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Previously to 1845 the trade of the United States and other nations with the British provinces of Canada and others north and east of the United States was burdened with a system of differential duties which discriminated against foreign importations in favor of British to such an extent as to prevent any extensive importations into those provinces from the United States.

Under these circumstances our exports, which, for the four years preceding the reciprocity-treaty, averaged about eleven millions of dollars per annum, did not average, for the period extending from 1821 to 1844, four millions per annum. (Estimated from table 3, 1st division, H. R. Ex. Doc., 38th Cong., 1st sess.)

In 1845 the British government changed their colonial commercial policy by authorizing the Canadian legislature to regulate their own tariff. In 1846 the Canadian legislature removed the existing differential duties, and admitted American manufactures and foreign goods, purchased in the American markets, on the same terms as those from Great Britain. This change gave a considerable impetus to importations from the United States, so that by the years 1851-52-53 they were upward of twelve, ten and a half, and thirteen millions of dollars, respectively. (S. Ex. Doc. No. 1, 32d Cong., 1st sess., p. 85.) (Estimated from table 3, 1st division, H. R. Er. Doc., 38th Cong., 1st sess.)


A proposition for a reciprocal relaxation of commercial restrictions between the United States and the British North American provinces was presented by Mr. John F. Crampton, the chargé d'affaires of Great Britain, in a note of the 22d March, 1849, which, with the correspondence to which it led, is to be found in the congressional documents.


President Taylor's message, transmitting this correspondence to the House of Representatives, submits to Congress the expediency of effecting an arrangement for a free trade between the United States and the provinces in their natural productions, providing, also, for the free navigation of the Saint Lawrence and of the canals connecting it with the lakes.



Mr. Packenham, the British minister, had, in 1846, communicated with the Secretary of the Treasury, (Hon. Robert J. Walker,) who immediately submitted the matter to the Government; and Mr. Crampton again brought the subject before him in 1848, in consequence of which a bill was drawn up by Mr. Grinnell of the Committee on Commerce of the House of Representatives, and its adoption recommended by the Secretary of the Treasury in a letter to that committee of 1st of May, 1848. The bill was passed by the House of Representatives, but was not voted upon that session by the Senate. (Ex. Doc. No. 64, H. R., 31st Cong., 1st session.)


Mr. Crampton, on the 25th of June, 1849, wrote to the Secretary of State, Mr. Clayton, inclosing a memorandum drawn. up by Hon. William Hamilton Merritt, one of the Canadian cabinet, sent to Washington to ascertain the decision of the United States. The

memorandum reviews the efforts made by the provincial government, and the notice given by Hon. Mr. Robinson, in the provincial parliament, of an address to the Queen, praying for a return to protection, &c., incloses copy of a letter from Mr. Grinnell, of the Committee on Commerce, to Hon. R. J. Walker, and Mr. Walker's reply meets objections to reciprocity, and elaborates considerations in favor of it.

Mr. Grinnell to Mr. Walker, April 28, 1848, asks his views on reciprocal free trade in the articles of the growth or production of the provinces and the United States, respectively.


Mr. McC. Young replies for Mr. Walker, warmly approving it. The Canadian bill on the subject is given, and is said to be the exact counterpart of the bill before Congress.


Mr. Clayton wrote to Mr. Crampton 26th June, 1849, in reply to his note of the day before, which inclosed the memorandum made by Mr. Merritt. As a measure affecting the revenue, the proposed arrangement would be referred to Congress, before whom a copy of the papers would be laid. Refers, as furnishing a British example for this, to Mr. Bancroft's efforts to negotiate at London a commercial treaty, in 1847, when the necessity of a similar reference to Parliament was pointed out to him; and to the failure of the reciprocity-bill in the Senate, after considerable debate, when a bare majority would have carried it, as an indication that a treaty having the same objects in view could not be expected to obtain the requisite majority of two-thirds. (Ho. Reps. Ex. Doc. No. 64, 31st Congress, 1st session.)

1851, Dec. 2.

President Fillmore's annual message of 2d December, 1851, invites the attention of Congress to the question of reciprocal trade with British provinces; states that overtures for a convention have been made, but suggests that it is preferable that the subject should be regulated by reciprocal legislation. Documents submitted showing the offer of British government, and measures it may adopt, if some arrangement on this subject is not made.


The accompanying papers were: Note of March, 1851, from Sir H. L. Bulwer to Mr. Webster, inclosing copy of letter of 6th January, 1851, from Mr. F. Hincks, inspector-general of customs, Canada, to Hon. R. McLane, chairman of Committee on Commerce, House of Representatives. Sir H. L. Bulwer thinks that the Canadians consider that their application for an interchange of agricultural products has failed because they have generously, without stipulations, conceded many commercial advantages which it was in their power to bestow; and that their only mode of securing desired privileges is to revoke concessions made. His attention had been drawn to two resolutions which passed the Senate on the subject, which he was told would have passed the House if proposed to that body.

