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Commercial Privileges and Restrictions. board, and nothing to desire beyond their present encouragement which are under their control, exrights. But, on their seaboard, they are open to tending them liberally to artists in those particuinjury, and they have there, too, a commerce lar branches of manufacture, for which their soil, which must be protected. This can only be done climate, population, and other circumstances, have by possessing a respectable body of citizen sea- matured them, and fostering the precious efforts men, and of artists and establishments in readi- and progress of household manufacture by some ness for ship-building.
patronage suited to the nature of its objects, guided Were the ocean, which is the common property by the local informations which they possess, and of all, open to the industry of all, so that every guarded against abuse by their presence and atperson and vessel should be free to take employ- tentions. The oppressions on our agriculture in ment wherever it could be found, the United States foreign ports would thus be made the occasion of would certainly not set the example of appro- relieving it from a dependence on the councils and priating to themselves, exclusively, any portion of conduct of others, and of promoting arts, manuthe common stock of occupation. They would rely factures, and population at home. on the enterprise and activity of their citizens for a 2. Where a nation refuses permission to our due participation of the benefits of the seafaring bu- merchants and factors to reside within certain parts siness, and for keeping the marine class of citizens of their dominions, we may, if it should be thought equal to their object. But if particular nationsgrasp expedient, refuse residence to theirs in any and at undue shares, and more especially, if they seize every part of ours, or modify their transactions. on the means of the United States to convert 3. Where a nation refuses to receive in our vesthem into aliment for their own strength, and sels any productions but our own, we may refuse withdraw them entirely from the support of those to receive, in theirs, any but their own producto whom they belong, defensive and protecting tions. The first and second clauses of the bill remeasures become necessary on the part of the na-ported by the Committee are well formed to effect tion whose marine resources are thus invaded, or this object. it will be disarmed of its defence; its productions 4. Where a nation refuses to consider any veswill lie at the mercy of the nation which has pos- sel as ours, which has not been built within our sessed itself exclusively of the means of carrying Territories, we should refuse to consider as theirs them, and its politics may be influenced by those any vessel not built within their Territories. who command its commerce. The carriage of Ś. Where a nation refuses to our vessels the carour own commodities, if once established in ano- riage even of our own productions to certain counther channel, cannot be resumed in the moment tries under their domination, we might refuse to we may desire. If we lose the seamen and artists, theirs, of every description, the carriage of the whom it now occupies, we lose the present means same productions to the same countries. But as of marine defence, and time will be requisite to justice and good neighborhood would dictate, that raise up others, when disgrace or losses shall bring those who have no part in imposing the restriction home to our feelings the error of having aban- on us, should not be the victims of measures adoptdoned them. The materials for maintaining our ed to defeat its effect, it may be proper to confine due share of navigation are ours in abundance; the restriction to vessels owned or navigated by and, as to the mode of using them, we have only any subjects of the same dominant Power, other to adopt the principles of those who thus put us than the inhabitants of the country to which the on the defensive, or others equivalent and better said productions are to be carried. And to prefitted to our circumstances.
vent all inconvenience to the said inhabitants, and The following principles, being founded in re- to our own, by too sudden a check on the means ciprocity, appear perfectly just, and to offer no of transportation, we may continue to admit the cause of complaint to any nation :
vessels marked for future exclusion, on an ad1. Where a nation imposes high duties on our vanced tonnage, and for such length of time only productions, or prohibits them altogether, it may as may be supposed necessary to provide against be proper for us to do the same by theirs, first that inconvenience. burdening or excluding those productions which The establishment of some of these principles they bring here in competition with our own of by Great Britain alone has already lost us in our the same kind-selecting next such manufactures commerce with that country and its possessions as we take from them in greatest quantity, and between eight and nine hundred vessels of near which at the same time we could the soonest 40,000 tons burden, according to statements from furnish to ourselves, or obtain from other coun- official materials in which they have confidence. tries-imposing on them duties lighter at first, but this involves a proportional loss of seamen, shipheavier and heavier 'afterwards, as other channels wrights, and ship-building, and is too serious a of supply open. Such duties having the effect of loss to admit forbearance of some effectual reindirect encouragement to domestic manufactures medy. of the same kind may induce the manufacturer to It is true we must expect some inconvenicome himself into these States where cheaper ence in practice from the establishment of dissubsistence, equal laws, and a vent of his wares, criminating duties. But in this, as in so many free of duty, may insure him the highest profits other cases
, we are left to choose between two from his skill and industry. And here it would evils. These inconveniences are nothing, when be in the power of the State Governments to co- weighed against the loss of wealth, and loss of operate essentially by opening the resources of force, which will follow our perseverance in the
Decrees Relating to Commerce.
