Alexander Hamilton Papers

View of the Commercial Regulations of France and Great Britain in Reference to the United States, [1792–1793]

View of the Commercial Regulations of
France & Great Britain
in reference to the United States.39

Preliminary remarks

I   The Table which is annexed takes the year 1790 as the proper period to shew the commercial policy of France previous to the Revolution just terminated. The Notes accompanying that table explain the alterations which have since taken place. There is however no mention of the expiration of the time limited for the Premium on French Fish imported into the French Colonies which happened in 1790;40 because this makes no alteration in the general complexion of the policy of France in this particular. It is usual for greater caution to limit the duration of premiums to a certain period, even where it is supposed that a further continuation may be necessary, and if the premium in question has not been removed it affords no proof of an intention to relinquish it as the situation of France at the time of the cessation, and since may be presumed to have precluded arrangements respecting the Trade of her Colonies.

If any have been made it may be inferred from Commeres’ pamphlet41 that though the duty on foreign Fish has been reduced from three to five livres, the premium on French Fish has been raised from 10 to 12 which makes the aggregate of duty and premium, operating as a bounty on French Fish the same as before namely 15 livres.42

General observations.

I The Commercial system of Great Britain makes no discriminations to the prejudice of the UStates as compared with other foreign powers.

There is therefore no ground for a complaint on the part of the UStates that the system of G Britain is particularly injurious or unfriendly to them.

II. The Commercial system of Great Britain makes important discriminations in favour of the United States as compared with other foreign Nations. This is exemplified in the instances of Tobacco Lumber Pot and Pearl Ash, Tar and Pitch, Pig & bar Iron; which when carried from the U States to G Britain are either exempt from duties which are paid on the same articles brought from other foreign Countries or pay so much less duty as to give them a clear advantage in the competition for the British Market. Our Vessels too in the direct Trade with G B are in various instances exempted from the duties which are paid by the Ships of other Nations; and in general are on the same footing in that Trade with the Vessels of the British Colonies.43 Admission is also given to a variety of the commodities of the UStates in the British West Indies which is not given to similar commodities of other foreign Countries.

There is therefore ground to assert that the commercial system of G B is more favourable & friendly to the UStates than to other foreign Countries.

III. The Commercial system of France previous to the Revolution made fewer and less important discriminations in favour of the United States as compared with other foreign Nations than that of Great Britain. In the West Indies our privileges were the same. The same commodities only and upon the same terms might be carried thither & brought from thence from & to the UStates which might be carried thither and brought from thence from & to other foreign Nations. The discriminations in favour of the United States in the direct Trade with France are not known to have extended beyond the articles of Fish Oils44

and vessels of the build of the UStates, when owned by French subjects, which were admitted to naturalization and so far promoted the building of Ships as an article of Trade with France. This last discrimination is now abolished & no new ones have been made in our favour.45

There is therefore ground to assert that the Commercial system of France toward the United States, as compared with other foreign Nations, has been and now is less favourable and friendly than that of Great Britain.

Particular observations

I   As to flour. This article previous to the Revolution in France was subject to but a very light duty on its importation there. At present it is free to all the world.46 But unless material changes take place in the state of France the UStates are likely to derive little benefit from this circumstance.

The ordinary price of flour in France is about   per barrel.47

In Pensylvania it may be stated at   upon an average; the freight to France is  ;48 other charges amount to about   which would make the cost and charges of a barrel of American flour in France   of course, it cannot except on extraordinary occasions be sent there without loss.

In Great Britain it has been stated that flour was subject to a prohibitory duty till the price there was above 48/ the quarter.49 The flour of the UStates can therefore only be carried occasionally to Great Britain as well as to France; but the occasions have hitherto been more frequent in Great Britain than in France.

Accordingly in the course of the years   the whole quantity of flour sent from Pensylvania to France amounted to   that sent to Great Britain to  50

But the Act of Parliament of the   puts this article upon a worse footing than heretofore and experience only can decide whether flour can be henceforth sent with most advantage to G Britain or to France.

The Quarter, however, which in relation to both Nations, it most interests the U States to have access to, as a market for their flour, in the West India Islands. Here the comparison is decidedly in favour of G Britain. The general system of France is to prohibit the reception of our Flour in her West India Markets—that of G Britain to permit it.

It is true that occasional suspensions of the prohibition take place; but these suspensions being confined to cases of necessity, the system of France, which excludes us as far as possible, cannot on this account be viewed as less unfavourable to the UStates, than if no such suspensions took place.

Flour appears to be the principal staple of the U States. This principal staple is on the whole more favoured by the Regulations of G B than of France. Accordingly in the year   the exportations to the British dominions amounted to   to the French dominions to  .51 The comparison is the stronger in favour of G Britain from the circumstance that this year was one of extreme scarcity in France. In ordinary years the difference must be far greater.

II.   As to Tobacco

It may be premised that this is an article of such a nature that it is immaterial to the UStates what duty is laid upon it in either of the two Countries if the same duties affect all other imported Tobacco. Tis a case in which neither of the Countries produces itself the article to enter into Competition with that of the UStates. The duty therefore must essentially fall upon the Buyers not the sellers.

Previous to the French Revolution there was no import duty in France upon Tobacco but it was under a monopoly of the Farmers General;52 a situation far more disadvantageous to the UStates than any tolerable duty could be; by destroying a free competition among purchasers.

