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We had a policy then—the result of thought, of the case with many of our finest vessels; which, judgment, and of experience: a navy for defence, though unfinished, will now require immense and not for conquest: and, consequently, con- in which they were

, when committed to their

sums of money to be restored to the condition firable to a limited number of ships, adequate to proper element. On this subject there can be their defensive object—instead of thousands, but little doubt that our best policy would be, aiming at the dominion of the seas. That policy to discontinue the building of ships of the first was overthrown by the success of our naval and second class, and look rather to the pos

session of ample materials, prepared for the combats during the war; and the idea of a great emergencies of war, than to the number of vesnaty became popular, without any definite view sels which we can float in a season of peace, as of its cost and consequences. Admiration for the index of our naval power." good fighting did it, without having the same

This was written twenty years ago, and by a effect on the military policy. Our army fought

President who saw what he described-many of well also, and excited admiration; but without

our finest ships going to decay before they were subverting the policy which interdicted standing

ished—demanding repairs before they had aries in time of peace. The army was cut

sailed-and costing millions for which there was down in peace: the navy was building up in

no return. We have been going on at the same peace. In this condition President Jackson

rate ever since-building, and rotting, and sinkfound the two branches of the service—the army ing millions ; but little to show for forty years reduced by two successive reductions from a of ship-carpentry; and that little nothing to do large body to a very small one-6000 men-and

but to cruise where there is nothing to catch, although illustrated with military glory yet re- and to carry out ministers to foreign courts who fusing to recommend an army increase: the navy, are not quite equal to the Franklins, Adamses from a small one during the war, becoming large and Jeffersons—the Pinckneys, Rufus Kings, during the peace-gradual increase the lawship-building the active process, and rotting ards—that went out in common merchant ves

and Marshalls—the Clays, Gallatins and Baydown the active effect; and thus we have been sels. Mr. Jefferson told me that this would be going on for near forty years. Correspondent the case twenty-five years ago when naval glory to his army policy was that of President Jack

overturned national policy, and when a navy son in relation to the navy ; he proposed a board was created to facilitate ship-construction. pause in the process of ship-building and ship- But this is a subject which will require a chapter rotting. He recommended a total cessation of of its own, and is only incidentally mentioned the further building of vessels of the first and

now to remark that we have no policy with resecond class-ships of the line, and frigates

spect to a navy, and ought to have one-that with a collection of materials for future use there is no middle point between defence and and the limitation of our naval policy to the objeet of commercial protection. He did not even but wars with the world,—and the debt, taxes,

conquest—and no sequence to a conquering navy include coast defence, his experience having pensjon list, and pauper list of Great Britain. shown him that the men on shore could defend

The inutility of a Bank of the United States the land. In a word, he recommended a naval

as a furnisher of a sound and uniform currency, poliey; and that was the same which the re

and of questionable origin under our constitution, peblicans of 1798 had adopted, and which Vir

was thus stated : goria made obligatory upon her senators in lkn); and which, under the blaze of shining

6 The charter of the Bank of the United States

expires in 1836, and its stockholders will most provetories

, had yielded to the blind, and aimless, bably apply for a renewal of their privileges. In and endless operation of building and rotting order to avoid the evils resulting from precipipeaceful ships of war. He said :

tancy in a measure involving such important

principles, and such deep pecuniary interests, I * In time of peace, we have need of no more feel that I cannot, in justice to the parties intereta of war than are requisite to the protection ested, too soon present it to the deliberate conof vor commerce. Those not wanted for this sideration of the legislature and the people. oljet must lay in the harbors, where, without Both the constitutionality and the expediency of promet covering, they rapidly decay; and, even the law creating this bank, are well quesEz ker the best precautions for their preserva- tioned by a large portion of our fellow-citizens; twa. nust soon become useless. Such is already and it must be admitted by all

, that it has failed

in the great end of establishing a uniform and of politics and tariffs—and the duty of retrenchsound currency.”

