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(1.)-Mr. Bagot to the Secretary, of State. Washington, 18th November, 1816. I HAVE the honour to call your attention to one of the Provisions of an Act of The United States' Congress, passed on the 27th of April last, entitled "An act to regulate the duties on Imports and Tonnage," which appears to have originated in some misapprehension of the real nature of one of the principal manufactures of Great Britain, and which has had an operation not only very prejudicial to the British Manufacturer, but contrary, as it should seem, to the spirit and intent of the IId Article of the Commercial Treaty.
By the IId Article of the Commercial Treaty between Great Britain and The United States, it is stipulated, "that no higher duties shall be imposed on the Importation to The United States, of any Articles the growth, produce, or manufacture, of His Britannick Majesty's Territories in Europe, than are or shall be payable on the like Articles, being the growth, produce, or manufacture, of any other Foreign Countries." By the Act of The United States, to which I have referred, it is, among other things, enacted, in the 6th § of the Ist Section, that upon Importation into The United States, Iron in bars or bolts, except Iron manufactured by rolling, shall pay a duty of 45 cents per cwt., and that in bars and bolts, when manufactured by rolling, and anchors, it shall pay a duty of 150 cents per cwt.
It was probably not known that the bar and bolt Iron manufactured in Great Britain is, in the last process, rolled: whereas, the same article, both in Sweden and in Russia, instead of being rolled, is, in the same process, hammered; but when the Iron is manufactured into bar or bolt, whether by rolling or hammering, it is in precisely the same progress of manufacture, and is, in every respect, applicable to the same purposes of use and ulterior manufacture, and, consequently, is, to all intents, "a like Article." But, by the inequality of the duties which have been imposed, it seems to have been imagined, that rolled bar and bolt Iron is in a state of manufacture beyond that of hammered Iron, and you will observe, that this supposition is strengthened by the circumstance of its being classed with anchors, which are in a state of complete and finished manufacture, and are worth £35 per ton in the British market; whilst bar and bolt Iron is only worth £ 11 per ton.
It may be assumed, that, whenever duties are imposed on any Foreign Article in a graduated scale proportioned to its manufactured state, it is intended that the duty should be regulated by that state alone, and not by the process by which it is brought to that state. Iron, in a certain state of manufacture, is to be charged with a certain duty; the means of bringing it to that state, whether by hammering or rolling, is not to be had in consideration; for, if it were, the effect would be to force each Nation to use exactly the same process,
and, what certainly could never have been intended, to check and punish the application of ingenuity and improvement.
Considering, therefore, that the bar and bolt Iron manufactured in Great Britain, is, according to the true spirit and intent of the IId Article of the Treaty of Commerce, in every respect, 6. a like Article" with that manufactured in Sweden and Russia, it is hoped that such measures will be taken by the Government of The United States, as will allow of its admission to Importation at the same rate of duty, and will place the British manufacturer in that state of equality in respect to Foreign Nations, as may accord with the undoubted intention of the late Treaty of Commerce between the two Countries. I have the honour to be, &c, CHARLES BAGOT.
The Hon. James Monroe.
(2.)-Mr. Antrobus to the Secretary of State. Washington, 22d November, 1819. I HAVE the honour to inform you, that I have been instructed by His Majesty's Government, again to bring under your notice the dif ference of duties levied in the Ports of this Country, on British and other Foreign Iron, in bars and bolts.
It is stipulated by the Commercial Convention between Great Britain and The United States, that Articles, the growth, produce, and manufacture of Great Britain, shall pay no higher duties, on Importation into The United States, than like Articles, the growth, produce, and manufacture of any other Foreign Countries.
Mr. Bagot, in a Letter of the 18th of November, 1816, addressed to Mr. Monroe, at that time Secretary for the Department of State, to which I beg leave to refer you, has clearly pointed out that Iron, manufactured in Great Britain by rolling, ought to be considered a like Article to Iron, manufactured by hammering, both in Sweden and Russia; and I feel confident it is only necessary to call your attention to this similarity in the state of the manufacture of British and other Foreign Iron, in bars and bolts, to decide the Government of The United States to adopt measures for the admission to Importation of this Article, on terms more consistent with the spirit of the Treaty of Commerce existing between the two Nations.
I have the honour to be, &c.
The Hon. John Q. Adams.
G. CRAWFURD ANTROBUS.
(3.)-Mr. Antrobus to the Secretary of State.
Washington, 1st May, 1820.
In the month of November of the year 1816, Mr. Bagot had the honour of addressing to Mr. Monroe, at that time Secretary of State, a Note, calling his attention to a provision of an Act of Congress, passed on the 27th of April, of that year, entitled "An Act to re
gulate the duties on Imports and Tonnage," imposing, on the Importation into The United States of Iron, in bars and bolts, manufactured by rolling, a duty equal to that paid on anchors, whereas by it Iron in bars and bolts, manufactured by hammering, was subject to a lower duty.
On the 22d November last, I had the honour to address a Note to you on the same subject, requesting the adoption, by the American Government, of such measures as would give to the British Merchant the advantages secured to him by the IId Article of the Treaty of Commerce between Great Britain and The United States, namely, " that no higher duties shall be imposed on the Importation into The United States of any articles, the growth, produce, or manufacture of His Britannick Majesty's Territories in Europe, than are, or shall be, payable on the like articles, being the growth, produce, or manufacture of any other Foreign Countries."
As it is understood that the modification of the Tariff, thus sought for, can only be effected by an Act of the Legislature, and, as it is believed that the present Session of that Body is now drawing to a close, I take the liberty of again bringing this matter under your notice, and of expressing a hope that the present high rate of duty on the Importation of rolled Iron will no longer be allowed to exist, to the prejudice of the British Manufacturer, and, it should seem, contrary to the spirit of the Commercial Treaty. I have the honour to be, &c. The Hon. J. Q. Adams. G. CRAWFURD ANTROBUS.
