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paper. America consumes Chinese tea, the Chinese consume
for our readers a. wide field of discussion: it has
The policy of the British government, as the owners of those colonies, has always been an obvious and natural one. It was to make them a source of increase to her own shipping, by confining the trade to British bottoms. The difficulty lay in the United States being the furnisher of what they most wanted. The object of the British government has therefore all along been, 1. To secure those supplies being carried in their own ships by excluding all foreigners from the islands; that is, to monopolize the direct trade: and, 2. To use this monopoly as a means of enlarging their indirect trade, by the advantages thus given to their own ships in the circuitous voyage between Great Britain, this country, and the West India islands. Simple exclusion of American vessels from their West India harbours was found not to effect it. Not only was the exclusion in great degree nominal, from the frequency of opening them under proclamation, but even when closed, the freightage still remained with us, and the greater loss was still upon themselves, in having to bring from the contiguous Danish islands of St. Croix and St. Thomas, supplies which they might have obtained cheaper direct from the United States. Under the treaty of 1830, the ports therefore were finally and permanently opened, on terms of equality, as to duties, charges, and articles of import, whether imported in American or British bottoms; our own ports, which had been previously closed, being also opened to vessels from her neighbouring North American colonies VOL. XVII.--NO. 34.
on the same reciprocal terms. Under this Convention, the trade has taken a great and sudden change unfavourable to our shipping. The supplies we used to furnish direct to the West Indies, either to British or neutral ports, now go through the British North American provinces; and our equality of duties in West India harbours remains, as to all practical result, a dead letter. Now we say that this has followed, not from Mr. M’Lane's Convention, but from subsequent acts of the British government, over which we had and could have no direct control.
It is not her skill in diplomacy, therefore, but her wise and more liberal colonial policy, which has gained for her what she has so long fought for in vain--in vain, only because she held it in her own hands. By an act of Parliament, passed 1831, all duties were abolished in her West India ports, upon supplies in her own ships from her North American possessions; and this operated immediately as a bounty, which has proved effectual in drawing the course of trade through that channel. Now, we ask, would not this same freedom have given the same result before! and if so, is it just to charge it upon our negotiator? Viewing it as a national question, we are also clear that Great Britain has a perfect right to favour her own shipping in her own ports; and that any advantages which freedom there gives, are a matter of independent choice. We surely have no right to quarrel with England, because she has at length opened her eyes to the true management of her own colonies. If we have enjoyed any advantages from her past blindness, that is no reason why we should insist on her shutting her eyes again for our benefit. Our author, on the contrary, lays the blame upon the liberal construction given by our negotiator, and subsequently by our government, to the open phrase "admitted to entry," as applied to British vessels from the North American colonies entering our ports. But this obviously is not the cause, since it is his own statement that the present course of the trade carries our produce first to those colonies, and between us and them there is under treaty a perfect reciprocity, so that if they have got the carrying of that produce, it is simply because--what is truly the fact—that New Brunswick and Nova Scotia have succeeded to our old trade of cheap "ship building,” and under the new and liberal policy of the mother country are growing as rapidly as we are. This, doubtless, is the true solution, and we who have fought and bled against colonial slavery are the very
last who should murmur at the results of " colonial freedom.” On this subject, or indeed on any subject addressed to intelligent men, we protest against such slang as Mr. P. treats us with, (p. 205,) of “ Brother Jonathan having been overreached by Father Bull," &c. Now we happen to know, from private as well as public sources, (having been on the spot at the time,) that the negotiation
was conducted on both sides with the candour of gentlemen, as well as the skill of diplomatists.
The comparative diminution of our own tonnage in our own ports is unquestionably a startling circumstance, and one that deserves the careful attention of Congress. The result, however, of such examination would, we think, reduce the causes of it to the following, viz., a general spirit of improvement in the commercial policy of European nations, producing an increase of enterprise in their merchants and ship owners. 2. A state of universal peace, which has withdrawn from our merchants all those privileges which as neutrals we so long enjoyed; and 3. As regards British tonnage, the cheap (perhaps cheaper) ships which her unculled American forests now enable her to build, together with the bounty offered to her colonial ship owners, by her West India ports being open to them duty free. The change is certainly too great for the single cause to which Mr. P. would assign it. Thus, from the tables of exported tonnage it would appear, that in 1830 foreigners enjoyed one-eighth of the whole carrying trade of the United States; and that in 1833, it had grown up to the alarming proportion of one-fourth.
In 1830, the whole amount of foreign tonnage entering our ports was 136,446; in 1833, 520,874. To this statement of our author we annex the following increase in the port of New York: British tonnage in 1830, 31,391; in 1833, 106,099. Besides, this increase of comparative tonnage is not confined to British. How does the West India question explain the growth of French tonnage? What would Mr. P. do with the fact, that the change of comparative tonnage in the French trade stands as follows:
25,400 This immense advance, however, in British tonnage at least, we must remember is in some degree nominal.