The Decree of January 179153 has laid a duty upon this article if brought from the UStates to France in American Vessels of 25 livres per Kental; if brought in French Ships of only 18 livres and 15 sous. The Tobacco of the United States has been and is upon no better footing than that of some other foreign Nations.

In Great Britain, as had been stated, a considerably higher duty is paid on other foreign Tobacco than on that of the United States; and it may be carried to G Britain in Vessels of the UStates upon the same terms as in British Bottoms while the Ships of other Nations bringing Tobacco are subject to a greater duty on the Tobacco which they bring than the Ships of Great Britain.54

Although, therefore, there is a higher duty on Tobacco in Great Britain than in France; yet as in France the duty is the same on other foreign Tobacco as on ours; as in Great Britain a higher duty is charged on other foreign Tobacco than upon ours; as the comparative rate, not the quantum of the duty in either Country, is the only thing which concerns us; it is evident that our Tobacco is much more favoured by Great Britain than by France. Indeed the difference of Duty operates as a positive bounty upon the Tobacco of the UStates.

As it regards our navigation, the comparison is still more striking. Here too, we are more favoured by G Britain, than other Countries. While the existing regulation of France is in the degree the most exceptionable to be found in the code of any Country. It amounts to a prohibition of carrying our own Tobacco to France in our own Ships.55

Several European Nations have aimed at a Monopoly of the carrying Trade of their Colonies; but this spirit has not extended to their home dominions. Slight differences have been made between foreign & National Ships in favour of the latter; but a difference amounting to an exclusion of the former is perhaps without example except in the Regulation in question.

The principle of this Regulation would prostrate the Navigation of the UStates more effectually than any which is to be found in the system of any other Country.

Hence in respect to the Article of Tobacco, the staple of the UStates which may be deemed second in importance, the Regulations of Great Britain are far more favourable than those of France

G Britain took from us in the year   while France took only  56

Hence also it appears that Great Britain is a far better Customer for this Article than France.

III.   As to Fish & Fish Oil

The Regulations of France as to these articles are incomparably more favourable in their operation than those of Great Britain; though there is no material difference in principle.

Great Britain lays a prohibitory duty on Oil which excludes all but the finest kinds occasionally and absolutely prohibits Fish.57

France lays such duties on the Fish & Oil of other countries and grants such premiums and encouragements in relation to the products of her own fisheries, as amout completely to a prohibition so far as her Capacity to supply her own dominions extends.58

The duty on foreign Fish in the French west Indies & the premium on French Fish as stated in the Table59 amount virtually to a bounty on French Fish, of nearly 100 per Cent of the value. In France the duty alone is about 75 per Ct and it is understood that the premiums and bounties in favour of the French Fisheries are enormous.

The distinctions nevertheless which have been made in favour of the Whale fisheries of the United States have been of material aid to them; but there is reason to apprehend that the means which have been successfully used to detach our Fishermen and the vast encouragements which are given by the Government that the Whale Fishery of France is establishing itself on the ruins of that of the UStates.60

The Codfishery stands on a different footing. Our natural advantages are so great as to render it difficult to supplant us; but as far as we have been able to maintain in this respect a competition with the French fisheries in the French Markets it is to be attributed to their incapacity to supply themselves which has counteracted the effect of a system manifestly prohibitory in its principle.

The real spirit of the system of France on this head not only appears from what has been done but from the manner of doing it.

In August 1784 the arret giving admission to foreign Fish in the W India Markets was passed.61 In September 1785 another arret was passed granting a premium of 10 livres per Kental on French Fish. Seven days after, so great was the anxiety, another arret was passed raising the duty on foreign fish from three to five livres.62 An Arret of the 29 of December 1787 grants a right of storing for six months in France all the productions of the United States in order to reexportation paying only a duty of 1 per Cent. In February following another arret passes excepting from this right all the products of the Fisheries;63 evidently from a jealousy of interference with the French Fisheries.64

A further explanation of the Spirit of the French system on this point is to be found in a passage of a Report to the National Assembly in the year 1789 from the Committee of Agriculture & Commerce. After stating a diminution of the product of the French Cod Fishery during the year 1789 the Report proceeds thus “This diminution ought to be attributed to the Collusion of the English and Free Americans who contrived to disappoint the French Fisheries, by finding means to supply us with their Fish while they eluded the payment of the duty imposed on importation; in order to establish a preference in favour of the Cod of the French Fishery.”65

But however similar the principle of the French and English Regulations may be in regard to their Fisheries the result to the UStates is vastly different.

The dominions of France take of the Fisheries of the UStates to the extent of  . Those of Great Britain to the extent only of  66

IV   As to Wood particularly Lumber.

The Regulations of France have not made & do not make any distinction as the articles of this kind in favour of the United States.

Those of Great Britain make material distinctions in favour of the UStates and their Ships; putting the citizens and Ships of the UStates in this respect upon the same footing as those of their own colonies, as far as regards the European Market.67

Great Britain is also a much better customer than France for articles of this kind.

The amount in value taken from us by the dominions of the former in   was  68

That of the latter

V   As to Rice

This Article has stood and now stands upon a better footing in France than in Great Britain being free in the former Country and subject to a high duty in the latter.69 And there being no discrimination in either Country in favour of the Rice of the UStates.

