Register of Debates in Congress, Comprising the Leading Debates and Incidents of the Second Session of the Eighteenth Congress Page: 69
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APPENDIX—To Gales & Seaton's Register.
18th Congress, j
2d Session. 1
Commercial Relations between the U. States and the Netherlands. [H. of R.
the States. £I«nce,-*hd only effcct x>f this act, '
upon the relations between those states and the Nether-
lands, will be to fix the time when the American Go-
vernment will probably remodel their system, in con-
formity to that which may be in force here : and if the
King is really desirous to continue those relations upon
their present footing, the act of March 3, 1819, instead
of operating as an objection to the allowance of an ex-
emption to American vessels, from the effect of the new
tariff, would serve, on the contrary, as a reason for tak-
ing such a measure with the least possible delay.
Such are the remarks which I have thought it my duty
to communicate to your Excellency, in relation to the
act of March 3, 1819. The other part of your answer,
which treats more directly the points in question, would
also admit of some objections. Yoa intimate that, pro-
vided the duties levied upon foreigners and native citi-
zens, are nominally the same, a Government may allow
a drawback in favor of the latter, without subjecting it-
self to the charge of partiality. This distinction seems,
however, to be more formal than real: and it the fo-
reigner actually pays in any way ten per cent, more than
the citizen, it would be rather difficult to prove that they
are placed upon an equal footing; or in other words,
that they pay the same. Your Excellency also remarks,
that the discrimination established by the new law, in
favor of the subjects of the Netherlands, is justifiable, on
account of its object, which was to encourage the navi-
gation of the country. In regard to this point, 1 must
take the liberty to suggest, that the end, supposing it to
justify the means, does not change their character, nor,
in this instance, prove that a discrimination in favor of
citizens is consistent with perfect impartiality between
citizens and foreigners. The American Government had
in view the same object, viz. the encouragement of the
navigation of their country, in establishing a discriminat-
ing tonnage duty in favor of our own vessels : but they
certainly never thought of maintaining that the foreign-
ers, against whom this discrimination operates, are as fa-
vorably treated in our ports as the citizens ot the United
States; or of claiming, under this pretence, an impartial
treatment for the latter in the ports of such foreigners.
1 must, however, beg your Excellency, in conclusion,
not to consider these new remarks as i ntended for the pur-
nose of urging very strenuously upon the Government
of the Netherlands, a compliance with the proposition
contained in my note of the 7th ot March. My principal
object has been to explain one or two points in that com-
munication, which you seem to have misunderstood.—
The people of the United States are too well satisfied
with the goodly heritage which the bounty ot Providence
lias allotted to them ; and too abundantly supplied from
their own territories with the best products ofalmost all
climates, to solicit very anxiously ot any foreign power
the concession of favors, commercial or political. n
proposing to other nations to open to them, on a footing
of equality, the immense and various resources of our
vast Republic, they conceive themselves to be acting for
the good of those nations and of humanity, as well as tor
their own. If the King does not deem it expedient for
himself or his subjects to accept this offer, tae Govern-
ment of the United States, without complaining ot his
refusal, and without suffering much from it, will, doubt-
less, regret that the views of so enlightened a monarch
upon a great question in political economy,should be dif-
ferent from their own. .
1 have the honor to be, with the hignest respect, sir,
Your Excellency's very ob't. ser'vt.
A. H. FAl'/KEi 1.
Copy of a letter from the Secretary of Slate to Mr. Everett,
Charge d' Affaires of the Unite i Stales to the Netherlands.
Dei-abtment of State, 9i/i Mug. 182j.
Sir: Your despatches, to No. 105, inclusive, have been
received, and your letters marlsed privatei to iso. /<.
The object requiring most immediate attention is your
correspondence with the Baron de Nagell, concerning
the law of the Netherlands, of the 26th of August, 1822,
establishing a 'drawback of one-tenth of the duties upon
merchandise exported or imported in national vessels,
and referring to other favors to the national flag, in the
general law, and in the tariff.
The view you have taken of both parts of the agree-
ment, in the Baron de Nagell's note of the 27th of May,
is approved, and leaves me little to say in addition to it.
From the strenuous manner in which the Baron urges
the act of Congress of the 3d March, 1819, in justifica-
tion of the new discriminations in the law of the Nether-
lands, it is apparent that he places little reliance upon
the other part of his note. The object of all discrimin-
ating duties is to favor the national shipping and ship-
building interest; and whether in the shape of addition-
al impost, of tonnage, of drawback, or of bounty, they
are alike felt in the competition of navigation, and alike
incompatible with the principle of equal privilege and
burden. It wilt be proper, therefore, explicitly to state,
that the case hypothetical^ stated by the Baron de Na-
gell, of a bounty upon ship-building, is considered by
this Government as much within tiic principle of dis-
criminating duties as a direct tonnage duty, and equally
at variance with the system of equalization established
with a mutual understanding between the United States
and the Netherlands, by reciprocal acts of legislation.
The limitation prescribed by the act of Congress of
d March, 1819, was, as you have observed, no intima-
tion on their part, to abandon the system. The act of
3d March, 1815, was an experimental offer, made to all
the maritime nations: it was, in the course of the same
year, accepted by Great liritain, confirmed in the form
of a convention. A similar effort was made with the
Netherlands in 1817, but without success; but the prin-
ciple of equalization was established by corresponding
legislative acts. The Hanseatic cities and Prussia, suc-
cessively acceded to the same system, and, as well as the
Netherlands, required an extension of the equalizing
principle offered by the act of Congress of 3d March,
1815, to merchandise of the growth, produce, or manu-
facture, of countries, other than that to which the vessel
should belong; but, usually, first exported from thence.
In conceding this extension of their first offer to the ci-
ties of Hamburgh and Bremen, and to Prussia, after hav-
ing yielded it to the Netherlands, Congress thought pro.
per to fix a time for a deliberate revision of the whole
system; and, therefore, limited the duration of all the
laws relating to it, to the first of January, 1824. But
neither Congress, nor the Executive Government, have
manifested any intention to abandon the system. The
President h:vs, on the contrary, more than once, express-
ed the favorable view in which it is considered by him,
and particularly in his message to Congress, at the open-
ing of the session, on the 3d December, 1821.
The whole subject will, undoubtedly, be one of the
first objects of deliberation at the ensuing session of
Congress. There is no reason to doubt that the existing
equalization with regard to the Netherlands would be
continued, but for the change which has been made on
their part. A declaration from that Government that
the discriminations against which you have made repre-
sentations, have not been, and will not be, applicable to
the United States, so long as the vessels of the Nether-
lands, in the ports of the United States, shall continue to
enjoy the equalization secured to them by the acts of Con-
gress of 3d March, 1815, and 20tll April, 1S18, will su-
percede, without doubt, all change of the existing regu-
lations here, favorable to the navigation of that country.
It is very desirable that you should obtain such a decla-
ration in time to forward it, so that it may be received
here by the first Monday in December, when the session
of Congress will commence, 01* as soon after as possible.
; The act of-Congress on the revision of the systefflj
probably P3SS i. the course of that month.
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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/m1/445/: accessed December 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.