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from the quarries to the place of exportation. As an act of just reciprocity in order to render equal to both parties the operations of trade, it has been suggested that British vessels should not be permitted to enter the ports of the United States, carrying cargoes taken in at any port or place other than those in which American vessels may go and discharge and take on board a cargo.
The discriminating duty imposed by Great Britain in favor of the intercolonial trade in her own vessels, rather than direct from the United States in American vessels, presents a vast field for the employment of her commercial marine, to the exclusion of our own, in the transportation of our own products. The operation of this system is apparent with regard to the articles of flour, beef, pork, and lumber, to which the attention of Congresswas called in another memorial, on this same subject, presented to the last Congress. These products of the United States are admitted from this country into Canada free, but are liable to a duty on importation into the British West India possessions of $1 20 per barrel on flour; pork, $2 88per cwt.; and on lumber, $5 04 per 1,000 feet. The amount of these articles imported into the said dependencies of Great Britain by sea, and coming under the operation of these duties, is large, but insignificant in, comparison with that carried into the provinces over the Canadian frontiers by land, and thus distributed through her North American possessions in her own vessels.
Previous to the opening of these colonial ports to the commerce of the United States, we supplied the British colonies through the neutral islands,. as they were called, with the productions of this country; enjoying the entire carrying trade to the neutral islands. At present, American vessels are precluded from the possibility of entering into competition with those of Great Britain, from the superior advantages possessed by the latter; because British vessels have the power of trading between the ports of the United States and any number of British colonial ports on the same voyage, while American vessels are limited to one single colonial port in one voyage. Under existing arrangements, British vessels can enter the ports of the United States with their colonial productions, dispose of them, then take full or partial freights for the West Indies, and thence, again, full. freights of molasses, sugar, coffee, &c., for England. Thus employed, they possess a decided advantage over American vessels, even in direct freights to and from our own ports.
British vessels often make their first freight out from England to the West Indies having discharged their cargoes, in a few days they are found in one of our Southern ports, with colonial produce, and ready for freight to Europe, or back to the colonies, as they find best; while the profits already realized from the voyage to the British North American possessions enable them to take freight for Europe or the West Indies at a less rate than is possible for the vessels of the United States.
The gradual extinction of our direct trade with the British West Indies, at least in our own vessels, seems an inevitable result from the present arrangement; the discrimination between duties on articles imported into their colonies directly from the United States, and on the same articles when imported circuitously through the provinces, will eventually turn the whole course of trade in that direction. The duty on flour, beef, pork, lumber, staves, and shingles, from the United States, must, of course, take this circuitous mode of importation, as they are all admitted free of duty
from the provinces; and whatever of direct trade between the United States and the continental provinces does exist, must be enjoyed by British vessels, in very great measure, in consequence of their superior facilities, at the ports in those colonies, for transportation to the West Indies.
Colonies of Great Britain with regard to which, there exist special enactments, on the part of the mother country, regulating the imports into each.
MALTA AND GIBRALTAR.-Malta has been a free port since 1837, when the then existing tariff, customs, and port charges, were wholly abolished. There is now enforced but a moderate imposition of duties on a few articles of general demand, without regard to the country whence imported, for the sake of revenue only, and that revenue designed solely for the support of the administration of the island. The tariff, which does not comprehend over a dozen different species of merchandise, is simple in its character and operations.
GIBRALTAR is also a free port, subject to no duties whatever on import or export, and imposing but very few restrictions on foreign commerce.
Goods from within the limits of the East India Company's charter are imported to some considerable extent through Malta and Gibraltar. When thus imported in British ships, they are liable to the same duties as though imported direct into the United Kingdom, from some other place within the limits of said charter.
CAPE OF GOOD HOPE.-The trade of this colony has been subject, heretofore, to the same regulations, in all respects, as the British possessions deemed to be within the limits of the East India Company's charter, until the 10th of August, 1840, when a tariff of the duties of customs was put in operation, under the order in council, payable on goods, wares, and merchandise, imported into that colony.
The following is a list of the "free ports," and "free warehousing ports," víz: Cape Town, Simon's Town, and Port Elizabeth.
AUSTRALIA. By this name is designated New Holland, New South Wales, and Van Dieman's Land.
