Thomas Jefferson Papers

I. First State of the Report on Commerce, [before 23 August 1793–after 13 April 1794]

I. First State of the Report on Commerce

[before 23 Aug. 1791–after 13 Apr. 1792]

The Secretary of state, to whom was referred by the house of Representatives the Report of a committee on the written message of the President of the U.S. of the 14th. of Feb. 1791. with instruction to report to Congress the nature and extent of the privileges and restrictions of the commercial intercourse of the U.S. with foreign nations, and the measures which he should think proper to be adopted for the improvement of the commerce and navigation of the same, has had the same under consideration, and thereupon makes the following

Report.

The nations with which the U.S. have their chief commercial intercourse are Spain, Portugal, France, Great Britain, the United Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden, and their American possessions: and the articles of Export which constitute the basis of that commerce1 with their respective amounts are

  Dollars
Bread-grains, & meals to the amount of2  7,649,887
Tobacco  4,349,567
Rice  1,753,796
Wood  1,263,534
salted fish   941,696
pot & pearl-ash   839,093
salted meats   599,130
Indigo   537,379
horses & mules   339,753
whale oil   252,591
flax seed   236,072
tar, pitch & turpentine   217,177
live provisions   137,743
ships
foreign goods   620,2743

To descend to articles of smaller value than these would lead into a minuteness of detail neither necessary nor useful to the present object.4

Our Navigation depending on the same commerce will appear by the following statement of the tonnage of our own vessels, entering in our ports, in one year,5 from those several nations, and their possessions.6 This was from Oct. 1789. to Sep. 1790 inclusive, as follows.

Spain  19,695 tons
Portugal  23,576
France 116,410
Gr. Britain  43,580
United Netherlds.  58,858
Denmark  14,655
Sweden     750.

Of our Commercial objects, Spain recieves favorably our7 Salted fish, Wood, Ships, Tar, pitch and turpentine.8

They do not discourage our Rice, Pot and Pearl ash, Salted provisions or Whale oil. But these articles being in small demand at their markets, are carried thither but in a small degree.9

Tobacco, Indigo, and Bread grains are not recieved there. Nor are Meals, for their own consumption: but, for the use of their Colonies, Meals were heretofore admitted favourably. Lately, however, we are told that duties of from10 half a dollar to 2. dollars the barrel are imposed on all foreign flour re-exported to their colonies; the duties being so proportioned to the current price of their own flour, as that both together are to make the constant sum of 9. dollars per barrel.11

Themselves and their colonies are the actual consumers of what they recieve from us.

Our Navigation is free with the kingdom of Spain; foreign goods being recieved there in our ships on the same conditions as if carried in their own, or in the vessels of the country of which such goods are the manufacture or produce.

Portugal recieves favourably12 our Grain and Bread, Salted fish, and other Salted provisions, Wood, Tar, pitch, and turpentine.

For Flax-seed, Pot and Pearl-ash, tho not discouraged, there is little demand.

Our Ships pay 20. per cent on being sold to their subjects, and are then free bottoms.

Foreign goods (except those of the E. Indies) are recieved on the same footing in our vessels as in13 any others, that is to say, on general duties of from 20. to 28. per cent: and consequently our Navigation is unobstructed by them.14

Themselves and their Colonies consume what they recieve from us.

These observations15 extend to the Azores, Madeira and the Cape de Verd islands.16

France recieves favorably our Bread grains, and meals,17 Rice, Wood, Pot and Pearlashes.

A duty of 5. sous the kental is paid on our Tar, pitch and turpentine. Our Whale oils pay 6. livres the Kental, and are the only foreign whale oils admitted. Our Indigo pays 5. livres the Kental, their own two and a half. But a difference of quality, still more than a difference of duty prevents it’s seeking that market.

Salted beef is recieved freely for exportation;18 but if for homeconsumption, it pays 5 livres the kental. Other Salted provisions pay that duty in all cases, and Salted fish19 the prohibitory one of 20. livres the kental.

Our ships are free to carry thither all foreign goods, except those of the E. Indies,20 except tobaccos not of our own growth: and they participate with theirs the exclusive carriage of our whale oils and tobacco.

Under21 their former government our tobacco was under a monopoly, but paid no duties; and our ships were freely sold in their ports and converted into national bottoms. The present government, since the last session of Congress, has22 taken23 from our ships this privilege. They24 emancipated tobacco from it’s monopoly, but subjected it to duties of 18. livres 15 sous the kental, carried in their own vessels, and 25. livres carried in ours; a difference more than equal to the freight of the article.

They and their colonies consume what they recieve from us.

Great Britain recieves favorably our Pot and Pearl ash, Indigo, Flax seed, Wood, Tar, pitch and turpentine.25

Our Tobacco, for their own consumption, pays ⅓ sterl. the pound, custom and excise, besides heavy incidental expences. And Rice, in the same case, pays 7/4 sterl. the hundred weight; which rendering it too dear as an article of26 food, it is consequently used in very small quantity.

Our whale oils and Bacon are under prohibitory duties, and Salted fish and all other Salted provisions are prohibited. Our Grains, Meals and Bread are prohibited also,27 unless in times of such scarcity as may raise the price of Wheat to 50/ sterl. the quarter and other grains and meals in proportion.28

Our Ships, even when purchased by their own subjects, are not permitted to be made free bottoms.

The vessels of no nation can carry thither any thing which is not of the production or manufacture of the country to which they belong; nor can ours, according to a late decision, carry even our own productions, unless they have been actually built within the U.S.29

The greater part of what they recieve from us is re-exported to other countries,30 and consequently their profits thereon are intercepted between us and the consumers.

The United Netherlands prohibit our pickled beef and pork, meals and bread of all sorts, and lay a prohibitory duty on spirits distilled from grain.

All other of our productions are recieved on varied duties, which may be reckoned, on a medium, at about 3. per cent.

They consume but a small part of what they recieve, and consequently, as to the great mass, they intercept, between us and the consumer, a portion of the value equal to31 the charges attending an intermediate deposit.

Foreign goods, except some West India32 articles are recieved in the vessels of any nation.

