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Relations with Great Britain.
[The following is the abstract, transmitted by Lord Grenville to Mr. King, and the remarks of Mr. King thereon,
referred to in the preceding despatch.]
ABSTRACT. Section 1. Any goods, wares, and merchan- SECTION 1. The ships belonging to the people dise, the produce and manufacture of the United and inhabitants of the United States consist of States, which are not prohibited by law to be im- American built and foreign built ships. This ported from foreign countries, may be imported section establishes a discrimination. American directly into this Kingdom, subject to the duties built ships, belonging to Americans, may trade to hereafter mentioned, in American built ships, or Great Britain; ships not built in America, though American prize ships, owned by the subjects of owned by Americans, may not trade to Great the said United States, and navigated by a master Britain, unless they are prize ships. It is not and three-fourths at least Americans.
plain that the treaty permits this discrimination to be made. The expressions in the 14th ar
" the people and inhabitants of the two countries, respectively, shall have liberty freely and securely, &c., to come with their ships and cargoes to the lands, cities, &c., within the domioions and territories aforesaid, to enter into the same, &c., subject as to what respects this article to the laws of the respective countries." This limitation is supposed to regard the prohibition of and the duties upon, particular commodities, and not to refer to the quality of the ships, nor the manner in which they shall be navigated, whether navigated by subjects or foreigners. The section seems to be liable to objection, not only on account of the discrimination of native built from foreign built ships, but also in respect to the regulation that three-fourths of the crew of American ships should be Americans-regulations adopted by Great Britain, in their system, but not required by the United States. A third objection to the section is, that it confines the American trade with Great Britain to goods, wares, and merchandise, of the growth and manufacture of the United States, contrary to a clause of the 15th article of the treaty, that permits the importation, by American vessels, of any article (whether the production or manufacture of the United States or otherwise) that may be imported by the ships of any
other country. 2. American produce or manufactures, (except Sections 2, 3. 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. These sections apas hereafter enumerated,) to pay the same duties pear to change, in several instances, the footing of customs and excise as if'imported from any on which the American trade now stands; and other foreign country in British ships. And where this to its disadvantage. At this time any undifferent duties are imposed upon importation from manufactured goods and merchandises, the imdifferent foreign countries, then upon the lowest portation of which is not prohibited by law, (ex: of such duties in tables A, D, and F, in the con- cept tobacco, fish oil, whale fins, and spermaceti
, solidation act. If imported in American ships, which are subject to other regulations,) and any then subject also to the countervailing duties im- pig iron, bar iron, pitch, tar, turpentine, rosio, potposed by this act.
ash, pearlash, indigo, masts, yards, and bowsprits, 3. Pig iron, bar iron, pitch, tar, turpentine, rosin, the growth or production of the United States, potash, pearlash, masts, yards, bowsprits, and un- may he imported on the footing specified in the manufactured wood and staves, imported, without third section. All other goods and merchandise, any certificate, to
, and rice,) not above enuported in British-built ships, from the British merated; and also fish oil, whale fins, and spermaPlantations, with certificates subject, also, if im- ceti; being of the growth, production, or manuported in American ships, to the countervailing facture of the United States, may be imported on duties imposed by this act.
the footing specified in the second section. 4. Oil, blubber, whale fins, and spermaceti, may Tobacco, snuff, and rice, will remain upon the be imported on the same duties as if imported in same footing on which they now stand. British-built ships from foreign countries, subject These changes will yield little or no advantage likewise to the countervailing duties imposed by to the British revenue; they will affect, disadvanthis act.
tageously, the course of business which, from
Relations with Great Britain.