These islands are of no inconsiderable importance to the South sea whalers of the United States, for purposes of traffic, with which a seemingly prosperous trade is carried on, as also of consequence in the procuring of temporary supplies, &c. These islands are so situated as to be quite accessible to commercial transactions with the Malays and Chinese, with which half-civilized countries an apparently successful intercourse has been long carried on by our enterprising whalemen and sealers.
A tariff has very recently been established on importations into Port Philip. Duties on British West India or North American rum and tobacco, if imported direct from the United Kingdom, $1 86 per gallon; upon imported foreign spirits, $2 20 per gallon; tobacco, manufactured, 60 cents per pound; unmanufactured, 36 cents per pound; all British manufactures, FREE; all other goods, five per cent. ad valorem.
According to an English Treasury order of 29th June and 3d July, 1839, New South Wales (in the table of duties) is to be taken in a comprehensive sense, and be deemed to include Swan river, on the opposite side of the island, and all other places in Terra Australis, without regard to other geographical divisions.
A maximum of duties is fixed by the mother country, empowering the Governor, or any other person administering the Government of New South Wales and its dependencies for the time being, by any order or proclamation, to discontinue or reduce any such duties, from time to time, as occasion may require; and, also, equal power to revive and levy, at any time, duties so discontinued or reduced; but making it unlawful for any Governor, or other person administering the Government of the said colony, to order the levying or raising of any higher rate of duty. The Governors and Councils of the colonies of New South Wales and Van Dieman's Land are expressly prohibited from imposing any duty or tax whatever, except it be absolutely necessary for local purposes; and then the object, together with the amount to be appropriated and applied, shall be distinctly and particularly stated in the body of the law or ordinance imposing every such tax or duty.
In the year 1793 an act was passed by the National Assembly, interdicting a direct commercial intercourse between foreign nations and the French republic. It has not been discovered, after diligent search, that any law repealing that act has been adopted by France; but, by various modifications subsequently introduced, the aspect of the restrictive system which it establishes has been in some degree changed. Foreign goods, even if prohibited, are admitted to entrepôt, for re-exportation, at the ports of Marseilles, Bayonne, Bordeaux, Nantes, Havre, and Dunkirk. Goods thus warehoused may, in certain cases, be transferred from one bonding warehouse to another, for transit, on payment of specified duties. Merchandise, not prohibited, may be transferred from one bonding store to another, by land, on the terms of transfer, but free of all duties. Arles, Port Vendre, and Strasburg, are constituted ports where merchandise not prohibited, may be received in bond, and from which such merchandise can only be exported by sea. There is a special depôt at Lyons, to which all the ports of bonding depôts may transmit merchandise, either for consumption or exportation.
The commercial intercourse between the United States and France is regulated by the convention of 24th June, 1822. By this convention each country secured to its own flag certain advantages in its own ports, by imposing discriminating duties on cargoes brought in the vessels of the other, and additional tonnage duties on the vessels themselves.
The amount of discriminating duty was limited not to exceed twenty francs, or three dollars and seventy-five cents per ton of merchandise. This duty having been, by the terms of the treaty, gradually diminished, until entirely done away with, the productions of both countries are now admitted into their respective ports upon equal terms, whether brought by French or American vessels. The tonnage duty is five francs or ninetyfour cents per ton on the vessel's measurement; this duty to be calculated according to the American vessel's register and the French vessel's passport.
This last duty exceeds the amount levied by France on the vessels of every other country. Vessels of other nations, except Great Britain, pay seventy-seven cents per ton. British vessels going into France direct pay
only one franc and ten centimes, or about twenty cents; in ballast, from any other country, nothing.
All the port charges, under the name of light-money, permits, certificates, &c., are equal upon the ships of all nations.
At the period when the convention of 1822 was adopted, United States vessels were accustomed to enter French ports in ballast from the neighboring countries, for the purpose of taking in freight for their own or other countries. Now, however, the vessels of the Hanseatic Republics, Austria, and some other nations of Europe, which have treaties with the United States, admitting an indirect trade, being subjected to lower tonnage duties in French ports, and placed on the same footing in the United States with United States vessels, having entered French ports, either laden or in ballast, can take freight for the United States on lower terms than its own ships, which are subjected to a heavier tonnage duty in France, can afford to do. And these vessels, having a similar advantage, in the ports of the United States, over French vessels, which pay ninety-four cents per ton, have monopolized a great share of the carrying trade from France to the United States. Moreover, the vessels of these foreign States, enjoying this advantage over United States vessels, in the ports of France, on their arrival in the United States with their French cargoes, take in cargoes for their own countries, to the exclusion of an equal number of vessels to the United States.
