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trade to the vessels of any country, which should not extend to British vessels and subjects the privileges of that Act.
This phraseology disclosed, in no very equivocal language, the same spirit which has been so often manifested by Mr. Canning, in the late discussions of this controversy. It may be properly termed the domineering spirit. It turns upon the pretension, that the whole regulation of the concern must be provided for exclusively by British legislation;—that so long as they choose to interdict the trade, all foreign nations must submit in passive acquiescence ;-that as soon as they think proper to open their * ports, foreign nations must receive it as a boon, and hasten, without a moment's delay, to grant to British vessels and subjects all the privileges of that Act-in default of which, the King and Council are authorized to renew the interdict.
The session of Congress of 1822, terminated on the 8th of May, about six weeks before the passage of this Act of Parliament; and so anxious was the government of the United States for the amicable adjustment of this interest, and so ready to concur in any arrangement which should be founded on the principle of reciprocity, that, by an Act passed on the 6th of May, the President was authorized, on satisfactory evidence being given to him that the British colonial ports in the West Indies had been opened to the vessels of the United States, to issue his proclamation, opening the ports of the United States to British vessels from the colonies, subject to such reciprocal rules and restrictions as he should make and publish; any thing in the Navigation Acts of 1818 and 1820 to the contrary notwithstanding. And immediately after the passage of the Act of Parliament was known, the proclamation of the President, of the 24th of August 1822, was issued accordingly.
But the restrictions under which the Act of Parliament had opened the trade, were necessarily to be met by countervailing restrictions on the part of the United States. By the Act of Parliament, two of the three points upon which the British government had insisted in the negotiation of 1818, and to which they had adhered in 1819, were abandoned. The ports to which the vessels of the United States were to be admitted, were enumerated by name; and the articles admissible were the same in all the
ports. But the indirect trade was still interdicted; and the foreign shipping were admissible only from their own ports, and were compelled to return directly to them. The list of articles admissible to importation was scanty, and they were subject to a schedule of duties, equivalent to ten, fifteen, or twenty per cent. ad valorem, from which the like articles, when imported from the North American to the West India colony, were exempted.
The proclamation, in opening the ports of the United States to British vessels from the colonies, prescribed that the vessels from the West Indies should be admissible with cargoes only of West India produce, and those from the continental provinces, only with articles of the growth, produce, or manufacture of those provinces. The vessels and cargoes were also subject to the alien duties of tonnage and impost. These restrictions became immediately a subject of complaint, and of correspondence between the two governments. For a very partial and invidiously restrictive admission of American vessels, under a heavy burden of discriminating duties upon their cargoes, the British claimed an entire, unlimited admission of British vessels, upon the same terms of duties with the vessels of the United States themselves, and free from all discriminating duties whatever. But in the course of that correspondence it appeared, not only that American vessels would not by the Act of Parliament be admitted into the colonial ports on the same terms with British vessels, but that they would be burdened with sundry additional duties and charges, by Acts of the several colonial and provincial legislatures.
The proclamation was limited to the close of the then ensuing session of Congress; and on the 1st of March 1823, Congress passed the Act, suspending the operațion of the two Acts concerning navigation, of April 1818, and of May 1820, and declaring the ports of the United States open to British vessels coming from the ports enumerated in the British Act of Parliament. It provided that British vessels should be confined to the direct trade, as those of the United States had been by the British laws; and it required the additional tonnage and alien impost duties. But it offered to discard all discrimination, if the British government would do the same. It authorized the President, in the event of his receiving satisfactory proof that all the discriminating duties and charges, levied upon vessels of the United States and their cargoes in the colonial ports, were removed, to issue his proclamation, admitting British vessels and their cargoes from the colonies, on the same terms with those of the United States.
While this Act was on its passage, Mr. Stratford Canning, the British minister residing at Washington, to whom it had been communicated, objected, that by requiring that no higher duties or charges should be levied in the British colonial ports, on the cargoes of vessels of the United States, than upon the like goods, wares, and merchandise, imported into the same colonial ports from elsewhere, it might be construed to include the importations into the West India ports from the North American provinces. He was informed, that this was the intention of the Act. It was precisely the point upon which the negotiators of the convention of 1808 had parted, the point upon which the government of the United States had always insisted, as the only condition upon which they would accede to a free
trade between the United States and the British colonies, in the vessels of both nations.
In opening the trade by an Act of Parliament, the British government had established that discrimination of duties, which, seeming to favour only the productions of their own colonies, secured, in fact, a predominant advantage in favour of their own shipping. The design of the British government was to obtain, under colour of this opening of their colonial ports to the vessels of the United States, that ascendency which they had so long and fruitlessly struggled to secure by interdiction; but the pretension, that for this half-opening of their ports, their vessels from the colonies should not only be admitted into ours, but exempted from the foreign tonnage and impost, was as unreasonable as it was incompatible with reciprocity. This was amply shown in the correspondence at the time, and particularly in the letter of instruction from the Secretary of State to Mr. Rush, of 23d June 1823, which contains a full and unanswerable exposition of the disadvantages imposed upon the shipping of the United States, by the Act of Parliament of June 1822, and of the necessity incumbent upon the United States, of opening the trade on their part, with corresponding restrictions upon the British shipping.