5. Tobacco may be imported on the same du- practice, has become, in some degree, habitual; ties as from a British colony; and snuff upon the they regard a subject of detail and intricacy in same duty as when imported from Europe, sub- which alterations, for slight causes, should be ject to the regulations of the 29th George III., avoided; they, moreover, afford occasion for misand 30th George III., and to the countervailing representation and misunderstandings; added to duty.
which, the early period at which the commercial 6. Rice may be landed and warehoused upon regulations of the treaty must again come under paying 8d. the cwt., and giving bond for the re- examination, and the mutual interest of the parmainder of the duties within eighteen months: ties that the most impartial and liberal views Provided that, in the port of London, and other should prevail on that occasion, may lead, at least, enumerated ports, it may be landed and ware- to a doubt whether any change of the existing housed without paying any duty, with liberty to state of the trade between Great Britain and the export the same within eighteen months; or, if United States, will be a measure of prudence, in taken out for home consumption, upon paying the reference to future and more important arrangeduty payable thereon.
ments on that subject. A saving of the temporary provision bill, which admits certain articles duty free.
7. Goods, &c., exported from the United States, entitled to the same drawbacks, when exported from Great Britain to any foreign country, as the like goods are entitled to on exportation to any other foreign country, by law; and goods exported to the United States, entitled to the same drawbacks and bounties as if exported to the British colonies.
8. The same drawback upon the exportation of foreign hemp and iron to any British colony, or to the United States, as is now, or may hereafter be, allowed by law, upon the exportation thereof to other foreign ports.
9. From and after the 5th of January, 1798, Sections 9 to 20, both inclusive. These secgoods, &c., the growth, produce, or manufacture tions are liable to objections; the right to impose of the United States of America, imported into a counter vailing duty is clear; the policy, under this country, directly from the said States. in existing circumstances, of exercising this right, American ships, to be subject to the following merits, perhaps, consideration. additional duties of customs, viz:
Most of the commodities imported into Great 10. All goods, &c., except tobacco and other Britain by American ships are raw materials, and articles for which provision is made hereafier, ten of importance to the manufactures, to the navigaper cent. on the amount of the duties of customs, tion, and to the marine of England; the policy of payable on such articles when imported from the England has hitherto been, to obtain these artiUnited States in British ships.
cles in the cheapest and most easy manner: this 11. Pig iron, bar iron, pot and pearl ash, ten countervailing duty, though disadvantageous to per cent., on the amount of the duties of customs the American, will enhance the price of raw mapayable on the said articles imported from any terials to the manufacturer of England; it will British colony or plantation in America, when also change the present footing of the American pot accompanied with the certificates required trade, and be liable to the inconveniences that by law.
may arise from such change. 12. Pitch, tar, turpentine, rosin, masts, yards, Besides, the object which alone can be in view and bowsprits, ten per cent., on the amount of the in the imposition of this countervailing tax, may custom duties payable on these articles when im- be defeated, after the expiration of two years subported from any British colony or plantation in sequent to the peace: it is only for that term that America.
the American Government are restrained from 13. Unmanufactured wood and staves, ten per increasing the existing difference of duties on cent. on the duties of customs payable on such goods imported into the United States in Amerigoods, imported from any part of Europe not can and British ships; the British Government within His Majesty's domains, in British ships. can countervail only the now existing difference; 14. Oil, blubber, whale fins, and spermaceti
, the the American Government cannot increase this produce of American fisheries, ten per cent. on difference at any time before the expiration of two the duties of customs payable on the like articles, years after the peace; but, afterwards, they may on importation from countries not under the do- increase the difference; and the British Governminion of His Majesty.
ment will have no right to countervail such aug15. Tobacco, 18d. per hundred Ibs. weight. mentation. It may be added that, admitting the 16. This act not to be construed to impose this policy to be as clear as the right, still it is not obadditional duty of ten per cent. on the duties of vious that the manner of imposing this counterfive per cent., and ten per cent. granted to His vailing duty is warranted by the treaty: The Majesty, by an act of the present session, on cer- right reserved, is to countervail, by an adequate
Relations with Great Britain.
tain goods (except wine and coals) exported from, duty, the difference of duty payable on goods imor brought, and carried coastwise within Great ported into the United States by American and Britain.