Proposes entering into a negotiation.

Mr. Hincks, in his letter to Mr. McLane, recites the important changes which have occurred in the colonial policy of Great Britain concerning the regulation of commercial matters, and the removal of differential duties from American productions; that had Canada at that time stipulated that in return for her admission of American manufactures, the duties should be removed from her products, it would have been the interest of the United States to have agreed to it. No such proposition, however, was made; and the very important concession scarcely attracted attention in the United States. Describes the important results in the increased demand for American productions in the pro vinces, and the hardship of Canadian raw products, sent to the United States, being burdened with high duties. Urges with much force and

intelligence the considerations in favor of some arrangement of the question.

Sir H. L. Bulwer to Mr. Webster, March, 1851. Unless the Canadian concessions are reciprocated, they will retaliate by withdrawing them. Offers the Saint Lawrence, and canals, and the fisheries of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Wants to know frankly whether the United States will treat or recommend legislation securing reciprocity. Incloses copy of a dispatch of June 7, 1851, from Lord Elgin, governor-general, to Sir Henry L. Bulwer, in which he expresses fears that public opinion in Canada will demand a resort to closing the canals, to levying a duty of 20 per cent. on American goods, and a return to differential duties on grain and breadstuffs, vegetables, fruits, seeds, animals, hides, wool, cheese, tallow, horns, salted and fresh meats, ores, plaster of Paris, ashes, timber, staves, and wood.

Incloses extracts to the effect that the British government are prepared to open the fisheries if the United States will admit fish free. This arrangement not to apply to Newfoundland.


1851-52, Dec.

The adjustment of the questions of commercial reciprocity and the fisheries was the subject of conferences between Mr. Everett and Mr. Crampton during the brief service of the former as Secretary of State, as appears in a postscript to an instruction of the 4th December, 1852, to Mr. Ingersoll, United States minister to London, but no record was kept of what transpired in those conferences. (The instruction and P. S. above referred to are printed in Sen. Ex. Doc. No. 3, special session, March 8, 1853.)

1852 Dec. 6

President Fillmore, in his annnal message of 6th December, 1852, referring to the agitation of the preceding summer, on the fishery question, thinks the moment favorable for the reconsideratio of the question of the fisheries, with a view to place them upon a more liberal footing of reciprocal privilege. He states that there is a willingness on the part of Great Britain to meet us in such an arrangement, which will include the subject of commercial intercourse with the British provinces. Has thought that each subject should be embraced in a separate convention. (Sen. Ex. Doc. No. 1, 32d Cong., 2d sess.)


The Committee on Commerce of the House of Representatives, of which the Hou. D. L. Seymour was chairman, had under consideration sundry memorials relative to reciprocal trade, and reported House bill No. 360, accompanied by a report, with appendices, covering the subjects of reciprocal trade, the navigation of the Saint Lawrence, and the fisheries. (Rep. No. 4, Ho. Reps., 32d Cong., 2d sess.) On the 2d February, 1853, Hon. D. L. Seymour, chairman of 1853, Feb. 2. Committee on Commerce, House of Representatives, submitted to Mr. Everett the draught of a bill referred to in the foregoing, with a view to being informed how far pending negotiations authorize the belief that the British government and provinces are prepared, on their part, to give effect to such a bill. (The bill is printed in Appendix to Congress ional Globe, 32d Cong., 2d sess., p. 198.)

On the 4th February, 1853, Mr. Everett replied that the bill contained the most important provisions of an arrangement between the countries; but that the British minister, under his then existing instructions, was not authorized to conclude a treaty, corresponding in all respects with the bill; and suggested that, for the sake of avoiding the evils of leaving the fishery question unadjusted, Congress limit its action to the passage of a short bill, referring to the fisheries alone, providing that whenever the President shall issue his proclamation that United States fishermen are admitted to a full participation in the colonial fisheries,

colonial fish shall be admitted duty free into the United States. bill to be merely temporary. (Report, Book, vol. 6, p. 492.)


1852, Dec. 4.

Mr. Everett, in an instruction of the 4th December, 1852, to Mr. Ingersoll, wrote that some progress was made by Mr. Webster in preparations to negotiate with Mr. Crampton on the fisheries and commercial reciprocity. President still desirous that negotiation should proceed; and it would be taken up as soon as possible.

1853, Feb. 7.

President Fillmore sent to Congress, on the 7th February, 1853, a message, inclosing report from Secretary of State, giv ing the state of the pending negotiation, which he, Mr. Everett, said had been dilligently pursued; reported the willingness of British government to arrange the fishery question. Refers to desire for reciprocal free trade.

