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1793.]

MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT.

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foreign relations of the United States, especially with France and England.

In this message he mentioned the general manifestations of friendly feelings by the public authorities in France towards the United States, and the advantages she had given to their commerce and navigation; but that she had nevertheless passed a decree concerning vessels laden with provisions, and enemy's goods found in the vessel of a friend, which were inconsistent with her treaty between France and the United States, and though at first revoked as to this country, it is said to have been subsequently extended to it.

The course of Genet, and its tendency to involve us in war, was decidedly, but calmly reprehended. The British instructions of June to their armed vessels were then noticed, as well as the measures taken thereon by the Executive, and also the correspondence relative to the non-execution of some of the articles of the treaty of peace. The affair of the United States with Spain requiring a confidential communication, he said, would be the subject of a future message.

The President's speech had been drawn by the Secretary of State, but had encountered much opposition from Mr. Hamilton, who succeeded in making many alterations in its terms, and who averred that the very striking contrast between the language used towards France and that towards Great Britain "amounted to a declaration of war." He insisted that Great Britain had shown to the United States more favor than France, and he regarded the partial disposition of the people of this country towards France as a serious calamity. He also wished the communications to Congress on the subject of complaints still pending, to be secret. The President, however, decided that the whole should be communicated without any reser

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JEFFERSON'S COMMERCIAL REPORT. [CHAP. VII.

vation; though all the members of the Cabinet, except Mr. Jefferson, were against publishing the documents relative to the provision order in council- the Presi dent, on this occasion, departing from his ordinary rule, and deciding in favor of one of his Cabinet against three. The answers of the two Houses of Congress on the sixth, were in the same respectful and affectionate tone as on all previous occasions.

On the same day, in compliance with a resolution of the House of Representatives passed as early as the twenty-third of February, 1791, the Secretary of State made a report on the commercial privileges granted by foreign countries to the United States, and the commercial restrictions imposed.

After exhibiting the amount of annual exports of the staple products of the United States to the several maritime nations of Europe; the imports from each; and the amount of American tonnage employed in their commerce with each, the Secretary considers how their several restrictions "may be best removed, modified, or counteracted."

Of the two feasible modes, by treaty and by our own legislation, he deems the first the more eligible; but where that mode is impracticable, he recommends a resort to legislation. He regards the protection to be thus afforded to commerce, as still more important to their navigation, which is so essential to the national defence. For the attainment of these great objects, he suggests a series of legislative measures which should retaliate on other nations the precise restrictions imposed by them on American commerce or navigation.

Soon after this report was communicated, Mr. Jefferson resigned his office, and retired to his seat in the interior of Virginia, where he continued about three years,

1794.]

JEFFERSON RESIGNS.

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a silent and secluded, if not an indifferent spectator of public measures; after which he was, for twelve years, called by the suffrages of his fellow-citizens to fill the first or the second post under their laws. Being now known to his countrymen as the vindicator of the nation's rights against the recent aggressions of Great Britain, he had recommended himself more strongly than ever to the favor of the Republican and Anti-Anglican party; and as he had also ably maintained the nation's dignity as well as neutrality against the insolence and intrigues of Genet, he had almost redeemed himself with the Federal and Anti-Gallican party. To the justness and patriotism of his views, and the ability with which he had sustained them, one-half the nation, in one case or the other, gave a ready assent. Though he might have had warmer friends subsequently, he never had so few enemies as at this period.

He was succeeded as Secretary of State by Mr. Randolph, the Attorney-General, whose place was filled first by Mr. Bradford of Pennsylvania; but he dying soon after his appointment, Mr. Charles Lee, of Virginia, was appointed to the office.

The confidential message respecting Spanish affairs was sent to Congress on the twenty-fourth of February, 1794. Besides the subject of commerce, common to all the maritime nations of Europe, the questions of boundary and of the navigation of the Mississippi remained to be adjusted with the United States.

From the beginning of the assertion of independence by the British-American colonies, Spain seems to have felt an instinctive dread of the influence of their example on her own colonies; to have aimed at narrowing the boundaries of the new States, and at giving as few facilities as possible to their commerce, unless she could effect

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COMMERCIAL RETALIATION.

[CHAP. VII.

a separation of the Western from the Atlantic States; in which case she was disposed to be liberal in her concessions to the people of the West.

One of the means of annoyance which she was supposed to have resorted to, was to excite the hostilities of the Southern tribes of Indians. The Minister from the United States to Spain was specially instructed to prevent interpositions of this character on both sides. Spain also entertained, or affected to entertain, similar suspicions of the United States, and made a remonstrance on the subject in a haughty and threatening tone. This course seeming to indicate a determined hostility on the part of Spain, a messenger was despatched to Madrid to demand such explanations as would leave no doubt of her real purpose; and, in the meanwhile, her Minister to the United States endeavored to soften the feelings which the language of his Court had clearly produced.

The House having resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole on the commercial report of the Secretary of State, Mr. Madison laid on the table a series of resolutions framed in conformity with the Secretary's report.

These resolutions proposed to lay an additional duty on the manufactures and the tonnage of vessels of nations having no commercial treaty with the United States; and at the same time to reduce the duties on the tonnage of vessels belonging to nations having such treaty; and they proposed to retaliate the restrictions imposed on American navigation.

The debate on these resolutions was opened by Mr. Smith, of South Carolina. He proposed to discuss the subject purely as a commercial one, dismissing all questions respecting Indians, Algerines, and the Western ports. He said the object of Mr. Jefferson's report had been to exhibit a contrast between France and Great

1794.] FOREIGN COMMERCE OF THE UNITED STATES. 529

Britain, but that he should submit an accurate statement of facts, which being compared with the report, would enable the House to decide on the correctness of its inferences.

Considering the late relaxations of the French republic in their commercial regulations to have been prodnced by circumstances that were merely temporary, he should make his comparison of the trade which the United States had with the two nations as it stood before the recent revolution in France.

According to a table prepared with care, he showed that, except in fish oil, the commerce of the United States had not been more favored by France than by England, and that, in many articles, it had been more encouraged by the latter.

Flour, for example, was most favored by Great Britain. In 1786 and 1788, the export of flour to the British possessions exceeded that to France and her colonies more than twenty to one.

In tobacco, the British regulations were more favorable than the French. By a lower duty on the tobacco of the United States, that product had a monopoly of the British market. It pays no duty, indeed, in France, as it does in England, but this duty falls on the British consumer. Its importation is prohibited in the colonies of France, and in Europe she puts it on the same footing as the tobacco of other countries.

In rice, there appears to have been no decided advantage either way.

In wood, the advantage was decidedly in favor of the British regulations. In both countries the articles were free; but in Great Britain the wood of other countries was subject to a duty from which the wood of the United VOL. I. 34

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