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to have been given for peace and ransom, might have a disadvan. tageous influence on future proceedings for the same objects.

GEORGE WASHINGTON. [This report, it is believed, was not published.]


SIR,-ACCORDING to the pleasure of the House of Representatives, expressed in their resolution of February 23, 1791, I now lay before them a report on the privileges and restrictions on the commerce of the United States in foreign countries. In order to keep the subject within those bounds which I supposed to be under the contemplation of the house, I have restrained my statements to those countries only with which we carry on a commerce of some importance, and to those articles also of our produce which are of sensible weight in the scale of our exports ; and even these articles are sometimes grouped together, according to the degree of favour or restriction with which they are received in each country, and that degree expressed in general terms without detailing the exact duty levied on each article. To have gone fully into these minutiæ, would have been to copy the tariffs and books of rates of the different countries, and to have hidden, under a mass of detail, those general and important truths, the extraction of which, in a simple form, I conceived would best answer the inquiries of the house, by condensing material information within those limits of time and attention, which this portion of their duties may justly claim. The plan, indeed, of minute details which have been impracti. cable with some countries, for want of information.

Since preparing this report, which was put into its present form in time to have been given in to the last session of Con. gress, alterations of the conditions of our commerce with some foreign nations have taken place-some of them independent of the war; some arising out of it.

France has proposed to enter into a new treaty of commerce with us, on liberal principles ; and has, in the mean time, re. laxed some of the restraints mentioned in the 'report. Spain has, by an ordinance of June last, established New Orleans, Pensacola and St. Augustine into free ports, for the vessels of friendly nations having creaties of commerce with her, provided they touch for a permit at Corcubion in Gallicia, or at Alicant; and our rice is, by the same ordinance, excluded from that country. The circumstances of the war, have necessarily given

us freer access to the West Indian islands, whilst they have also drawn on our navigation, vexations and depredations of the most serious nature.

To have endeavoured to describe all these, would have been as impracticable as useless, since the scenes would have been shifting while under description. I therefore think it best to leave the report as it was formed, being adapted to a particular point of time, when things were in their settled order, that is to say, to the summer of 1792. I have the honour to be, &c.

TH: JEFFERSON. To the Speaker of the House of Representatives

of the United States of America.

REPORT, &c. The Secretary of State, to whom was referred, by the House of

Representatives, the report of a committee on the written message of the President of the United States, of the 14th of February, 1791, with instruction to report to Congress the nature and extent of the privileges and restrictions of the commercial intercourse of the United States with foreign nations, and the measures which he should think proper to be adopted for the improvement of the commerce and navigation of the same, has had the same under consideration, and there. upon makes the following Report :

The countries with which the United States have their chief commercial intercourse are Spain, Portugal, France, Great Britain, the United Netherlands, Denmark, and Sweden, and their American possessions : and the articles of export, which constitute the basis of that commerce, with their respective amounts, are,

Bread stuff, that is to say ; bread grains, meals,
and bread, to the annual amount of

7.649.887 Tobacco,

4.349.567 Rice,

1.753.796 Wood,

1.263.534 Salted fish,

94 1.696 Pot and pearl ash,

839.093 Salted meats,

599.130 Indigo,

537.379 Horses and mules,

339.753 Whale oil,

252.591 Flax seed,

236.072 Tar, pitch and turpentine,

217.177 Live provisions,

137.743 Ships, Foreign goods,

620.274 To descend to articles of smaller value than these, would lead into a minuteness of detail neither necessary nor useful to the present object.


The proportions of our exports, which go to the nations bea fore mentioned, and to their dominions, respectively, are as follows:

Dolls To Spain and its dominions,

2.005.907 Portugal and its dominions,

1.283.462 France and its dominions,

4.698.735 Great Britain and its dominions,

9.363.416 The United Netherlands and their dominions, 1.963.880 Denmark and its dominions,

224.415 Sweden and its dominions,

47,240 Qur imports from the same countries, are, Spain and its dominions,

335.110 Portugal and its dominions,

595.763 France and its dominions,

2.068.348 Great Britain and its dominions,

15.285.428 United Netherlands and their dominions,

1.172.692 Denmark and its dominions,

351.364 Sweden and its dominions,

14.325 Thesc imports consist mostly of articles on which indastry has becn exhausted.

Our navigation, depending on the same commerce, will appear by the following statement of the tonnage of our own ves. sels, entering in our ports, from those several nations and their possessions, in one year ; that is to say; from October, 1789, to September, 1790, inclusive, as follows: Spain

19,695 Portugal

23,576 France

116,410 Great Britain

43,580 United Netherlands

58,858 Denmark

14,655 Sweden

750 of our commercial objects, Spain receives favourably, our bread-stuff, salted fish, wood, ships, tar, pitch and turpentine. On our meals, however, as well as on those of other foreign countries, when re-exported to their colonies, they have lately imposed duties of from half a dollar to two dollars the barrel, the duties being so proportioned to the current price of their own flour, as that both together are to make the constant sum of nine dollars per barrel.