Refers also to a resolution on the subject which passed the House some time previously, and to the attention paid to the subject by Congress. Time necessarily to be consumed in the negotiation in consequence of necessity of British minister referring to London for instructions, would probably render impossible the conclusion of a comprehensive arrangement that session. Meantime recommends that a bill admitting provincial fish free, on condition that United States fishermen are admitted to full participation of provincial, fisheries, be passed that session. (Ho. Reps., Ex. Doc. 40, 32d Cong., 2d sess.)

June 16.

16th June, 1853, Mr. Marcy, in a note to Mr. Crampton, acknowledges receipt of a memorandum indicating additional subjects which British government desires to have brought into pending negotiation relative to fisheries and reciprocity trade. Deemed preferable to restrict negotiation to the objects already under discussion, though no objection exists to including other matters when obviously connected with these objects. (Record of notes to Brit. Leg'n, vol. 7, p. 367.)

The memorandum referred to is not on file.


In the summer of 1853, Mr. Marcy discussed with Mr. Crampton the questions involved in the proposed treaty; but no record exists in this Department indicating the nature of those discussions, except a note of September 1, 1853, from Mr. Marcy to Mr. Crampton, submitting a projet of the treaty.

Says his comments will be brief, because his views have been already presented in conferences.

Says the third article is a new one, inserted to bring in northwest coast of British possessions.

By second article of projet heretofore submitted by British government, and by the same article of that submitted to Mr. Crampton, and by him referred to his government, no restriction made to any part of United States coasts; therefore it is but fair to open Pacific coast of British possessions to United States fishermen. Has introduced in article 2 a clause excepting coast of Florida, not on account of value of fisheries, but apprehended interference with slave population by free blacks from Bahamas, and partly also from apprehended interference with rights of wreckers. Has excepted also shell-fish, to prevent misapprehension. Has amended the expression in the first article of the British draught, which prohibited United States fishermen from interfering "with the operations of the British fishermen," so that it will read: Provided, that in so doing they do not interfere with the rights of private property, or with British fishermen in the peaceable use of any part of said coast in their occupancy, &c. Proposes modification of second article, and to

specify the rivers and estuaries which are to be excluded from operations of the first and second articles.

"In both projets before submitted, Newfoundland was omitted from the enumeration of the possessions to which treaty applied." Has included it now.

The third article of the British draught, requiring the abandonment of our bounty system, is omitted, because we could not abandon the bounty to cod-fisheries.* It gives no advantage to our herring and mackerel fishermen, the classes affected by the in-shore clauses of the treaty, over the British fishermen of the same classes. The bounty is given to certain deep-sea fishermen only, to countervail the duties charged by the United States on salt, (30 per cent. ad valorem.)

Reciprocal clause as to canals would be nugatory, as United States

own none.

Free registration of provincial-built vessels not admissible, for obvious reasons, which were stated, pp. 387, 388 of record.

Proposed privilege of clearance of British vessels from ports in United States to ports on Pacific Coast would be unconstitutional. Has excluded from the free list all manufactures and books.

Has on

Points out the necessity for caring for the interests of the Southern and Southwestern States in making the list of free articles. that ground added rice, tar, pitch, and turpentine.

Proposes to omit coal from free list, in return for which United States

will omit leaf tobacco and unrefined sugar.

Furs included on free list as a concession deserving an equivalent. The following is a copy of the projet :


The Government of the United States being equally desirous with Her Majesty the Queen of Great Britain to avoid further misunderstanding between their respective citizens and subjects in regard to the extent of the right of fishing on the coasts of British North America, secured to each by the first article of a convention between the United States and Her Britannic Majesty's government, signed at London on the 20th of October, 1818; and being also desirous to regulate the commerce and navigation between their respective territories and people, and more especially between Her Majesty's possessions in North America and the United States, in such manner as to render the same reciprocally beneficial and satisfactory, have respectively named plenipotentiaries, &c., &c., who have agreed upon the following articles:


It is agreed by the high contracting parties that, in addition to the liberty secured to American fishermen by the above-named convention of October 20, 1818, of taking, curing, and drying fish on certain coasts of the British North American Colonies therein defined, the inhabitants of the United States shall have, in common with the subjects of Her Britannic Majesty, the liberty to take fish of every kind, except shell-fish, on the sea-coasts and shores, and in the bays, harbors, and creeks of Canada, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, and of the several islands thereunto adjacent, without being restricted to any distance from the shore, with permission to land upon the coast and shores of those colonies and the islands thereof, and also upon the Magdalen Islands, for the purpose of drying their nets and curing their fish; provided that in so doing they do not interfere with the rights of private property, or with British fishermen in the peaceable use of any part of said coast in their occupancy for the same purpose.

It is understood that the above-mentioned liberty shall not extend to the right of fishing in the estuaries and rivers hereinafter designated; that is to say,

which right is reserved exclusively for British fishermen.


It is agreed by the high contracting parties that British subjects shall have, in common with the citizens of the United States, the liberty to take fish of every kind, ex* Bounties abolished by revenue act of 28th July, 1866.

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