plan of indiscrimination. When once it shall be That he has had an official communication of a perceived that we are either in the system or in the Decree rendered by the National Assembly of habit of giving equal advantages to those who ex- France on the 26th day of March last, of which the tinguish our commerce and navigation, by duties following is a translation : and prohibitions, as to those who treat both with liberality and justice, liberality and justice will
DECREE, be converted by all into duties and prohibitions. Exempting from all duties the subsistences and It is not to the moderation and justice of others
other objects of supply in the Colonies, relativewe are to trust for fair and equal access to market
ly to the United States, pronounced in the sitwith our productions, or for our due share in the
ting of the 26th of March, 1793, 2d year of the transportation of them, but to our own means of French Republic. independence, and the firm will to use them. Nor do the inconveniences of discrimination merit
The National Convention, willing to prevent, consideration. Not one of the nations before- by precise dispositions, the difficulties that might mentioned-perhaps not a commercial nation on arise relatively to the execution of its decree of earth-is without them. In our case one dis- the 19th February last, concerning the United tinction alone will suffice, that is to say, between States of America—to grant favors to this allynations who favor our productions and navigation, nation, and to treat it, in its commercial relaand those who do not favor them.. One set of tions with the Colonies of France, in the same moderate duties, say the present duties, for the manner as the vessels of the Republic-utcree as first, and a fixed advance on these, as to some ar- follows: ticles, and prohibitions as to others, for the last. Art. 1. From the day of the publication of the
Still it must be repeated that friendly arrange- present decree in the French American Colonies, ments are preferable with all who will come into the vessels of the United States, of the burden of them;
and that we should carry into such arrange- sixty tons at the least, laden only with meals and ments all the liberality and spirit of accommoda- subsistences
, as well as the objects of supply antion which the nature of the case will admit. nounced in article 2, of the arrêt of 30th August,
France has, of her own accord, proposed nego- 1784, as also lard, butter, salted salmon, and cantiations for improving, by a new treaty, on fair and dles, shall be admitted in the ports of said Coequal principles, the commercial relations of the lonies exempt from all duties. The same extwo countries. But her internal disturbances have emption shall extend to the French vessels laden hitherto prevented the prosecution of them to ef- with the same articles, and coming from a foreign fect, though we have had repeated assurances of a port. continuance of the disposition.
Art. 2. The captains of vessels of the United Proposals of friendly arrangement have been States, who, having brought into the French made on our part, by the present Government, to American Colonies the objects comprised in the that of Great Britain, as the Message states; but, above article, wish to return to the territory of being already on as good a footing in law, and a the said States, may lade in the said Colonies, inbetter in fact than the most favored nations, they dependent of sirups, rum, taffias, and French merhave not, as yet, discovered any disposition to have chandises, a quantity of coffee equivalent to the it meddled with.
one-fiftieth of the tonnage of every vessel, as also We have no reason to conclude that friendly a quantity of sugar equal to the one-tenth, on conarrangements would be declined by the other na- forming to the following articles: tions with whom we have such commercial inter- Art. 3. Every captain of an American vessel, course as may render them important. In the who wishes to make returns to the United States meanwhile, it would rest with the wisdom of Con- of coffee and sugar of the French Colonies, shall gress to determine whether, as to those nations, make it appear that his vessel entered therein they will not surcease exparte regulations, on the with at least two-thirds of her cargo, according to reasonable presumption that they will concur in article 1. For this purpose, he shall be obliged doing whatever justice and moderation dictate to transmit, within twenty-four hours after his should be done.
arrival, to the custom-house of the place he may TH. JEFFERSON. land at, a certificate of the marine agents, esta
blishing the guage of his vessel and the effective DECREES RELATING TO COMMERCE.
tonnage of her cargo. The heads of the said cus
tom-houses shall assure themselves that the exThe SECRETARY OF State, to whom the President of portation of the sugars and coffee does not exceed the United States referred the resolution of the House the proportion fixed by the second article of the
present decree. of Representatives of December 24, 1793, desiring the Art. 4. The captains of vessels of the United substance of all such laws, decrees, or ordinances, States of America shall not pay, on going from respecting commerce in any of the countries with the islands, as well as those of the Republic, but which the United States have commercial intercourse, a duty of 5 livres per quintal of indigo, 10 livres as have been received by the Secretary of State, and per thousand weight of cotton, 5 livres per thou
sand weight of coffee, 5 livres per thousand weight not already stated to the House in his report of the of brown and clayed sugars, and 50 sols per thou16th instant, reports :
sand weight of raw sugar. Every other merchanDecrees Relating to Commerce.
