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those of other nations pay a duty of two shillings and three pence the quintal. There is an equal distinction in favor of our bar iron; of which article, however, we do not produce enough for our own use. Woods are free from us, whilst they pay some small duty from other countries. Indigo and flax seed are free from all countries. Our tar and pitch pay
Our tar and pitch pay eleven pence, sterling, the barrel. From other alien countries they pay about a penny and a third more.
Our tobacco, for their own consumption, pays one shilling and three pence, sterling, the pound, custom and excise, besides heavy expenses of collection ; and rice, in the same case, pays seven shillings and fourpence, sterling, the hundred weight; which, rendering it too dear, as an article of common food, it is consequently used in very small quantity.
Our salted fish and other salted provisions, except bacon, are prohibited. Bacon and whale oils are under prohibitory duties; so are our grains, meals, and bread, as to internal consumption, unless in times of such scarcity as may raise the price of wheat to fifty shillings, sterling, the quarter, and other grains and meals in proportion.
Our ships, though purchased and navigated by their own subjects, are not permitted to be used, even in their trade with us.
While the vessels of other nations are secured by standing laws, which cannot be altered but by the concurrent will of the three branches of the British legislature, in carrying thither any produce or manufacture of the country to which they belong, which may be lawfully carried in any vessels, ours, with the same prohibition of what is foreign, are further prohibited by a standing law, (12 Car. 2, 18, sect. 3,) from carrying thither all and any of our own domestic productions and manufactures. A subseqnent act, indeed, has authorized their executive to permit the carriage of our own productions in our own bottoms, at its sole discretion ; and the permission has been given from year to year by proclamation, but subject every moment to be withdrawn on that single will ; in which event, our vessels having anything on board, stand interdicted from the entry of all British ports.
The disadvantage of a tenure which may be so suddenly discontinued, was experienced by our merchants on a late occasion, when an official notification that this law would be strictly enforced, gave them just apprehensions for the fate of their vessels and cargoes despatched or destined for the ports of Great Britain. The minister of that court, indeed, frankly expressed his personal conviction, that the words of the order went farther than was intended, and so he afterwards officially informed us; but the embarrassments of the moment were real and great, and the possibility of their renewal lays our commerce to that country under the same species of discouragement as to other countries, where it is regulated by a single legislator ; and the distinction is too remarkable not to be noticed, that our navigation is excluded from the security of fixed laws, while that security is given to the navigation of others.
Our vessels pay in their ports one shilling and nine pence, sterling, per ton, light and trinity dnes, more than is paid by British ships, except in the port of London, where they pay the same as British.
The greater part of what they receive from us, is re-exported to other countries, under the useless charges of an intermediate deposit, and double voyage. From tables published in England, and composed, as is said, from the books of their customhouses, it appears, that of the indigo imported there in the years 1773, '4, '5, one-third was re-exported; and from a document of authority, we learn, that of the rice and tobacco imported there before the war, four-fifths were re-exported. We are assured, indeed, that the quantities sent thither for re-exportation since the war, are considerably diminished, yet less so than reason and national interest would dictate. The whole of our grain is reexported when wheat is below fifty shillings the quarter, and other grains in proportion.
The United Netherlands prohibit our pickled beef and pork, meals and bread of all sorts, and lay a prohibitory duty on spirits distilled from grain.
April 12, 1792.
All other of our productions are received on varied duties, which may be reckoned, on a medium, at about three per cent.
They consume but a small proportion of what they receive. The residue is partly forwarded for consumption in the inland parts of Europe, and partly re-shipped to other maritime countries. On the latter portion they intercept between us and the consumer, so much of the value as is absorbed in the charges attending an intermediate deposit.
Foreign goods, except some East India articles, are received in vessels of any nation.
Our ships may be sold and neutralized there, with exceptions of one or two privileges, which somewhat lessen their value.
Denmark lays considerable duties on our tobacco and rice, carried in their own vessels, and half as much more, if carried in ours; but the exact amount of these duties is not perfectly known here. They lay such as amount to prohibitions on our indigo and corn.
Sweden receives favorably our grains and meals, salted provisions, indigo, and whale oil.
