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dened by debt, and enjoying inex- ports of the United States to call haustible resources, desired only ihe attention of Congress to this to enter into competition with the state of things, and they finally maritime powers of Europe upon succeeded in obtaining the pasequal terms. Possibly upon an sage of a law (April 15th, 1818,) unequal footing their advantages closing the ports of the United as a youthful nation might have States against British vessels, comenabled them to succeed, but their ing from ports, which were shut interest obviously pointed to the against American vessels, and establishment of a system of coinpelling British vessels sailing equality and reciprocity, and their from the United States 10 give character as an independent power bonds not 10 land their cargoes in could not be satisfied with less. those ports. This law not only With this view they laid a discri- put an end to the circuitous voyminating tonnage duty in favor of age, but also tended to impede American vessels ; but offered the supplying the islands with to place the vessels of other American produce, except those powers upon the same footing as colonies where the vessels of both their own upon
condition that nations were admitted. American vessels were placed To counteract this, the British upon a like footing in the ports of Government immediately opened, those powers.
during pleasure, the ports of This system, which at the same Halifax and St Johns to the vestime proffered reciprocity and re- sels of friendly powers, for the taliation, was successful, and Eng- introduction of articles adapted to land, upon the termination of the the West India market. late war, entered into a treaty of It thus expected to secure the cominerce and navigation with greater share of the carrying the United States upon terms of trade by the indirect route to the reciprocity. This treaty did not West Indies, solely to British vesextend to her colonial possessions, sels. and an attempt was now made to
This revocation, during plearender the intercourse with the sure, was not deemed by the West Indies subservient to the American Government as a suffiancient system of monopoly and cient modification of the navigaexclusion
tion acts, and their ports continuThe American merchants soon ed to be shut to British vessels, selt the disadvantages to which coming from those ports. The they were subjected in the direct distresses of the islands increastrade, in consequence of being ing, negotiations were commencexcluded from the circuitous ed on the part of the British voyage, and exposed to the com- Government, the same year, with petition of vessels on their return the view of arranging the terms io England from the West India of intercourse; but as it insisted Islands.
upon laying a discriminating duty Strenuous efforts were accord- in favor of produce imported inio ingly made in the principal sea- the West Indies from the northern
colonies, no arra ement was The Colonial Legislatures also made, as the American Govern- imposed heavy discriminating dument refused to facilitate the ob- ties, giving a decided advantage ject of its rival, in making those 10
In this colonies places of deposit for the change in its policy the Governsupply of her islands.
ment aimed to encourage the The unsuccessful termination trade between the northern coloof this negotiation left the United nies and the West Indies, – to States no alternative but that of give to her tonnage engaged in relinquishing all share in the in- the direct trade between the tercourse, or to meet the restric- United States and England the tons by countervailing restrictions. advantage growing out of the They chose the latter; and by combination of voyages, - and to the law of May 15th, 1820, all monopolize the colonial trade by intercourse with the colonies in heavy duties imposed upon British vessels was probibited, and American vessels by the legislathe importation of all colonial tures of the islands. produce was limited to a direct To counteract these objects importation from the place of its and at the same time to meet production. This put a stop to England, so far as the new systhe trade in British vessels, and tem savored of liberality, a proshut the produce of the British clamation was issued by Mr MonWest Indies from the American roe, 1822, opening the ports of market.
the United States to British vesThese retaliating measures ope- sels from the colonies, but confinrated so severely upon the British ing the importations from the islplanters, that after two years of ands to the produce of the West suffering the government at home Indies, and continuing the disresolved to make another effort criminating tonnage duty of one for their relief. A law was ac- dollar per ton, which had been cordingly introduced into Parlia- imposed as an equivalent to the ment (act of June 24th, 1822,) colonial tonnage duties. by which admission was permitted The next Session of Congress to foreign vessels into certain a law was passed, March 1st, specified ports in the West Indies, 1823, confining the British veswith certain specified articles, the sels to the direct trade between produce of the country where the United States and the colothe vessels belonged.
nies from which they came, in the By this act à discriminating same manner that the American duty of ten per cent was laid on vessels were confined by the coforeign produce for the purpose lonial system to the direct trade of encouraging the northern colo- between the United States and nies, and British vessels had, in the colony at which they had araddition to the direct intercourse, rived. the advantages of the circuitous These measures produced an voyage, which was only permitted order in Council, July, 1823, imto them.
posing a tonnage duty of 4s. 3d.
on Anjerican vessels trading with ernment. Under these circumthe colonies.
stances it sought to arrange the American navigation was thus matter by an agreement : prefersubjected to a disadvantage, but ring that mode to legislation, still the trade flourished; when which experience bad shown to the British Government deemed be productive of hostile feelings. it expedient to adopt a new sys- A new negotiation was accordtem, permitting the importation ingly commenced, which termiinto certain ports in the West In- nated unsuccessfully, but which dies of the produce of the coun- fully developed the views and try to which the vessel, bringing principles of the respective parthe same, belonged, with the ex- lies. ception of salt provisions, muni- The British Government asserttions of war, books, whale oil and ed that any participation in the the productions of the East and colonial trade by a foreign power West Indies. The exportation of was a boon — that the trade was colonial produce was also permit- peculiar to itself, and to be reguted directly to the country to lated solely by the laws of the which the vessel belonged. parties possessing the colonies,
The inland importation of all and that a counteractive measure, produce into Canada, New Bruns- confining British vessels to the wick and Nova Scotia was also direct voyage between the colonies authorized.