Our Ships may be sold and naturalized there with exceptions of one or two privileges which scarcely lessen their value.

Denmark33

Sweden recieves favorably our Grains and Meals, Salted provisions, Indigo and Whale oil.

They subject our Rice to duties of 1.6 Dollars the hundred weight carried in their own vessels, and of 2.25 Dollars the hundred weight carried in ours or any others. Being thus rendered too dear as an article of common food, little of it is consumed with them. Of our tobaccos they are considerable consumers but levy34 heavy duties on them also; their duties of entry town duties and excise being 4.38 Doll. the hundred weight, if carried in their own vessels, and of 40. per cent on that additional if carried in our own or any other vessels.

They prohibit altogether our Bread, Fish, Pot and Pearl ashe, Flax seed, Tar, pitch and turpentine, Wood (except oak-timber and masts) and all foreign manufactures.

Under so many restrictions and prohibitions, our Navigation with them is reduced almost to nothing.35

With our Neighbors, an order of things much harder presents itself. The extraordinary circumstances of the moment in which the inhabitants of this hemisphere became acquainted with those of the other, placed them in a predicament which still continues, and which is as new in the moral as in the physical world. The reciprocal rights and duties established by the laws of nature between neighbor nations, to supply by mutual exchange the wants of the one with the redundancies36 of another, rights and duties well recognised and practised in other parts of the37 earth, are suspended for the inhabitants of this; and their existence is directed, not to their own happiness, but to that38 of their Antipodes. To these laws are submitted the native descendants, as well of the conquerers, as of the conquered people.39

Spain and Portugal refuse, to those parts of America which they govern, all direct intercourse with any people but themselves. The commodities in mutual demand, between them and their neighbors, must be carried to be exchanged in some port of the governing40 country, and the transportation between that and the subject state must be in a domestic bottom.41

France and Great Britain admit their West India possessions to recieve directly our maize, rice, vegetables, fresh provisions, horses, wood, tar, pitch and turpentine. France prohibits our other bread-stuff to her possessions: Great Britain admits it. France admits our fish on a duty of 5.? the kental,42 and our salted provisions (except pork). Great Britain prohibits both. Our vessels are free to carry our own commodities to the French West Indies, and to bring away rum and melasses43 But we are not permitted to carry our44 own produce to the British West Indies. Their45 vessels alone may take46 from us, and bring in exchange rum, melasses, sugar, coffee, cocoa-nuts, ginger and pimento. There are indeed some freedoms in the island of Dominica, but under such circumstances as to be little used by us.47 To the British continental colonies, and to Newfoundland every thing is prohibited. Their governors however, in times of distress, have power to permit a temporary importation of certain articles, in their own bottoms, but not in ours.48

In the West India islands49 of the United Netherlands, Denmark50 and Sweden51 vessels and commodities are freely recieved, subject to duties, not so heavy as to have been complained of.

To sum up these restrictions, so far as they are important

1. in Europe.

Our breadstuff is prohibited in England and Spain, except, as to Spain, Meals for re-exportation.52

Our Tobaccoes are heavily dutied in England, Sweden, and France, and prohibited in Spain and Portugal.

Our Rice is heavily dutied in England and Sweden, and prohibited in Portugal.

Our Fish and salted Provisions are prohibited in England, and under prohibitory duties in France.

Our Whale oils are prohibited in England and Portugal.

And our Vessels denied naturalization in Engld. and53 France.

2. in the West Indies.

All intercourse is prohibited with the possessions of Spain and Portugal.

Our salted Provisions and Fish are prohibited by England.

Our salted Pork and Bread-stuff (except Maize) are54 prohibited by France, and our salted Fish heavily dutied.

3. in the article of Navigation

Our own carriage of our own tobacco is heavily dutied in France and Sweden.

We can carry no article, not of our own production, to the British ports in Europe:

Nor even our own produce to her American possessions.55

Such being the restrictions on the Commerce and Navigation of the U.S. the question is in what way they may best be removed, modified, or counteracted?

As to Commerce, two methods occur, 1. by friendly arrangements with the several nations with whom these restrictions exist; or 2. by the separate act of our own legislatures for countervailing their effects.

There can be no doubt but that56 friendly arrangement is the most eligible. Instead of embarrassing Commerce under piles of regulating laws, duties and prohibitions, could it be relieved from all it’s shackles in all parts of the world, could every country be employed in producing that which nature has best fitted it to produce, and each be free to exchange with others mutual surplusses for mutual wants, the greatest mass possible would then be produced of those things which contribute to human life and human happiness; the numbers of mankind would be increased, and their condition bettered.57 In such a state of things Agriculture would be doubly eligible to us, as to the profits of our labour, it would add the profits of a greater portion of our lands, which must lie idle and unprofitable58 in proportion as we59 betake ourselves to arts and manufactures.

Would even a single nation begin with the U.S. this system of free commerce, it would be adviseable to begin it with that nation; since it is only60 one by one that it can be extended to all. If61 the circumstances of either party should62 render it expedient to levy a revenue by way of impost on commerce, it’s freedom might be modified in that particular by mutual and equivalent measures, preserving it entire in all others.

Some nations not yet ripe for free commerce in all it’s extent, might still be willing to mollify it’s restrictions and regulations for us, in proportion to the advantages which an intercourse with us might offer. Particularly they may concur with us in reciprocating the duties to be levied on each side, or in compensating any excess of duty by equivalent advantages of another nature. Our commerce is certainly of a character to entitle it to favor in most countries. The commodities we offer are either Necessaries of life; or Materials for manufacture; or convenient subjects of Revenue: and we take in exchange either Manufactures when they have recieved the last finish of art and industry; or mere Luxuries,63 which we might do without, or furnish to ourselves. Such a Customer64 may reasonably expect welcome, and friendly treatment every where:65 a Customer too whose demands, increasing with their wealth and population, must very shortly give full employment to the whole industry of any nation whatever, in any line of supply it66 may get into the habit of calling for from them.67

But should any nation, contrary to our wishes, suppose it may better find it’s advantage by continuing it’s system of prohibitions, duties and regulations, it behoves us to protect our citizens and their commerce68 by counter-prohibitions, duties and regulations also. A free commerce is69 not to be given in exchange for restrictions and vexations: nor is it70 likely to produce a relaxation of them.

