Images de page

States, must continue to pay our Foreign tonnage, and 10 per cent. additional impost duties. Notice of this has been given by Mr. Canning to the British Consuls,* in a Letter which has been published, and which you will find in one of the Newspapers herewith sent, (National Intelligencer of 29th May, 1823.) By the respective Regulations of the two Countries, the present condition of the trade is as follows :

The intercourse between the Ports of The United States and the enumerated Colonial Ports, is open to the Vessels of both Parties.

By the British Regulations, American Vessels are admitted into the enumerated Ports only direct from The United States. They are allowed to import only certain enumerated articles.

British Vessels are admitted into the enumerated Ports, and

others, without restriction. Upon all the important articles of this list, a duty equivalent to 10 per cent. ad valorem, is imposed. They may enter direct from The United States, or from


other Port of America, or from the British Possessions in Europe. If they take return cargoes, they must give export bonds for landing them in the Port or Ports of The United States, for which only they can clear out. And, in most, if not all, of the West India Colonies, they pay an export duty of from 4 to 5 per cent. ad valorem.

They are allowed to import not only the enumerated articles, but a!l others not entirely prohibited; and among the articles the exclusive carriage of which is reserved to them, are articles of the first necessity to the Colonies and staple exports from The United States; on the important articles which, in common with the Vessels of The United States, they may import direct from The United States, if they do so import them, the 10 per cent duty, ad valorem, must be paid. But they may import the like articles from Great Britain, or from the North American to the West India Colonies, duty free; they are liable to no export bond; may trade between Colony and Colony; may export cargoes for any part of the British Dominions in Europe or America and pay no export duty, nor unless they choose to

return to The United States. By the American Regulations, British Vessels from the enumerated Ports are admitted, if laden, into The United States, only with cargoes of Colonial produce.

American Vessels may bring, from the enumerated Ports, any articles, the exportation of which, from those Ports, is permitted

by the British Laws. They are allowed to take return cargoes only direct to the enumerated Ports. They are in no case compelled to return to the enumerated Ports. * Sec Vol. 1822, 1823, Page 1046.

They pay the Foreign tonnage duty of 94 cents per ton, and the Foreign 10 per cent. additional impost on their cargoes.

They are exempt from the Foreign tonnage and additional im

post duties. It is impossible to take this comparative view of the respective exemptions and restrictions, operating on the Vessels of the two Coun. tries employed in the same trade, without perceiving that the balance of advantage is highly in favor of the British, and against the Ameri. can Navigation; and that The United States could not consent to equalize the tonuage and impost duties, without surrendering the whole trade to the British Shipping, and defeating the object for which both our Navigation Acts of 1818 and 1820 were provided.

Throughout the whole course of these modifications of the old British Navigation Act of Charles II. offered us by the Acts of 24th June and 5th August, 1822, the admission of our Vessels to the British West India Colonies, has been presented to us, not only upon conditions excessively burdensome, but under a direct menace that, if we should not accept it upon the identical terms offered in those Acts, all commercial intercourse between us and all the British Colonies in this Hemisphere, would be prohibited by an Order in Council. And we have received frequent intimations that this power, reserved to the King by the Act of the 24th June would be exercised, if we should not immediately exempt British Vessels, employed in the trade, from the foreign tonnage and additional impost duties, and place them, in these respects, on the same footing with our own. We have been, therefore, under the necessity of deciding upon our course of policy, relating to this interest, upon a calculation of probability that the power would be exercised, and that the Order in Council would issue; and from a full and deliberate view of the subject, we have come to the conclusion that, however injurious that measure, if resorted to, would prove to us, it would still be less mischievous than the total abandonment of our defensive system of counteraction, established by our Navigation Acts of 1818 and 1820. We are also perfectly convinced that this would be the effect of our acceptance, unconditional, of the intercourse as prescribed by the Act of Parliament of 24th June, 1822: and particularly of releasing the British Shipping, employed in the trade, from the Foreign tonnage and impost duties. The Act of Congress has provi. ded that, if the British Order, prohibiting the trade and intercourse in our Vessels, with any of the enumerated Ports, under the authority of the Act of Parliament, should be issued, from the day of the date of the Order in Council, or from the time of its commencing to be in operation, our two Navigation Acts should revive and be in full force. This measure, on our part, is merely defensive; but we think we have some reason to complain, if not of harshness, at least of a proceeding somewhat peremptory, in the mode of opening to us the West India

Colonial Ports. They are opened to us, as I have shewn, upon terms which we had effectively rejected in negotiation, and which we could not possibly accept, without surrendering the whole Navigation interest for which we have so long contended. They are open to us, subject to a total interdiction of the commerce, at the discretion of the King, by an Order in Council, without an hour's notice to those of our Citizens whose interest may be affected by it. There is also some obscurity in the phraseology of the the 15th section of the Act of Parliament of the 24th June, 1822, leaving us in doubt what the condition of our intercourse would be with any Colony, concerning which the prohibitory Order in Council might issue. It says that, on the contingency prescribed, it shall be lawful for the King, by Order in Council, to prohibit trade and intercourse under the authority of this Act, with any Country, &c. And that, if such Order in Council shall issue, “ then, during the time that such Order in Council shall be in force, none of the provisions of this Act, either as respects the Law herein repealed, or to any other provisions of this Act, shall apply, or be taken to apply, to any Country or State, the trade with which, under the provisions of this Act, shall be prohibited by any such Order of His Majesty in Council.” But the provisions of this Act, as respects the laws repealed in it, are no other than the repeal of them itself, and if, by virtue of the prohibitory Order in Council, none of the provisions of this Act, as respects the Laws repcaled in it, shall apply, or be taken to apply, the conclusion would seem to be, that those Laws would not be repealed; that is, that they would again revive and be in force, with regard to the Country, the trade with which,“ under the authority of this Act," should be prohibited by the Order in Council. some of these Laws repealed, are Laws authorizing trade and intercourse in Vessels of The United States, with the Colonies of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Bermuda, and the Bahama Islands; and if, by the prohibitory Order in Council, the provisions as respects those Laws, in the Act of 3d Geo. 4, ch. 44, should cease to apply, it would follow that the trade and intercourse under them would again be authorized, and its condition would be precisely the same as if that Act of Parliament had not been made. All this would be very clear and unequivocal, but for the remaining part of the paragraph in the same 15th section of the Act which says that, “if any goods, whatever, shall be imported from, or shipped for the purpose of being exported to, any such Country or Island in America or the West Indies, in any Foreign Ship or Vessel, after trade and intercourse therewith shall have been prohibited, by any such Order of His Majesty in Council, issued under the authority of this Act,” all such goods, with the Ship or Vessel, &c. shall be forfeited. Thus, the provisions of the section appear to be contradictory to themselves, and leave us in doubt, whether it was meant, that the prohibitory Order in Council would revive and rein