They do not discourage our rice, pot and pearl ash, salted provisions, or whale oil : but these articles, being in small demand at their markets, are carried thither but in a small degree. Their demand for rice, however, is increasing. Neither tobacco por indigo are received there. Our commerce is permitted with their Canary islands under the same conditians.


Themselves, and their colonies, are the actual consumers of what they receive from us.

Our navigation is free with the kingdom of Spain; foreign goods being received there in our ships on the same condi. tions as if carried in their own, or in the vessels of the country of which such goods are the manufacture or produce.

Portugal receives favourably our grain and bread, salted fish, and other salted provisions, wood, tar, pitch, and turpentine.

For flax seed, pot and pearl ash, though not discouraged, there is little demand.

Our ships pay 20 per cent. on being sold to their subjects, and are then free bottoms.

Foreign goods (except those of the East Indies) are receive ed on the same footing in our vessels as in their own, or any others; that is to say, on general duties of from 20 to 28 per cent. and, consequently, our navigation is unobstructed by them. Tobacco, rice and meals are prohibited.

Themselves and their colonies consume what they receive from us.

These regulations extend to the Azores, Madeira, and the Cape de Verd islands, except that in these meals and rice are received freely.

France receives favourably our bread-stuff, rice, wood, pot and pearl ashes.

A duty of 5 sous the quintal, or nearly 4į cents, is paid on our tar, pitch, and turpentine. Our whale oils pay 6 livres the quintal, and are the only foreign whale admitted. Our indigo pays 5 livres the quintal, their own 24: but a difference of quality, still more than a difference of duty, prevents its seeking that market.

Salted beef is received freely for re-exportation ; but if for home consumption, it pays 5 livres the quintal. Other salted provisions pay that duty in all cases, and salted fish is made Jately to pay the prohibitory one of 20 livres the quintal.

Our ships are free to carry thither all foreign goods which may be carried in their own or any other vessels, except to. baccoes not of our own growth ; and they participate with theirs, the exclusive carriage of our whale oils and tobaccoes.

During their former government, our tobacco was under a monopoly, but paid no duties; and our ships were freely sold in their ports, and converted into national bottoms. The first national assembly took from our ships this privilege. They emancipated tobacco from its monopoly, but subjected it to duties of 18 livres, 15 sous the quintal, carried in their own vessels, and 5 livres carried in ours-a difference more than equal to the freight of the article. They and their colonies consume what they receive from us.


Great Britain receives our pot and pearl ashes free, whilst those of other nations pay a duty of two shillings and three pence the quintal. There is an equal distinction in favour of our bar iron; of which article, however, we do not produce enough for our own use. Woods are free, from us, whilst they pay some small duty from other countries. Indigo and flax seed are free from all countries. Our tar and pitch pay eleven pence, sterling, the barrel. From other alien coun. tries they pay about a penny and a third more.

Our tobacco, for their own consumption, pays one shilling and three pence, sterling, the pound, custom and excise, besides heavy expenses of collection ; and rice, in the same case, pays seven shillings and four pence, sterling, the hundred weight; which, rendering it too dear, as an article of common food, it is consequently used in very small quantity.

Our salted fish and other salted provisions, except bacon, are prohibited. Bacon and whale oils are under probibitory duties; so are our grains, meals and bread, as to internal consumption, unless in times of such scarcity as may raise the price of wheat to fifty shillings, sterling, the quarter, and other grains and meals in proportion.

Our ships, though purchased and navigated by their own subjects, are not permitted to be used, even in their trade with us.

While the vessels of other nations are secured by standing laws, which cannot be altered but by the concurrent will of the three branches of the British legislature, in carrying thither any produce or nufacture of the country to which they belong, which may be lawfully carried in any vessels, ours, with the same prohibition of what is foreign, are further prohibited by a standing law, (12 Car. 2, 18. sect. 3.) from carrying thi. ther all and any of our own domestick productions and manufactures. A subsequent act indeed has authorized their executive to permit the carriage of our own productions in our own bottoms, at its sole discretion; and the permission has been given from year to year by proclamation, but subject every moment to be withdrawn on that single will, in which event, our vessels having any thing on board, stand interdicted from the entry of all British ports. The disadvantage of a te. nure which may be so suddenly discontinued, was experienced by our merchants on a late occasion,* when an official notifica. tion that this law would be strictly enforced, gave them just apprehensions for the fate of their vessels and cargoes despatched or destined to the ports of Great Britain. The minister of that court, indeed, frankly expressed his personal conviction, that the words of the order went farther than was intended, and so he afterwards officially informed us; but the

* April 12, 1792.

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