Our Navigation involves still higher considerations. As a branch of Industry it is valuable; but, as a means of Defence, indispensable.71

It’s value as a branch of Industry is enhanced by the dependance of so many other branches on it. For tho’, in times of peace, other nations may carry our produce to market for us (if it be desireable that other nations should carry for us) yet when those nations are72 at war with each other, if we have not within ourselves the means of transportation, our produce must be exported in belligerent vessels at the increased expence of war freight and insurance, and the articles which will not bear that must perish on our hands.

But it is as a Means of73 Defence that our Navigation will admit neither neglect nor forbearance. The position and circumstances of the U.S. leave them nothing to fear on their land-board, and nothing to desire beyond their present rights. But on their Sea-board they are open to injury, and they have there too a Commerce which must be protected. This can only be done by possessing a respectable body of citizen-seamen.74

Were the Ocean, which is the common property of all, open to the industry of all, so that every person and vessel should be free to take employment wherever it could be found, the U.S. would certainly not set the example of appropriating to themselves exclusively any portion of the common stock of occupation. They would rely on the enterprize and activity of their citizens for a due participation of the benefits of the seafaring business, and for keeping the marine class of citizens equal to75 their object. But where a particular nation shall grasp76 at undue shares, and more especially where77 they sieze on the means of the U.S. to convert them into aliment for their own strength, and withdraw them entirely from the support of those to whom they belong, defensive and protecting measures become necessary on the part of the state78 whose marine resources are thus invaded; or it will be disarmed of it’s defence, it’s productions will lie at the mercy of the nation which has possessed itself exclusively of the means of carrying them,79 it’s commercial independance is gone, and political must follow commercial influence. The carriage of our own commodities, if once established in another channel, cannot be resumed in the moment we may desire. If we lose the seamen80 whom it now occupies, we lose the present means of marine defence, and time will be requisite to raise up others when any81 disgrace or losses shall bring home to our feelings the error of having abandoned them. The materials for maintaining our due share of navigation are ours in abundance. And as to the mode of82 using them, we have only to adopt the principles of those who thus put us on the defensive, or others equivalent and better adapted83 to our circumstances.

The following principles appear perfectly just; and being founded in reciprocity, can give no cause of complaint.84

  • 1. Where a nation imposes high duties on our productions, or prohibits them altogether, it will85 be proper for us to do the same by theirs; selecting at first those articles of manufacture which we take from them in greatest quantity, and which at the same time we could the soonest furnish to ourselves, or obtain from other countries; imposing on them duties, lighter at first, but86 heavier and heavier afterwards as other channels of supply should87 open;88 the proceeds of the duties on such manufactures to be applied89 to the importation of the manufacturer himself, and in aid90 of those employed in the same line at home. The oppressions on our agriculture in foreign ports would91 thus be made the occasion of promoting arts and manufactures at home92 and of relieving ourselves93 from a dependance on the councils and conduct of others.94
  • 2.95 Where a nation refuses to recieve in our vessels any productions but our own, we should96 refuse to recieve in theirs any but their productions. The bill reported by the committee is well framed to effect this.
  • 3.97 Where a nation refuses to consider any vessel as ours which has not been built within the U.S. we should refuse to consider as theirs any vessel not built within their territory.98
  • 4.99 Where a nation refuses us the100 carriage101 of our own productions to certain102 countries under their subjection,103 we should refuse to them the carriage of the same productions to the same countries;104 and perhaps even to any others. And that this restriction might bring no inconvenience on the agriculture of our country, it might be proper to begin by leaving the present moderate tonnage duty on the vessels of that nation for the first year, doubling it the second, trebling it the third quadrupling it the fourth105 and prohibiting them afterwards from the carriage of such productions altogether.

It is true we must expect some inconvenience in practice from the establishment of discriminating duties. But in this, as in so many other cases, we are left to chuse between two evils. These inconveniencies are nothing, when weighed against the loss of wealth and loss of force which will follow our perseverance in the plan of indiscrimination. When once it shall be percieved that we are either in the system or the habit of giving equal advantages to those who extinguish our commerce by duties and prohibitions, and commit encroachments on our navigation, as to those who treat both with liberality and justice, liberality and justice will be converted106 into duties and prohibitions. It is not to the moderation and justice of others we are to trust for fair and equal access to market with our productions, or for our due share in the transportation of them; but to our own means of independance, and the firm will to use them. Nor do the inconveniencies of discrimination merit consideration.107 Not one of the nations before mentioned, perhaps not a commercial nation on earth, is without them. In our case, one distinction alone will suffice, that is to say, between nations who favor our productions and navigation, and those who do not favor them. One set of moderate duties, say the present duties for the first, and a fixed advance on these as to some articles, and prohibitions as to others, for the last.

Still it must be repeated that friendly arrangements are preferable with all who will come into them; and that we should carry into such arrangements all the liberality and spirit of accomodation which the nature of the case will admit.108

Proposals of friendly arrangement have been made109 by the present government to that of Great Britain, as the message states: but being already on as good a footing in right,110 and a better in fact, than the most favoured nation, they do not discover111 any disposition to have it meddled with.

Like proposals of friendly arrangement should be made to those112 other nations with whom we have such commercial intercourse as may render arrangements113 important. In the mean while it will114 rest with the wisdom of Congress to determine whether, as to those nations, they will not surcease ex parte regulations, on the reasonable presumption that they will concur in doing whatever justice and moderation dictate should be done.

