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land was not in favor of the highly restrictive or prohibitory system proposed. They also prepared a memorial to Congress on the subject, which was subscribed by a very large number of the citizens of Boston and vicinity, and presented to Congress in December, 1827, at the time the manufacturers were pressing for a new tariff with higher duties, in accordance with the resolutions adopted by the Convention at Harrisburg.*
In the same year, a Convention was holden in the city of Philadelphia, by persons from most of the States of the Union, opposed to any increase of duties on imported woollen or cotton goods. Some of these, indeed, were opposed to the duties, as established in 1824; and contended that the manufacturers already enjoyed an unequal share of the aid of government. They believed that the interests of commerce and navigation would suffer by carrying the system to the extent urged; and were more disposed to lessen than to increase the duties imposed by the act of 1824. A report was published by this Convention also, t of great length and ability, and extensively circulated ; and it was supposed that a majority of the people approved of the doctrines and views of the Convention. In the seaport towns, this was notoriously the case: for the "American system was unquestionably not deemed promotive of the commercial interests of the Union.
The President was in favor of affording protection or encouragement to domestic manufactures generally, and of woollens particularly; which at this time was the leading question in political economy, so far as the federal government was believed to have authority to interfere. But he was also friendly to extensive enterprises in commerce and navigation ; and expressed no opinion in support of the ultra doctrines of the manufacturers. It was always known that he highly estimated the advantages of navigation and foreign trade, to a country like the United States; and would not, therefore, sacrifice the interests of commerce for the purpose of encouraging any other branch of business.
The statement, presented to Congress, by the President,
* Opinions similar to those expressed by the merchants of Boston, were declared in a memorial to Congress by the citizens of Salem, Massachusetts, a short time before. They considered the policy of protecting manufactures, to the extent urged and adopted in 1824, as highly prejudicial to the commercial interests of the country; and as a tax on merchants, mechanics, and farmers for the benefit of the manufacturers.
+ Henry Lee, of Boston, prepared this report, as well as that adopted by the citizens of Boston.
in December, 1827, relating to the public affairs of the nation, was highly gratifying to the patriot, and as just as it was favorable to the general prosperity and welfare. “The blessings of peace with all our brethren of the human race," said the President, "have been enjoyed without interruption: and internal quiet has left the people in the full enjoyment of their rights, and in the free exercise of their faculties, to pursue the impulse of their nature and the obligations of their duty, in the improvement of their own condition. The productions of the soil, the exchanges of commerce, and the vivifying labors of human industry, have combined to mingle in our cup a portion of enjoyment, as large and liberal as indulgent Heaven has, perhaps, ever granted to man on the earth. To preserve, to improve, and to perpetuate the sources, and to direct, in their most effective channels, the streams which contribute to the public weal, is the purpose for which government was instituted. Objects of deep importance to the welfare of the Union are constantly occurring to demand the attention of the federal legislature; and they call, with accumulated interest, on the first meeting of the two Houses, after their periodical renovation." The President referred to the happy issue of negotiations with the British government, respecting slaves captured during the war of 1812-1815, in the southern parts of the United States, and for the adjustment of the dispute on that subject, a reference of which had been made to the judgment of the Emperor of Russia. "The final disposal of one of the most painful topics of collision between the United States and Great Britain,” the President said, “not only afforded an occasion of gratulation to ourselves, but had a happy effect in promoting a friendly disposition, and in sostening asperities upon other subjects of discussion. Nor ought it to pass without the tribute of a frank and cordial acknowledgement of the magnanimity, with which an honorable nation, by the reparation of their own wrongs, achieve a triumph more glorious than any field of blood can ever bestow.” It was also stated in the message, “that recent negotiation on commercial subjects, which were of great interest to the United States, had terminated in the adjustment of some of the questions at issue, upon satisfactory terms, and the postponement of others for future discussion and agreement.
The trade to and with the British colonies in America, of great importance to the United States, and long time in a condition unfavorable to the citizens thereof, through the pertinacity of the English government, to secure unequal
In the progress
advantages—was not yet so adjusted as to give satisfaction to the American merchants. To place the trade, either by negotiation, or legislation, on terms of reciprocity, had long been the desire and endeavor of the government of the United States; "for the commercial intercourse between the two countries was more important than between any other two nations on the globe." Two Conventions, however, were concluded in August, 1827, between the plenipotentiaries of the United States and great Britain, for continuing in force those made at former periods, one in July, 1815, and the other in October, 1819, noticed above in this volume.