and the United States, was an inThis law, which was passed jury and a deviation from the July 5th, 1825, aimed to make spirit of the Convention of 1815. the British islands depots for the The American Government supply of South America, and admitted the right of England 10 also to procure supplies for the make regulations, opening either West Indies through the northern in whole or part, the colonial colonies. It was altogether in- trade; but contended that it was operative upon European and also a right not peculiarly applicable upon American powers, except to that trade, but one which upon the United States, in refer- applied equally to the trade with ence to whose trade it seemed to her European possessions, and have been framed, and with the that when the trade between the view of terminating the colonial United States and the colonies dispute in favor of England. It was to be opened, it belonged to was, in some respects, a modifi-. the United States as well as to cation of the rigor of the old co- England to establish the footing lonial system; but as it made an on which the intercourse was to invidious distinction between pow- be placed. ers possessing and those not pos- The principles upon which the sessing colonies, the American exclusion from the colonial trade Government could not accede to was justified, were not applicable its terms without departing from to an American power. They the commercial policy adopted applied solely to European naupon the organization of the Gov- tions, and were derived not from the nature of things, but were of macy; of an inimical feeling toarbitrary invention, and intend- wards England, and of neglected to protect artificial interests and ing the public business. an unjust monopoly of the com- The loss of the colonial trade merce and resources of the
was imputed entirely 10 mismaowastern continent.
agement, and the new administra1. The American Government, tion came into power under strong however, was so desirous of ad- 'assurances on the part of its friends, justing this controversy amicably, that no effort would be spared to ihat it in one particular swerv- induce England to open the West ed from the strict principle for India ports to American vessels. which it bad contended, and au- Accordingly, shortly after the thorized Mr Gallatin to waive the inauguration of General Jackson, question respecting the discrimin- Mr Louis McLane was appointed ating duty in favor of the produce minister to England, with special of the northern colonies, with the instructions on this point. The exception of the produce of the Secretary of State in these instrucUnited States descending the St tions after narrating the events, Lawrence and Sorrel.
which led to the suspension of the In other respects, the inter- direct intercourse, stated that there course was to be placed on a were three grounds on which the footing strictly reciprocal, and the United States were assailable American Government also offer- lst, in their too long and too ed to abolish all restriction, and tenaciously resisting the right of to permit the vessels of both par- Great Britain to impose protecting ties to participate upon equal terms duties in her colonies ; 2d, in conin all intercourse between their fining British vessels to the direct respective dominions and other voyage after the passage of the parts of the world.
act of Parliament of 1825; and Before Mr Gallatin (to whom 3d, in omitting to accept of the this negotiation was committed) terms offered by that act.' Mr had presented his credentials, an McLane was instructed to obviate order of Council was issued, the unfavorable impression proclosingi he colonial ports against duced by these circumstances, American vessels; and the British and to enable him sò to do, he minister (Mr Canning) then at was authorized to say to the Britthe head of affairs, always un- ish Government, that the United friendly to American interests, re- States would recede from those fused to open any negotiation with grounds, by abolishing the discrithe view to an arrangement of the minating duties on British vessels controversy
coming from the colonies; by reThe unsatisfactory termination pealing the provisions of the act of this dispute gave to the oppo- of 1823; and by acceding to the sition a good opportunity to arraign terms of the aci of Parliament of the conduct of the last administra- 1825. tion before the public, and it was The instructions then proceednot neglected. It was accused ed to say, that the British Governof an undue fondness for diplo- ment ought not to object to entering into this arrangement on ac- have admitted of its submission to count of the omission of the Gov- you in sufficient season for the ernment of the United States to final action of Congress at its preaccept of those terms, when sent session; and is now induced formerly offered — that Mr Mc- by an apprehension that, although Lane knew of the course taken the packet by which it was intendby the party now in power, in re- ed to be sent is hourly expected, ference to the policy of the late its arrivalınay, nevertheless, be deadministration on that question, layed until after your adjournment. and he was authorized to state to Should this branch of the negothe British Government, that the tiation committed to our Minister pretensions of that administra- be sucessful, the present interdict tion had not been sustained by the would, nevertheless, be necessarily people of the United States, and continued until the next session of were not to be regarded as the Congress, as the President has, in views of the Government.* no event, authority to remove it.
Thus authorized, Mr McLane Although no decision has been entered upon the duties of his made, at the date of our last admission, and shortly after his ar- vices from Mr McLane, yet, from rival, he communicated to the Earl the general character of the interof Aberdeen the grounds upon views between him and those of which he desired to open the ne- his Majesty's Ministers, whose gotiation. To this communication particular duty it was to confer no reply was made, except one with him on the subject, there is generally professing a friendly sufficient reason to expect a favor
a feeling and a desire to amicably able result, to justify me in subadjust the business. The verbal mitting to you the propriety of proconferences between the negotia- viding for a decision in the recess.
a tors however continued, and the
• This may be done by authorCabinet at Washington felt so de- izing the President, in case an sirous of regaining the trade, that arrangement can be effected upon towards the close of the session, such terms as Congress would
, the following message was sent to approve, to carry the same into Congress by the President. effect on our part by proclamation, "To the Senate and
or, if it should be thought advisable House of Representatives of the U. S. to execute the views of Congress
GENTLEMEN : I think it my by like means, in the event of an duty to inform you that I am daily unfavorable decision. expecting the definitive answer of Any information in the possesthe British Government to a pro- sion of the Executive, which
you position which has been submitted inay deem necessary to guide to it by this, upon the subject of your deliberations and which it the Colonial Trade.
may, under existing circumstanThis communication has been ces, be proper tc communicate, delayed by a confideut belief that shall be promptly laid before you, the answer referred to would have if required. ANDREW JACKSON. been received early enough to
Washington, 26th May, 1830. * *Vide Public Documents, p. 77.