MS (DLC: TJ Papers, 68: 11914, 11916–17, 11915, 11919–22, 11924, 11918, 11926, 11925); in TJ’s hand, unsigned and undated, except for marginal clerical note made by George Taylor, Jr., when copying Document ii below; consisting of 22 pages, some unnumbered, on eleven unwatermarked sheets, possibly copied in whole or part from an earlier missing draft or drafts, and 2 pages on one watermarked sheet (fol. 11925) constituting replacements for p. 19–20 that TJ prepared after 13 Apr. 1792 in consequence of Alexander Hamilton’s 5 Dec. 1791 report on manufactures (see note 107 below), this substitution being part of the third group of revisions described below, all of the pages following TJ’s customary form for drafts. TJ’s extensive revisions, virtually all of which are recorded below, fall into three groups based on internal evidence: those he made when first writing the MS, which have been incorporated into the text as printed above (see notes 1, 10, 12, 24, 37, 75, 81–2, and 102 below); those he made at indeterminate dates (some almost certainly between 23 Aug. and 24 Oct. 1791), these being written in pencil (see notes 3–4, 41, and 63 below) and ink (see notes 2, 4, 6–7, 9, 11, 13–23, 26–8, 31–4, 36, 38–40, 46, 48, 54, 56–61, 65–71, 73, 79, 83–5, 89, 94, and perhaps 95, 97, and 99 below), though the state of the partially revised text as it stood ready for submission at the beginning of the first session of the second Congress on 24 Oct. 1791 is now indeterminable (see TJ to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, 22 Mch. 1792, 20 Feb. 1793); and those he made after an 11–13 Apr. 1792 exchange of correspondence with George Hammond on British trade policy, these also being written in pencil (see notes 91, 100, and 103–4 below) and ink (see notes 8, 25, 29–30, 42–4, 47–9, 51–3, 72, 74, 76–8, 80, 87–8, 90, 92, 96, 101, 104–14 below). The text printed above reflects the state of the MS as it presumably existed when Thomas FitzSimons returned it to TJ on 23 Aug. 1791 and before TJ made the last two groups of revisions (see FitzSimons to TJ, 23 Aug. 1791). Recorded in SJPL under 22 Mch. 1792 (the date TJ first proposed deferring its submission): “Rept. Th:J. on commerce of US. with foreign nations.” The following fragments, notes, calculations, and documents are related to or were employed by TJ in the preparation of this state of the report:

MS 1: DLC: TJ Papers, 69: 11895, a 2-page MS in TJ’s hand; undated; consisting of an outline for the section of p. 1–11 of MS dealing with American trade with the seven countries and their colonies specified therein; recto endorsed by TJ: “foreign commerce.”

MS 2: DLC: TJ Papers, 69: 11896; a 1-page MS in TJ’s hand; undated, but written on or after 21 June 1791; consisting of notes on those parts of Joseph Fenwick to TJ, 22 Mch. 1791, dealing with certain French trade duties and the French prohibition on the naturalization of foreign-built ships, elements of which appear on p. 4–5 of MS.

MS 3: DLC: TJ Papers, 59: 10188; a 1-page MS; undated; consisting of a small slip containing two lines written in an unidentified hand describing Dutch duties on distilled spirits, with annotations added by TJ consisting of the first and the last seven lines printed below, the whole forming notes for section of p. 7 of MS on this subject:

“duties in Holland on distilled spirits

Eau de Vie–de Vin–11ƒ 10–les 30 Viertels

  Do    –de grain–35ƒ–128 Mingles

the above is taken from Ricard’s treaty on commerce.

the Mingle is the English quart

the Viertel is the gallon and a half from this it appears that the duty on distilled grains is intended for a prohibition; that on brandy for a duty on consumption.”

MS 4: DLC: TJ Papers, 69: 11901; a 1-page MS in TJ’s hand written on a fragmentary address cover of an unidentified letter to him; undated; consisting of three passages (the first and third being canceled) on American trade with Denmark and with the French, British, and Danish West Indies that appear in somewhat variant form as revisions on p. 8, 10, and 11 of MS, except for a sentence on the British West Indies which TJ canceled on p. 10 of MS (see notes 33, 44, and 48 below).

MS 5: DLC: TJ Papers, 69: 12003–4; a 2-page MS in an unidentified hand; undated; endorsed by TJ: “Sweden. duties”; consisting of a small sheet of notes on Swedish duties on tobacco and rice, with notes on exchange by TJ written lengthwise on verso, that were incorporated into p. 8 of MS:

Rix D.S.R. Tobacco per 100livre tournois Duty of 3.16.3 Town dues 3.6 3.19.9 40 ⅓ Ct. additional by American Ships 1.18.3 4.38.0 Excise 31.3 Rix Dolls. 5.21.3 Rice per livre tournois Duty of 8 Town dues 8⅔ 40 per Ct. additional 3⅓ R. 0.1.0 Dutys as regulated in Sweden [on verso:] The additional tax of 40 per Ct. uppon the Tobacco will amount to abought 14 Rix Dolls. per Hogsd.

[Notes by TJ:]

ƒ  s  d
the Rx dollar of account of Sweden is 2–13–11 of Holland.
the Dollar of Spain is 2–10
then 1 Rx Dollar=1.07375 of Spain

ƒ  s  d  s

but the Rx Dollar actual money of Sweden is 2–13–8 = 53.5

  RxD D

then 1 = 1.07

  RxD

then 3–19–9
31–3   RxD.   D
4– 3–0 =4.0625 =4.346.

See also note 23 to Document ii below.

MS 6: DLC: TJ Papers, 69: 11902; a 1-page MS in TJ’s hand written on a fragmentary address cover of an unidentified letter to him; undated; consisting of passages on sugar maple trees, French proposals for a new commercial treaty, British reexports of American products, and British restrictions on the American carrying trade that in somewhat variant form were inserted as revisions on p. 19–20, 21, 7, and 20 of MS, respectively, the last being part of the two pages TJ later substituted for the original p. 19–20 of MS. In its final state the section on sugar maple production reads: “These trees too exist in sufficient numbers in the U.S. not only to furnish their own consumption but a surplus for foreign markets whenever the necessary labour shall be employed on them. And this surplus will be proportionably augmented as the habit shall prevail of planting these trees on every farm either in orchards or along the roads as is now done of fruit trees for the houshold use of the farmer. The process of making the Sugar is so light as to be performed by women and children and comes on at a time.”