British ships: the thing to be countervailed is 17. This additional duty of ten per cent. not to not a given sum, but a ratio, or proportion; the be paid on goods permitted to be imported from rule is simple, and its application should be so the United States, to be warehoused, until, and likewise. Instead of imposing ten per cent. upon upless, such goods are taken out of the warehouse the duties payable on American goods imported to be consumed in this Kingdom.
from America in British ships, which it is con18. This act not to exempt from duty any arti- ceived would be a rule in itself simple, as well as cles in American ships, which, by any law now simple in its operation, these sections, in some in force, may be imported without payment of cases
, impose ien per cent. upon the duties pay. duty only upon condition of their being brought able on goods imported from the United States in British ships, unless such goods are particular- by British ships; in others, ten per cent. upon the ly exempted from duty by this act.
duties payable on similar goods imported from 19. Proviso to save the duties of package, scav- British colonies, without certain certificates ; in age, balliage, or porterage, or other duties payable others, ten per cent upon the duties payable on simto the city of London, or other corporation, and ilargoods imported from British colonies; in others, to save also special privileges and exemptions be- including certain articles of wood, thé duty on longing to any private persons or bodies politic. which will amount to a prohibition, ten per cent.
20. All the duties imposed by this aci, placed on the duties payable on similar goods imported under the respective Commissioners of Excise and in British ships from any part of Europe, not unCustoms in England or Scotland. All these du- der the British dominions; in others, including ties and drawbacks, as well as all penalties and the important article of fish oil, already subject to forfeitures arising from this act, subjected to the a very heavy duty, ten per cent upon the duties rules and regulations already provided by law in payable on similar goods imported from countries such cases respectively.
not under the British dominions; and, in the case of tobacco, a specific sum, not a proportion of duty, of 18d. per hundred.
li is possible that this mode of executing the countervailing right may be the least burdensome to the American commerce; but, as the standards referred to are various and unknown, it may be, likewise, that this manner of executing the right will be found to be injurious; it seems certain that it will be obscure to the Americans. Besides, a plain, simple, as well as an equitable mode of imposing this countervailing duty may be devised. Why, then, resort to one that is, at least, to one of the parties, obscure, complex, and concerning the equity of which it can only be an affair of
conjecture. 21. A tonnage duty of 28. to be paid by Ameri- Sections 21, 22, 23. These sections propose to can ships arriving in Great Britain, such tonnage levy 28. per ton on American ships, under that to be ascertained by admeasurement, according to clause of the 15th article of the treaty resetving statutes 26th George III., ch. 60.
to Great Britain a right to impose, on American 22. Officers of the customs may detain ships, vessels in Europe, a tonnage duty, to equal that and, after the space of three months, such ships im post on British vessels within the United States. may be sold for paying such tondage duty. The object of the treaty was to put upon an equal
23. The produce of such tonnage duties to be footing the ships of the two countries in their under the management of the Commissioners of trade and intercourse with each other. This was the Customs in England and Scotland ; and no equitable; and if a difference of imposition exist, such ship is to be suffered to clear out until the it should be countervailed; the propriety of the master shall have produced a receipt for the pay- tax, then, depends on the fact, whether British ment of the tonnage duty.
vessels, trading to the American ports, do pay higher tonnage duties than American vessels, trading to British ports, pay; the coast of America is very extensive; and, from one extreme to the other, is lighted at a great expense ; there is no duty or tax collected from ships under the name of light money ; the only tax or duty is called a tonnage duty, which amounts to 28. 3d. sterling per ton on foreign ships; this tax, together with one of the same denomination, but less in amount, paid by American ships, is paid with all other taxes into the General Treasury, and stands
Relations with Great Britain.
