« AnteriorContinuar »
situated in every latitude, and enjoying the benefit of every soil and climate. Still, notwithstanding the unfavourable aspect of this part of the stipulation, the transportation of the valuable staples of the southern division of the confederacy is done, almost, exclusively in American bottoms.
This convention gave, also, in the outset, to the British vessel the advantage of the circuitous voyage, or double freight. The American, being immediately excluded from the West Indies, while the English vessel, still retaining the privilege of entering from and departing for those islands from our waters, had the double choice presented of taking a freight either for Europe, or colonial possessions. This evil, not being inherent in the convention, but only an incident, arising from the unequal navigation laws of the two countries, was remedied in the course of 18 months by heavy duties on British vessels, arriving from the West Indies and, finally, by a nonintercourse with those islands. The same state of things produced another result, probably not anticipated. All sort of lumber, when imported into Great Britain from British Provinces, (and they can be imported only in British vessels) pay a small duty, compared with the same descriptions of lumber, imported from the United States either in American or British vessels. Trade, which has such a wonderful instinct in detecting and following the softest vein, was not long in probing the consequences of this unequal rate of duties, but it turned out to the nominal benefit of the British vessel. The lumber, carried to Nova Scotia is thence shipped to England, the whole advantage of the freight of this bulky article remaining with the English.
Nothing can be more evident than the extreme difficulty of making a safe and satisfactory commercial arrangement with Great Britain. The activity and enterprise of the nation are strained to the utmost in counteracting the advantages she has in her colonial possessions: this can be effected neither by treaty stipulation, nor legislative enactment. Commerce winds and turns, till it flows into the best market, with the certainty of water seeking its level, and those 10
mounds and dykes, a government raises to keep the stream within certain courses and channels, amount to little else thran so many taxes and tolls upon its own people. But many of those obstacles have been overcome, and no pecuniary damage has yet been felt by the country. The United States and Great Britain are the best customers to each other, and it is no objection to a system that extends and confirms a friendly as well as profitable connexion and intercourse. An equality of duties and charges on navigation saves much angry correspondence, much retaliatóry legislation, and dries up numerous sources of complaint and irritation, and, in the end, will turn to the decided advantage of both nations, compared with that uncertain condition of trade and commerce, which has no more solid and permanent foundation than the capricious or occasional regulations of the respective parties.
John Quincy Adams, engaged in negotiating this convention, was appointed in February 1815, Minister Plenipotentiary and Envoy Extraordinary to the Court of London, and, in the same year, Charles Bagot, being here received in the same capacity, the diplomatic intercourse of the two countries was fully and happily renewed.*
* After this convention was ratified, the following declaration was made to the American governinent by the British chargé at Washing
"The undersigned, his Britannic majesty's chargé d'affaires in the United States of America, is commanded by his royal highness the prince regent, acting in the name and on the behalf of his majesty, to explain and declare, upon the exchange of the ratifications of the convention concluded at London, on the third of July of the present year, for regulating the commerce and navigation between the two countries, that in consequence of events which have happened in Europe subsequent to the signature of the convention aforesaid, it has been deemed expedient, and determined, in conjunction with the allied sovereigns, that St. Helena shall be the place allotted for the future residence of General Napoleon Bonaparte, under such regulations as may be necessary for the perfect security of his person, and it has been resolved, for that purpose, that all ships and vessels whatever, as well British ships and vessels, as others, excepting only ships
belonging to the East India Company, shall be excluded from all communication with, or approach to, that island.
"It has therefore become impossible to comply with so much of the third article of the treaty as relates to the liberty of touching for refreshment at the Island of St. Helena, and the ratifications of the said treaty will be exchanged under the explicit declaration and understanding, that the vessels of the United States cannot be allowed to touch at, or hold any communication whatever with the said island, so long as the said island shall continue to be the place of residence of the said Napoleon Bonaparte.*
Washington, November 24, 1815."
ANTHONY ST. JNO. BAKER.
* In consequence of the death of the emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte, this restriction was removed 30th July 1821.
COMMERCIAL CONVENTION OF 1818 WITH G. BRITAIN.
Commercial stipulations the same as those of 1815-Renewed for ten years-Impressient-Tone of British government unfavourable at Ghent-Subject much discussed in 1818-Propositions of EnglandRemarks-Parties could not agree-Will never be adjusted by a Treaty-A question of sovereignty to the United States-British propositions in regard to other maritime rights-Nothing settled-Gallatin and Rush for United States-Robinson and Goulbourn for England-Fisheries-Extent and boundaries regulated-CurtailedAmerican and British ground as to effect of war on Treaties—Lord Bathurst's Letter defending British principle-England renounced right to Navigation of Mississippi-United States to certain portion of the Fisheries-Boundaries on the North West settled-To the Rock Mountains-English anxious to confine United States below the course of the Columbia, and to divide the Navigation of the river, and the use of the harbour-Have ambitious projects in that direc tion-Possess an accurate knowledge of the country by means of their hunters-Americans and English have extended nearly across the Continent-Rush, King, Gallatin and Barbour, ministers to England-Canning and Vaughan to this country-Boundaries-Proceedings on the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh Articles of the Treaty of Ghent-Decisions and Reports of Commissioners—Convention in regard to the North East-Advantages to both parties from a settlement.
WE shall not detain the reader with any account of the commercial part of this instrument, comprising only a renewal of the stipulations of the convention of 1815; but it was the last time the impracticable topic of impressment has appeared at our negotiations with Great Britain. In suffering that subject to be matter of discussion the American government has never admitted, that the pretension of the
English had the least solid foundation, or that the United States did not possess a full right to resist, by an immediate appeal to arms, every similar aggression on their sovereignty. But, being well persuaded that England, on the return of every war, would attempt a renewal of the practice, the government, urged by a steady and laudable desire to remove so intolerable and fatal a circumstance of outrage and dispute, has, in a persevering manner, brought this subject under consideration at every negotiation of a general nature. Although it cannot be said, that much encouragement was afforded for these repeated endeavours, either by a prospect of success, or a recollection of the favourable attention, with which former propositions had been received.
The commissioners, at the negotiations of 1814-1815, found the temper of the British government altogether forbidding on this as well as other subjects, connected with maritime rights, though the proposition, they were authorized to offer, embraced equal and reasonable provisions. It was, in substance, that the two governments should exclude from their vessels all but native, or already naturalized seamen. This stipulation, taken in connexion with the law of 1815, requiring that American vessels should be navigated solely by American or naturalized seamen, would have afforded full security for the English, and as a continued residence of five years was made necessary for naturalization, the wandering, uncertain habits of seamen would have deprived them of nearly all the benefits of the act. At the end, therefore, of a few years, according to the theory of this law, our navigation would be done exclusively by Americans. Undoubtedly, difficulties might be expected to arise in enforcing the provisions of it, in a time of general peace, when the seamen of all maritime nations enjoy the liberty of frequenting every port in quest of employment, but the effectual execution of this particular statute would rest upon the same general foundation as the greater part of the revenue system. As England has never objected to the practice of the American merchant in employing foreign seamen more than to that of transporting articles, contraband of war, all pretension to search and