MS 7: DLC: TJ Papers, 69: 11897; a 1-page MS in TJ’s hand; consisting of the following preliminary notes for the section of p. 19 of MS dealing with the encouragement of American manufacturing:

  • “to select particular manufactures
  •       e.g. woolen. because may be carried on domestically
  •          cotton. linen. may be done by machines.
  •    masters of vessels to be authorised to receive any manufacturers who offer and to bring them

  • ✓it would have been better to have adhered to agriculture because lands cheap.
  •       when employed in manufactures we lose profits of our lands.
  • ✓but the jealousies and fluctuations of Europn. councils leave it unsafe to depend on them.”

MS 8: DLC: TJ Papers, 59: 10107; a 1-page MS in James Madison’s hand; consisting of an undated “Abstract of Duties which have accrued on the Tonnage of Foreign & Domestic Vessels from Sepr. 1. to Decr. 31. 1790 [i.e. 1789],” being a table of eleven states (Rhode Island and North Carolina were not yet in the Union) showing that 100,733.44 tons of foreign shipping and 199,832 tons of American shipping had together paid duties of 62,356.77 dollars; with notations added by TJ: (below title) “the foreign at 50. cents, the Domestic @ 6. cents” and (next to totals for foreign and domestic tonnage) “tons”; endorsed by TJ: “Tonnage.” An undated Dft (DLC: Madison Papers) contains variations, including “1789” in the title and “Treasy. Dept. May 10. 1790 A. H.” at the head of text (see Syrett, Hamilton description begins Harold C. Syrett and others, eds., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, New York, 1961–87, 27 vols. description ends , vi, 414).

MS 9: DLC: TJ Papers, 57: 9832–3; a 2-page MS supplied by Tench Coxe; in a clerk’s hand with note by Coxe on verso; consisting of an undated estimate of the value in the American market of American imports and exports, with related charges, for the period 1 Oct. 1789-[30?] Sep. 1790, showing 27,000,083.22 dollars for imports and 30,680,282 dollars for exports; at head of text: “A Sketch”; endorsed by TJ: “Imports & Exports.”

1TJ here canceled “arranged in the order.”

2TJ altered this line to read “Bread-Stuff, that is to say grains, meals & breads to the annual amount of,” adding “annual” at a different sitting.

3Here in the margin TJ penciled the total “19,737,692.”

4Here in the margin TJ inserted a new paragraph as follows, adding the two gross figures later in pencil (the second one not totaling correctly):

“The proportions of our exports which go to the Nations beforementioned, and to their dominions respectively are as follows.

Dollars
To Spain & it’s dominions  2,005,907
Portugal & it’s domns.  1,283,462
France & it’s domns.  4,698,735
Gr. Brtn. & it’s domns.  9,363,416
the Unitd. Nethds. & domns.  1,963,880.
Denmark & its domns.    224,415
Sweden & its domns.     47,240
19,587,055

Our Imports from the same countries are

Spain 335,110 
Portugal 595,763 
France 2,068,348 
Gr. Britain 15,285,428 
Unitd. Netherlds. 1,172,692 
Denmark 351,364 
Sweden 14,325 
19,803,030

These imports consist <ing> mostly of Articles on which industry has been exhausted. <Their amount> <is> <shews the measure of the value of our commerce to those countries so far as depends […].>”

5TJ canceled these three words in connection with the revision described in the following note.

6TJ interlined “in one year, that is to say” in place of the next two words and changed the period to a comma.

7TJ here interlined “Bread-stuff.”

8Sometime after 13 Apr. 1792 TJ here added “On our meals however, as well as on those of other foreign countries when reexported to their colonies, they have lately imposed duties of from half a dollar to two dollars the barrel, the duties being so proportioned to the current price of their own flour, as that both together are to make the constant <price> sum of nine dollars per barrel,” writing “as … countries” in the margin at a different sitting.

9In response to Thomas FitzSimons’s Notes on Jefferson’s Draft Report on Commerce, [23 Aug. 1791], printed below in the supplement to the present volume, TJ here added “<Latterly indeed> Their demand for <our> rice <has been> however is increasing.”

10TJ here canceled “5 dimes to.”

11TJ altered this paragraph to read: “Neither Tobacco, nor Indigo, are recieved there. Our commerce is permitted with their Canary islands under the same conditions.”

12Word written by TJ over “freely,” erased.

13TJ here interlined “their own or.”

14TJ here interlined a paragraph reading “Tobacco, Rice and Meals are prohibited,” interlining the first three words later in the same sitting.

15TJ interlined “regulations” in place of this word.

16In response to Thomas FitzSimons’s Notes on Jefferson’s Draft Report on Commerce, [23 Aug. 1791], printed below in the supplement to the present volume, TJ here changed the period to a comma and added “except that in these meals and rice are received freely.”

17Preceding four words altered by TJ to “Bread-stuff.”

18Word altered by TJ to “reexportation.”

19TJ here interlined “is made lately to pay.”

20TJ interlined “which may be carried in their own or any other vessels” in place of this clause.

21TJ interlined “During” in place of this word.

22TJ here interlined and canceled “lately.”

23TJ interlined “first National assembly took” in place of the preceding ten words.

24TJ here canceled “have.”

25Sometime after 13 Apr. 1792 TJ altered this paragraph to read: “Great Britain recieves our Pot and Pearlashes free while those of other nations pay a duty of ⅔ the kental. There is an equal distinction in favor of our bar iron, of which article however we do not produce enough for our own use. Woods are free from us, whilst they pay some small duty from other countries. Indigo and flaxseed are free from all countries. Our Tar and Pitch pay 11d. sterl. the barrel. From other alien countries they pay about a penny and a third more.”

26TJ here interlined “common.”

27Paragraph to this point altered by TJ to read “Our Salted fish and Salted provisions in general are prohibited. Our bacon and whale oils are under prohibitory duties: so are our Grains, Meals and Bread as to internal consumption.”

28TJ here interlined and canceled “When the price is below that however they permit them to be <warehoused> stored duty free in their ports for re-exportation.”

