarks was, that the condition in the 5th section of our Act, which limits the permission to export in British Vessels to such as have previously come directly from any of the enumerated Ports, did not appear to have any counterpart in the British Act of Parliament.This is true : the counterpart was not in that Act of Parliament, but in the old Navigation Act of 12 Ch. 2. By that Act, no Vessel of The United States could enter any of the enumerated Ports, coming from any other part of the World; and the Act of the 24th June, 1822, admitted them only direct from The United States. No Vessel of ours, therefore, other than such as have previously come direct from The United States to the enumerated Ports, can export any thing from them, because no other are admitted into the enumerated Ports at all. Now, we could not exclude British Vessels from coming to The United States from every other part of the World except the enumerated Ports, which would be the full counterpart to the exclusion of the old Navigation Act of Charles II., still in force against us; but we could, and did, exclude those coming from elsewhere, from bringing with them merchandize from the enumerated Ports, and those coming from the enumerated Ports, from bringing with them merchandize from elsewhere.—The result was strictly reciprocal, though our Act, in granting the like privilege to that of the Act of Parliament of the 24th June, 1822, annexed to it the like restriction to that of the old British Navigation Act of Charles the Second.
The principal objection of Mr. Canning, was to the import of the term elsewhere. He was distinctly informed that the construction, of which he observes in his remarks, it appears to be susceptible, was the construction which it was intended to bear, and would receive.
But, that it would put the question of the discriminating duties on a footing irreconcileable with the fair and natural view “ of the subject,” we can by no means admit.
As little do we admit, that, having reference to the conclusion of the Negotiation in 1819, it ought to have been unexpected. It has been seen that the United States, then explicitly declined acceding to an Article which would have opened the Colonial Ports, bec iuse it would have reserved to Great Britain the right of laying, in the Colonial Ports, higher duties upon articles of the growth, produce, or manufacture, of The United States, than upon the like articles of the growth, produce, or manufacture, of Great Britain, or her own Colonies. The Act of Parliament, 3 Geo. IV. ch. 44, (of 24th June, 1822,) opened the Co. lonial Ports, with a threat to close them again, (or rather to prohibit all trade and intercourse with them,) if it should not be acceded to in all its parts of privilege, without regard to its conditions of restriction, or to the other restrictions, under which the privileges must be, if at all, accepted. It undertook to do, by British Laws, that, the reserved right to do which we had unequivocally refused to accede to, by compact. In the course of the Conference with Mr. Canning, I proved this to him by reading to him the parts of the joint Letter from Messrs. Gallatin and Rush, to this Department, of 20th October, 1818, relating to the subject, and the extracts from your Letters of 14th June, and 17th September, 1819, connected with it. The duties in the Schedule C, of the Act of Parliament, are all upon articles of the first necessity to the West India Colonies; articles which can be furnished them only from The United States, or from the adjoining North American British Colonies; and articles constituting almost all the valuable exports allowed by the Act of Parliament, and consumable in the Colonies. They are all upon bread-stuffs, live stock, and lumber ; and the whole of them are equivalent to an average of at least ten per cent. upon the value of the articles. Of these articles, the live stock and the lumber could be exported only from the Northern parts of The United States. Could it possibly be supposed, that, while, from the Ports of the State of Maine, such articles, imported into Jamaica, St. Kitts, or Antigua, should be burthened with a duty of ten per cent. upon their value, the same article from the Province of New Brunswick, being admitted duty free, there could be any competition sustainable between the Vessels of the two countries, in which they should, on such unequal terms, be introduced? And if we add to this, that, after disposing of her cargo, the Vessel from New Brunswick might take a return cargo, also duty free, or might trade from Colony to Colony without restraint, while the Vessel from Maine must depart in ballast, or return to The United States laden with an export duty upon her cargo, what feature of reciprocity would there be, upon which the very idea of competition could escape the charge of absurdity ?
The Act of Congress, therefore, opens the Ports of The United States to British Vessels from the Colonial Ports, enumerated in the Act of Parliament, but not upon the identical terms prescribed in it..
