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or, at least, that higher import duties are levied, than on the like articles produced in His Majesty's Dominions.
These several allegations are met, in detail, by the following specific statement:
Ist. The export duty complained of, is a duty of four and a half per cent., levied in some of the Leeward Islands, on the produce of those Islands, whether exported in British or American Vessels, and equally, whether exported to Great Britain or to Foreign countries.
2d. The Colonial Ports opened, by Act of Parliament, to Foreign Vessels from America, are all those in which Custom Houses are established.
3d. The American Congress has passed an Act confining British Vessels to a direct trade, under bond, in the very same manner as American Vessels are restricted by the British Act of Parliament, and even to a greater degree.
4th. The liberty of trading between Colony and Colony, as well as with the Mother Country, enjoyed exclusively by British Vessels in this trade, is no other than a part of the coasting trade, which every Government secures to its own Subjects. The Americans enjoy a like advantage on their side; and the British are not allowed, on the same principle, to carry on trade between the severals Ports and States of the Americau Union.
5th. The exclusion of certain articles of American produce, such as salt fish, from the West India market, is no other than what already exists in the trade between Great Britain and The United States, comprising other Foreign Countries. It is by no means peculiar to the Colonial Intercourse. The rum and molasses of the British West Indies, are, in point of fact, but barely admitted to the market of The United States.
6th. The protecting duties levied in the British West Indies, on the flour, lumber, &c. of The United States, are absolutely necessary to afford the Inhabitants of His Majesty's North American Provinces a chance of sending their superfluous produce to market, on equal terms with the Citizens of The United States. These latter enjoy great natural advantages over their northern competitors, by reason of the open climate, and comparative vicinity of their Country to the West India Islands. The sugar of the British West Indies, their principal export, has besides, to pay in The United States, an import duty proportionally higher than the duty levied on American flour, in the Ports of the British Colonies.
On the specific grounds, then, alleged by the American Plenipotentiary, the above-mentioned stipulation cannot be accepted by Great Britain, without injustice to her own Subjects, any more than it can be accepted by her on general principles, without prejudice to her
character as an independent Commercial Power. Much as the British Government are disposed to cherish and improve the relatious of commerce and good neighbourhood with The United States, such sacrifices cannot, in fairness, be expected, even for the sake of those objects.
Still less are they to be expected, when the statements of the Brio tish Government, in answer to those of the American, are fully borne out by the state, as hitherto ascertained, of the trade carried on' under the respective Laws of the two Countries.
There is reason to suppose, that about two-thirds of the flour and lumber received from North America by the British West Indies, are produced by The United States ; and it is not too much to say, that seven-eighths of that quantity are conveyed to the market in American Vessels, while; even upon the return trade; it appears that American Vessels enjoy a share not greatly inferior to that proportion.
Under these circumstances, the British Plenipotentiaries can ouly accept the articles on Commercial Intercourse, tendered to them by the American Plenipotentiary, with the omission of the stipulation already specified.
With every disposition to remove unnecessary obstructions from the trade, and to keep the protecting duties within fair and moderate bounds, no difference whatever being made in point of duties and charges between American and British Vessels, whether belonging to the Colonies or to Great Britain, it is impossible for the British Government to admit a condition which would expose their North American Provinces to a total exclusion from the West India market, and that, as they conceive, without any equivalent concession being proposed on the part of The United States.
The British Plenipotentiaries are ready, at the same time, to enter into stipulations, not only for removing all alien charges whatever from the Vessels and their cargoes, as such, of both parties, in The United States on one side, and in the enumerated British Colonies on the other, but also for extending to the United States, eventually and in consideration of a fair return from them, any further advantages in that trade, which in the progress of events, Great Britain may find it safe or desirable to concede to any other Foreign Nation or State, in the trade between her Colonies and its Possessions. In making this contingent agreement, it would be the intention of the British Government to apply, in proportion as circumstances might allow, to the trade between His Majesty's open Colonies and The United States, the same principle already adopted in the Convention of 1815: namely, of placing each Party, with respect to imports and exports, on the footing of the most favoured Nation; and in the same spirit there would be no objection to giving a suitable extension to the 4th Article of the Commercial Convention, respecting Consuls.
(13.)-Mr. Addington to Mr. Adams. SIR,
Washington, 7th September, 1823. The Act passed in the last Session of Congress, for regulating the Commercial Intercourse between The United States and certain of His Majesty's Colonies in the West Indies and North America, as well as the Correspondence which took place on the same subject, between yourself and Mr. Stratford Canning, having been laid before His Majesty's Government, and received from them the most attentive consideration, I am commanded by His Majesty's Secretary of State to put you in possession of the result of their deliberations on that subject.
The Act of Parliament, of the 24th of June, 1822, is the first Legislative admission of a direct permanent commerce between His Majesty's Colonies and Plantations in the West Indies and The United States, in the Vessels of The United States.
This departure on the part of Great Britain from her ancient Colonial system, was considered by His Majesty's Government to be mutually advantageous to both Parties.