dise shall be exempt from duty on going out of The articles of this commerce, carried on thus the Colonies.
directly between those provinces and foreign naArt. 5. The sugars and coffee which shall be tions to pay a duty of fifteen per cent. importaladen shall pay at the custom-houses which are tion and six per cent. exportation, except negroes, established in the colonies, or that shall be esta- who may be imported free of duty. The producblished, in addition to the duties above fixed, those tions and silver exported to purchase those neimposed by the law of 19th March, 1791, on the groes to pay the six per cent. exportation duty. sugars and coffee imported from the said Colo- The exportation of silver to be allowed for this nies to France, and conformably to the same law. purpose only.
Art. 6. The captains of vessels of the United The commerce between Spain and those proStates, who wish to lade merchandises of the said vinces to remain free. Spaniards to be allowed Colonies, for the ports of France. shall furnish the to observe the same rules and to fit out from the custom-house at the place of departure with the same ports (in vessels wholly belonging to them, bonds required of the masters of French vessels without connexion with foreigners) for those proby the second article of the law of 10th July, 1791, vinces as for the other Spanish Colonies. to secure the unlading of these merchandises in To remove all obstacles to this commerce, all the ports of the Republic.
sorts of merchandise destined for Louisiana and ART. 7. The vessels of the nations with whom the Floridas (even those whose admission is prothe French Republic is not at war may carry to hibited for other places) may be entered in the the French American Colonies all the objects de- ports of Spain, and, in like manner, tobacco and signated by the present decree. They may also all other prohibited articles may be imported into bring, into the ports of the Republic only, all the Spain from these provinces, to be re-exported to productions of the said Colonies, on the conditions foreign countries. announced in the said decree, as well as that of To improve this commerce and encourage the 19th of February.
agriculture of those provinces, the importation of Copy conformable to the original.
foreign rice into the ports of Spain is prohibited,
GENET. and a like preference shall be given to the other That he has not received officially any copy of productions of these provinces, when they shall
suffice for the consumption of Spain. the decree said to have been rendered by the same Assembly on the 27th day of July last, subjecting vinces shall be free of duty on exportation, and
All articles exported from Spain to these prothe vessels of the United States laden with pro- such as being foreign, shall have paid duty on imvisions to be carried, against their will, into the ports of France, and those having enemy goods portation into Spain, shall have it restored to exon board to have such goods taken out as legal porters.
These foreign articles, thus exported, to pay a prize.
That an ordinance has been passed by the Go- duty of three per cent. on entry in those provinces. vernment of Spain, on the 9th day of June last
, Those which are not foreign to be free of duty. the substance of which has been officially com
The articles exported from those provinces to municated to him in the following words, to wit: Spain to be free of duty, whether consumed in Extract of an Ordinance for regulating provi
Spain or re-exported to foreign countries.
Those Spanish vessels which, having gone from sionally the commerce of Louisiana and the Spain to those provinces, should desire to bring Floridas, dated the 9th of June, 1793.
back productions from thence directly to the foThe preamble states that the inhabitants of reign ports of Europe, may do it on paying a duty Louisiana, being deprived of their commerce with of exportation of three per cent. France, (on account of the war,) as allowed by All vessels, both Spanish and foreign, sailing to the ordinance of January, 1782, &c., His Majesty those provinces, to be prohibited from touching at considering that they and the inhabitants of the any other port in His Majesty's American DoFloridas cannot subsist without the means of dis- minions. posing of their productions and of acquiring those No vessel to be fitted out from New Orleans, necessary for their own consumption; for that pur- Pensacola, or St. Augustine, for any of the Spapose, and to increase the national commerce-nish islands or other Dominions in America, exthe commerce of those provinces and their agri- cept for some urgent cause, in which case only culture-has directed the following articles to be the respective Governors to give a permission, but provisionally observed:
without allowing any other articles to be embarkThe inhabitants of the above-mentioned pro-ed than the productions of those provinces. vinces to be allowed to commerce freely both in All foreign vessels purchased by His Majesty's Europe and America with all friendly nations subjects, and destined for this commerce, to be exwho have treaties of commerce with Spain; New empted from those duties to which they are at Orleans, Pensacola, and St. Augustine, to be ports present subjected, they proving that they are abfor that purpose. No exception as to the articles solute and sole proprietors thereof. to be sent or to be received. Every vessel, how- He takes this occasion to note an act of the ever, to be subjected to touch at "Corcubion, in British Parliament of the 28 George III, chap: 6, Gallicia, or Alicant, and to take a permit there, which, though passed before the epoch to which without which, the entry not to be allowed in the his report aforesaid related, had escaped his reports above mentioned.