Direct Trade.-The reciprocity stipulated in the convention of 1822 is applicable only to articles of the growth, produce, or manufacture of the respective countries. Accordingly, no cargoes from the United States are admitted to the advantages secured by the treaty, unless certified by the French consul, at the port of clearance, to be of the growth, produce, or manufacture of the United States. In a French port, the American shipmaster is subjected to an accumulation of fees, for the preparation and proper authentication of certificates of origin, from which the French captain is exempt in the United States. The multiplication of certificates in the French ports, imposing a heavy tax on the shippers in United States vessels, operates as an additional duty on the merchandise; and, so far, interferes with the reciprocity which the convention of 1822 guaranteesFrench ships coming to the United States not being liable to like charges. A recent treaty between France and Holland authorizes the admission of every description of produce from the entrepots of the last-named country, without inquiry as to its origin.
The stipulation in the convention of 1822, by which the products of the United States, carried in American vessels, are, after a certain period, to become liable to no higher rate of duty than when imported in French vessels, does not embrace the articles of tin, the products of the fisheries, or spermaceti simply pressed. Copper and lead, although named among these exceptions, are admitted to enjoy the benefit of the convention, when their American origin is satisfactorily proved.
Tobacco. This important staple of the United States is the subject of Government monopoly in France. By an imperial decree of 1811, sanctioned and legalized by the law of April, 1816, the exclusive purchase, manufacture, and sale of tobacco, were vested in the administration. Successive acts have, from time to time, continued the monopoly ; and the law of April, 1840, extends it until the 1st of January, 1852. The quantity of tobacco raised in France in 1820 has been estimated at 24,000 hogsheads;
and the annual consumption in 1802 is stated at 30,000. From the United States the exports of this article to France, during the three years comprised in the tabular statements, were: in 1838, 15,511 hogsheads; in 1839, 9,574 hogsheads; and in 1840, 15,640 hogsheads, according to the official records.
Sugar.-In the year 1840 there was a considerable exportation to France of sugar, of the growth and manufacture of the United States. The effect of the establishment of manufactories of sugar from the beet root, introduced in France by Napoleon, has been to depress the colonial sugar trade to a great extent.
Cotton. The tabular statements exhibit an increasing demand for United States cotton in the markets of France. It is admitted, direct, at a duty of about one cent and three-fourths of a cent per pound. Cotton from other countries continues to be admitted into France at lower rates of duty.
FRENCH COLONIAL POSSESSIONS.
The foreign possessions of France, may be classed thus:
In the West Indies.-Martinique, Guadaloupe, Cayenne or French Guiana.
In Africa.-Senegal, the Isle of Bourbon, and Algiers.
In India.-Pondicherry, Chandernagore, Cassinbuzar, and a few minor settlements or factories.
In North America.-St. Pierre and Miquelon, fisheries near the coast of Newfoundland.
WEST INDIES.-The commercial intercourse between the United States and the West India possessions of France is regulated by the royal ordinance of February 5, 1826, and the act of the Congress of the United States of 9th of May, 1828. By the former, it is prescribed that, after the 1st of July, 1826, all vessels, whether national or foreign, shall be permitted to import in the islands of Martinique and Guadaloupe certain articles of merchandise specified in accompanying tables, on payment of the duties annexed, without distinction of flag; and by this decree all previously existing tariffs are revoked. The act of Congress of the 9th May, 1828, admits all French vessels, "coming directly from the islands of Martinique and Guadaloupe, and laden with articles the growth or manufacture of either of said islands, and which are permitted to be exported therefrom in American vessels," into the ports of the United States, "on payment of no higher duty on tonnage or on their cargoes, as aforesaid, than are imposed on American vessels, and on the cargoes imported in American vessels." The French ordinance also exempts foreign vessels, importing the merchandise thus authorized, from any other duties on tonnage or any port charges, but those to which the vessels of France are subjected. The importation of all articles of merchandise, except such as are specified, by foreign vessels, is prohibited. Articles allowed to be imported can only be re-exported from one colony to another by French vessels.
By a royal ordinance of 8th December, 1839, the tariff imposed in 1826 was modified, and the range of imposts slightly enlarged. But the equal footing on which foreign and national vessels were placed by the previous ordinance, in regard to tonnage duties and port charges, was allowed to remain undisturbed.