(4.)—Mr. Stratford Canning to the Secretary of State. Washington, 31st March, 1821. It is in obedience to Instructions which I have lately received from His Majesty's Government, that I have the honour to recal your attention to a subject of considerable interest, on which Mr. Bagot and Mr. Antrobus have already had occasion, respectively, to open a Correspondence with your Office; I mean, the discrimination established by Congress in the duties on imported Iron, manufactured by rolling or hammering.
I abstain for the present from troubling you with any additional argument in support of the general principles asserted by Mr. Bagot; but as there is reason to suppose that some erroneous notions have prevailed with respect to the process of rolling Iron, as employed in the British manufactories, it is confidently hoped that an authentick statement of the real process will suffice, to remove any objections which the Government of The United States may still entertain to an equalization of the duties in question.
The pig Iron is first purified, or refined, in what is called a finery; during which stage of the process, it loses in weight about 2 cwt. per ton.
The metal thus refined is taken to the puddling furnace, from which, after it has undergone the operation of puddling, it is conveyed in balls, each weighing about 60lbs. to the slabbing rolls, and there rolled into a slab or rough bar.
This bar is then divided into several pieces, which are placed in piles of 3 or 4 pieces together, and, after being again heated in a reverberating furnace, are rolled into what is called a merchant bar.
In these two stages there is a further waste of about 5 cwt. in the ton.
The metal, after being refined in the puddling furnace, is sometimes placed under a helve, or iron hammer of 3 or 4 tons weight, and shingled or hammered into what is termed a half bloom, which is subsequently cut into pieces and rolled into a merchant bar, in the same way as the piled slabs. The quality of the manufactured metal, and the cost of the operation, are very nearly the same in both cases.
To these facts, which are derived on authority to all appearance unquestionable, from the principal Iron manufactories in England, it may be added, that even the pig Iron employed there, is probably of a superior quality, owing to the great care with which the dross is drawn off from the ore.
Persuaded that the preceding statement will receive at your hands an attentive and liberal consideration, I beg, Sir, that you will accept the assurances with which I have the honour to be, &c. The Hon. J. Q. Adams.
(5.)-Mr. Stratford Canning to the Secretary of State. Washington, 26th November, 1821.
ON the 31st of March I did myself the honour of writing to you, with reference to the discriminating duties laid by Congress on imported rolled and hammered Iron. It is under the special Instructions of my Government that I now return to a subject which has been repeatedly pressed upon your notice, in full persuasion that, sooner or later, the Legislature of The United States would recognize the propriety and justice of repealing the exceptionable Duty.
I do not feel myself at liberty to draw any inference unfavourable to this expectation, from the silence with which you received my former Letter. I abstained on that occasion from going at large into the merits of the question, conceiving that an exposition of certain facts, capable of being verified, would be sufficient, until the Meeting of Congress should furnish a fit occasion for examining the whole subject in a more complete and deliberate manner.
You will remember, Sir, that the facts which I then stated, and to which I again solicit your attention, were calculated chiefly to remove the erroneous impressions entertained by some Persons in this Country, with respect to the real nature of British rolled Iron, and the process
of that manufacture. It had been asserted, that in rolling Iron according to the practice of Great Britain, the metal was only twice heated, and so rapidly converted into bars, as not to allow of its acquiring those qualities which are supposed to be imparted to it by the more laborious operation of hammering. It now appears, from the testimony of many respectable Individuals acquainted with this important branch of industry, that the Iron is heated no less than 3 times, that it is refined with such effect as to lose 7 cwt. per ton in passing from the state of pig iron to that of merchant bars, and further, that it is cut into pieces after the first rolling, and piled so as to cross the grain when again heated and rolled.
In the qualities of rolled, as in those of hammered Iron, there may be an occasional difference resulting from the nature of the ores employed in its composition. The British Iron-Masters use a great variety of ores, the different mixtures and combinations of which have, doubtless, a considerable effect in producing a better or an inferior article. But to suppose that any difference is made in the quality or manufacture of British Iron, when destined for the Foreign Market, other than when it is kept for Home consumption, is an error which cannot be met with too distinct and positive a denial.
This notion, groundless as it is, has, however, been brought forward, with others equally erroneous, to prevent an equalization of the duties on imported Iron. It has even been alleged that while rolled Iron is exported from Great Britain for the use of Foreign Countries, the British import large quantities of hammered Iron from the North of Europe for their own use; and that, in ship building, this latter article, owing to its superior quality, is indispensable.
In reply to these assertions, I appeal, with confidence, to the Accounts of British and Foreign bar Iron employed in Great Britain, at three successive periods within the last 16 years. In 1806, in 1814, and in 1820, the respective quantities of the former were 101,877, 137,365, and 136,642; and those of foreign bar Iron were 27,411, 11,635, and 6,242. To confirm the results suggested by this Statement, it may be added, that in Ireland, where a strong prejudice is known to have once prevailed in favour of Foreign Iron, the consumption, which, in 1807, was 5,690 of British, and 3,229 of Foreign, was, in the Year 1820, 474 of the latter, and no less than 13,073 of the former.
For the manufacture of Steel, and for that alone, the Baltic Iron has some advantage over British, and whatever quantity of it is imported into Great Britain, is either converted into Steel, in which way it is at present almost exclusively used, or re-exported to those Countries, where the nature and properties of British rolled Iron are as yet imperfectly understood.
Concerning the particular point of Ship Building, the Abstract which follows, of the respective quantities of British and Foreign Iron,