Copyright
Charles Callan Tansill.

The Canadian reciprocity treaty of 1854 online

. (page 1 of 10)
Online LibraryCharles Callan TansillThe Canadian reciprocity treaty of 1854 → online text (page 1 of 10)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


173:

C2 T3



SERIES XL NO. 2



JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY STUDIES

IN

HISTORICAL AND POLITICAL SCIENCE

Under the Direction of the

Departments of History, Political Economy, and
Political Science




BY

CHARLES C. TANSILL, PH.D.

Professor of American History, American University,

Washington, D. C.



BALTIMORE
THE JOHNS HOPKINS PRESS

1933



THE JOHNS HOPKINS PRESS OF BALTIMORE.



American Journal of Mathematics. Edited by FRANK MORLEY, A. COHEN, Assistant Editor,
with the cooperation of CHARLOTTE A. SCOTT, A. B. COBLE and other mathematicians.
Quarterly. 8vo. Volume XLIV in progress. $6 per volume. (Foreign postage, fifty
cents.)

American Journal of Philology. Edited by C. W. E. MILLER with the cooperation of M .
BLOOMFIFLD H. COLLITZ, T. FRANK, W. P. MUSTABD, D. M. ROBINSON. Quarterly.
8vo. Volume XLIII in progress. $5 per volume. (Foreign postage, fifty cents.)

American Journal of Psychiatry. E. N. BRUSH, J. M. MOSHKB, C. M. CAMPBELL, C. K.
CLARKE and A. M. BARRETT, Editors. Quarterly. 8vo. Volume II in progress. $9 per
volume. (Foreign postage, fifty cents.)

BeitrSge zur Assyriologie und semitischen Sprachwissenschaft. PAUL HAUPT and FBIEDBICH
DELITZBCH, Editors. Volume X in progress.

Hesperia. HERMANN COLLITS, HENRT WOOD and JAMBS W. BRIGHT, Editors. 8vo. Seven-
teen numbers have appeared.

Johns Hopkins Hospital Bulletin. Monthly. 4to. Volume XXXIII in progress. $4 per
year. (Foreign postage, fifty cents.)

Johns Hopkins Hospital Reports. 8vo. Volume XXI hi progress. $5 per volume. (Foreign

postage, fifty cents.)
Johns Hopkins University Circular, including the President's Report, Annual Register, and

Medical Department Catalogue. Seven times a year. 8vo. $1 per year.

Johns Hopkins University Studies on Education. 8vo. Edited by E. F. BUCHNEH. Five
numbers have appeared.

The Johns Hopkins University Studies la Geology. Edited by E. B. MATHEWS. 8vo.
Three numbers have been published.

Johns Hopkins University Studies in Historical and Political Science. _ Under the direction
of the Departments of History, Political Economy, and Political Science. 8vo. Volume
XL in progress. $5 per volume.

Modern Language Notes. J. W. BHJGHT, Editor-in-Chief, G. GRUENBAUM, W. KUHRELMETEH
and H. C. LANCASTER. Eight times yearly. 8vo. Volume XXXVII in progress. $5 per
volume. (Foreign postage, fifty cents.)

Reports of the Maryland Geological Survey. E. B. MATHBWS, Editor.

Reprint of Economic Tracts. J. H. HOLLANDER, Editor. Fourth series in preparation. $2.00 .

Terrestrial Magnetism and Atmospheric Electricity. L. A. BAUER, Editor. Quarterly. 8vo.
Vol. XXVII in progress. $3.50 per volume. (Foreign postage, 25 cents.)



STUDIES IN HONOE or PROFESSOR GILDERSLEEVB. 527 pp. 8vo. $6.

STUDIES IN HONOR OF A. MARSHALL ELLIOTT. Two volumes. 8vo. 450 and 334 pp. $7.50.

THB HAGUE PEACE CONFERENCES OF 1899 AND 1907. By James Brown Scott. Vol. I, The
Conferences, 887 pp.; Vol. II, Documents, 548 pp. 8vo. $7.

