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agriculture, then, they have no resource ; and, if that of their fishery cannot be pursued from their own habitations, it is natural they should seek others from which it can be followed, and preferably those where they will find a sameness of language, religion, laws, habits, and kindred. A foreign emissary has lately been among them, for the purpose of renewing the invitations to a change of situation. But, attached to their native country, they prefer continuing in it, if their continuance there can be made supportable.
This brings us to the question, what relief does the condition of this fishery require ? 1. A remission of duties on the articles used for their calling.
retaliating daty on foreign oils, coming to seek a competion with them in or from our ports.
3. Free markets abroad.
1. The remission of duties will stand on nearly the same ground with that to the cod fishermen.
2. The only nation whose oil is brought hither for competition with our own, makes ours pay a duty of about eighty-two dollars the ton, in their ports. Theirs is brought here, too, to be reshipped fraudulently, under our fing, into ports where it could not be received under theirs, and ought not to be covered by ours, if we mean to preserve our own admission into them.
The 3d and principal object is to find markets for the vent of oil.
Portugal, England, Holland, Sweden, Denmark, Prussia, Russia, the Hanse towns, supply themselves and something more. Spain and Italy receive supplies from England, and need the less, as their skies are clearer. France is the only country which can take our surplus, and they take principally of the common oil; as the habit is but commencing with them of ascribing a just value to spermaceti whale. Some of this, however, finds its vent there. There was, indeed, a particular interest perpetually soliciting the exclusion of our oils from their markets. The late government there saw well that what we should lose therehy would be gained by others, not by themselves. And we are to hope that the present government, as wise and friendly, will also view us, not as rivals, but as co-operators against a common rival. Friendly arrangements with them, and accommodation to mutual interest, rendered easier by friendly dispositions existing on both sides, may long secure to us this important resource for our seamen. Nor is it the interest of the fisherman alone, which calls for the cultivation of friendly arrangements with that nation; besides five-eights of our whale oil, and two-thirds of our salted fish, they take from us one-fourth of our tobacco, three-fourths of our live stock
a considerable and growing portion of our rice, great supplies, occasionally, of other grain; in 1789, which, indeed, was extraordinary, four millions of bushels of wheat, and upwards of a million of bushels of rye and barley * and nearly the whole carried in our own vessels. * They are a free market now, and will, in time, be a valuable one for ships and ship timber, potash, and peltry.
England is the market for the greatest part of our spermaceti oil. They impose on all our oils a duty of eighteen pounds five shillings sterling the ton, which, as to the common kind, is a prohibition, as has been before observed, and, as to the spermaceti, gives a preference of theirs over ours to that amount, so as to leave, in the end, but a scanty benefit to the fishermen ; and, not long since, by a change of construction, without any change of law, it was made to exclude our oils from their ports, when carried in our vessels. On some change of circumstance, it was construed back again to the reception of our oils, on paying always, however, the same duty of eighteen pounds five shillings. This serves to show that the tenure by which we hold the admission of this commodity in their markets, is as precarious as it is hard. Nor can it be announced that there is any disposition on their part to arrange this or any other commercial matter, to mutual convenience. The ex parte regulations which they have begun for mounting their navigation on the ruins of ours, can only be opposed by counter regulations on our part. And the loss of seamen, the natural consequence of lost and obstructed
markets for our fish and oil, calls, in the first place, for serious and timely attention. It will be too late when the seaman shall have changed his vocation, or gone over to another interest. If we cannot recover and secure for him these important branches of employment, it behooves us to replace them by others equivalent. We have three nurseries for forming seamen:
1. Our coasting trade, already on a safe footing.
2. Our fisheries, which, in spite of natural advantages, give just cause of anxiety.
3. Our carrying trade, our only resource of indemnification for what we lose in the other. The produce of the United States, which is carried to foreign markets, is extremely bulky. That part of it which is now in the hands of foreigners, and which we may resume into our own, without touching the rights of those nations who have met us in fair arrangements by treaty, or the interests of those who, by their voluntary regulations, have paid so just and liberal a respect to our interests, as being measured back to them again, places both parties on as good ground, perhaps, as treaties could place them—the proportion, I say, of our carrying trade, which may be resumed without affecting either of these descriptions of nations, will find constant employment for ten thousand seamen, be worth two millions of dollars, annually, will go on augmenting with the population of the United States, secure to us a full indemnification for the seamen we lose, and be taken wholly from those who force us to this act of self protection in navigation.