It is to be observed however that as the article is produced in neither Country and as the Rice of the U States is on the same footing in the British Market with that of other Countries the observation made in respect to the duty on Tobacco may in some sort be applied to this Article.

But it applies with far less force; because Tobacco has no competition; while Rice as far as it is a substitute for bread or vegetables has competitors in all the articles which fall under either description.

This article however stands upon a somewhat better footing in the British than in the French West Indies being free in the former and subject to a duty of 1 per Cent in the latter.70 The difference is not considerable.

The British dominions took in   of this article in value   Dollars the French  71

V   As to grain namely Wheat Rye Indian Corn Oats.

As they respect the European dominions of France & Great Britain they may be considered nearly in the same light with flour.72

All these articles are free in the British West Indies. Wheat & Rye are prohibited in the French; but Indian Corn & Oats are admitted upon a duty of 1 per Cent. The result upon the whole is that the English have been better customers than the French.

The British dominions took ⟨of these⟩ articles in the year in value  . The French  .73

The Act of Parliament of   is likely to make a difference hereafter in the British European Market. According to that Act But experience alone can determine with certainty the effect.

VI   As to Pot & Pearl Ash.

These articles have stood and still stand upon a better footing by the British Regulations than by the French.

By the Regulations of the France the Pot & Pearl Ash of other Countries are upon the same footing with those of the U States.

But by the regulations of G Britain those of the U States are free while those of other Countries are subject to a duty of about 5 per Cent.74

Great Britain in   took from the United States of these Articles in value  . France  75

VII   As to Indigo76

VIII   As to live Animals

The regulations of both Countries may be considered as pretty equal in respect to these Articles; the duty of one per Cent paid in the French West Indies while none is paid in the English being of no consequence in relation to articles in which the French themselves can maintain no competition.77

The dominions of France took in   of these articles in value

Those of Great Britain  78

IX   As to Naval Stores namely Pitch Tar & Turpentine

The regulations of Great Britain are more favourable than those of France; for though the duties are higher in the former than in the latter; yet France places these articles from all countries on the same footing while England lays higher duties on them when brought from other Countries than when brought from the U States.79 The difference as remarked in other cases is a bounty upon the productions of the UStates. The rate of duty here is of no consequence for the reason assigned in respect to Tobacco.80

X   As to salted provisions

The regulations of France as to these Articles are evidently more favourable than those of G Britain; being tolerated by the former & prohibited by the latter.81

The duties however are high and even in respect to Beef are a serious incumbrance upon the sale with a living profit. In respect to Pork they amount essentially to a Prohibition in France, which has great means of internal supply, & in the French West Indies the article is prohibited.

The Dominions of France took of these articles in   in value

Those of Great Britain only  82

XI   As to Flax seed

It does not appear that any difference exists in the Regulations of the two countries in respect to this Article; but G B is far the better Customer.

Her dominions took in value in  83

The French

XII   As to Iron

The Regulations of G Britain are more favourable to the UStates in respect to this Article than those of France; for France admits the Iron of other Countries upon the same footing with that of the U States and lays a small duty upon Bar Iron.84

G B admits the Iron of the U States ⟨free from⟩ duty & lays a considerable duty on the article ⟨brought from other⟩ Countries.85

XIII   As to Ships built in the UStates

The Regulations of France did favour more the building of Ships for sale than those of G B; for Ships built in the UStates & purchased by French subj86

39ADf, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

40Article 1 of the French arrêt of September 18, 1785, gave a premium of ten livres per quintal on dried fish imported in French bottoms into the French West Indies for the following five years (Moreau de St. Méry, Loix et Constitutions des Colonies Françoises description begins Médéric Louis Elie Moreau de St. Méry, Loix et Constitutions des Colonies Françoises de l’Amérique sous le Vent (Paris, 1784–1790). description ends , VI, 847).

41Guillaume François de Mahy Cormeré, Observations Importantes sur les Colonies de l’Amérique (Paris, 1791).

42H obviously meant to write “reduced from five to three.” The passage to which he is referring reads as follows: “L’importation des morues, par le commerce de France, n’est que de 2,500 barils; celle du poisson salé de 1,300 barils, année commune, à Saint-Domingue. Les Etats-unis importent annuellement dans cette colonie, plus de 30,000 barils de morue & de poisson salé, quoique cet article soit soumis à un droit de 3 livres par quintal, & que le commerce de France jouisse d’une prime de 12 livres par quintal” (Cormeré, Observations, 50).