searches. The effect of it was to convert the proSpoliations on Commerce.
clamations regulating our direct intercourse with to state other circumstances, which, though not their West Indian islands into a standing law, and in legal proof, are, either of such public notoriety so far to remove the unfavorable distinction be- as to render legal proof unnecessary, or so vouched tween us and foreign nations, stated in the report, to the committee as to leave them in no doubt of leaving it, however, in full force as to our circuit- the truth of them. ous intercourse with the same islands, and as to "It has become a practice for many of the priour general intercourse, direct and circuitous, with vateers of the belligerent Powers to send into port Great Britain and all her other Dominions. all American vessels they meet with, bound from
TH, JEFFERSON. any of the French ports in the West Indies to DECEMBER 30, 1793,
the United States, and it is positively asserted, that the owners, or some of them, have given gen
eral instructions to their captains to that effect. SPOLIATIONS ON COMMERCE.
And though many of those vessels have been afterwards liberated, yet the loss by plunder, de
tention and expense, is so great as to render it Gentlemen of the Senate, and
ruinous to the American owner. In many cases, of the House of Representatives : where the cargoes have been valuable, the ownThe Secretary of State, having reported to me ers of the privateers, after acquittal, have lodged upon the several complaints which have been appeals which they never intended to prosecute, lodged in this office against the vexations and but merely with a view of getting the property spoliations on our commerce since the commence into their hands upon a valuation made so unment of the European war, I transmit to you a fairly as to insure them a considerable profit, even copy of his statement, together with the docu- if they should be finally made liable. ments upon which it is founded.
“Fourteen days only are allowed to an AmeriGEORGE WASHINGTON,
can owner to make his claim, which renders it
impossible for him, except he is on the spot, and UNITED STATES. March 5, 1794.
every difficulty which a combination of interested
persons can devise, is thrown in the way to prePHILADELPHIA, March 2, 1794.
vent his getting security, and in few instances can Sir: In your Message to both Houses of Con- it be done, but by making over his vessels and cargress, on the 5th of December, 1793, you inform go to the securities, and thereby subjecting himthem, that “ The vexations and spoliations under- self to the heavy additional charge of commisstood' to have been committed on our vessels and sion, insurance, &c. It may be added, that the commerce by the cruisers and officers of some of most barefaced bribery is sometimes practised to the belligerent Powers, appeared to require atten- prevail on unwary boys, or those who know littion: That the proofs of these, however, not tle of the obligation of an oath, to induce them to having been brought forward, the description of give testimony in favor of the captore. citizens, supposed to have suffered, were notified, “Besides the cases here enumerated, the comthat on furnishing them to the Executive, due mittee have information of a number of vessels measures would be taken to obtain redress of the belonging to this port being captured and carried past, and more effectual provisions against the into different ports; but as the legal proofs are future," and that "should such documents be fur- not come forward, they forbear to mention them. nished, proper representations will be made there- “ It is proper, however, for them to add, that on, with a just reliance on a redress proportioned besides the loss of property occasioned by those to the exigency of the case.”
unjust captures and detentions, the masters and On my succession to the Department of State, crews of the vessels are frequently subjected to I found a large volume of complaints—which the insults and outrages that must be shocking to notification had collected—against severities on Americans. Of this, the case of Captain Walour trade, various in their kind and degree. Hav- lace is an instance. There are others within the ing reason to presume, as the fact has proved, knowledge of the committee, of which they only that every day would increase the catalogue, I wait the legal proof, to lay them before the Secrehave waited to digest the mass, until time should tary. have been allowed for exhibiting the diversified “To this last list of grievances, the committee forms in which our commerce has hourly suffered. are sorry to find it their duty to add, that by reason Every information is at length obtained which of the vexation, loss, and outrages, suffered by the may be expected.
merchants of the United States, its commerce The sensations excited by the embarrassments, already begins to languish, and its products are danger, and even ruin, which threaten our trade, likely to be left upon the hands of those who cannot be better expressed, than in the words of raise them. Prudent men doubt the propriety of the committee of Philadelphia. After enumerat- hazarding their property, when they find that ing particular instances of injury, their repre- the strictest conformity with the Laws of Nations, sentation to Government proceeds thus: “On or of their own country, will not protect them these cases, which are accompanied by the legal from the rapacity of men who are neither reproofs, the committee think it unnecessary to en- strained by the principles of honor, nor by laws large, as the inferences will, of course, occur to sufficiently coercive to give security to those who he Secretary; but they beg leave to be permitted I are not subjects of the same Government.
