Register of Debates in Congress, Comprising the Leading Debates and Incidents of the Second Session of the Eighteenth Congress Page: 68
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APPENDIX— To Gales & Beaton's Register.
18th Congress, ,
2d Session. '
Commercial Relations between the D. States and tht Netherlands. [H, of R.
America has been abolished, founded upon this, that in
the kingdom of the Netherlands the flag of the United
States enjoyed the same advantages as the national
flag; the new disposition of the tariff appears to Mr.
Everett to be in opposition to the principle of reci-
The answer is found in the aim of this disposition,
which does not appear to have been well understood.
By the laws of the 12th June 1821, and 10th August
last,'the duties remain without distinction, the same for
foreign ships and for national. This restitution of a
tenth for the merchandise imported by the ships of the
Netherlands, has done no more (as the 11th article of
the law of the 12th July, 1821, expresses it,) than to
give encouragement and proper aid to the works of the
nation. This restitution therefore supplies the place of
the premiums of encouragement which the Government
might have granted to every ship built in the Nether-
lands ; a disposition which certainly never could have
given room to the American Government to complain of
an inequality of treatment in respect to the ships. If the
Government of the United States had found it good to
grant a similar premium to the American ships, surely
the King could have found in that no cause of remon-
strance. His Majesty would have only seen in it a boun-
ty ihtenced to encourage, or to favor, the manufactures
of the nation.
Although the Government of the Netherlands might
confine itself to this explanation, the undersigned has,
nevertheless, been charged to take advantage of this
occasion to examine the question more thoroughly. In
approaching it with frankness, it will be easy to find, in
the conduct of the United States, the justification of
what is charged upon the Government of the Nether-
After the negotiations begun at the Hague, by the
respective commissioners for a treaty of commerce, were
interrupted, the act of Congress of 20th April, 1818, was
passed. In the course of these negotiations, observation
was made to the American commissioners of the liberal-
ity of the Government of the Netherlands in i;s relations
with America, and an attempt was made to convince
them that at all times the American flag had been more
favored here than the flag of the Netherlands had been
Such are apparently the reports of the American Ple-
nipotentiaries, as well as the representations of the
Charge d'Affaires of His Majesty at Washington, which
produced this act of 20th April, 1818, by which that of
3d March, 1815, concerning1 the general, but conditional
abolition of discriminating duties has been rendered ap-
plicable, and even amplified, to the flag of the Nether-
lands. As long as this state of things exists, the expla-
nations demanded in the official letter of Mr. Everett,
may appear proper.
But can Mr. Everett be ignorant that his Governmant
is upon the point of revoking the prolongation of these
advantages > and that an act of the 3d March, 1819, de-
crees that the two acts before cited (that of 3d March,
3815, and of 20th April, 1818,) shall cease to be in force
at Ike date of 1st January, 1824? and that, in conse-
quence, the equalisation of duties of entry and clear-
ance, and the duties of tonnage of vessels under the
flag of the Netherlands, in the different ports of the
United Slates, will no more continue after that time ?—
His note would cause the presumption that he had no
knowledge of it; otherwise, we may be allowed to be-
lieve that he would not have addressed it. It is, doubt-
less, a matter of surprise, that he has not been informed
of a disposition which so essentially changes the state of
affairs; but, although it do not belong to this article, it
is sufficient that it is impossible for the Government of
tbe Netherlands to call in question the existence of this
revocation, for having a ground upon which the commer-
cial relations with the United States are to be found, j
and to know which of the two Governments has made
The discussion of the causes which can have determin-
ed the American Government to revoke, from the begin-
ning of the following session of Congress, the act of 20th
April, 1818, is unknown to the Government of the Neth-
erlands. No conjecture will be permitted, if the mea-
sure, in place of being specially directed against the
commerce of the Netherlands, do not rather announce a
complete alteration of system.
The deliberations of Congress in the Fall, will resolve
this problem; but, in the mean time, the. certain pros- .
pect of losing the advantages assured by the act before-
mentioned, to our commerce or to our navigation, alone
serves as a sufficient cause for preventing the Govern-
ment of the Netherlands from establishing any exception
in the new tariff in favor of the American flag.
The undersigned has the honor to renew to Mr. Eve-
rett the assurance of his distinguished consideration.
A. W. C, de NAGELL.
Brrnseh, 27th May, 1823.
Mr. Everett to the Baron de Nagell.
Brussels, May 31, 1823.
S ut: have just received your Excellency's answer to
the note A'hich I had the honor of addressing to you on
the 7th March, upon the subject of some of the provi-
sions of the new tariff, and learn, with regret, from this
communication, that it is the King's intention to enforce
these provisions against the commerce of the United
States. I shall immediately transmit your reply to my
Government, who will judge how far the new policy of
this country is justified by the arguments you allege in
its favor, and what measure it may be expedient for them
to adopt under the circumstances of the case.
Without pretending to anticipate the decision of the
President and Congress of the United States, upon this
subject, 1 think it my duty to add here a few short re-
marks, relating chiefly to the latter part of your Excel-
lency's note, in which you dwell upon the effect of the
act of March 3,1819, You appear to consider this act
as a definitive repeal of the two former laws on the
same subject, and looking at it from this point of view
you naturally conclude that it forms of itself a complete
reply to tile reasoning in my note, and that, because ! did
not mention it, I could not be aware of its existence.
The act is a document of public notoriety, and is printed
in the collcction of the laws of the United States, with
the other laws which 1 had occasion to quote. It product
ed no material effect upon the relations between the
countries, and did not therefore require to be mentioned
in the course of my remarks upon the subject. 1 rather
regret, however, that I had not attended to it, and ex-
plained its operation, inasmuch as the construction given
to it by your Excellency, though erroneous, was natural
enough in a foreigner unacquainted with the forms of
our legislation, and seems to have had an unfavorable
influence upon the whole tenor of your reply.
The object of this act, which wears the shape of a re-
peal of the two former ones, was to fix a time when the
subject should be taken up again in Congress. A limi-
tation of this sort is with us, annexed to almost all new
laws of much importance, and often makes a part of
them. It furnishes, therefore, in this case, no proof of
an intention to change the system : and as the laws and
negotiations of the United States, subsequent to its adop-
tion, prove on the contrary their disposition to adhere to
it, there is little or no reason to doubt that the result of
a reconsideration of the subject, will be to re-enact the
law, with such alterations as may appear expedient.—
Among these alterations will probably be, the repeal of
the privileges granted by the act, to any powers which
may have subsequently withdrawn the corresponding
privileges, formerly allowed by them to the citizens of
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Gales, Joseph, 1761-1841. Register of Debates in Congress, Comprising the Leading Debates and Incidents of the Second Session of the Eighteenth Congress, book, 1825; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc30752/m1/444/: accessed July 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.