THE ECLOGUES OF BAPTISTA MANTUANUB. By W. P. Mustard. 156 pp. 8vo. $1.50.
THE PISCATORY ECLOGUES OF JACOPO SANNAZARO. By W. P. Mustard. 94pp. 8vo. $1.25.

DIPLOMATIC NEGOTIATIONS OF AMERICAN NAVAL OFFICERS, 1778-1883. By C. O. Paullin.
380 pp. 12mo. $2.25.

FOUR PHASES OF AMERICAN DEVELOPMENT Federalism, Democracy, Imperialism, Expansion.
By J. B. Moore. 218 pp. 12mo. $1.50.

THE DIPLOMACY OF THE WAR OF 1812. By F. A. Updyke. 504 pp. 12mo. $2.75.

EARLY DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND MEXICO. By W. R.
Manning. 418pp. 12mo. $2.50.

THE WEST FLORIDA CONTROVERSY, 1798-1813. By I. J. Cox. 710 pp. 12mo. $3.

AN OUTLINE OF PSYCHOBIOLOGY. By Knight .Dunlap. 145 pp. 84 cuts. Royal 8vo.
$2.50.

THE CREED OF THE OLD SOUTH. By B. L. Gildersleeve. 128 pp. Crown 8vo. $1.25.

EARLY DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND JAPAN; 1853-1865. By
Payson J. Treat. 468 pp. 12mo. $2.75.

THE LIFE AND STORIES OF THE JAINA SAVIOR PARCVANATHA. By Maurice Bloomfield. 266
pp. 8vo. $3.

FOREIGN RIGHTS AND INTERESTS IN CHINA. By W. W. Willoughby. 614 pp. 8vo. $7.50.
CHINA AT THE CONFERENCE. By W. W. Willoughby. 435 pp. 8vo. $3.0Q.
A complete list of publications sent on request.



THE CANADIAN RECIPROCITY TREATY OF 1854



SERIES XL NO. 2



JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY STUDIES

IN

HISTORICAL AND POLITICAL SCIENCE

Under the Direction of the

Departments of History, Political Economy, and
Political Science



THE CANADIAN RECIPROCITY TREATY

OF 1854



BY

CHARLES C. TANSILL, PH.D.

Professor of American History, American University,

Washington, D. C.



BALTIMORE

THE JOHNS HOPKINS PRESS
1932



COPYRIGHT 1922 BY
THE JOHNS HOPKINS PRESS



rut s or

TMC NCW KMA PHIKTIHO COHFAWY
LAMCA1TIR. PA.



THE LIBRARY

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA
SANTA BARBARA



CONTENTS

PAGE

Preface vii

Chapter I. The Repeal of the English Corn Laws

and Canadian Business Depression ... 9

Chapter II. The Beginnings of the Reciprocity Move-
ment 17

Chapter III. The Conclusion of the Reciprocity Treaty 54

Appendices 82



PREFACE



The present study is the development of a paper presented
in the American Historical Seminary, Johns Hopkins Uni-
versity, in the spring of 1918, and it will constitute one of the
chapters in the author's forthcoming Life of William Learned
Marcy. It was at the suggestion of Dr. John H. Latane
that the present writer undertook to write a comprehensive
biography of William L. Marcy, one of America's great sec-
retaries of state, and one whose influence upon American
foreign policy has not been fully appreciated.

The public archives in Canada and in the United States
have been carefully examined, and it is the author's belief
that this monograph on the Canadian Reciprocity Treaty of
1854 is the first serious attempt to present this important
subject from a close study of the original sources.

The author is particularly indebted to Dr. John H. Latane,
under whose inspiration this monograph was started, and to
whose suggestive criticism it owes any merits that it pos-
sesses, and to Professor Charles S. Sperry and Mrs. Edith
Marcy Sperry, of Boulder, Colorado, who were kind enough
to give me access to the Marcy manuscripts. I wish also to
express my indebtedness to Dr. John M. Vincent, Hon. Ar-
thur G. Doughty, Dr. Adam Shortt, Dr. John C. Fitzpatrick,
Hon. William A. Ashbrook, and to my wife, Helen C.
Tansill.