The restrictions of the Act of Congress are counterparts, not only to the restrictions of that particular Act of Parliament, but to the others, to which the American trade to the Colonies is subject, whether by Colonial Laws, or by the Navigation Act of Charles II. ; and as some of those British restrictions were of a character which we could not meet by specifick counterparts, we met them by analogical restrictions, productive of the same result. This was insisted on by our Plenipotentiaries at the discussion during the Negotiation of the Convention of 1818, and Great Britain could not justly expect the discriminating surcharges, the reserved right of levying which we unequivocally refused to sanction with our consent, as a bargain, we should be ready to accept, as a dispensation of British Law. For an enumerated list of Ports, part only of which are opened by the Act of Parliament, ' we open all our Ports in return. For an enumerated and very scanty list of importable articles, we agreed to receive, in return, all the valuable exportable articles of all the opened British Colonies; for a duty of 10 per cent. impost, and of 4 or 5 per cent. on exports, upon the value of the articles of the trade, we retain a Foreign tonnage duty of 94 cents per ton on British Vessels employed in the trade, and 10 per cent. additional, (not upon the value of the article, but upon the impost duty otherwise charged upon it,) upon the articles imported in them.
It is doubtful whether these countervailing restrictions, on our part, will prove sufficient to enable our Vessels to pursue the trade in equal competition with the British; still more doubtful, whether, under the double system of restrictions, the trade itself can be pursued in a manner which will relieve the British West India Colonies from the distress, which was rapidly hurrying them to ruin, under the preceding restrictions of the Navigation Act of Charles the Ild. Surely the British Government must be aware, that profit is the sine quâ non of trade, and that, if they load with enormous duties the articles indispensable to the existence of their Colonies, those duties must be paid by the Colonies themselves, or they will smother the trade itself.
If the object of the Act of Parliament was merely to balance the advantages of our proximity to the West Indies, their duties of import are at least five-fold too heavy. Aud as to the export duty, how could it possibly be paid, upon articles to be brought into our market in competition with the like articles, partly of our own produce, and most largely from Cuba, St. Domingo, and other West India Islands, where no export duty exists. The result must be, and has already proved to be, that our Vessels admitted to the British Colonial Ports, can take no return cargoes, and must come away in ballast. So that, if they could sell their outward cargoes at a profit, upon which the trade could live, it must be paid in specie by the Colonists, leaving
their staple commodities to rot upon their Plantations, or to the old monopoly of the market at home.
The request of explanation as to the extent of the meaning of the term elsewhere, in the Act of Congress, in Mr. C'anning's Correspondence with this Department, since the close of the Session, has not arisen from any doubt which he could entertain in his own mind, of the construction which would be given to it here. This was fully discussed during the passage of the Act, and well understood by him, but the eagerness of the British Merchants in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, and in some of our Cities, to have the trade entirely to themselves, prompted them to expect that a different construction would be given to the Act; a construction which would have left the word elsewhere, without any effect or meaning at all. Mr. Chipman, acting as Governor of New Brunswick, issued a Proclamation, declaring that, in that Province, no other or higher duties of tonnage or impost, and no other charges of any kind, are levied or exacted on Vessels of The United States, than upon British Vessels; or upon the like goods, wares, and merchandize, imported therein from elsewhere; but, in this elsewhere, the British Territories in Europe and the West Indies were not included. They, according to him, were not elsewhere, with reference to the Ports of The United States ; or in other words, were Ports of The United States. The Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia was more cautious. He transmitted to Mr. Canning, Statements from the Officers of the Customs, shewing that, by the Act of Parliament, no other duties of impost or of tonnage were levied upon
Vessels of The United States at Halifax, than upon British Vessels; but, even this, according to a Document accompanying these Statements, did not include Vessels of the Province itself. They, by a Colonial Law, are entitled to a deduction of 2 pence per ton from the tonnage duty payable by British Vessels, according to which doctrine they are not British Vessels themselves.
I have explic'tly assured Mr. Canning that the Proclamation of the President, authorized by the 3d Section of the Act of Congress of 1st March, 1823, cannot be issued without a declaration pledging the faith of the British Government that, upon the Vessels of The United States, admitted into all and every one of the enumerated Ports, and upon any goods, wares, or merchandize, imported therein, in the said Vessels, no other or higher duties of tonnage or impost, and no other charges of any kind, are levied or exacted, than upon all British Vessels, (including all Vessels of the Colonies themselves) or upon the like goods, wares, or merchandize, imported into the said Colonial Ports from anywhere, including Great Britain and the other British Colonies themselves; and that, until such proof shall be given, British Vessels, and their cargoes, coming from the Colonies of The United