ment by discontinuing and abolishing all useless This is the clause which party spirit, and offices. In a word, it was a message of the old bank tactics, perverted at the time (and which republican school, in which President Jackson has gone into history), into an attack upon the had been bred; and from which he had never bank—a war upon the bank—with a bad mo- departed; and which encouraged the young distive attributed for a war so wanton. At the

ciples of democracy, and consoled the old survissame time nothing could be more fair, and just, ing fathers of that school. and more in consonance with the constitution which requires the President to make the legisTative recommendations which he believes to be proper. It was notice to all concerned-the bank on one side, and the people on the other—that there would be questions, and of high import

CHAPTER XLII. constitutionality and expediency—if the present

THE RECOVERY OF THE DIRECT TRADE WITH corporators, at the expiration of their charter,

THE BRITISH WEST INDIA ISLANDS. should apply for a renewal of their privileges. It was an intimation against the institution, not The recovery of this trade had been a large obagainst its administrators, to whom a compliment ject with the American government from the was paid in another part of the same message, in time of its establishment. As British colonies ascribing to the help of their “judicious arrange- we enjoyed it before the Revolution; as revolted ment'

the averting of the mercantile pressure colonies we lost it ; and as an independent nawhich might otherwise have resulted from the tion we sought to obtain it again. The position sudden withdrawal of the twelve and a half mil- of these islands, so near to our ports and shores lions which had just been taken from the bank and —the character of the exports they received applied to the payment of the public debt. But of from us, being almost entirely the product of this hereafter. The receipts and expenditures were our farms and forests, and their large amount, stated, respectively, for the preceding year, and always considerable, and of late some four milestimated for the current year, the former at a lions of dollars per annum—the tropical profraction over twenty-four and a half millions—ductions which we received in return, and the the latter a fraction over twenty-six millions-- large employment it gave to our navigationwith large balances in the treasury, exhibiting all combined to give a cherished value to this the constant financial paradox, so difficult to be branch of foreign trade, and to stimulate our understood, of permanent annual balances with government to the greatest exertions to obtain an even, or even deficient revenue. The passage and secure its enjoyment; and with the advanof the message is in these words:

-tage of being carried on by our own vessels. “ The balance in the treasury on the 1st of But these were objects not easily attainable, January, 1829, was five millions nine hundred and never accomplished until the administration and seventy-two thousand four hundred and of President Jackson. All powers are jealous thirty-five dollars and eighty-one cents. The receipts of the current year are estimated at

of alien intercourse with their colonies, and have twenty-four millions, six hundred and two thou- a natural desire to retain colonial trade in their sand, two hundred and thirty dollars, and the own hands, both for commercial and political expenditures for the same time at twenty-six reasons; and have a perfect right to do so if millions one hundred and sixty-four thousand five hundred and ninety-five dollars ; leaving a

they please. Partial and conditional admission balance in the treasury on the 1st of January to trade with their colonies, or total exclusion next, of four inillions four hundred and ten thou- from them, is in the discretion of the mother sand and seventy dollars, eighty-one cents." country; and any participation in their trade

Other recommendations contained the sound by virtue of treaty stipulations or legislative democratic doctrines-speedy and entire extinc-enactment, is the result of concession-generaltion of the public debt-reduction of custom- ly founded in a sense of self-interest, or at best house duties—equal and fair incidental protec- in a calculation of mutual advantage. No less tion to the great national interests (agriculture, than six negotiations (besides several attempts manufactures and commerce)—the disconnection | at “concerted legislation ") had been carried on

