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files, saws, and fishhooks, gold, silver, and copper wire, tin foil, and musical strings of all kinds.
6. Leather pocketbooks and etuis, and all sorts of similiar fine leather manufactures, known under the name of Offenbacher fine leather fabrics.
III. Ten per cent ad valorem on the importation of
1. All thread laces and insertings, laces, galloons, tresses, tassels, knots, stars of gold and silver, fine or half fine. 2. Mineral waters, spelter, and hare's wool, dressed.
The mere statement, independently of detailed estimates, which the committee has had no time to mature, demonstrates on its face the inequality of the concessions of the treaty. To this result is to be added the loss of duties to the United States in the event that it should be found that the reciprocal engagements of our Government with some of the other foreign powers, as regards the admission of commercial intercourse on the terms of the most favored nation, should compel us to receive the articles of their production or manufacture of like character with the subjects of the proposed concessions in the present treaty on the same terms.
In every view, whether of the constitutional competency as regards the action of the Senate on the subject or of the uneqnal value of the stipulated equivalents provided by the treaty, the committee is of opinion that it can assert no title to the recommendation of the Senate to its ratification.
(Ex. Jour., vol. 6, p. 333.)
TWENTY-EIGHTH CONGRESS, SECOND SESSION.
January 13, 1845.
On the treaty with the Grand Duchy of Hesse for the abolition of the droit d'aubaine and taxes on emigration, Mr. Archer reported as follows:
Whereas the time limited by the sixth article of the convention for the mutual abolition of the droit d'aubaine and taxes on emigration between the United States of America and the Grand Duchy of Hesse has expired before an exchange of ratifications has taken place, as provided for by the said article, be it therefore
Resolved (two-thirds of the Senators present concurring), That the Senate advise and consent to the exchange of ratifications of the convention aforesaid at any time prior to the fourth day of July next, whenever the same shall be offered by the Grand Duchy of Hesse; and the said ratifications shall be deemed and taken to have been regularly exchanged, the limitation contained in said convention to the contrary notwithstanding.
(Ex. Jour., vol. 6, p. 379.)
February 26, 1845.
On the convention with Prussia and other German States, Mr. Archer reported as follows:
This convention was referred to this committee at the last session of Congress. After bestowing the consideration due to the importance and interest of the subject, the committee recommended that the convention be laid on the table of the Senate. The recommenda
tion was complied with, and the time has expired within which, if ratified, the exchange of the ratifications was required to take place. The object of the committee in their recommendation was to reach the end of the refusal to ratify the convention in the mode most conformable to the comity due to the parties to it.
The President, not apprehending this purpose of the committee, has seen fit to ascribe their recommendation and the consequent action of the Senate to immature advisement as regards the merits of the convention.
In this view he informs the Senate in the present message that, having reason for the opinion that the expiration of the time limited for the exchange of the ratifications would prove no insuperable obstacle to the ratification of the treaty on the part of the Zoll Verein, if the Senate should consent and advise, he had caused negotiations to be reopened for the purpose of obtaining an extension of the period for the interchange of ratifications. And he submits again to the Senate the policy of giving their assent to the treaty.
The committee bestowed, on the reference to them at the last session, the mature attention due to the interests involved in the inquiry and the dignity of the parties to the convention. They were, as they continued to be, fully aware of the value of the commerce subsisting with the States of the Zoll Verein and of its probable extension from the industrious habits and advancing condition of the country. They are aware, too, of the general absence of rivalry as respects the subjects of production and exchange of the two countries, a consideration suggesting further and stronger motives of cultivation of the most liberal intercourse with these States.
The inducements would be persuasive in these views to the adoption of the treaty. The committee, notwithstanding, felt themselves constrained at the last session to recommend a contrary proceeding to the Senate. They have revised the grounds of that recommendation and find no adequate reason to change it as expressed in their last year's report.
In that report they examined the subject in two aspects. The first related to the propriety of interfering with the established usage, leaving to Congress the entire discretion as regards the arrangement of imposts by treaty; the second to the advantage of doing so in the present instance.
In the report they say: The committee, then, are not prepared to sanction so large an innovation upon ancient and uniform practice in respect of the department of government by which duties on imports shall be imposed. The convention which has been submitted to the Senate changes duties which have been laid down by law. It changes them either ex directo and by its own vigor or it engages the faith of the nation and the faith of the legislature, through which the nation acts, to make the change. In either aspect it is the President and Senate who, by the instrumentality of negotiation, repeal or materially vary regulations of commerce and laws of revenue which Congress had ordained. More than this, the executive department, by the same instrumentality of negotiation, places it beyond the power of Congress to exceed the stipulated maximum of impost duties for at least three years, whatever exigency may intervene to require it.