The subject of the boundary line between the United States and the British territories in North America, was much discussed at this period; and, in many parts of the nation, the citizens complained of the non-adjustment of the dispute. The President, in his public message, referred to the subject, and gave the following statement of proceedings in relation to it." In the execution of the treaty of peace in 1783, a hine of boundary was drawn as the demarcation of territory between the two countries; extending over nearly twenty degrees of latitude, and running over seas, lakes, and mountains, then very imperfectly explored, and scarcely opened to the geographical knowledge of the age. of discovery and settlement, by both parties since that time, several questions of boundary between their respective territories have arisen, which have been found of exceedingly difficult adjustment. At the close of the late war with Great Britain, four of these questions pressed themselves upon the consideration of the negotiators of the treaty of Ghent, but without the means of concluding a definitive arrangement concerning them. They were referred to three separate commissions, consisting of two commissioners; one appointed by each party; to examine and decide upon their respective claims. In the event of disagreement between the commissioners, it was provided that they should make reports to their several governments; and that the reports should finally be referred to the decision of a sovereign, the common friend of both. Of these commissions, two have already terminated their sessions and investigations; one by entire, and the other by partial agreement. The commissioners of the fifth article of the treaty of Ghent have finally disagreed; and made their conflicting reports to their own governments. But from these reports a great difficulty has occurred, in making up a question to be decided by the arbitrator. This purpose, however, has been effected by a fourth Convention, concluded at London, by the plenipo
tentiaries of the two governments in September last. It will be submitted with the others to the consideration of the Senate.” The President manifested a strong desire, that the disputes in reference to this subject, might be amicably and speedily adjusted ; and expressed a disposition on his part to adopt all proper measures to attain so desirable an object. Difficulties had then recently occurred on the northeast borders of the United States, and a serious collision threatened between the people of Maine and of New Brunswick: though it had been previously understood, “that no exercise of exclusive jurisdiction, by either party, while the negotiation was pending, should change the state of the question of right to be definitively settled."
The President very feelingly regretted that the British government had declined all negotiations on the subject of the trade with their colonial possessions in America ; believing that the difficulties would be better removed, in that way, than by legislation. This trade, if regulated on principles of a just and liberal policy, 'would be highly beneficial to the United States. And while he refrained from imputing the course pursued by the British government to direct hostile views, he justly considered it as showing a less friendly and generous spirit than he had anticipated. Neither of the bills before the Senate or House of Representatives, at the preceding session of Congress, it appeared, would have given full satisfaction to the Court of England. They were evidently disposed to enjoy the whole trade to and from their American colonies and ports; and seized on every possible pretence for avoiding definite and mutually favorable regulations on the subject.
In referring to the relations of the United States with France, the President spoke of the early and important influence exerted by the French king and people in favor of the liberties of America. " The origin of the political relations between the two nations,” he said,
was co-eval with the first year of our Independence. The memory of it is interwoven with that of our arduous struggle for national existence. Weakened as it has occasionally been since that time, it can by us never be forgotten; and we should hail with exultation the moment which should indicate a recollection, equally friendly in spirit, on the part of France.” Fresh efforts had then been made by the President, to obtain a just consideration of the claims of American citizens for reparation of wrongs, many years before committed by the subjects or rulers of that nation.
A reference of the subject had been recently proposed, by the President's direction, to a sovereign, friendly both to France and the United States. And he expressed the opinion that the proposal would not be declined by the French government.
A large portion of these claims, the French government admitted to be founded in equity and justice. Even the late Emperor, by whose orders the depredations had been committed, could not deny the justice of making some reparation : and the kings of the Bourbon family, Louis XVIII. and Charles X. who were restored to the throne of France, on the downfall of Napoleon, had long promised indemnity. But they were weak princes; the nation was exhausted by expensive and distressing wars; and the subject of indemnity, as demanded by the United States, was not popular with the people of France. They were unwilling to pay for the wrongs done by Napoleon. Nothing had been obtained but fair promises of the French government; though the claim had been often pressed upon the consideration of the Court of Versailles, with much earnestness and ability: and by no administration with more urgency than while Mr. Adams was President.
The diplomatic intercourse between the United States and foreign governments, had been increasing for several years, and their relations were now mutually friendly. The President announced, at this time, the formation of a new treaty with Sweden, to perpetuate amity, and to regulate commerce and navigation between the two nations: a recent disposition in the Hanseatic republics had been shown, to strengthen and confirm their intercourse with the United States, by sending a minister to reside at the seat of the federal government, which was met with promptness and cordiality by the President. The desire of the new Emperor of Russia, to be on terms of friendship with the United States, was also manifested by the appointment of a minister plenipotentiary to the government of the American Union. A prospect was thus presented to the country of a long period of national peace and prosperity ;. and was a just occasion for gratulation and thankfulness among all classes of citizens.
In this public message, the President alluded to the existing condition of the new republics in South America ; and informed Congress of the failure of the individual States represented in the grand mceting at Panama, to confirm the propositions adopted by that Convention, for a union of measures and action in defence of their liberty,