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between the United States and Great Britain on “If to the actual footing of our commerce and this subject; and all, until the second year of navigation in the British European dominions

could be added the privilege of carrying directly General Jackson's administration, resulting in from the United States to the British West Innothing more than limited concessions for a dies in our own bottoms generally, or of certain year, or for short terms; and sometimes cou- specified burthens, the articles which by the Act pled with conditions which nullified the privi- of Parliament, 28, Geo. III., chap. 6, may be lege . It was a primary object of concern with carried thither in British bottoms, and of bring

ing them thence directly to the United States in General Washington's administration ; and a American bottoms, this would afford an acceptaknowledge of the action then had upon it eluci- ble basis of treaty for a term not exceeding fifdates both the ralue of the trade, the difficulty teen years." of getting admission to its participation, and the

An article was inserted in the treaty in conright of Great Britain to admit or deny its en- formity to these principles-our carrying vessels joyment to others. General Washington had limited in point of burthen to seventy tons and practical knowledge on the subject. He had under; the privilege limited in point of duration seen it enjoyed, and lost—enjoyed as British to the continuance of the then existing war besubjects lost as revolted colonies and inde-tween Great Britain and the French Republic, pendent states—and knew its value, both from and to two years after its termination ; and rethe use and the loss, and was most anxious to stricted in the return cargo both as to the narecover it. It was almost the first thing, in our ture of the articles and the port of their destinaforeign relations, to which he put his hand on tion. These were hard terms, and precarious, becoming President ; and literally did he put and the article containing them was “suspended” his hand to it. For as early as the 14th of Oc- by the Senate in the act of ratification, in the tober, 1789—just six months after his inaugura- hope to obtain better; and are only quoted here tion—in a letter of unofficial instructions to Mr. in order to show that this direct trade to the Gourerneur Morris, then in Europe, written British est Indies was, from the beginning of with his own hand (requesting him to sound

our federal government, only sought as a privithe British government on the subject of a com

lege, to be obtained under restrictions and limimercial treaty with the United States), a point tations

, and subordinately to British policy and that he made was to ascertain their views in re

legislation. This was the end of the first negolation to allowing us the “ “privilege” of this

tiation; five others were had in the ensuing trade. Privilege was his word, and the instruc

thirty years, besides repeated attempts at "contion ran thus : “ Let it be strongly impressed certed legislation”-all ending either abortively, on your mind that the privilege of carrying our

or in temporary and unsatisfactory arrangeproductions in our own vessels to their islands,

ments. sed bringing, in return, the productions of those

The most important of these attempts was in sands to our ports and markets, is regarded the years 1822 and 1823: and as it forms an eskuze as of the highest importance," &c.

sential item in the history of this case, and shows, It was a prominent point in our very first ne

besides, the good policy of letting “well-enough' station with Great Britain in 1794; and the

alone, and the great mischief of inserting an apastructions to Mr. Jay, in May of that year, parently harmless word in a bill of which no one shots that admission to the trade was then

sees the drift but those in the secret, I will here ody asked as a privilege, as in the year '89, give its particulars, adopting for that purpose and upon terms of limitation and condition. the language of serator Samuel Smith, of MaryThis is so material to the right understanding land, -the best qualified of all our statesmen to of the question, and to the future history of the

speak on the subject, he having the practical c25€ and especially of a debate and vote in the

knowledge of a merchant in addition to experiState, of which President Jackson's instruc

ence as a legislator. His statement is this: in through Mr. Van Buren on the same subwas made the occasion, that I think it right

“During the session of 1822, Congress was in10 ote the instructions of President Washing-for the opening of the colonial ports to the com

formed that an act was pending in Parliament *** to Mr. Jay in his own words. They were merce of the United States. In consequence, an

act was passed authorizing the President (then

99

Mr. Monroe), in case the act of Parliament was Gallatin was instructed to waive temporarily satisfactory to him, to open the ports of the the demand of right, and accept the privilege United States to British vessels by his procla- offered by the act of 1825. But in the mean mation. The act of Parliament was deemed satisfactory, and a proclamation was accordingly time the year allowed in the act for its acceptissued, and the trade commenced. Unfortunate- ance had expired, and Mr. Gallatin was told ly for our commerce, and I think contrary to that his offer was too late! To that answer the justice

