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the conference, that preceded the convention of 1815, the British commissioners refused to grant to the Americans the right of carrying their produce down the St. Lawrence to Montreal, or down the Sorel to the St. Lawrence. They sought to restrict our commerce to those waters only, where the boundary line run in the midst of the stream or lake, and, as we hold neither bank of the St. Lawrence, except from the bottom of Lake Ontario to Lake St. Francis, and no territory upon the Sorel, the whole transportation would have fallen into British hands. They rejected the general land and inland communication and navigation, proposed by the American plenipotentiaries. No intercourse, therefore, exists by treaty with the British possessions in North America, and no furs or peltry can ever be brought across our possessions or water communications in the west, without a violation of territory.
In some respects the theory of this convention appeared unequal, though the defects have not in every case been confirmed by a practical operation. An equality of duties on importations, whether in American or British vessels, was respectively established, and it was, also, agreed, that articles of the growth, produce, or manufacture of either of the countries, should not be charged with a higher duty than similar articles, coming from any other foreign country; that is to say, articles from the United States could be admitted into Great Britain on the same terms as the same articles from Russia, Sweden or Spain, but not on the same terms as the same articles from Canada, Calcutta, or the English West Indies, they not being foreign countries. Whatever, therefore, was grown, produced, or manufactured in a British province of a similar nature with the productions of this country, whether raw or manufactured, entering into the home market, precisely under such advantages as the British government might think it for their interest to confer, almost all the staples of the middle and eastern portions of this Union became in fact excluded ;-another of the inconveniences, to which we are exposed, in consequence of the numerous colonial possessions of that people,
situated in every latitude, and enjoying the benefit of every soil and climate. Still, notwithstanding the unfavourable aspect of this part of the stipulation, the transportation of the valuable staples of the southern division of the confederacy is done, almost, exclusively in American bottoms.
This convention gave, also, in the outset, to the British vessel the advantage of the circuitous voyage, or double freight. The American, being immediately excluded from the West Indies, while the English vessel, still retaining the privilege of entering from and departing for those islands. from our waters, had the double choice presented of taking a freight either for Europe, or colonial possessions. This evil, not being inherent in the convention, but only an incident, arising from the unequal navigation laws of the two countries, was remedied in the course of 18 months by heavy duties on British vessels, arriving from the West Indies and, finally, by a nonintercourse with those islands. The same state of things produced another result, probably not anticipated. All sort of lumber, when imported into Great Britain from British Provinces, (and they can be imported only in British vessels) pay a small duty, compared with the same descriptions of lumber, imported from the United States either in American or British vessels. Trade, which has such a wonderful instinct in detecting and following the softest vein, was not long in probing the consequences of this unequal rate of duties, but it turned out to the nominal benefit of the British vessel. The lumber, carried to Nova Scotia is thence shipped to England, the whole advantage of the freight of this bulky article remaining with the English.
Nothing can be more evident than the extreme difficulty of making a safe and satisfactory commercial arrangement with Great Britain. The activity and enterprise of the nation are strained to the utmost in counteracting the advantages she has in her colonial possessions: this can be effected neither by treaty stipulation, nor legislative enactment. Commerce winds and turns, till it flows into the best market, with the certainty of water seeking its level, and those
mounds and dykes, a government raises to keep the stream within certain courses and channels, amount to little else than so many taxes and tolls upon its own people. But many of those obstacles have been overcome, and no pecuniary damage has yet been felt by the country. The United States and Great Britain are the best customers to each other, and it is no objection to a system that extends and confirms a friendly as well as profitable connexion and intercourse. An equality of duties and charges on navigation saves much angry correspondence, much retaliatory legislation, and dries up numerous sources of complaint and irritation, and, in the end, will turn to the decided advantage of both nations, compared with that uncertain condition of trade and commerce, which has no more solid and permanent foundation than the capricious or occasional regulations of the respective parties.
John Quincy Adams, engaged in negotiating this convention, was appointed in February 1815, Minister Plenipotentiary and Envoy Extraordinary to the Court of London, and, in the same year, Charles Bagot, being here received in the same capacity, the diplomatic intercourse of the two countries was fully and happily renewed.*
* After this convention was ratified, the following declaration was made to the American government by the British chargé at Washing
"The undersigned, his Britannic majesty's chargé d'affaires in the United States of America, is commanded by his royal highness the prince regent, acting in the name and on the behalf of his majesty, to explain and declare, upon the exchange of the ratifications of the convention concluded at London, on the third of July of the present year, for regulating the commerce and navigation between the two countries, that in consequence of events which have happened in Europe subsequent to the signature of the convention aforesaid, it has been deemed expedient, and determined, in conjunction with the allied sovereigns, that St. Helena shall be the place allotted for the future residence of General Napoleon Bonaparte, under such regulations as may be necessary for the perfect security of his person, and it has been resolved, for that purpose, that all ships and vessels whatever, as well British ships and vessels, as others, excepting only ships
belonging to the East India Company, shall be excluded from all communication with, or approach to, that island.
"It has therefore become impossible to comply with so much of the third article of the treaty as relates to the liberty of touching for refreshment at the Island of St. Helena, and the ratifications of the said treaty will be exchanged under the explicit declaration and understanding, that the vessels of the United States cannot be allowed to touch at, or hold any communication whatever with the said island, so long as the said island shall continue to be the place of residence of the said Napoleon Bonaparte.*
ANTHONY ST. JNO. BAKER.
Washington, November 24, 1815."
* In consequence of the death of the emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte, this restriction was removed 30th July 1821.
COMMERCIAL CONVENTION OF 1818 WITH G. BRITAIN.
Commercial stipulations the same as those of 1815—Renewed for ten years-Impressment-Tone of British government unfavourable at Ghent-Subject much discussed in 1818-Propositions of EnglandRemarks-Parties could not agree-Will never be adjusted by a Treaty-A question of sovereignty to the United States-British propositions in regard to other maritime rights-Nothing settled-Gallatin and Rush for United States—Robinson and Goulbourn for England-Fisheries-Extent and boundaries regulated-CurtailedAmerican and British ground as to effect of war on Treaties-Lord Bathurst's Letter defending British principle—England renounced right to Navigation of Mississippi-United States to certain portion of the Fisheries-Boundaries on the North West settled-To the Rock Mountains-English anxious to confine United States below the course of the Columbia, and to divide the Navigation of the river, and the use of the harbour-Have ambitious projects in that direction-Possess an accurate knowledge of the country by means of their hunters-Americans and English have extended nearly across the Continent-Rush, King, Gallatin and Barbour, ministers to England-Canning and Vaughan to this country-Boundaries-Proceedings on the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh Articles of the Treaty of Ghent-Decisions and Reports of Commissioners-Convention in regard to the North East-Advantages to both parties from a settlement.
WE shall not detain the reader with any account of the commercial part of this instrument, comprising only a renewal of the stipulations of the convention of 1815; but it was the last time the impracticable topic of impressment has appeared at our negotiations with Great Britain. In suffering that subject to be matter of discussion the American government has never admitted, that the pretension of the