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the opinions embraced by the federalists on those Chap. >». points of difference which had arisen between the 17&3~ two republics, and which, having become universally the subjects of discussion, had in some measure displaced those topics on which parties had previously divided. The partiality for France that was conspicuous through the whole of it, detracted nothing from its merit in the opinion of the friends of the administration, because, however decided might be their determination to support their own government in a controversy with any nation whatever, they felt all the partialities for that republic which the correspondence expressed. The hostility of his enemies therefore was, for a time, considerably lessened without a corresponding diminution of the attachment of his friends. In office it would have been impracticable long to preserve these dispositions. And it would have been difficult to maintain that ascendency which he held over the minds of those who had supported, and probably would continue to support every pretension of the French republic, without departing from principles and measures which he had openly and ably defended. He was immediately succeeded by Mr. Edmund I»«k««i«i Randolph; and the office of attorney general, ^""Wi*which thereby became vacant, was filled by Mr. William Bradford, a gentleman of considerable eminence in Pennsylvania.
On the fourth of January, the house resolved 1794. 'tself into a committee of the whole on the report of the secretary of state relative to the privileges and restrictions of the commerce of the Vol. v. K r r
Chap Vii. United States; when Mr. Madison, after some prc
1794. fatory observations, laid on the table a series of* resolutions for the consideration of the members.
«n'-,Mr^iiu. These memorable resolutions almost completely
£r£*£ embraced the idea of the report. They imposed
,pCrt an additional duty on the manufactures, and on the tonnage of vessels, of nations having no com
mercial treaty with the United States; while they reduced the duties already imposed by law on the tonnage of vessels belonging to nations having such commercial treaty: and they reciprocated the restrictions which were imposed on American navigation.
On the 13th of January, these resolutions were UK,TM., taken mto consideration, when the debate was opened by Mr. Smith of South Carolina.
After noticing the importance of the subject to the best interests of the United States, he observed that, being purely commercial in its nature, he would exclude from the view he should take of it, those political considerations which some might think connected with it. He imagined it would be right to dismiss, for the present, all questions respecting the Indians, Algerines, and western posts. There would be a time for these questions, and then he should give his opinion upon them with firmness, and according to what he conceived to be the true interests of his country. The regulation of commerce gave of itself sufficient scope for argument, without mixing with it extraneous matter.
After some general observations on the delicacy Chap. Vh. ef the crisis, and on the claims of the resolutions 1794, to dispassionate investigation, he proceeded to consider the report on which they were founded.
The great object of that report being to establish a contrast between France and Britain, he would request the attention of the committee to an accurate statement of facts, which, being compared with the report, would enable them to decide on the justness of its inferences.
In the opinion that any late relaxations of the French republic were produced by interests too momentary and fluctuating to be taken as the basis of calculations for a permanent system, he should present a comparative view of the commerce of the United States to those countries, as it stood anterior to the revolution. For this purpose, he produced a table which had been formed by a person whose commercial information was highly respectable, from which he said it would appear, notwithstanding the plaudits so generally bestowed on the justice and liberality of the one nation and the reproaches uttered against the other, that, with the exception of the trifling article of fish oil, the commerce of the United States was not more favoured in France than in Great Britain, and was in many important articles, more favoured by the latter power than that of other nations.
Flour, which is an article of the first magnitude, is more favoured in Great Britain. In France it is subject to a duty of only \ per centum; but France generally produces enough for her own R r r 2
Chap, vii consumption, and the average price is so low, 1794. that it cannot in common years be carried thither
. from the American continent. From the French islands it is excluded by a permanent law. The colonial governments possessed, it was true, the power occasionally to suspend this law; but this power rather formed an exception than a rule.
In Great Britain, there was frequently a demand for flour, and this demand was regularly increasing. In that kingdom, the duty was high on grain and flour while the article was low, at which time it would not bear importation from the United States; but when the article rose, the duty was reduced, and the market was then a good one. In their West India islands, American flour may be imported free from duty, and other foreign flour is prohibited. Mr. Smith showed, that in 1786 and 1788, previous to the demand created by the present convulsive state of France, the exportation of flour to Great Britain and her colonies exceeded that to France and her colonies, more than twenty for one.
With regard to tobacco also, the system of Britain was more advantageous to the United States than that of France. In Britain, a duty of I per pound was imposed on tobacco consumed within the kingdom; but as neither the article nor a substitute for it was produced in the country, and as the duty was not so high as to amount to a prohibition, it was unquestionably paid by the consumer. On tobacco the growth of other countries, the duty was J per pound; and of consequence the tobacco of the United States had a
monopoly of the British market. This is a great Chap. Vii. advantage, of which the secretary of state takes 1794. no notice, although he mentions the high duties on the internal consumption of the article.
France admits tobacco into her European dominions free from duty, but prohibits its importation into her colonies; and in Europe, it is on the same footing with the same article from other countries.
In the article of rice, the regulations of the two nations were compared; and Mr. Smith doubted which were the most favourable. ,
In wood, the preference was incontestibly due to the English system. In both countries the article was free; but in Great Britain, a duty was imposed on the wood of other countries, while in France, it was equally free from every quarter of the world. This was not as the secretary had asserted a small duty, but was very considerable, without which the wood from the north of Europe would exclude that from the United States.
Salted fish and fish oil were the only articles in the whole catalogue of exports, imports, and navigation, in which the regulations of France were more advantageous than those of Britain. With respect to them, the different situations of the two nations had occasioned the difference in their system. Each sought a monopoly. Britain was able to supply herself, and therefore prohibited the importation of the article; France was unable to supply herself, and therefore admitted its importation on paying a small duty, while a bounty was given to the fish taken by their own subjects.