In furtherance of the liberal views which suggested this Act, and in conformity with the principle by which the direct trade between Great Britain and The United States is regulated, under the Convention of 1815, the British Government, immediately after the passing of that Statute, gave orders that no other or higher duty should be levied upon merchandize imported into the British Colonies in Vessels of The United States, than upon the like merchandize imported in British Vessels; and, also, that the Vessels of The United States should be subject to no higher tonnage duties, or Custom House fees, or other local or Port charges, in those Colonies, than were paid by British Vessels in the same Ports.
These orders have long since been carried into general effect; and if in any particular instance, it should be made to appear that they have not been punctually observed in any of His Majesty's Colonies, the British Government would readily take measures for removing that exception, and for redressing any injury to which it might have given rise.
Contrary to the just expectations of His Majesty, no corresponding orders have yet been issued by the Government of The United States, for the remission of the alien duties upon goods imported into The United States, under the pre-cited Act, in British shipping, or upon the Vessels in which such goods are imported.
For some time the Government of The United States declined giving such orders, on the ground that no satisfactory proof had been produced of discriminating duties being no longer levied on American trade in His Majesty's Colonies; yet, surely, the direct affirmation of the British Government, that orders to that effect had been given,
might, and ought to, bave been received as sufficient proof of the fact.
As a ground for still suspending the remission of the alien duties, the American Government now allege that by an Act passed in the last Session of Congress, the President of The United States is restrained from taking off those duties, until he shall have received satisfactory proof, that “ upon any goods, wares, or merchandize, the growth or produce of The United States, imported into the British Colonies under the Act aforesaid, no other or higher duties are levied than upon the like goods imported into the said Colonies from elsewhere."
The term “ from elsewhere,” was at first liable to a dubious construction; but in your Letter to Mr. Stratford Canning, dated the 14th of May last, it was finally declared“ to be of meaning equivalent to every where else, and of course to include all places other than those from which the importations into the specified Ports might be made in Vessels of The United States''-His Majesty's Doininions themselves, therefore, necessarily inclusive.
According to this interpretation, The United States claim the privi. lege of introducing into His Majesty's Colonial Possessions, their own produce, on precisely the same footing as that of the United Kingdom itself, or of His Majesty's Dominions in whatsoever part of the World.
Such a claim, Sir, I am commanded to inform you, His Majesty's Government consider to be wholly inadmissible.
For the expectation of so unlimited a concession, no part of the Act of Parliament above cited affords the smallest ground. In that Act, mention is made alone and expressly of Foreign Countries. The 3d and 6th Sections both specify imports into, and exports from, Foreign Territories, as alone in question.
Considering this circumstance, His Majesty's Ministers might, perhaps, have had a right to expect that a more early intimation would have been given by the American Government, that the removal of the discriminating duties in The United States was to be made contingent upon a concession now brought forward for the first time, and of a character totally different from that which Great Britain had voluntarily offered and executed, namely, the equalization of duties in the British Colonies.
It was but reasonable to infer, that as soon as the deficiency of Certificates, so long alleged by the Government of The United States as the only obstacle to that equalization on their part, should have been supplied, the whole matter would have been considered as definitively settled.
Such, however, has not been the case. The declaration required
was given, and then, for the first time, the claim in question was distinctly advanced.
Since it appears therefore that His Majesty's Ministers are now to understand that, unless they accede to a condition considered by them as totally inadmissible, the discriminating duties imposed on British trade will continue to be levied by The United States, it has become necessary for the protection of the trade and navigation of Great Britain, and for placing His Majesty's Subjects upon a footing of equality with those of The United States, in the intercourse established under the British Act of Parliament of 1822, that discriminating duties should be imposed in His Majesty's Colonies upon the goods and Ships of The United States, trading under the said Act, equal to those which are levied upon the goods and Ships of His Majesty's Subjects trading from the Colonies to the Ports of The United States.
The fairness, and indeed the necessity, of this measure, The United States themselves will, it is conceived, hardly be disposed to question. I am directed, however, to declare that, just and necessary as it is, His Majesty's Government will be ready to withdraw it immediately upon the manifestation of a disposition on the part of The United States corresponding with that in which the Act of Parliament of June, 1822, was framed and carried into effect by Great Britain.
It is the earnest wish of His Majesty's Government to afford every. facility to a direct commercial intercourse between The United States and the British Colonies in North America and the West Indies, consistently with the principles of that Act-principles in which they had hoped to find a cordial concurrence on the part of the American Go. vernment.
Within the limits of those principles His Majesty's Ministry aré ready to enter upon Negotiation for promoting and extending that intercourse; but they cannot acquiesce in a system so partial, and bearing so unequally on the trade and interests of Great Britain and her Colonies, as that proposed by The United States, the principle of which has never been admitted by that or any other Country, in its direct commercial intercourse with Foreigo Nations.
I have the honour, Sir, to enclose for your information, the Copy of an Act of Parliament, which, in conformity with these views, has been passed for the purpose of enabling His Majesty to resort to the measure above described.* On perusing it you will not fail to observe that, by it, His Majesty is equally empowered to impose, and to remove, discriminating duties on the Vessels and goods of Foreign Powers, according as those Powers shall be disposed, or not, to act with a fair reciprocity towards Great Britain; and I am expressly enjoined to
* See Vol. 1822, 1823, Page 561.