In the judgment of the committee the legislature is the department of government by which commerce should be regulated and laws of revenue be passed. The Constitution, in terms, communicates the power to regulate commerce and to impose duties to that department. It communicates it, in terms, to no other. Without engaging at all in an examination of the extent, limits, and objects of the power to make treaties, the committee believe that the general rule of our system is indisputably that the control of trade and the function of taxing belong, without abridgment or participation, to Congress. They infor this from the language
of the Constitution, from the nature and principles of our Government, from the theory of republican liberty itself, from the unvaried practice, evidencing t. e universal belief in all periods and of all parties and opinions. They think, too, that, as the general rule, the representatives of the people, sitting in their legislative capacity, with open doors, under the eye of the country, communicating freely with the constituents, may exercise this power more intelligently, more discreetly, may acquire more accurate and more minute information concerning the employments and the interests on which this description of ineasures will press, and may better discern what true policy prescribes and rejects than is within the competence of the executive department of the Government.
To follow, not lead; to fulfill, not to ordain the law; to carry into effect, by negotiation and compact with foreign governments, the legislative will, when it has been announced, upon the great subjects of trade and revenue; not to interpose with controlling influence, not to go forward with too ambitious enterprisethese seem to the committee to be the appropriate functions of the Executive.
The committee have experienced no change of these views. The fact of the President and Senate being invested with authority to control Congress in a sphere so appropriate to its jurisdiction furnished no sufficient cause for the exertion of the authority, unless for peculiar reason of injury to be avoided or advantage realized which legislation may not reach with the same facility or effect. Retaliatory regulation, when required, for example, may be best arranged or obviated by treaties. In such cases the cooperation of Congress may always be expected, with no impairment of harmony between the departments.
The question has been debated how far Congress would be bound to give effect, in cases requiring its cooperation, to regulations by treaty on subjects put within its express province by the Constitution. Whichever may be the better opinion, the doubt supplies reason enough against putting the question to trial in other circumstances than those in which the concurrence of Congress may be safely assumed. And the reason is the stronger for this forbearance from the fact that, in the contingency of conflict, it would be not the interests only, but the faith, too, of the nation which might be compromised, as this would have been committed by the adoption of the treaty regulations.
The condition of the Government at this moment is of peculiar delicacy as regards the arrangement of its imposts. Parties have been arrayed with vehemence and the greatest sensibility awakened on the subject. Regulation by treaty in the circumstances would doubtless be carried into effect by the House of Representatives. But the temper in which the supposed intrusion might be expected to be received would be anything but cordial or placid. Ought not the occasion to be considerable, the motive urgent, to warrant the exercise of the authority at this cost? It is a topic requiring only to be displayed, not dwelt on.
It is further to be considered, if we were to have separate regulation of duties with the various powers which might invite or desire this course of action, how inconveniently diversified and mottled our tariff system might soon become, whilst we should be precluded from simplifying and restoring it to uniformity and symmetry by engagements we were not at liberty to retire from, or which we could only retract at the hazard of disturbing harmony and possibly inciting changes of tariff unfavorable to our interests.
We have at this time treaty stipulations with twenty-one foreign states, engaging that their articles of produce or manufacture, respectively, shall be liable to the payment of no higher or other duties on importation into the United States than shall be payable on the like articles from other countries. We say that this pledge does not preclude us from changes of our rates of duty for equivalents without let
ting other powers to participation, unless in the render of the same equivalents by these other powers. Let this view be granted to be correct. Is it not true, nevertheless, that others might be found to contest this construction, and, whilst they could not prevail on us to abandon it, might still seek occasion of dissatisfaction on our refusal, possibly to the extreme of introducing change to our disadvantage in their tariffs? The consequence may not be hazarded on light inducements in any event.
If we make regulations of reduction and favor in regard to articles from a foreign country, unless (the instances of which are rare) they are peculiar to that country, the operation will not be confined to these articles, but extend to all the same class from all countries, or, it may be, have the effect to derange the established channels of trade, not in these classes of articles only, but much larger classes in connection with these, as having formed their associates in importation from the same country. The committee do not feel required to expand and assign their full development to views of this character. They regard it their duty, however, to bring them to the attention of the Senate for a better and wiser consideration. The effect of granting reductions of impost on the revenue of the country is, in this view, not to be confined to the mere estimate of the articles to be introduced from the country with which the stipulation for the reduction has been made. The reduction must affect the articles of the same class from all countries and, of course, the revenue which the duties on them will afford.