43Article 5 of the French colonial arrêt of August 30, 1784, had laid a duty of three livres per quintal on salted fish imported into the French West Indies “et sera le produit dudit droit de trois livres, converti en Primes d’encouragement pour l’introduction de la morue et du poisson salés, provenans de la pêche françoise” (Moreau de St. Méry, Loix et Constitutions des Colonies Françoises description begins Médéric Louis Elie Moreau de St. Méry, Loix et Constitutions des Colonies Françoises de l’Amérique sous le Vent (Paris, 1784–1790). description ends , VI, 562). On September 25, 1785, a new arrêt raised the duty on foreign fish imported into the French West Indies to five livres per quintal. The arrêt also provided that “le produit dudit droit de Cinque livres sera versé chaque année au Trésor-Royal, pour être employé d’autant, au complément de la Prime de Dix livres accordée par Sa Majesté, en l’Arrêt de son Conseil du 18 de ce mois, par quintal de Morues sèches provenantes de la Pêche Françoise qui seront importées auxdites Colonies” (Moreau de St. Méry, Loix et Constitutions des Colonies Françoises description begins Médéric Louis Elie Moreau de St. Méry, Loix et Constitutions des Colonies Françoises de l’Amérique sous le Vent (Paris, 1784–1790). description ends , VI, 864). The arrêt of September 18, 1785, had granted a premium of ten livres per quintal on fish imported in French bottoms into the French West Indies (see note 40). This bounty was increased to twelve livres and the duty on foreign fish to eight livres by the “Arrêt du Conseil d’Etat du Roi, Qui porte à Huit livres de droit de Cinq livres par quintal, établi par l’Arrêt du 25 septembre 1785, sur la Morue sèche de pêche étrangère importée aux Isles du Vent & sous le Vent; & à Douze livres la Prime de Dix livres accordée par l’Arrêt du même mois, par quintal de Morue sèche de pêche françoise, importée aux mêmes Isles.” A printed copy of this arrêt of February 11, 1787, may be found in the Papers of the Continental Congress, National Archives.

44This and subsequent spaces in MS were left blank by H. John C. Hamilton filled in some of the spaces with figures taken from Smith’s speech (JCHW description begins John C. Hamilton, ed., The Works of Alexander Hamilton (New York, 1851–1856). description ends , V, 80–91).

45Article 5 of the “Arrêt du conseil pour l’encouragement du commerce avec les Etats-Unis d’Amerique” of December 29, 1787, had provided that “Tout navire qui ayant été construit dans les Etats-Unis, sera ensuite vendu en France ou acheté par des Français, sera exempt de tous droits, à la charge de justifier que ledit navire a été construit dans les Etats-Unis” (Isambert, Recueil Général des Anciennes Lois Françaises description begins Recueil Général des Anciennes Lois Françaises, Depuis L’An 420 Jusqu’à La Révolution de 1789, par MM. Jourdan, Docteur en droit, Avocat à la Cour royale de Paris; Isambert, Avocat aux Conseils du Roi et à la Cour de Cassation; Decrusy, ancien Avocat à la Cour royale de Paris (Paris, 1821–1833). description ends , XXVIII, 490). On March 4, 1791, however, a decree was introduced forbidding “L’importation des navires et autres bâtimens de construction étrangère, pour être vendus dans le royaume, sera prohibée; lesdits navires et bâtimens ne pourront en conséquence jouir des avantages réservés à la navigation française, à l’exception toutefois de ceux desdits bâtimens qui, à la promulgation du présent décret, se trouveront être de propriété française.” This decree was sanctioned on March 13, 1791 (Duvergier, Lois description begins J. B. Duvergier, Collection Complète des Lois, Décrets, Ordonnances, Réglemens, et Avis du Conseil-d’Etat, Publiée sur les Editions Officielles du Louvre; de L’Imprimierie Nationale, Par Baudouin, et Du Bulletin des Lois (Paris, 1824). description ends , II, 287).

46Under the terms of the March, 1791, Tarif Général, flour of all kinds was admitted into France duty free (Archives Parlementaires description begins Archives Parlementaires de 1787 à 1860 (Paris, 1868– ). description ends , XXIII, 609). In his speech Smith noted that wheat and flour were imported into France free, “that is to say, under a duty of one-eighth per cent. as a Custom-house regulation, merely for ascertaining the quantity imported” (Annals of Congress description begins The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States; with an Appendix, Containing Important State Papers and Public Documents, and All the Laws of a Public Nature (Washington, 1834–1849). description ends , IV, 219).

47John C. Hamilton completed this statement as follows: “The ordinary price of flour in France is about $5 66 cents per barrel (of Pennsylvania)” (JCHW description begins John C. Hamilton, ed., The Works of Alexander Hamilton (New York, 1851–1856). description ends , V, 82).

48John C. Hamilton completed this statement as follows: “… American flour in France $6 33 cents” (JCHW description begins John C. Hamilton, ed., The Works of Alexander Hamilton (New York, 1851–1856). description ends , V, 82).

49Under the provisions of the Corn Law of 1773, when the domestic price was above forty-eight shillings, wheat imported from abroad paid only a nominal duty of sixpence a quarter. Exportation was forbidden when the price reached forty-four shillings. In addition, the 1773 law permitted the storing of foreign grain in warehouses in Great Britain without the payment of duty until such time as it should be sold. It could then either be held until the domestic price of grain reached a point where the import duty was nominal or, upon the posting of bond that it would not be relanded in England, it could be reexported. Similar regulations were applied to peas, rye, beans, barley, and oats (13 Geo. III, C. 43). By 1791 opposition to the 1773 law forced passage of a new law dealing with the importation of grain into Great Britain. Under the provisions of the 1791 Corn Law, when the domestic price of wheat was under fifty shillings a quarter, a duty of twenty-four shillings threepence was levied on imported wheat; when the price was between fifty and fifty-four shillings, a duty of two shillings sixpence was charged; and, when the domestic price rose above fifty-four shillings, the duty was reduced to a nominal sixpence. When the price reached forty-six shillings, exportation was forbidden (31 Geo. III, C. 30). See also the orders in council of January 5, February 18, and March 23, 1791.