appropriated, in common with them, for the
payment of annuities, and the various objects of public expenditure, including the building and support of light-houses, beacons, buoys, &c. In the ports of Great Britain the duties paid on the tonnage of foreign ships, for light money, and other objects, vary; and, indeed, from the rights of different cities and corporations it is not easy to ascertain, with precision, the extent of these demands upon foreigners in their commerce with Great Britain. In Liverpool and Bristol, as well as in London, there are taxes, incident to navigation, which are levied in a double or some increased ratio upon foreign ships ; in all cases the. British light money is double upon foreign ships. Thelights of St. George's channel, on foreign ships, amount to 10d. per ton; in the English channel, to 23. 4d. per ton; and the Northern lights, to 8 d. per ton; and American ships, touching for orders, and bound up channel as far as Amsterdam, pay all the channel lights; and if to the northward of Amsterdam, they pay the channel and northern lights; and it is understood that this duty is exacted for the passage, up and down, whether the vessel returns down channel, goes north-about, or never returns. Thus, on an American vessel of 200 tons burden, the duty for channel lights is £23 68. 8d., and for northern lights £7 18. 8d., making £30 83. 4d.; which, taken for both passages up and down, makes £60 168. 8d., or 6s. 1d.
If the American ship falls into. St. George's channel, and afterwards pursues her voyage up the English channel, which is not uncommon, she pays for the lights in St. George's channel, which amount to 10d. per ton; which, added to 68. 1d. gives a tonnage duty of 6s. 11d. paid by American ships, and amounting, on a ship of 200 tons, to £69 38. 4d., which is £34 118. 8d. more than is paid by a British ship of the same tonnage: Provided that British ships pay for the passage, upand down, otherwise the difference against
the American ship will be £49 15s. 100. 24. Money arising from the duties imposed by this act to be paid into the Exchequer, and to be made part of the consolidated fund.
25. Lands, &c., bolden by American citizens on the 28th of October, 1795, shall be enjoyed, granted, &c., according to the stipulations and agreements in the 9th article of the treaty. 26. Proviso, that this shall not extend to give to persons, not being natural born subjects, other privileges, &c., than such as are necessary for the foregoing purpose.!
27. In case of requisition, according to the 27th article of the treaty, His Majesty's Secretary of State is to require justices of the peace, &c., to apprehend persons charged with murder or forgery, committed within the United States, and to proceed in the examination, and commit to jail the same as if such crime had been committed in this kingdom ; and to order the persons so apprehended and committed to be delivered to any person authorized from the United States to receive them into custody.
Or thus: A British and American ship, for the advantage of all the lights on the American coast,
This is stating the question in the strongest manner against the American ships. If, instead thereof, an average statement could be made, especially if, in addition to the heavy tax for the support of lights which foreign ships pay, the local and corporate duties are taken into the account, it is confidently believed that a result would appear unfavorable (if not in the extreme above stated) to the American navigation. The conclusion is against the proposed tonnage duty of 2s. per ton, on American vessels. It is true that few British vessels are at present employed in the trade between Great Britain and the United States. This may be satisfactorily accounted for, without recourse to an opinion that it proceeds from the
tonnage duty imposed by the United States. 28. American ships may trade to and from the Sec. 28. The American cargoes for the India British territories in the East Indies, subject to the market consist of wines, usually taken on board in restrictions contained in the 13th article of the the outward passage at Madeira, and various other treaty, and notwithstanding the Navigation Act, articles, sometimes collected in America, and fre12th Charles II., sec. 22.
quently purchased on the outward passage in Eng29. All acts or engagements done or entered land and elsewhere. This was the footing on into by American or British subjects, in pursu- which the trade stood when the treaty was made. ance of the 13th article of the treaty, since the The object of the treaty, in this respect, was, to final ratification of the treaty, and in conformity convert a favor into a right. A question has been thereto, shall be deemed, to all intents and pur- started, whether the trade from the United States poses, as if they had been done or entered into, to India must not be direct in the outward, as well subsequent to the passing of this act.
as in the return passage. It is of importance to 30. This act to continue as long as the treaty, the security of this branch of the American comand no longer.
merce, that no doubts should exist on this point; and, as from a careful examination of the article there does not appear to be any reason to doubt the intentions of the parties, it is to be wished that expressions may be used in the proposed bill which shall remove all questions on this point.
The American vessels which take on board goods in the British territories in India are required to return direct to America ; but it never has been understood that the voyage must be direct from America to such British territories. Should