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ing the ten years of the treaty dutiable products of the United States have entered Canada and the other provinces to the amount of $84,347,019, while during this same period dutiable products of Canada and the other provinces have entered the United States only to the amount of $7,750,482. During this same period free products of the United States have entered Canada and the other provinces to the amount of $118,853,972, while free products of Canada and the other provinces have entered the United States to the amount of $178,500,184. Here, again, is vast disproportion to the detriment the national revenue.
Add to these various results the statement of the Secretary of the Treasury, just laid on our tables, in the following words:
“The treaty (during the eight fiscal years 1855–63) has released from duty a total sum of $ 42,333,257 in value of goods of Canada more than of goods the produce of the United States."
This conclusion is in substantial harmony with that reached from an independent examination of the tables.
These various illustrations show that the revenue of the United States has suffered by the treaty, and that in this important particular its advantages are not shared equally by the two countries. Here, at least, it loses title to its name.
But its onerous character has become manifest in other forms since the adoption of our system of internal revenue.
I need not remind the Senate of the extent to which we have gone in seeking out objects of excise,
- and there are pending propositions in the same direc
1 Foreign and Domestic Commerce: Executive Documents, 38th Cong. 1st Sess., Senate, No. 55, p. 93.
tion, seeking new objects; but it is notorious that such taxation is always graduated with reference to the tariff on the same objects, when imported from abroad. But here the Reciprocity Treaty steps forward with imperative veto. Thus, for instance, the lumber of our country is left free from excise, though I am assured it might well bear it, simply because no countervailing tax can be imposed upon lumber from the British provinces. Had a tax of five per cent been imposed upon the lumber of our country, I am assured, by those familiar with the subject, that we should have received at least $5,000,000,- all of which is lost to our annual revenue. This is only a single illustration.
There are other ways in which the treaty and our excise system come into conflict. Practical difficulties, I am assured, have already occurred in the Bureau of Internal Revenue. This conflict is seen in the extent to which the business of the country, and even its agriculture, is taxed now. Everything is taxed. Even the farmer works now with taxed tools. These considerations, with the increased value of labor among us, must give new advantages to the productive interests of Canada as compared with ours, and tend still further to the unequal operation of the treaty. Even admitting its original equality, you cannot deny that the vicissitudes of war, in these latter days, have worked changes requiring new arrangements and adaptations.
Mr. President, such is the result of a candid inquiry into the operation of this treaty, as it concerns the fisheries, the navigation of the St. Lawrence, the commerce of the two countries, and the revenue of the United States. I have kept back nothing favorable to the
treaty that could be adequately stated in the brief space I have allowed myself, nor have I exaggerated its unequal operation.
And now the question is, Shall this condition of things be readjusted? The treaty itself, as if anticipating this exigency, furnishes the opportunity, by expressly providing for its termination at the expiration of ten years, on notice of one year from either party. Great Britain is free to give this notice; so are the United States. Considering the present state of the country, it would seem improvident not to give the notice. We must husband our resources; nor can a foreign Government justly expect us to continue a treaty which is a drain upon our revenue. turning in all directions for subjects of taxation. Our own people are contributing largely in every way. Commerce, manufactures in every form, come to the assistance of the country. I know no reason why the large amounts enfranchised by this treaty should enjoy the immunity thus far conceded. An inequality which in ordinary times might escape observation becomes too apparent in the blaze of present responsibilities.
Something has been said about accompanying the proposed notice with instructions to negotiate a new treaty. This is unnecessary. A new treaty may not be advisable. It is possible that the whole matter may be settled by Congress under general laws. 'At all events, there is a full year from the 16th of March next in which to provide a substitute, either by diplomacy or by legislation. And this remark is applicable to the fisheries, as well as to every other interest touched by
I cannot doubt that the two contracting parties will approach the whole business in the deter
mination to settle it on the permanent foundations of justice and equity; but the first step in this direction is the notice to terminate the existing treaty.
In the debate which ensued, Mr. Sherman, of Ohio, Mr. Collamer, of Vermont, Mr. Morrill, of Maine, Mr. Chandler, of Michigan, Mr. Foot, of Vermont, Mr. Doolittle, of Wisconsin, Mr. Farwell, of Maine, Mr. Conness, of California, Mr. Wilson, of Massachusetts, Mr. Cowan, of Pennsylvania, Mr. Riddle, of Delaware, and Mr. Richardson, of Illinois, spoke in favor of the notice ; Mr. Ramsey, of Minnesota, Mr. Howe, of Wisconsin, Mr. Hale, of New Hampshire, and Mr. Hendricks, of Indiana, spoke against it.
January 12th, Mr. Sumner spoke again.
MR. PRESIDENT, — The proposition to terminate the Reciprocity Treaty has been mystified in various ways. There has been mystification because it came from the Committee on Foreign Relations, as if that committee, to which are referred all treaties and questions with foreign powers, was not the proper committee to consider it, according to the usages and traditions of the Senate. Pray, what other committee could so justly deal with it?
There has also been illusiveness in argument, by accumulation of statistics and figures without end. We have been treated to calculations, showing the increase of commerce since the treaty, and also the relative increase of exports and imports. To these calculations I am no stranger; but, after careful study, I am satisfied that it is impossible to find in them any terra firma on which to stand. They are little better than quicksand, or a deceptive mirage.
In the remarks which I submitted to the Senate yesterday I declined to dwell on these calculations, for I saw, that, while involving large amounts, they were un
certain, inconclusive, and inapplicable. With one theory of political economy they seemed to point one way, and with another to point another way. If, for instance, you accept the early theory that commerce is disadvantageous where imports exceed exports, they tell against the treaty; but if you accept the opposite theory of later writers, they tell the other way. All this assumes that they are applicable. But nobody is able to show that the general increase of commerce since the treaty has been caused by the treaty. Other agencies have had their influence; and it is difficult to say what is due to them, and what to the treaty.
In this uncertainty, I prefer to rest the proposition on the simple ground that the national revenue is impaired by this treaty. Authentic figures place this beyond controversy.
I forbear now all details, and content myself with stating the indubitable conclusion. The national revenue is impaired in two ways: first, at the customhouse on our frontier, which, under the operation of the treaty, yields little or nothing, when it might yield much; and, secondly, it is impaired through the check and embarrassment the treaty causes in our internal taxation. There is failure of duties and of excise. It is not enough to say that there is a countervailing advantage in the increase of our commerce. The conclusion is none the less exact, that the national revenue is impaired. And the question is distinctly presented, whether, at this critical moment, in a period of war, when the whole country in its wealth and labor is contributing to the support of Government, any good reason can be assigned why the commerce of Canada should be exempt from contribution. Commerce else