50This paragraph in JCHW description begins John C. Hamilton, ed., The Works of Alexander Hamilton (New York, 1851–1856). description ends , V, 82, reads as follows: “Accordingly, in the course of the years 1786 and 1788, the whole quantity of flour sent from Pennsylvania to France amounted to 2396 barrels; that sent to Great Britain, to 828 barrels.”

51This sentence in JCHW description begins John C. Hamilton, ed., The Works of Alexander Hamilton (New York, 1851–1856). description ends , V, 83, reads as follows: “Accordingly, in the year 1790, the exportations to the British dominions, amounted to $1,534,276; to the French dominions to $1483,195.”

52See the introductory note to this document.

53In the early months of 1791 discussion of a new decree concerning the importation of tobacco began in the French Assembly. The resulting decree, passed March 1, 1791, reads in part as follows:

“Art. 1er. L’entrée, dans le royaume, du tabac fabriqué sera prohibée et il ne pourra être importé du tabac en feuille autrement qu’en boucauts, et par les ports et bureaux qui seront ci-après désignés.

“Art. 2. L’importation par mer des tabacs en feuille n’aura lieu que pour les tabacs des Etats-Unis d’Amérique, des colonies espagnoles, de la Russie et du Levant.

“Lesdits tabacs devront être importés directement, savoir: ceux des Etats-Unis d’Amérique, par navires desdits Etats, ou par vaisseaux français.…

“L’importations desdits tabacs par les bâtiments des autres nations est défendue.…

“Art. 5. Le … droit de 25 livres par quintal sera perçu sur les tabacs qui seront importés par les bâtiments des Etats-Unis d’Amérique, espagnols ou russes.

“Art. 6. Il ne sera perçu que 18 l. 15 s. par quintal sur les tabacs importés par bâtiments français, venant directement des Etats-Unis d’Amérique, des colonies espagnols, de Russie et du Levant.” (Archives Parlementaires description begins Archives Parlementaires de 1787 à 1860 (Paris, 1868– ). description ends , XXIII, 595.)

This duty was incorporated into the Tarif Général passed by the National Assembly on March 2, 1791 (Archives Parlementaires description begins Archives Parlementaires de 1787 à 1860 (Paris, 1868– ). description ends , XXIII, 618–19).

54The Consolidating Act of 1787 had provided that tobacco “of the Growth or Production of Ireland, or of the Growth or Production of his Majesty’s Colonies, Plantations, Islands, or Territories in America, or of the growth or production of the United States of America” should pay a duty of one shilling threepence per pound. A duty of three shillings sixpence was levied upon tobacco “of the Growth, Production, or Manufacture of the Plantations or Dominions of Spain or Portugal” (27 Geo. III, C. 13 [1787]). See also 19 Geo. III, C. 35 (1779); 25 Geo. III, C. 81 (1785); 26 Geo. III, C. 52 (1786). Tobacco might be imported directly from the United States to Great Britain in either American or British ships. It might be imported from the British colonies only in British vessels. American tobacco, however, might be imported from the colonies to Great Britain if it had been brought to the colony from the United States in British vessels (25 Geo. III, C. 81 [1785]). See also the order in council of March 24, 1786. An order in council of April 3, 1789, provided that “any Tobacco, being the Growth or Production of any of the Territories of the said United States of America, may (until further Order) be imported … upon Payment of the same Duties as Tobacco imported by British Subjects from any British Colony or Plantation is or may hereafter be subject to; but under and subject nevertheless to all and singular the Regulations of an Act made and passed in the Twenty-fifth Year of the Reign of His Present Majesty.…” In 1789 an act of Parliament placed a duty of one shilling sixpence and an excise duty of two shillings on tobacco imported from the dominions of Spain or Portugal, while “For every Pound Weight of Tobacco, of the Growth or Production of Ireland, or of the Growth or Production of his Majesty’s Colonies, Plantations, Islands, or Territories in America, or of the United States of America, imported into Great Britain, there shall be paid a Custom Duty of Sixpence; and also an Excise Duty of Ninepence.” The act further provided that tobacco from the United States should be imported only in British or United States ships. Article V of this act stipulated that from October 10, 1789, “no Tobacco whatever shall be imported or brought into Great Britain, from any Port or Place whatever, other than some Port or Place within his Majesty’s Colonies, Plantations, Islands, or Territories in America, or some Port or Place within the United States of America” (29 Geo. III, C. 68). See also 30 Geo. III, C. 40 (1790). The order in council of April 1, 1791, stipulated that American tobacco might be imported in either British or American ships upon payment of the same duty as if imported by British subjects from British possessions.

55See note 53.

56In JCHW description begins John C. Hamilton, ed., The Works of Alexander Hamilton (New York, 1851–1856). description ends , V, 84, this paragraph reads as follows: “Great Britain took from us in the year 1790, $2,777,808, while France took only $427,746.”

57Under the provisions of the Consolidating Act of 1787, “Train Oil, or Blubber, or Fish Oil, of British fishing” paid a duty ranging from 9s. 11d. to £1.15s.3d. “the Ton containing 252 gallons” depending upon the conditions under which it was taken or caught. The same product of “foreign fishing” paid a duty of £18.3s. (27 Geo. III, C. 12). British spermaceti was entered duty free, while that of foreign fisheries paid 17s.8d. per hundredweight if “coarse and oily” and 8d. per pound if fine. For further benefits conferred on British fishing, see 26 Geo. III, C. 41 (1786); 26 Geo. III, C. 50 (1786); 26 Geo. III, C. 26 (1786). See also the order in council of October 6, 1790. The order in council of April 1, 1791, permitted the importation of these products in American ships on the same terms as if imported in “British-built Ships, owned by His Majesty’s Subjects, and navigated according to Law, from any British Island or Plantation in America.”