They subject our rice to duties of sixteen mills the pound weight, carried in their own vessels, and of forty per cent. additional on that, or twenty-two and four-tenths mills, carried in ours or any others. Being thus rendered too dear as an article of common food, little of it is consumed with them. They consume some of our tobaccoes, which they take circuitously through Great Britain, levying heavy duties on them also ; their duties of entry, town duties, and excise, being 4.34 dollars the hundred weight, if carried in their own vessels, and of forty per cent. on that additional, if carried in our own or any other vessels.
They prohibit altogether our bread, fish, pot and pearl ashes, flax-seed, tar, pitch, and turpentine, wood, (except oak timber and masts, and all foreign manufactures.
Under so many restrictions and prohibitions, our navigation with them is reduced to almost nothing.
With our neighbors, an order of things much harder presents itself.
Spain and Portugal refuse, to all those parts of America which they govern, all direct intercourse with any people but themselves. The commodities in mutual demand between them and their neighbors, must be carried to be exchanged in some port of the dominant country, and the transportation between that and the subject state, must be in a domestic bottom.
France, by a standing law, permits her West India possessions to receive directly our vegetables, live provisions, horses, wood, tar, pitch, turpentine, rice, and maize, and prohibits our other bread stuff ; but a suspension of this prohibition having been left to the colonial legislatures, in times of scarcity, it was formerly suspended occasionally, but latterly without interruption.
Our fish and salted provisions (except pork) are received in their islands under a duty of three colonial livres the quintal, and our vessels are as free as their own to carry our commodities thither, and to bring away rum and molasses.
Great Britain admits in her islands our vegetables, live provisions, horses, wood, tar, pitch, and turpentine, rice and bread stuff, by a proclamation of her executive, limited always to the term of a year, but hitherto renewed from year to year. She prohibits our salted fish and other salted provisions. She does not permit our vessels to carry thither our own produce. Her vessels alone may take it from us, and bring in exchange rum, molasses, sugar, coffee, cocoa-nuts, ginger, and pimento. There are, indeed, some freedoms in the island of Dominica, but, under such circumstances, as to be little used by us. In the British continental colonies, and in Newfoundland, all our productions are prohibited, and our vessels forbidden to enter their ports. Their governors, however, in times of distress, have power to permit a temporary importation of certain articles in their own bottoms, but not in ours.
Our citizens cannot reside as merchants or factors within any of the British plantations, this being expressly prohibited by the same statute of 12 Car. 2, c. 18, commonly called the navigation act.
In the Danish American possessions a duty of 5 per cent. is levied on our corn, corn meal, rice, tobacco, wood, salted fish, indigo, horses, mules and live stock, and of 10 per cent. on our flour, salted pork and beef, tar, pitch and turpentine.
In the American islands of the United Netherlands and Sweden, our vessels and produce are received, subject to duties, not so heavy as to have been complained of; but they are heavier in the Dutch possessions on the continent.
To sum up these restrictions, so far as they are important : First. In Europe,
. Our bread stuff is at most times under prohibitory duties in England, and considerably dutied on re-exportation from Spain to her colonies.
Our tobaccoes are heavily dutied in England, Sweden and France, and prohibited in Spain and Portugal.
Our rice is heavily dutied in England and Sweden, and prohibited in Portugal.
Our fish and salted provisions are prohibited in England, and under prohibitory duties in France.
Our whale oils are prohibited in England and Portugal.
And our vessels are denied naturuization in England, and of late in France.
SECOND. In the West Indies
All intercourse is prohibited with the possessions of Spain and Portugal.
Our salted provisions and fish are prohibited by England.
Our salted pork and bread stuff (except maize) are received under temporary laws only, in the dominions of France, and our salted fish pays there a weighty duty.
THIRD. In the article of navigation
Our own carriage of our own tobacco is heavily dutied in Sweden, and lately in France.
We can carry no article, not of our own production, to the British ports in Europe. Nor even our own produce to her American possessions.
Such being the restrictions on the commerce and navigation of the United States; the question is, in what way they may best be removed, modified or counteracted ? to commerce, tw
methods occur. 1. By friendly arrangements with the several nations with whom these restrictions ex