CHARLES C. TANSILL



vn



THE CANADIAN RECIPROCITY TREATY
OF 1854



CHAPTER I

THE REPEAL OF THE ENGLISH CORN LAWS AND CANADIAN
BUSINESS DEPRESSION

The Reciprocity Treaty concluded between the United
States and British North America was the result of some
eight years' continuous agitation on the part of the Govern-
ment of Canada. To the colonial officials it appeared as the
means of escaping impending economic ruin, and from the
moment of the repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846, they made
systematic efforts to induce the Government of the United
States to enter into some sort of reciprocal arrangement
whereby the raw materials of each country would be ad-
mitted within the boundaries of the other free of duty. The
economic organization of Canada at this time made the ques-
tion of a reciprocal arrangement with the United States
doubly important.

In 1817, the construction of the Erie Canal was begun,
and this seemed to fire the imaginations of Canadian en-
trepreneurs with regard to the possibilities of Canadian in-
land waterways. Work was immediately started on several
projects, and within a few years a series of short canals along
the St. Lawrence River was open to navigation. The La-
chine Canal admitted shipping as early as 1825 ; the Welland
Canal in 1833 ; the Cornwall Canal in 1843 ; the Beauharnois
Canal in 1845 > a d the Williamsburg Canals in I847. 1



1 Thomas C. Keefer, Eighty Years' Progress of British North
America (Toronto, 1863), pp. 166-174; M. J. Patton, Canada and Its
Provinces (Toronto, 1914), vol. x, pp. 512-514.



IO CANADIAN RECIPROCITY TREATY OF 1854 C r 9

These canals, it was believed, would enable the St. Law-
rence River to be the great channel for the forwarding to
Europe of the products of the interior of the continent, and
this confidence of the Canadians as to the superiority of
their route over that of the Erie Canal became quite wide-
spread. According to the author of a pamphlet published
at St. Catherines in 1832 : " We possess in Canada an un-
doubted and preeminent superiority in controlling and di-
recting the productive industry of the Western territories.
. . . The master key of the Lake region is not theirs." 2

By the year 1846, the short canals along the St. Lawrence
River were mostly completed, and the prospect of diverting
a large portion of the Erie Canal trade seemed particularly
bright. In 1845, the quantity of produce brought by the St.
Lawrence to the city of Montreal was given as follows:
" Pork, 6,109 barrels ; beef, 723 barrels ; lard, 460 kegs ; flour,
590,305 barrels ; wheat, 450,209 bushels ; other grain, 40,787
bushels." The produce brought to New York by the Erie
Canal was estimated at: "Pork, 63,640 barrels; beef, 7,699
barrels; lard, 3,064,800 pounds; flour, 2,517,250 barrels;
wheat, 1,620,033 bushels; corn, 35,803 bushels." 3 The
enormously greater volume of trade carried by the Erie
Canal was a subject of active interest to the Canadians, who
now believed that the superiority of their route was about to
become manifest.

In this connection the Free Trade Association of Mon-
treal published a circular which confidently predicted the
ultimate diversion of the greater portion of the Erie Canal
traffic to the Montreal route. This was inevitable " because
the cheapest conveyance to the sea-board and to the manu-
facturing districts of New England must win the Prize. . . .
The cheapening of the means of transit is the great object to
be obtained ; and our best practical authorities are of opin-



2 Quoted in D. A. MacGibbon, Railway Rates and the Canadian
Railway Commission (N. Y., 1917), p. 5.

*R. H. Bonnycastle, Canada and the Canadians in 1846 (London,
1846), pp. 280-290.