58After this paragraph in the MS, H wrote and crossed out the following:

“In France these regulations have the effect of a prohibition.

“In the French West Indies the case is different because there is a total incapacity to supply them and the regulations are necessarily relaxed in their execution; so as to allow a beneficial market to our Fish to a very great extent.”

See note 43. The “Arrêt du Conseil d’Etat du Roi, Pour l’encouragement du Commerce de France avec les Etats-Unis d’Amérique” of December 29, 1787, had provided that “Whale-Oils and spermaceti, the produce of the fisheries of the citizens & inhabitants of the United States of America, which shall be brought into France directly in French vessels or in those of the United States shall continue to be subjected to a duty only of seven livres ten sols the barrel of five hundred and twenty pounds weight, & whale fins shall be subject to a duty of only six livres thirteen sols four deniers the quintal with the ten sols per livre on each of the said duties; which ten sols per livre shall cease on the last day of December one thousand seven hundred & ninety; His Majesty reserving to himself to grant further favors to the produce of the whale fisheries carried on by the fishermen of the United States of America which shall be brought into France in French vessels or in those of the United States, if, on the information which His Majesty shall cause to be taken thereon, he shall judge it expedient for the interest of the two Nations.

“The other fish-oils and dry or salted fish, the produce in like manner of the fisheries of the citizens & inhabitants of the United States, & brought also directly into France, in their, or in French vessels, shall not pay any other nor greater duties than those to which the oils & fish of the same kind, the produce of the fisheries of the Hanseatic towns, or of other the most favored Nations, are or shall be subject in the same case.…

“The entrepot (or storing) of all the productions and merchandize of the United States shall be permitted for six months in all the ports of France open to the Commerce of her Colonies; and the said entrepot shall be subject only to a duty of one eighth per cent.” (Printed document, Papers of the Continental Congress, National Archives.) This decree is also printed in Isambert, Recueil Général des Anciennes Lois Françaises description begins Recueil Général des Anciennes Lois Françaises, Depuis L’An 420 Jusqu’à La Révolution de 1789, par MM. Jourdan, Docteur en droit, Avocat à la Cour royale de Paris; Isambert, Avocat aux Conseils du Roi et à la Cour de Cassation; Decrusy, ancien Avocat à la Cour royale de Paris (Paris, 1821–1833). description ends , XXVIII, 489–92.

Because of the opposition of French merchants and chambers of commerce to this decree, on February 22, 1788, another decree was passed which modified the favors granted to the United States by excluding the products of the American fisheries from the right of entrepôt granted by the December 29, 1787, arrêt (printed document, Papers of the Continental Congress, National Archives). A much more stringent decree against foreign fisheries was passed on September 28, 1788, prohibiting “dans toute l’étendue du Royaume, des Huiles de Baleine & de Spermacéti, provenant de Pêche etrangère” (printed document, Papers of the Continental Congress, National Archives). For a short time it was uncertain whether or not the French government intended to apply this decree to the products of the American fisheries (see Jefferson to John Jay, November 19, 1788, Boyd, Papers of Thomas Jefferson description begins Julian P. Boyd, ed., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson (Princeton, 1950– ). description ends , XIV, 213–14), but on December 7, 1788, largely as a result of Jefferson’s efforts, a decree was passed “Qui excepte de la prohibition portée par l’arrêt du 28 septembre dernier, les Huiles de Baleine & d’autres Poissons, ainsi que les fanons de Baleine, provenant de la pêche des États-unis de l’Amerique” (printed document, Papers of the Continental Congress, National Archives).

During the discussions in the Assembly preceding enactment of the tariff of March 2, 1791, it was decided that American oils would pay a duty of twelve livres per quintal, but by a decree of March 2 this duty was reduced to six livres per quintal (Archives Parlementaires description begins Archives Parlementaires de 1787 à 1860 (Paris, 1868– ). description ends , XXII, 470–71, 475; XXIII, 602, 611). William Short described the situation as follows: “… the National Assembly have changed their decree with respect to the american oils imported to France, on the representation of the committees they have reduced the duty from 12 livre tournois. to 6 livre tournois. the quintal.… The committees calculate that the internal duties hitherto paid on oils & to which the american were subject (independent of the duty of 11 livre tournois. 5s. the barrel on entering the kingdom) were upwards of 5 livre tournois. the quintal. By the arret du conseil, the duty would have been at present only 7 livre tournois. 10. the barrel of 500 lb. Still the 6 livre tournois. being in lieu of all other duties is considered as giving greater facilities to the importation of the american oils than they would have had under the former government” (Short to Jefferson, March 11, 1791, LC, RG 59, Despatches from United States Ministers to France, 1789–1869, January 16, 1791–August 6, 1792, National Archives). Although this view was not shared by the friends of the United States in France, the duty of six livres tournois per quintal was recognized by the Tarif Général passed March 2, 1791 (Archives Parlementaires description begins Archives Parlementaires de 1787 à 1860 (Paris, 1868– ). description ends , XXIII, 611).