, a treasury circular issued, directing the British ministry adhered ; and, from the month collectors to charge British vessels entering our ports with the alien tonnage and discriminating of July, 1826, the direct trade to the British duties. This order was remonstrated against by West Indies was lost to our citizens, leaving the British minister (I think Mr. Vaughan). them no mode of getting any share in that trade, The trade, however, went on uninterrupted. either in sending out our productions or receivCongress met, and a bill was drafted in 1823 by Mr. Adams, then Secretary of State, and passed ing theirs, but through the expensive, tedious, both Houses, with little, if any, debate.

voted and troublesome process of a circuitous voyage for it, believing that it met, in a spirit of reci- and the intervention of a foreign vessel. The procity, the British act of Parliament. This bill, shock and dissatisfaction in the United States however, contained one little word, “ elsewhere." which completely defeated all our expectations. It were extreme at this unexpected bereavement; was noticed by no one. The senator from Mas- and that dissatisfaction entered largely into the sachusetts (Mr. Webster) may have understood political feelings of the day, and became a point its effect. If he did so understand it, he was si-of attack on Mr. Adams's administration, and an lent. The effect of that word “elsewhere” was to assume the pretensions alluded to in the in- element in the presidential canvass which ended structions to Mr. McLane. (Pretension to a in his defeat. "right" in the trade.) The result was, that the In giving an acconnt of this untoward event British government shut their colonial ports im- to his government, Mr. Gallatin gave an account mediately, and thenceforward. This act of 1822 gave us a monopoly (virtually) of the West In- of his final interview with Mr. Huskisson, from dia trade. It admitted, free of duty, a variety which it appeared that the claim of " right” on of articles, such as Indian corn, meal, oats, peas, the part of the United States, on which Mr. Gal. and beans. The British government thought latin had been instructed to “insist," was "temwe entertained a belief that they could not do without our produce, and by their acts of the porarily waived;” but without effect. Irritation, 27th June and 5th July, 18:25, they opened their on account of old scores, as expressed by Mr ports to all the world, on terms far less advan-Gallatin—or resentment at our pertinacious pertageous to the United States, than those of the sistence to secure a “right” where the rest of act of 1822."

the world accepted a “privilege," as intimated Such is the important statement of General by Mr. Huskisson-mixed itself with the reSmith. Mr. Webster was present at the time, fusal ; and the British government adhered to and said nothing. Both these acts were clear its absolute right to regulate the foreign trade rights on the part of Great Britain, and that of of its colonies, and to treat us as it did the rest 1825 contained a limitation upon the time within of the world. The following are passages from which each nation was to accept the privilege it Mr. Gallatin's dispatch, from London, September offered, or lose the trade for ever. This legisla- 11, 1827 : tive privilege was accepted by all nations which had any thing to send to the British West Indies, the British government to consider the inter

“Mr. Huskisson said it was the intention of except the United States. Mr. Adams did not course of the British colonies as being exclusive accept the proffered privilege—undertook to ne- ly under its control, and any relaxation from gotiate for better terms—failed in the attempt, the colonial system as an indulgence, to be and lost all. Mr. Clay was Secretary of State, granted on such terms as might suit the policy Mr. Gallatin the United States Minister in Lon- said every question of right had, on this occa

of Great Britain at the time it was granted. I don, and the instructions to him were, to insist sion, been waived on the part of the Unitei upon it as a “ right” that our produce should be States, the only object of the present inquiry admitted on the same terms on which produce being to ascertain whether, as a matter of mufrom the British possessions were admitted.- tual convenience, the intercourse might not be

opened in a manner satisfactory to both coun This was the “elsewhere," &c. The British tries. He (Mr. H.) said that it had appeared a government refused to negotiate ; and then Mr. if America had entertained the opinion that the