REPEAL OF ENGLISH CORN LAWS II

ion that the 'St. Lawrence will be made the cheapest route
as soon as our chain of inland improvements is rendered
complete. . . . This picture may appear too flattering to those
who have not investigated the subject; but to such we say,
examination will convince them that with the St. Lawrence
as a highway, and Portland as an outlet to the sea, we shall
be enabled, successfully, to struggle for the mighty trade of
the West, and bid defiance to competition on the more arti-
ficial route of the Erie Canal." 4

The authors of this interesting circular, however, did not
keep in mind the influence of two important factors with
regard to the eventual superiority of the St. Lawrence route.
The New York route was free from the difficulties and
dangers of navigation that were encountered in the St. Law-
rence and in the Gulf, and thus had the advantage of lower
transatlantic freight and insurance rates. 5 Also, the rapidly
increasing volume of trade along the St. Lawrence route was
due in no small measure to the adventitious aid derived from
the British Navigation Laws. The repeal of colonial prefer-
ence duties would deal a severe blow to Canadian export
trade, and particularly to that export trade that had sprung
up since the Parliamentary regulation of 1843, which ad-
mitted all wheat cleared from Canadian ports, whether grown
in Canada or in the United States, at a fixed duty of one
shilling a quarter. 6

This practice of colonial preference duties dates as far
back as the " Old Subsidy " of 1660, which fixed such low
duties on certain imported colonial products as to give them
a virtual monopoly of the English market. 7 The preference
given to these so-called " enumerated articles " was from

4 Ibid., pp. 290-292.

5 C. Donlevy, The St. Lawrence as a Great Commercial Highway,
p. 23 ; MacGibbon, p. 19.

6 Bernard Holland, The Fall of Protection (London, 1913), pp.
120-122.

7 G. L. Beer, Origins of the British Colonial System (N. Y.,
1908), chap, iv; Old Colonial System (N. Y., 1912), vol. i, pp. 128-
138.



12 CANADIAN RECIPROCITY TREATY OF 1854 [192

time to time extended to other colonial commodities, so that
by 1840 there were more than eighty articles of commerce
thus protected. 8 In the Peel tariff of 1842, the principle of
colonial preference was even further extended. The tariff
schedule of that year contained some 825 items, and upon no
less than 375 of them differential duties were levied in favor
of colonial products. 9

In 1844, however, there was a distinct relaxation of the
preferential system. By the customs act of that year the
duties on foreign wool were repealed and the preference
hitherto allowed colonial coffee was greatly reduced. 10 But
it was not until 1846 that the preferential system received
the severe shock that foretold its destruction. By the act of
1828, a duty of one shilling per quarter was imposed on im-
ports of foreign cereals when the price stood at 73 shillings
or above, and this duty rose as the price of grain fell, thus
reaching 345. 8d. when the price sank to 525.

Colonial grain, however, was given a special preference
under the act of 1828, a duty of 53. per quarter being im-
posed when the price fell below 675., and only the purely
nominal charge of 6d. per quarter when the price rose above
675. Thus when the price of grain in England stood at
57s., Canadian grain could freely enter at but 55., while
American or foreign grain was really excluded by the exces-
sive duty of 345. 8d."

Peel's corn law of 1842 revised the import duties on im-
ported grain so that thereafter colonial wheat was admitted
at uniform duties of is. when prices stood at, or above, 585.,
and 55. when prices fell below 555. On foreign grain the
duties were revised downwards. When the price of grain

R. L. Schuyler, "British Imperial' Preference," in Political
Science Quarterly, Sept. 1917, p. 432.

9 Holland, pp. 104-105; Hansard, third series, vol. 63, pp. 513, 541,
542, 549; 5 and 6 Victoria, c. 47.

10 7 and 8 Victoria, c. 16; Hansard, third series, vol. 74, pp. 1271,
1273, 1274, 1279, 1280.

11 9 Geo. IV, c. 60; Holland, pp. 18-19; J. S. Nicholson, History
of the English Corn Laws, pp. 135-136.