59See enclosure.

60See note 58. H’s observation on the attempt of the French government to “detach” American fishermen is a reference to the migration of American whalemen to France during the seventeen-eighties. See George Cabot to H, December 18, 1791, note 3.

61Importation of foreign fish into designated entrepôts in the French West Indies was permitted by article 2 of the arrêt of August 30, 1784 (Moreau de St. Méry, Loix et Constitutions des Colonies Françoises description begins Médéric Louis Elie Moreau de St. Méry, Loix et Constitutions des Colonies Françoises de l’Amérique sous le Vent (Paris, 1784–1790). description ends , VI, 562).

62For the arrêts of September 18 and September 25, 1785, see note 43.

63For the December 29, 1787, and February 22, 1788, arrêts, see note 58.

64This paragraph was quoted almost verbatim in Smith’s speech of January 13, 1794 (Annals of Congress description begins The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States; with an Appendix, Containing Important State Papers and Public Documents, and All the Laws of a Public Nature (Washington, 1834–1849). description ends , IV, 182).

65This paragraph was quoted by Smith in his speech of January 13, 1794 (Annals of Congress description begins The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States; with an Appendix, Containing Important State Papers and Public Documents, and All the Laws of a Public Nature (Washington, 1834–1849). description ends , IV, 183–84).

66In JCHW description begins John C. Hamilton, ed., The Works of Alexander Hamilton (New York, 1851–1856). description ends , V, 86, this paragraph reads as follows: “The dominions of France take of the fisheries of the United States to the extent of $724,224; those of Great Britain to the extent only of $88,371.”

67In regard to wood Smith observed in his speech of January 13, 1794: “This article (the fourth in importance as an export) stood and stands on a decidedly better footing in the British than in the French system. In Great Britain it was and is free from duty, while other foreign rival woods are subject … to considerable, and, in several instances, high duties. The observations with regard to this difference, as applied to tobacco, apply to this article in full force, with this additional circumstance, that some of the Northern nations could afford to undersell us, were it not for the protection derived from the high duties on their woods.

“In the French West Indies, our wood is subject to a duty of one per cent. ad valorem, with no distinction for or against us. In the British West Indies it is free, with a distinction in our favor, by the prohibition of other foreign wood. The duty, it is true, is of no great consequence, but it is not so of the prohibition in the British West Indies of all foreign wood, but from the United States.” (Annals of Congress description begins The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States; with an Appendix, Containing Important State Papers and Public Documents, and All the Laws of a Public Nature (Washington, 1834–1849). description ends , IV, 181.)

68In JCHW description begins John C. Hamilton, ed., The Works of Alexander Hamilton (New York, 1851–1856). description ends , V, 87, this paragraph reads as follows: “The amount in value taken from us by the dominions of the former in 1790 was $622,635; that of the latter, $476,039.”

69The British Consolidating Act of 1787 laid a duty of seven shillings fourpence on rice (27 Geo. III, C. 13). The French Tarif Général of March, 1791, admitted rice free (Archives Parlementaires description begins Archives Parlementaires de 1787 à 1860 (Paris, 1868– ). description ends , XXIII, 609).

70In his speech of January 13, 1794, Smith observed: “In the French West Indies, rice was subject to a duty of one per cent. ad valorem, with no distinction for or against us. In the British West Indies, it was and is free, with a distinction in our favor, resulting from the prohibition of other foreign rice.… In the West Indies … Rice there makes a part of the common food. A duty upon it tends to prevent its being such, by letting in cheaper substitutes. This reflection operates in favor of the British against the French system, in respect to the West Indies, there being a duty upon it in the French, none in the British West Indies. But that duty is so light that, from this cause, and its extending to other articles, it ought scarcely to be counted. The prohibition of other foreign rice, however, is a circumstance of some value, assuring to this article from the United States a monopoly of the British West India market” (Annals of Congress description begins The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States; with an Appendix, Containing Important State Papers and Public Documents, and All the Laws of a Public Nature (Washington, 1834–1849). description ends , IV, 180–81).

71In JCHW description begins John C. Hamilton, ed., The Works of Alexander Hamilton (New York, 1851–1856). description ends , V, 87, this paragraph reads as follows: “The British dominions took in 1790 of this article, in value, $953,939; the French $322,926.”

72See notes 46 and 49.

73In JCHW description begins John C. Hamilton, ed., The Works of Alexander Hamilton (New York, 1851–1856). description ends , V, 87, this paragraph reads: “The British dominions took of these articles in the year 1790, in value, $685,071; the French $280,792.”

74An act of 24 Geo. II, C. 51 (1751) permitted potash and pearlash from British colonies in America to be imported into England in English ships without the payment of duty. After the American Revolution successive orders listed potash and pearlash among the products which might be imported from the United States in American ships upon the same terms as if imported from British colonies in America in British ships. For examples see orders in council of April 4, 1787, April 3, 1789, April 1, 1791. Under the Consolidating Act of 1787, potash and pearlash from other foreign countries paid a duty of two shillings threepence (27 Geo. III, C. 13).

The duties upon the importation of potash and pearlash into France were abolished by the Tarif Général of March, 1791, making the importation of these products free to all countries (Archives Parlementaires description begins Archives Parlementaires de 1787 à 1860 (Paris, 1868– ). description ends , XXIII, 617).