A negotiation upon that, and upon various other subjects of interest to the two nations, was in that year commenced by Mr. Rush, with Mr. Stratford Canning and Mr. Huskisson. A convention for the suppression of the slave trade was concluded, but having been ratified only partially on the part of the United States, and clogged with additional conditions by Great Britain, finally failed of ratification.
In the conferences between Mr. Rush and the British plenipotentiaries, the subjects of the colonial trade, and of the operation of the Acts of Parliament and of Congress by which it was then regulated, were discussed; and mutual propositions were made for an arrangement by convention, which should establish it on principles of reciprocity. The mutual abolition of all discriminating duties on both sides, was acceded to, with an exception, upon which the British plenipotentiaries inflexibly insisted, and to which Mr. Rush was not authorized to agree. It was, that upon all the articles of importation from the United States into the West India colonies, duties should there be levied, to which the like articles, imported from the North American provinces, should not be subject. The negotiation was suspended in August 1824, with an express understanding that it should at an early period be resumed.
In August 1823, the British government had imposed a tonnage duty of four shillings and three pence sterling a ton, and an extra duty of ten per cent., upon the cargoes of all American vessels trading to the colonies. This was imposed as a countervailVOL. II.-NO. 3.
ing duty to those which were levied upon British vessels and their cargoes by the laws of the United States; no measure, retaliatory to this, was on their part resorted to.
Upon the organization of the present administration of the United States, in March 1825, Mr. Rush was recalled from the mission to Great Britain, and Mr. Rufus King was appointed as his successor. Mr. King had passed a long life in a succession of the highest public trusts, and had taken for many years a leading part in the course of policy which the United States adopted in relation to this commerce. He had, many years before, filled the same station at the Court of Great Britain, at a very critical period of the political relations between the two countries, and had been singularly fortunate in giving entire satisfaction to his own government, and at the same time, in conciliating the respect and esteem of that to which he was accredited. The renewal of the negotiations upon this, and all the other subjects which had been suspended before the return of Mr. Rush, was committed to him; but by one of those unfortunate occurrences to which all human affairs are liable, he arrived in England afflicted with a disease, occasioned or aggravated by the voyage, and from which he never recovered. He was, indecd, received by the King, and had various conserences and some correspondence with the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs ; but, after a residence of a few months in London, was constrained to solicit his recall, and returned only to terminate his useful and honourable career in his native country.
We have thus traced our important subject down to the present question between Great Britain and the United States ;-to the immediate object of the official correspondence, the title of which we have prefixed. We intended to discuss the whole, at once; but the historical inquiry, and the collateral remarks into which we have been led, have consumed all the space allowable in one number of our Review for any single dissertation. We shall, if possible, pursue the topic in our next number, so as to furnish a complete second part. About this, however, we may be the less anxious, since the correspondence itself nearly enables every intelligent reader to draw positive conclusions, and the matter has been powerfully treated in congressional speeches and newspaper essays. To illustrate the uniform policy and spirit of Great Britain and the United States respectively, and to teach our countrymen how they ought to feel, as well as reason, in this controversy, formed our principal and most useful task.
AMERICAN QUARTERLY REVIEW.
ART. I. -Prolegomena ad Homerum: sive de operum Home
ricorum prisca et genuinâ formâ, variisque mutationibus et probabili ratione emendandi. Scripsit FRID. Aug. WOLFIUs. Volumen 1. (the second never published.) Halis, Saxonia. ciɔɔccLxxxxy. (1795.)
for the purpose
The questions that have been agitated concerning Homer's poems, are,
1. Did such a poet as Homer ever exist?
2. If a poet of that name ever lived, were his Iliad and Odyssey composed originally in separate, unconnected rhapsodies, as historical songs,
of recitation at feasts and festivals, as occasion required? If so, it follows that Homer was one of the doido jantyodor ; a class and profession of men, like the Prophets, Bards, Scalds, Druids, &c., common in the earlier
part the history of every ancient nation.
3. Were the Iliad and Odyssey composed, or collected and connected, by Homer himself, as epic poems, each treating of one given subject, and forming a whole, as we now have them; or were they originally composed in separate songs, or metrical narratives santapdíac, and afterward collected promiscuously, and then arranged in the order we see them?
4. Was the Siege of Troy a common subject among the bards and rhapsodists of Greece, and Asia Minor, particularly of lonia ? so that the poems now attributed to Homer, a rhapsodist of eminent celebrity, might have been, in part, composed on different occasions, by other itinerant poets and songsters as well as Homer? VOL. II.NO. 4.