REPEAL OF ENGLISH CORN LAWS 13

varied from 735. to 515., then a sliding scale of duties, rang-
ing from is. to 193., should apply; when the price fell below
515., the duty remained constant at 2os. 12

In the following year, 1843, an additional preference was
granted to Canadian wheat and flour. Ever since 1831,
wheat grown in the United States had been permitted to
enter Canada free of duty, 13 and this practice had led to the
importation of considerable quantities of American wheat,
which was then ground into flour and shipped to England
to be admitted at the colonial preferential duty.

Under the terms of the law of 1843, the Canadian Par-
liament agreed to pass a measure whereby a duty of 33. a
quarter would be levied on all American grain crossing their
frontier. The British Government then promised that all
grain cleared from Canadian ports, whether native grown
or imported from the United States, would be admitted at a
fixed duty of is. instead of at the existing rate which, ac-
cording to English prices, varied from is. to Ss. 14

The main purpose of this act of 1843 was further to en-
courage the milling interests of Canada, and to favor the
elaborate canal system that was rapidly nearing completion.
In both these particulars the measure was a pronounced
success. Even before the passage of the Act of 1843, tne
traffic upon the St. Lawrence was doubling every four
years, 15 and, according to a competent authority, " there is
no question that the waterway system of Canada at this time
procured a remarkable degree of prosperity to a large and
important element in commercial life of the country." 16
The milling interest received a similar favorable impetus.
From October 10, 1843, to January 5, 1846, 1,492,260 hun-
dred-weight of wheat flour manufactured in Canada was
imported into the United Kingdom, and this figure is espe-

12 5 Victoria, c. 14, April 29, 1842; Schuyler, pp. 441-442; Adam
Shortt, Canada and Its Provinces, vol. v, pp. 190-193.

18 Holland, pp. 118-119; Shortt, vol. v, pp. 195-197.

14 Holland, pp. 120-121; Hansard, third series, vol. 67, pp. 1319-
1320; Nicholson, pp. 136-137.

15 j. Sheridan Hogan, Canada, p. 24.

19 MacGibbon, p. 13.



14 CANADIAN RECIPROCITY TREATY OF 1854 C J 94

cially significant when we consider that the imports of flour
from foreign countries and from other British colonies dur-
ing the period April 29, 1842, to January 5, 1846, amounted
only to 1,362,517 hundred-weight. 17

But these benefits were of short duration. In the autumn
of 1845 it became only too evident that the destruction of the
potato crop in Ireland meant impending famine. Peel, a
deeply religious man, interpreted the Irish misfortune
to be an expression of divine displeasure against the Corn
Laws, and this fact, added to his growing conviction in favor
of their repeal, meant the overthrow of the whole protective
system. 18 On January 27, 1846, Peel began his notable fight
for the repeal of the Corn Laws, and on June 26th of that year
a bill embodying his proposal became law. 19 Colonial grain
was to receive a preference until February, 1849, after which
date all importations of oats, barley, and wheat, wherever
grown, were to pay only a nominal duty of is. per quarter. 20

But this was not all. On the same day a tariff act which
materially reduced the preferential duties on colonial timber
received the royal assent. Since the period of the Napole-
onic Wars the preferential duties in favor of colonial timber
had been high. In 1813, foreign timber paid a duty of 655.
per load (50 cubic feet), but in 1821, this impost was lowered
to 555., while colonial timber paid a mere IDS. per load. 21
Under the tariff of 1842, the duty on foreign timber was
reduced to 255., and at the same time the duty on colonial
timber was practically abolished a small charge of is. per
load being exacted. 22

This differential duty of 245. in favor of colonial timber
was lowered to one of 145. by the tariff of 1846, and in the

17 Parliamentary Papers, sess. 1846, vol. 44, No. 130, p. 9.

18 Holland, pp. 243-246; Nicholson (N. Y., 1004), pp. 131-135;
W. Cunningham, The Rise and Decline of the Free Trade Move-
ment (N. Y., 1912), pp. 60-66.

19 9 and 10 Victoria, c. 22; Chas. S. Parker, Sir Robert Peel
(London, 1899), PP- 583-609; George M. Trevelyan, Life of John
Bright (N. Y., 1913), chaps, iv, v, vi.