29Sometime after 13 Apr. 1792 TJ replaced this paragraph with the two that follow:

“While the vessels of other nations are secured by standing laws, which cannot be altered but by the concurrent will of the three branches of the British legislature, in carrying thither any thing which is produced or manufactured in the country to which they belong, our vessels, with the same prohibition of what is foreign, are further prohibited by a standing law (12 Car. 2. 18. §. 3.) from carrying thither domestic productions and manufactures. A subsequent act indeed has authorised their Executive to permit <or to refus> the carriage of our own productions in our own bottoms, at it’s sole discretion: and the permission has been given from year to year by proclamation; but subject every moment to be withdrawn on that single will, in which event our vessels having any thing on board stand interdicted from the entry of all British ports. The disadvantage of a tenure which may be so suddenly discontinued was experienced by our merchants on a late occasion, when an official notification that this law would be strictly enforced gave them just apprehensions for the fate of their vessels and cargoes dispatched or destined to the ports of Gr. Britain. It was privately believed indeed that the order of that court went further than their intention, and so we were afterwards officially informed: but the embarrasments of the moment were real and great, and the possibility of their renewal lays our commerce to that country under the same species of discouragement as to other countries where it is <in like manner> regulated by a single <veto> legislator: and the distinction is too remarkeable not to be noticed that our Navigation is excluded from the security of fixed laws, while that security is given to the Navigation of others.

“Our vessels pay in their ports 1/9 sterl. per ton, light and Trinity dues more than is paid by British ships, except in the port of London where they pay the same as British.”

In the first paragraph TJ interlined “having any thing on board” and after “distinction is too remarkeable” heavily canceled about fifteen lines of text written in the margin consisting of one clause with another interlined as a partial substitute for it. The first clause appears to read “not to be noticed that whilst the commerce of other countries enjoys […] that the […] and limited Government a despotism has been established for the regulation of ours singly.” The interlined substitute clause appears to read “<our navigation […] commerce is excluded from the security of fixed laws while that of other nations> <security of fixt laws> ours has been submitted to the will of a single person while it is <which has> given to that of no other nation.”

30Sometime after 13 Apr. 1792 TJ altered the rest of this paragraph to read “under the useless charges of an intermediate deposit and double voyage. <And the consumers> From tables published in England, and composed, as is said, from the books of their Customhouses, it appears that of the Indigo imported there in the years 1773. 4. 5. one third was reexported, <of the Rice five sevenths and of the tobacco five sixths. The other years of the same tables were years of war, and therefore are not noticed> and from a document of <higher> authority we learn that of the rice and tobacco imported there before the war four fifths were reexported. We are assured indeed that the quantities sent thither for reexportation since the war are considerably diminished: yet less so than reason and national interest would dictate. The whole of our grain is re-exported <unless> when wheat is below 50/ the quarter and other grains in proportion.” Above the last line TJ penciled a phrase that is now illegible. A draft of the next-to-last sentence is in MS 6.

Next to the paragraph he revised and the two succeeding unrevised ones TJ wrote the following table perpendicularly in the margin sometime after 13 Apr. 1792 and then lined it out:

“1773.4.5. Indigo. bb. Rice. Tobacco. bb.
kentals
Imported  5,904,403  1,472,305 299,697,342 
Exported  1,847,944  1,059,623 249,658,524 
4,056,459  412,782 50,038,818 

“Sheffeild’s tables No. 3.” There is a subtraction error in the column for rice.

31TJ interlined “absorbed by” in place of the preceding two words.

32Word altered by TJ to “East-India.”

33For lack of information TJ left about half a page blank after this word and then, based in part on Benjamin Bourne to TJ, [after 26 Aug. 1791], printed below in the supplement to the present volume, added “takes a duty of about a half penny sterl. the pound on tobacco and 3/6 sterl. the Kental on rice carried in their own vessels and half as much more if carried in ours, and they lay prohibitory duties on Indigo and corn.” See also John Ross to TJ, 27 Aug. 1791. A draft of this revision is in MS 4.

34Sentence to this point altered by TJ to “They consume some of our tobaccos which they take circuitously thro’ Great Britain; levying.”

35TJ left a blank space equal to about three lines of text between this and the next paragraph.

36TJ interlined “superfluities” in place of this word.

37TJ here canceled “world.”

38TJ altered this passage to read “and the existence of Americans is made to have for it’s object not their own happiness, but that.”

39Preceding two words altered by TJ to “people conquered.”

40TJ interlined “dominant” in place of this word.

41Next to this word in the margin TJ penciled “qu. as to the Havanna.”

42Sometime after 13 Apr. 1792 TJ altered the preceding sentence and the one to this point to read “France prohibits our other bread. Our fish and salted provisions (except pork) are received in the Fr. islands on a duty of 3livre tournois the kental.” At the same time he canceled the remainder of the sentence.

43Sometime after 13 Apr. 1792 TJ here interlined “only.”

44Sometime after 13 Apr. 1792 TJ crossed out the paragraph to this point and substituted three paragraphs in the margin:

“France by a <proc> standing law <*> permits her West India possessions to recieve directly our <maize, rice,> vegetables, fresh provisions, horses, wood, tar, pitch and turpentine, rice and maize and prohibits our other bread stuff: but a suspension of this prohibition <being> having been left to the Colonial legislature, in times of scarcity, the prohibition <is> has been suspended from time to time. <Gr. Britain admits all the above articles into her islands by a proclamation of her Executive limited always to the term of a year, but which has hitherto been renewed from year to year.> <*Colonial arret of May 9. 1789.>

“Our fish and salted provisions (except pork) are received in their islands under a duty of 3 livres the kental, and our vessels are free to carry our own commodities thither, and to bring away rum and melasses.

“Gr. Britain admits in her islands our vegetables, fresh provisions, horses, wood, tar, pitch and turpentine, rice, and bread stuff, by a proclamation of her executive limited always to the term of a year, but hitherto renewed from year to year. She prohibits our salted fish and other salted provisions. She does not permit our vessels to carry thither our.” A variant of this revision is in MS 4.

45TJ interlined “her” in place of this word, canceled the preceding five words, and inserted a period after “produce.”

46TJ here first interlined “them” and then interlined “it” in its place.

47Sometime after 13 Apr. 1792 TJ wrote the following sentence in the margin for insertion here and then canceled it: “Our citizens cannot reside as Merchants or Factors within any of the British.” See the following note.