Such, in a condensed form, are the views which the committee entertain as regards the general question of the propriety and policy of interference by regulations of treaty with the tariff arrangements of the Government. The possible occurrence of occasions in which it may be advisable to exert it is not disputed. But the opinion is intended to be expressed that the occasions should be marked by the promise of very superior advantage, or lie out of the convenient reach of the exertion of the ordinary power of Congress.
And this remark introduces the inquiry whether an occasion of this character is offered in the instance of the present convention. The committee, in their report of last year, expressed the opinion that the balance of equivalents would be found against the United States. At the period of expressing this opinion, from the advanced stage of the session, time had not been afforded to cause estimates to be made, founded on official documents or other statistical information. These have now been directed, and the result appears to be as follows:
The value of imports into the United States from the States of the Zoll Verein of the articles enumerated in the treaty in the year 1842 was $391,426, and upon this value had the treaty been in operation there would have been a difference between the duties under the tariff of 1842 and under this treaty of $54,089. The value of those imports for the nine months ending the 30th June, 1843, was $149,430, and the difference in the amount of duties would have been $24,514.
The value of the articles of export from the United States to the Zoll Verein mentioned in the treaty in the year 1811 amounted to $3,145,612, upon which value the reduction of duty on tobacco, etc., would have been under the treaty about $357,000, and the value of the same articles for the nine months ending 30th June, 1843, was $2,236,285, the reduction of duty being about $205,457. From this statement it would appear that had the treaty been in force in the year 1842, the difference in the duties in favor of the United States
would have been about $300,000 and about $180,000 for the nine months ending the 30th June, 1843, while the difference to the planters from the reduction of price in the year 1842 was $572,732.
These particulars are founded upon the supposition that the entire exportation to the Hanse towns would equal the whole of the exports to the Zoll Verein. Giving this arrangement the most favorable aspect, it would appear that in 1842 had it been in operation the reduction of the duty there upon the article of tobacco might have been $300,000, which, however, for the ensuing nine months decreased to the sum of $180,000, and which decrease, from the large quantity of tobacco recently raised in Prussia and the other States of the Zoll Verein, is destined to continue to decrease until their home supply shall equal the demand, for it would appear, from good authority, that there was raised in those countries forming the Zoll Verein in the year 1839 30,800,000 pounds of tobacco. The whole annual product of tobacco in the United States, according to the last report of the Commissioner of Patents, was 185,731,554 pounds, and the whole quantity exported in 1842 was 129,968,000 pounds. Of the consumption of tobacco in the Zoll Verein, it would appear from the authority above mentioned that in the year referred to (1839) 10,880,000 pounds were imported from America; but the quantity exported to the Hanse towns in 1842 was 36,091,200 pounds, which exportation, however, decreased during the succeeding nine months to 19,603,200 pounds. These facts, founded upon official or undoubted data, convey strong evidence that the demand for American tobacco in the States of the Zoll Verein has greatly decreased and is on the decline, while its price there has fallen from 8 to 5 cents per pound within four years. The entire amount of exports of every description of merchandise to Prussia and the Hanse towns in 1842 was $4,721,201, and the whole amount of imports from those places in the same time was $2,292,201.
From the above statement it will be seen that the balance of advantage would be in favor of and not against the United States, as supposed in the report of last year, from the ratification of the convention. Whether they ought to be regarded as of sufficient weight to countervail the established policy of the Government of leaving the regulation of duties to Congress is matter for the Senate, not the committee, to determine.
The committee have supposed that their duty would be most properly discharged by presenting the considerations on both sides—the usage of the Government on the one side, with the grounds of it, and the advantage promised by departure from this usage in favor of the convention under consideration on the other. The Senate, on this comparative view, will draw the proper conclusion for itself. Till this be done the committee recommend that the convention lie on the table of the Senate.
(Ex. Jour., vol. 6, p. 406.)
TWENTY-NINTH CONGRESS, FIRST SESSION.
May 29, 1846.
On the convention with Peru, Mr. Allen reported as follows:
Whereas the seventh article of the convention between the United States of America and the Republic of Peru, concluded at Lima the