force the Free Port Acts repealed by the Act of Parliament, or would operate as a total interdiction of trade and intercourse, in our Vessels, with the interdicted Colony.

You are authorized to renew to the British Government the proposal of continuing this intercourse in other respects, on the footing upon

which it is placed by the Acts of Parliament and the Act of Congress, but with a removal of the discriminating duties on both sides, and particularly that the duties in the Schedule C, of the Act of Parliament of 3 Geo. 4. ch. 44, and in the Schedule B, of the Act of 3 Geo. 4. ch. 119, on the part of Great Britain, and the Foreign tonnage duty and additional impost upon British Vessels, from the enumerated Ports, on the part of the United States, should be mutually repealed. If this proposal should be accepted, it may be carried into effect by an Act of Parliament, upon the passage of which, the President's Proclamation would immediately be issued; or it may be agreed upon by a Convention, which you are hereby authorized to sign, and to transmit for ratification. A new Full Power is enclosed, to be used if required. The Act of Parliament, or the Convention, should be explicit in the removal of all discriminating duties and charges, whether imposed by Parliament, or by Colonial Laws, and it should apply to all the enumerated Ports. Should the offer be declined, you will receive any proposition which may be made in its stead, for reference to this Government." R. Rush, Esq.


(Inclosure a.) --Mr. Stratford Canning to Mr. Adams.

Washington, 27th March, 1823. The Undersigned, His Britannick Majesty's Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary, referring to the 3d Section of an Act of Congress, approved the 1st of March, 1823, and entitled “ An Act to regulate the Commercial Intercourse between The United States and certain British Colonial Ports,” requests the American Secretary of State will do him the honor to afford him information of the exact nature and scope of the “proof” which is thereby required to enable the President to issue his Proclamation for the repeal of the discriminating duties still levied on British Vessels, entering from such Ports of His Majesty's Colonies as are enumerated in the 1st Section of the Act.

The Undersigned conceives, that, in his previous Communications on this subject, he has already furnished abundant and satisfactory evidence of the intevtion of His Majesty's Government, long since carried into effect, to place American Vessels on the same footing with British, in respect to the duties on import and tonnage, under the expectation of a strict reciprocity on the part of The United States; but, learning from the printed Circular, addressed, on the 17th instant, to the Collectors, by the Comptroller of the Treasury, in explanation of the Act approved on the Ist, and but recently brought to his know

ledge, that no authority has yet been given to dispense with the collection of Alien duties on British Vessels arriving from His Majesty's Colonies, the Undersigned is desirous of knowing whether any, and what, further communication may be expected by the President, under the Act now in force, as necessary to the execution of the 3d Section, to the end that he may either at once remove any obstacle which it depends on bim to remove, or have it in his power to apprize his Government of the real state of the case in this particular.

The Undersigned requests the Secretary of State to accept, &c. Hon. J. Q. Adams.


(Inclosure b.)-Mr. Adams to Mr. Stratford Canning. SIR,

Department of State, Washington, 81h April, 1823. In answer to your Note of the 27th ultimo, I have the honor of stating, that any authentic declaration from your Government, communicated either through the Minister of The United States residing in England, or through His Britannick Majesty's Minister residing here, “ that upon

the Vessels of The United States, admitted into the enumerated British Colonial Ports, and upon any goods, wares, or merchandise, 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 British Vessels, or upon the like goods, wares, or merchandize, imported into the said Colonial Ports from elsewhere,” will be received by the President of The United States as the satisfactory proof required by the Act, to authorize him to issue his Proclamation extending the reciprocal privileges offered, in the same 3d Section, to British Vessels and their Cargoes coming from the enumerated Ports to The United States.

In the communications hitherto received from you, on this subject, although “ the intention of His Majesty's Government to place American Vessels on the same footiny with British, in respect to the duties on impost and tonnage,” has been sufficiently manifested, they have fallen short of the proof required by the Section of the Act of Congress now referred to, inasmuch as they have not averred, either that no other or higher duties are levied in the enumerated ports, upon the goods, wares, or merchandize, imported therein, in American Vessels, than upon the like articles imported from elsewhere, or that no other charges of any kind are levied upon the vessels of The United States and their cargoes, than upon British Vessels and their cargoes; or, finally, that the intention of your Government, even in its most limited purport, has been long since carried into effect, in all the enumerated Ports.

The Act of Congress requires, that the reciprocity of burdens and exemptions should extend not only to the Vessels, but to the Articles imported in them. This has not hitherto been affirmed by you to be the intention of your Government. It is not doubted, that their inten

« PrécédentContinuer »