48TJ wrote the following paragraphs in the margin for insertion here, the first sometime after 13 Apr. 1792 and the second at an earlier time:

“Our citizens cannot reside as Merchants or Factors within any of the British plantations.

“In the Danish-American possessions a duty of 5. per cent is levied on our Corn, corn-meal, rice tobacco wood, salted fish, indigo, horses mules and live stock, and of 10. per cent on our flour, salted pork and beef, tar, pitch and turpentine.” A draft of the second paragraph is in MS 4. See also TJ to John Ross, 26 Aug. 1791.

49Sometime after 13 Apr. 1792 TJ interlined “American possessions” in place of the preceding three words.

50Word canceled by TJ.

51Sometime after 13 Apr. 1792 TJ here interlined “all.”

52Sometime after 13 Apr. 1792 TJ altered this paragraph to read “Our breadstuff is at most times under prohibitory duties in England and considerably dutied on reexportation from Spain to her colonies.”

53Sometime after 13 Apr. 1792 TJ here interlined “of late in.”

54Remainder of paragraph altered by TJ to read “recieved under temporary laws only by France, and our salted Fish pays a weighty duty.”

55TJ here left blank a space equal to about nine lines of text and began the next paragraph at the top of p. 13.

56TJ here interlined “of these two.”

57TJ canceled the remainder of the paragraph after making the alterations recorded in the next two notes.

58Word altered by TJ to “unproductive.”

59Remainder of sentence altered by TJ to “withdraw from that to other employments.” Next to this sentence TJ penciled a note in the margin of which only “[…]t […]ssedly con-” survives on the next page.

60TJ canceled this word and interlined it after “one by one.”

61TJ interlined “Where” in place of this word.

62Word canceled by TJ.

63TJ canceled the remainder of this sentence.

64Here and below in this sentence TJ altered the preceding two words to “Customers.”

65Altered by TJ to “at every market.”

66TJ interlined “they” in place of this word.

67TJ interlined “it” in place of this word.

68TJ altered this passage to read “citizens their commerce and navigation.”

69Sentence to this point altered by TJ to “Free commerce and navigation are.”

70TJ interlined “are they” in place of these two words.

71TJ altered this passage at different times to “a resource of Defence, essential.”

72Sometime after 13 Apr. 1792 TJ altered the sentence to this point to read “In times of peace, it multiplies competitors for employment in transportation, and so keeps that at it’s proper level; and in times of war, that is to say, when those Nations who may be our principal carriers, shall be.”

73TJ interlined “resource for” in place of these two words.

74Sometime after 13 Apr. 1792 TJ here added “and of Artists and establishments in readiness for ship building” by writing it over a largely illegible penciled passage that seems to have been of the same import.

75TJ here canceled “the purposes.”

76Sometime after 13 Apr. 1792 TJ altered this passage to read “But if particular nations grasp.”

77Sometime after 13 Apr. 1792 TJ interlined “if” in place of this word.

78Sometime after 13 Apr. 1792 TJ interlined “nation” in place of this word

79TJ revised the rest of this sentence to read “and it’s Politicks must be influenced by those who command it’s commerce.”

80Sometime after 13 Apr. 1792 TJ here interlined “and artists.”

81Word canceled by TJ.

82Preceding two words reworked by TJ from “means.”

83TJ interlined “fitted” in place of this word.

84TJ revised this paragraph to read “The following principles being founded in reciprocity appear perfectly just, and to offer no cause of complaint to any nation.”

85TJ interlined “may” in place of this word.

86For the text TJ later substituted beginning here, see note 107 below.

87Sometime after 13 Apr. 1792 TJ interlined “shall” in place of this word.

88Sometime after 13 Apr. 1792 TJ here interlined in pencil “This will operate as a bounty to encourage the [immigration?] of the Manufacturer himself to this country where he may make [his?] […].”

89TJ here interlined “if such should be the construction of the constitution.”

90Sometime after 13 Apr. 1792 TJ interlined “to the encouragement” in place of the preceding two words.

91Sometime after 13 Apr. 1792 TJ penciled “will” above this word and inserted an ampersand at the beginning of the sentence.

92Sometime after 13 Apr. 1792 TJ added a period here, canceled the rest of the sentence, and inserted a slightly variant version of the rest of the sentence before “promoting.”

93TJ interlined and canceled “that” above this word.

94TJ here added “The manufactures of cotton, wool and leather might first be singled out.”

95Written by TJ over “3.”

96Sometime after 13 Apr. 1792 TJ interlined “may” in place of this word.

97Altered by TJ to “2.”

98Paragraph crossed out by TJ. See note 46 to Document II below.

99Altered by TJ to “3.”

100Sometime after 13 Apr. 1792 TJ canceled the preceding three words and interlined “restrains” in pencil above them.

101Sometime after 13 Apr. 1792 TJ here interlined “even.”

102TJ here canceled “parts of their.”

103Sometime after 13 Apr. 1792 TJ interlined in pencil, apparently for insertion at this point, three partly illegible lines that begin “we should lay an equivalent restraint on their carriage of the same articles to the same countries because these countries […].” Under the first two of these lines he interlined in pencil two other lines of text that are illegible.

104Sometime after 13 Apr. 1792 TJ canceled the next part of this paragraph, consisting of “and perhaps … leaving,” and wrote in the margin for insertion here: “And if they prohibit us from bringing thence the productions of those countries for our own consumption, such productions should <be> either be prohibited or the more heavily dutied when brought by them, and the increase of duty be employed to the encouragement of the same or equivalent productions at home. Thus an increase of duties on rum and melasses brought from countries from whence we are not free to bring them, might be applied to encourage our own distilleries and breweries, and thus enlarge the home-demand for the produce of our agriculture; still leaving on their present footing the other channels of foreign supply, perhaps encouraging, by lighter duties, the importation of small wines as another raw material for our distilleries.—So also, Sugar, circuitously permitted us from some of the places of it’s growth, and in foreign bottoms only from others, should be more highly dutied from those places, and the increase of duty be applied to encourage it’s production at home. It may be affirmed, on sufficient <enquiry> experiment, that the Sugar from the Sugar-Maple tree is equal in quality to that from the Cane, when made with equal skill and care, may be produced in sufficient quantity from the trees now existing in the U.S. not only for their whole consumption, but to furnish considerable supplies to foreign markets. The process too is so light as to be performed by women and children, and that at a season when other works do not press. It is highly important that we emancipate ourselves from difficulties as to an article which, from a luxury, has become almost a necessary of life to our citizens in general, and which nature has so liberally dealt out to us at home.