Hence, too, would follow, that their Newfoundland ships, not receiving provisions from us in their bottoms, nor permitted (by a law of their own) to receive in ours, must draw their subsistence from Europe, which would increase that part of their expenses in the proportion of four to seven, and so far operate as a duty towards restoring the level between them and us. The tables No. 2 and 12, will show the quantity of tonnage, and, consequently, the mass of seamen whose interests are in distress; and
; No. 17, the materials for indemnification.
If regulations exactly the counterpart of those established
against is, would be ineffectual, from a difference of circumstances, other regulations equivalent can give no reasonable ground of complaint to any nation. Admitting their right of keeping their markets to themselves, ours cannot be denied of keeping our carrying trade to ourselves. And if there be auything unfriendly in this, it was in the first example.
The loss of seamen, umoticed, would be followed by other losses in a long train. If we have no seamen, our shijs will be useless, consequently our ship timber, iron, and hemp; our ship building will be at an end, ship carpenters go over to other nations, our young men have no call to the sea, our produce, carried in foreign bottoms, be saddled with war-freight and insurance in times of war; and the history of the last hundred years shows, that the nation which is our carrier has three years of war for every four years of peace. (No. 13.) We lose, during
, the same periods, the carriage for belligerent powers, which the neutrality of our flag would render an incalculable source of profit; we lose at this moment the carriage of our own produce to the annual amount of two millions of dollars, which, in the possible progress of the encroachment, may extend to five or sis millions, the worth of the whole, with an increase in the proportion of the increase of our numbers. It is easier, as well as better, to stop this train at its entrance, than when it shall have ruined or banished whole classes of useful and industrious citizens.
It will doubtless be thought expedient that the resumption suggested should take effect so gradually, as not to endanger the loss of produce for the want of transportation; but that, in order to create transportation, the whole plan should be developed, and made known at once, that the individuals who may be disposed to lay themselves out for the carrying business, may make their calculations on a full view of all circumstances.
On the whole, the historical view we have taken of these fisheries, proves they are so poor in themselves, as to come to nothing with distant nations, who do not support them from their treasury. We have seen that the advantages of our position
place our fisheries on a ground somewhat higher, such as to relieve our treasury from giving them support; but not to permit it to draw support from them, nor to dispense the government from the obligation of effectuating free markets for them; that, for the great proportion of our salted fish, for our common oil, and a part of our spermaceti oil, markets may perhaps be preserved, by friendly arrangements towards those nations whose arrangements are friendly to us, and the residue le compensated by giving to the seamen thrown out of business the certainty of employment in another branch, of which we have the sole disposal.
XXI. – Opinion against the constitutionality of a National Bank.
February 15, 1791. The bill for establishing a National Bank undertakes among other things :
1. To form the subscribers into a corporation.
2. To enable them in their corporate capacities to receive grants of land; and so far is against the laws of Nortmain.*
3. To make alien subscribers capable of holding lands; and so far is against the laws of alicnage.
4. To transmit these lands, on the death of a proprietor, to a certain line of successors; and so far changes the course of Descents.
5. To put the lands out of the reach of forfeiture or escheat; and so far is against the laws of Forfeiture and Escheat.
6. To transmit personal chattels to successors in a certain line ; and so far is against the laws of Distribution.
7. To give them the sole and exclusive right of banking under the national authority; and so far is against the laws of Monopoly.
* Though the Constitution controls the laws of Mortmain so far as to permit Congress itself to hold land for certain purposes, yet not so far as to permit them to communicate a similar right to other corporate bodies.