Spoliations on Commerce.
“The committee conclude this representation edict of a King of France, this intercourse was with an assurance, that they have in no degree prohibited; and exaggerated in the statement they have made, 6. That the conduct of the Admiralty in the and that they will continue to communicate all British Islands is impeachable for an excess of such information as they may further receive; of rigor, and a departure from strict Judicial purity; which nature, before the closing of this report, and the expenses of an appeal to England too they are sorry to add, is that of the irruptions heavy to be encountered under all the circumof the Algerines from the Mediterranean, in con- stances of discouragement. sequence of a truce
concluded with that Regency, Against the French it is urged, it is said, by the British Minister, on behalf of 1. That their privateers harass our trade no Portugal and Holland. This alarming event, to less than those of the British. which some American ships, we hear, have al- 2. That two of their ships-of-war have commitready become victims, is of so distressing a na- ted enormities on our vessels. ture, as must soon deprive us of some of the most 3. That their Courts of Admiralty are guilty lucrative branches of our commerce, if not spee- of equal oppression. dily checked or prevented. The immediate rise 4. That besides these points of accusation, it has produced in insurance, and the fears it may which are common to the French and British, instil into our seamen and commanders, are of a the former have infringed the treaty between the nature highly deserving the serious consideration United States and them, by subjecting to seizure of Government, on whose protection and zeal for and condemnation our vessels trading with their the interests, commercial
, and agricultural, of the enemies in merchandise, which that treaty decountry, the committee implicitly rely.” clares not to be contraband, and under circum
In a supplementary letter, the committee of stances not forbidden by the Law of Nations. Philadelphia make this conclusion: “That the
5. That a very detrimental embargo has been cases which they recite, and others less formally laid upon large numbers of American vessels in announced, serve to show, that there are frequent the French ports ;* and instances of suppression of papers, registers, &c., 6. That a contract with the French Governvery prejudicial to our shipping on their trials, ment for coin has been discharged in depreciated and of injuries by the destruction of letters, to assignats. the general correspondence of the country with Against the Spaniards the outrages of privaforeign nations."
teers are urged; When we examine the documents which have
And against the Dutch, one condemnation in been transmitted from different parts of the the Admiralty is insisted to be unwarrantable. Union, we find the British, the French, the Span- Under this complication of mischief, which iards, and the Dutch, charged with attacks upon persecutes our commerce, I beg leave, sir, to subour commerce.
mit to your consideration, whether representaIt is urged against the British,
tions as far as facts may justify, ought not to be 1. That their privateers plunder the American immediately pressed upon the foreign Governvessels, throw them out of their course, by forcing ments, in those of the preceding cases, for which them, upon groundless suspicion, into ports other they are responsible. than those to which they were destined; detain Among these, I class, 1. The violences perpethem, even after the hope of a regular confisca- trated by public ships-of-war. 2. Prohibitions, or tion is abandoned; by their negligence, while regulations inconsistent with the Laws of Nations. they hold the possession, expose the cargoes to 3. The improper conduct of Courts. 4. Infracdamage and the vessels to destruction, and mal- tions of Treaty. 5. The imposition of embartreat their crews.
goes; and, 6. The breach of public contracts. 2. That British ships-of-war have forcibly How far a Government is liable to redress the seized mariners belonging to American vessels, rapine of privateers, depends upon the peculiariand in one instance, under the protection of a ties of the case. It is incumbent upon it, howPortuguese fort.
ever, to keep its Courts freely open, and to secure 3. That by British regulations and practice, an impartial 'hearing to the injured applicant. our corn and provisions are driven from the ports If the rules prescribed to privateers be too loose, of France, and restricted to the ports of the Bri- and opportunities of plunder or ill-treatment be tish, or those of their friends.
provoked from that cause, or from the prospect of 4. That our vessels are not permitted to go impunity, it is impossible to be too strenuous in from the British ports in the Islands, without remonstrating against this formidable evil. giving security (which is not attainable but with
Thus, sir, have I reduced to general heads the difficulty and expense) for the discharge of the particular complaints, without making any inquicargo, in some other British or neutral port. ry into the facts beyond the allegations of the
5. That without the imputation of a contra-parties interested. band trade as defined by the Law of Nations, our I will only add, that your Message seems to vessels are captured for carrying on a commer-promise to Congress some statement upon these cial intercourse with the French West Indies; subjects. although it is tolerated by the laws of the French Republic, and that for this extraordinary conduct, December last, and the detention compensated by an order of the
*There is reason to believe that the embargo was removed in no other excuse is alleged than that by some Committee of Public Safety ic France.