As the tonnage is reported on every entry, the short voyages of our northern neighbours swell the amount very rapidly. Thus, 97,669 tons is reported from Passamaquoddy alone, being near one-fifth of the whole. The only point in the West India matter, as it appears to us, in which we have a right to complain of the treaty—and that is due not to the treaty itself, but to the obvious misconstruction of our own government as to our rights under it—is this, the exexclusion of foreign goods in American bottoms from the British West India ports, while they are admitted in their own. This equal privilege, under the treaty of 1830, we have unquestionably a right to demand. The words are—“ terms of equality as to duties, charges, and ARTICLES OF IMPORT.” Now this is so plain, that our only wonder is that our West India merchants sit tamely
under the exclusion. If, as individuals, they fear the risk, let them memorialize Congress, and this we trust they will do the next session.
We have enlarged on this subject for two reasons, partly as being the only point in which our comparative advance does not indicate the same relative prosperity, and partly in the hope of putting its causes in a juster light, and thus relieving from the odium of having caused it, one whom honour and talents have hitherto favoured more than fortune or arbitrary power.
The commerce of the United States with France is next in magnitude, though much inferior to that with Great Britain, being but about one-third. In 1833, the difference in favour of the latter in regard to exports was about $18,600,000; and with respect to imports, exceeded $24,000,000. Looking back, however, to 1821, both imports and exports with France have nearly trebled. As · in all other cases, this commerce is mutually beneficial. Looking over the last “ Tableau General" (1835) of the French customhouse, we meet with the following acknowledgement. “The United States continue to be placed far ahead of the nations with which we hold the most extensive trade.” The same report informs us, that next to the United States in receiving the produce of French labour stands England-next in the amount sent her comes Belgium: the account of the United States stands thusimports in francs, 97,079,212; exports in francs, 117,396,336 three-fourths of our exports in value being cotton.
With the French West Indies, so long as she had colonies, the United States carried on a large and lucrative business, from having the monopoly of their carrying trade, the French colonial policy being altogether governed by the interest of the planters, while that of England was equally so by that of her ship owners. This, doubtless, was one reason of the more flourishing condition of the French islands while they remained to her. The twenty years' war of her Revolution, however, swept them from her, transferring them, as we now find, to less liberal or accommodating hands.
With the free island of Hayti, though we would fain believe with an able champion* for Emancipation that the island is improving, we certainly carry on a smaller commerce than we formerly did, it being less than one-half in 1833 of what it was in 1823. To our trade with the Spanish peninsula a similar observation belongs; it is less now than it was forty years agoin 1799 it was double of 1833.
1833. The explanation of this is doubtless to be found in the continental war, which from 1793 to 1815 made such large demands upon our farmers for grain, and our ship owners for freights. In 1817, therefore, the trade sunk to
Inquiry into Colonization, by Hon. William Jay. New York.
what may be termed its natural level, since which time, our imports, the criterion of our wealth, have more than doubled; while our exports, the criterion of their poverty, have fallen near 40 per cent. It now stands thus: imports, $1,144,508; exports, $362,117.
With the island of Cuba à separate account has been kept at the custom-house since 1820. Our trade, indeed, well deserves it, since it now stands third in amount in the general scale, second only to that with England and France. It is a trade, too, of which we monopolize a large share. Of the whole amount of tonnage entering the port of Havanna in 1827, viz., 169,281, there appears 6 from the United States” 125,087. Here also, however, the reader must bear in mind the short voyage and consequently repeated estimate of the same vessel.
To Russia we send little and bring away much, our exports amounting rarely to one-fourth of our imports. In 1833, they exceeded a little that proportion, being-exports, $703,805; imports, $ 2,772,550. About a similar proportion holds with Norway and Sweden. This, however, again is reversed in the case of Denmark, where our exports far exceed our imports, being on an average ten-fold. To Denmark, therefore, we remit the means to make
the " "per contra” with the other northern powers. It is a little singular, that the very name of Prussia does not appear in our author's statements of American commerce, and whatever there is of facts relating to it, is to be found under the wide head of " Hamburg, Bremen, and northern ports of Germany." Regarding this omission as wrong, politically as well as statistically, we will take the liberty of enlarging a little upon the subject, rather, however, in its prospective character than its present condition, which unquestionably is of limited amount.
In the first place, regarding Prussia as the most liberal and enlightened nation on the continent of Europe, so far at least as policy is concerned, and advancing among the most rapid in wealth, population, and influence, we look forward to a proportionate increase of our trade with her. This has hitherto been impeded by the narrow policy of the smaller states around her, through whose ports or dominions her foreign trade had mainly to be carried on. All this is now done away. The “ douanes” or custom-houses which once encircled her, have by her influence been removed; so that in trade all Prussia, Bavaria, Saxony, Wirtemberg, and most of the Grand Duchies and Duchies of northern Germany may now be considered as constituting but one large flourishing country—an empire in extent and population, and demanding for its rising manufactories the same raw materials with which we supply England and France, under the more favourable arrangement of our great staple, cotton, being “ duty free.” This trade, formerly circuitous aad scattered, is now too beginning to concentrate itself upon Stettin, Memel, Dantzic, and Stralsund.