75In JCHW description begins John C. Hamilton, ed., The Works of Alexander Hamilton (New York, 1851–1856). description ends , V, 88, this paragraph reads as follows: “Great Britain, in 1790, took from the United States of these articles in value $747,078: France, $20,720.”

76John C. Hamilton filled in the space left by H for a discussion of this product with a statement from Smith’s speech (JCHW description begins John C. Hamilton, ed., The Works of Alexander Hamilton (New York, 1851–1856). description ends , V, 88). Smith’s statement reads as follows: “This article (eighth in value of our exports) stands upon a decidedly better footing in the system of Great Britain than in that of France. France is herself our competitor in the supply of her own market, and she aims at securing to herself the monopoly of it by adding to the advantage of a superior quality of her own indigo, as asserted by the Secretary of State, the discouragement to ours of double the duty paid on her own. Great Britain admits the article into her home market free of duty. Both countries exclude it from their West India market. Neither make any distinction for or against us” (Annals of Congress description begins The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States; with an Appendix, Containing Important State Papers and Public Documents, and All the Laws of a Public Nature (Washington, 1834–1849). description ends , IV, 183). John C. Hamilton added at the conclusion of this paragraph: “In 1790 Great Britain took of this article in value $479,530: France, $12,649 (JCHW description begins John C. Hamilton, ed., The Works of Alexander Hamilton (New York, 1851–1856). description ends , V, 88).

77By the order in council of July 2, 1783, Great Britain permitted “Horses, Neat Cattle, Sheep, Hogs, Poultry, and all other Species of Live Stock and Live Provisions … being the Growth or Production of any of the United States” to be imported into the British West Indies, but only in ships owned and navigated by British subjects.

The arrêt of August 30, 1784, permitted the importation into the designated entrepôts in the French West Indies “d’animaux et bestiaux vivants de toute nature” (Isambert, Recueil Général des Anciennes Lois Françaises description begins Recueil Général des Anciennes Lois Françaises, Depuis L’An 420 Jusqu’à La Révolution de 1789, par MM. Jourdan, Docteur en droit, Avocat à la Cour royale de Paris; Isambert, Avocat aux Conseils du Roi et à la Cour de Cassation; Decrusy, ancien Avocat à la Cour royale de Paris (Paris, 1821–1833). description ends , XXVII, 460).

78In JCHW description begins John C. Hamilton, ed., The Works of Alexander Hamilton (New York, 1851–1856). description ends , V, 88, this paragraph reads as follows: “The dominions of France took in 1790 of these articles in value $352,795: those of Great Britain, $62,415.”

79After the American Revolution Britain permitted pitch, tar, and turpentine to be imported into Great Britain in United States ships on the same terms as in British vessels. See the orders in council of December 26, 1783, April 16, 1784, April 8, 1785, April 1, 1791. Article 6 of the French arrêt of December 29, 1787, provided that “Les thérébentines, brais & goudrons provenant des États-Unis de l’Amérique, apportés directement en France par Vaisseaux François ou des États-Unis, ne payeront qu’un droit de Deux & demi pour cent de la valeur, & seront les droits mentionnés, tant au présent article qu’en l’article IV, exempts de toute addition de sous pour livre” (printed document, Papers of the Continental Congress, National Archives).

80In JCHW description begins John C. Hamilton, ed., The Works of Alexander Hamilton (New York, 1851–1856). description ends , V, 89, an additional sentence at the end of this paragraph reads: “Great Britain, in 1790, took from us of these articles, $196,832: France, $7,366.”

81Jefferson stated in his “Report on Commerce” that in France “Salted beef is received freely for re-exportation; but if for home consumption, it pays five livres the quintal. Other salted provisions pay that duty in all cases, and salted fish is made lately to pay the prohibitory one of 20 livres the quintal.” In Great Britain “Our salted fish, and other salted provisions, except bacon, are prohibited” (ASP description begins American State Papers, Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States (Washington, 1832–1861). description ends , Foreign Relations, I, 301–02).

82In JCHW description begins John C. Hamilton, ed., The Works of Alexander Hamilton (New York, 1851–1856). description ends , V, 89, this paragraph reads as follows: “The dominions of France took of these articles in 1790, in value $318,454: those of Great Britain only $7,557.”

83In JCHW description begins John C. Hamilton, ed., The Works of Alexander Hamilton (New York, 1851–1856). description ends , V, 89, this sentence reads: “Her dominions took in value in 1790, $219,924: the French, $3,290.”

84In his “Report on Commerce,” Jefferson observed that, although Britain permitted American bar iron to enter Great Britain free while that of other nations paid a duty, this advantage was qualified by the fact that the United States did not produce enough for its own use (ASP description begins American State Papers, Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States (Washington, 1832–1861). description ends , Foreign Relations, I, 301).

At the end of this sentence in JCHW description begins John C. Hamilton, ed., The Works of Alexander Hamilton (New York, 1851–1856). description ends , V, 90, the following sentence appears: “Great Britain took from us of this article in   to the amount of $196,832: France to the amount of $2,143.”

85Britain admitted both pig iron and bar iron from the United States in either British or American vessels upon the same terms as if imported in British-built ships owned by British subjects. See, for example, the order in council of April 1, 1791.

86The MS is incomplete.

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