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British West Indies could not exist without her sufficient in their concessions to have been rewardsupplies; and that she might, therefore, compel ed by any relaxation from the British interdict. Great Britain to open the intercourse on any The British government have not only declined terms she pleased. I disclaimed any such belief negotiation upon the subject, but, by the princior intention on the part of the United States. ple they have assumed with reference to it, have But it appeared to me, and I intimated it, indeed, precluded even the means of negotiation, It heto Mr. Huskisson, that he was acting rather un- comes not the self-respect of the United States, der the influence of irritated feelings, on account either to solicit gratuitous favours, or to accept, of past events, than with a view to the mutual as the grant of a favor, that for which an ample interests of both parties."

equivalent is exacted.” This was Mr. Gallatin's last dispatch. An

This was the communication of Mr. Adams to order in council was issued, interdicting the trade to the United States; and he returned home. Congress, and certainly nothing could be more Mr. James Barbour, Secretary at War, was sent vexatious or hopeless than the case which he to London to replace him, and to attempt again presented—an injury, an insult, a rebuff, and a the repulsed negotiation; but without success.

refusal to talk with us upon the subject. NegoThe British government refused to

tiation, and the hope of it, having thus terminatthe

open question: and thus the direct access to this valuable ed, President Adams did what the laws required commerce remained sealed against us. President of him, and issued his proclamation making known Adams, at the commencement of the session of to the country the total cessation of all direct comCongress, 1827-28, formally communicated this merce between the United States and the British fact to that body, and in terms which showed at West India Islands. once that an insult had been received, an injury

The loss of this trade was a great injury to the sustained, redress refused, and ill-will established United States (besides the insult), and was atbetween the two governments. He said:

tended by circumstances which gave it the air of

punishment for something that was past. It was “At the commencement of the last session of Congress, they were informed of the sudden and

a rebuff in the face of Europe; for while the unexpected exclusion by the British government, United States were sternly and unceremoniously of access, in vessels of the United States, to all cut off from the benefit of the act of 1825, for their colonial ports, except those immediately omission to accept it within the year, yet other bordering upon our own territory.

" In the amicable discussions which have suc- powers in the same predicament (France, Spain ceeded the adoption of this measure, which, as it and Russia) were permitted to accept after the affected harshly the interests of the United States, year; and the "irritated feelings" manifested by became a subject of expostulation on our part, Mr. Huskisson indicated a resentment which was the principles upon which its justification has finding its gratification. We were ill-treated, been placed have been of a diversified character. It has at once been ascribed to a mere recurrence and felt it. The people felt it. It was an ugly to the old long-established principle of colonial case to manage, or to endure; and in this period monopoly, and at the same time to a feeling of of its worst aspect General Jackson was elected resentment, because the offers of an act of Par- President. liament, opening the colonial ports upon certain conditions, had not been grasped at with sufficient

His position was delicate and difficult. His eagerness by an instantaneous conformity to election had been deprecated as that of a rash them. At a subsequent period it has been inti- and violent man, who would involve us in quarmated that the new exclusion was in resentment, rels with foreign nations; and here was a dissenbecause a prior act of Parliament, of 1822, open-sion with a great nation lying in wait for him— ing certain colonial ports, under heavy and burdensome restrictions, to vessels of the United prepared to his hand--the legacy of his predecesStates, had not been reciprocated by an admis- sor-either to be composed satisfactorily, or to sion of British vessels from the colonies, and ripen into retaliation and hostility ; for it was their cargoes, without any restriction or discrimination whatever. But, be the motive for the not to be supposed that things could remain as interdiction what it may, the British government they were. He had to choose between an attempt have manifested no disposition, either by negoti- at amicable recovery of the trade by new overation or by corresponding legislative enactments, tures, or retaliation-leading to, it is not known to recede from it; and we have been given distinctly to understand that neither of the bills what. He determined upon the first of these alwhich were under the consideration of Congress ternatives, and Mr. Louis McLane, of Delaware, at their last session, would have been deemed / was selected for the delicate occasion. Ile was

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