“Subsidiary to these measures in defence of our Navigation may be the refusing the carriage of our productions, to all places, to those who refuse to recieve them in our bottoms at any place, where they will recieve them in their own. And that this restriction may bring no inconvenience on our Agriculture, it may be proper to begin by leaving.”

Below this revision—after canceling the paragraph recorded in note 98 above and renumbering the other paragraphs—TJ penciled the following paragraph in the margin: “4. Where a nation refuses permission to our merchants and factors to reside in any part of their dominions we should refuse permission to theirs to reside in any part of our dominions.” A draft of the discussion of sugar maple production is in MS 6.

105Sometime after 13 Apr. 1792 TJ canceled “doubling … fourth” and interlined “advancing it from year to year in a given ratio for a second third and fourth years.”

106Sometime after 13 Apr. 1792 TJ here interlined “by all.”

107In place of p. 19–20, consisting of text from note 86 above to this point, TJ sometime after 13 Apr. 1792 substituted two pages with the following text, writing the next-to-last paragraph in the margin and making the revisions in the other paragraphs at different times: “vier and heavier afterwards as other channels of supply open. Such duties <operating as incentives on> having the effect of indirect encouragement to domestic manufactures of the same kind may induce the manufacturer to come himself into these states, where cheaper subsistence equal laws and a vent of his wares free of duty may ensure him the highest profits from his skill and industry. And here it would be in the power of the state-governments to co-operate essentially by opening the resources of encouragement which are under their controul, <and> extending them liberally to artists in those particular branches of manufacture for which their soil, climate, population and other circumstances have matured them, and fostering the precious efforts and progress of houshold manufacture by <a still more special patronage, guided> <unerringly> <steadily to it’s object> some patronage suited to the nature of it’s objects guided by the local informations they possess and guarded against abuse by their presence and attentions. The oppressions on our agriculture in foreign ports would thus be made the occasion of relieving it from a dependance on the councils and conduct of others, and of promoting arts, manufactures and population at home. <The manufactures of cotton, wool and leather might first be singled out.>

“2. Where a nation refuses permission to our merchants and factors to reside within certain parts of their dominions, we may if it should prove expedient, refuse residence t theirs in any and every part of ours.

“3. Where a nation refuses to receive in our vessels any productions but our own, we may refuse to recieve in theirs any but their productions. The bill reported by the Committee is well framed to effect this object.

“4. Where a nation refuses to our vessels the carriage even of our own productions to certain countries under their subjection, we may refuse to theirs the carriage of the same or any other of our productions to the same or any other countries. And here justice and friendship would dictate that those who have no part in imposing the restriction on us should not be the victims of measures adopted to defeat it’s effect. But that these should be pointed to the dominant country itself, by prohibiting their vessels from the carriage of our productions to the dominant country, and to all others where our own or those of any other nation may freely carry them. And that this restriction might bring no inconvenience on the agriculture of our country it might be proper to begin by leaving the present moderate tonnage duty on their vessels for the first year, advancing it from year to year, in a given ratio, till time should have been afforded for a sufficient increase of the means of transportation by ourselves and other nations, when absolute prohibition might take place.

“The establishment of some of these principles by Gr. Britain alone has already lost us in our commerce with that country and it’s possessions, between eight and nine hundred vessels of near 40,000 tons burthen, according to <*> statements from official materials in which they have confidence. This involves a proportional loss of seamen, shipwrights, and shipbuilding, and is too serious a loss to admit forbearance of some effectual remedy. <*pa. 17.>

“It is true we must expect some inconvenience in practice from the establishment of discriminating duties. But in this, as in so many other cases, we are left to chuse between two evils. These inconveniencies are nothing, when weighed against the loss of wealth and loss of force which will follow our perseverance in the plan of indiscrimination. When once it shall be perceived that we are either in the system, or the habit, of giving equal advantages to those who extinguish our commerce and navigation by duties and prohibitions, <and commit encroachments on our navigation,> as to those who treat both with liberality and justice, liberality and justice will be converted by all into duties and prohibitions. It is not to the moderation and justice of others we are to trust for fair and equal access to market with our productions, or for our due share in the transportation of them; but to our own means of independance, and the firm will to use them. Nor do the inconveniencies of discrimination merit consi.” Two variants of the fifth paragraph of this revision are in MS 6.

108TJ here inserted the following paragraph sometime after 13 Apr. 1792, writing the sentences at different times: “France has, of her own accord, proposed Negociations for improving, by a new treaty on fair and equal principles, the commercial relations of the two countries. But her internal disturbances have hitherto prevented the prosecution of them to effect, tho we have had repeated assurances of a continuance of the disposition.” A variant of the first sentence in MS 6 reads: “France has <set the example of> of her own accord propos<ing>ed negociations for a new treaty <of commerce> wherein <that freedom> the advantages of commerce <which was> extended to her in <the> our former <one> treaty on other <motives> considerations, may <be compensated to us by equal advantages […]> now be measured back to us on such <fair and> equal principles as may improve the commercial relations of the two countries.”

109Sometime after 13 Apr. 1792 TJ here interlined “on our part.”

110Sometime after 13 Apr. 1792 TJ interlined “law” in place of this word.

111Sometime after 13 Apr. 1792 TJ altered this passage to read “have not as yet discovered.”

112Sometime after 13 Apr. 1792 TJ altered the sentence to this point to read: “We have no reason to conclude that friendly arrangements would be declined by the.”

113Sometime after 13 Apr. 1792 TJ interlined “them” in place of this word.

114Sometime after 13 Apr. 1792 TJ interlined “would” in place of this word.

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