20 Holland, pp. 256-258; Shortt, vol. v, pp. 214-215.

21 Schuyler, p. 448.

22 5 and 6 Victoria, c. 47, table a, class V.



195^ REPEAL OF ENGLISH CORN LAWS ,15

House of Commons it was frankly predicted that such a
radical reduction of colonial preference would mean the de-
struction of the Canadian timber trade and the annexation
of that province to the United States. Mr. Hinde " believed
that if this measure were carried ... we might safely make
a present of Canada to the United States at once," and this
belief was widely shared both in England and in Canada. 23

In Canada, the abolition of colonial preference created
"consternation and alarm." 24 On January 28, 1846, on the
day after Peel began his struggle for the repeal of the Corn
Laws, the Earl of Cathcart, Governor-General of Canada,
wrote a strong letter to Gladstone, then Secretary of State
for the Colonies. The successful operation of the newly
completed canal system, he observed, depended upon the con-
tinuance of colonial preference. The American route via
the Erie Canal was shorter and not closed by ice for such
a long period. Some preference in favor of grain shipped
by way of the St. Lawrence was therefore necessary, lest
the Canadian canals prove a failure, and the debt incurred
in their construction be repudiated. 25

Gladstone, in his reply of March 3, 1846, deprecated the
possible injury that would be inflicted upon Canadian trade
by the repeal of colonial preference, but he emphasized the
fact that cheap food was a prime necessity for the people of
the United Kingdom, and for this reason a gradual reduc-
tion of the preferential duties was imperative. There would
still be a duty of 155. a load upon foreign timber, and Glad-
stone assured the Governor-General that not only would the
reduction of the preference on timber fail to check Canadian
exports, but he was " sanguine that the trade nevertheless
will extend itself." He also believed that the corn and flour
trade between Canada and the United Kingdom would not

2 Hansard, third series, vol. 84, pp. 1290-1291, 1342.

24 Ibid., p. 1321 ; Edward Porritt, Sixty Years of Protection in Can-
ada, 1846-1907 (London, 1908), pp. 45-47-

25 Canadian Archives, Series G, Governors-General Letter Books,
406.



16 CANADIAN RECIPROCITY TREATY OF 1854 196

suffer any serious depression because of American competi-
tion, and he hoped that there might be a reduction in the
cost of forwarding grain from the interior to the St. Law-
rence ports. 26

With the Canadian canals already pushed to the limit in
a spirited competition with the superior American route, it
took the sanguine temperament of the colonial secretary to
conceive that they could lower transportation charges with a
decreasing volume of trade. Besides, Mr. Gladstone seemed
unaware of the fact that with regard to the grain trade it
was not America but Europe that Canada had to fear.

In February, 1846, the full details of Peel's program for
the repeal of the Corn Laws became known in Canada. The
lumbermen, merchants, millers, and shipping men were par-
ticularly affected by the new measures, and, inasmuch as
they dominated the boards of trade in the important ports
of the colony, it was but natural that these bodies should
send prompt protests to the colonial secretary against the re-
laxation of the colonial system. 27 On February 25, 1846,
the Board of Trade of Quebec drew up its memorial of pro-
test, and one month later the Board of Trade of Montreal
took similar action. At Toronto the members of the Board
were especially interested in the fate of the canal system
after the repeal of colonial preference, and Mr. George S.
Workman, President of the Board of Trade, prophesied that
" now that the differential duty in our favor in the mother
country is about to be removed we shall find that the trade
in Western States' produce will leave our waters altogether."
Indeed, in view of the fact that millions had been spent in
the construction of the canal system and that the decreasing
volume of trade would bring ever smaller transportation
tolls, it was no more than plain justice for the mother
country to make to Canada " a present of the public
works." 28

26 Ibid., 123.

27 Porritt, pp. 54-57-

28 Hansard, third series, vol. 86, pp. 555-556.



CHAPTER II
BEGINNINGS OF THE RECIPROCITY MOVEMENT

On May 12, 1846, the Canadian House of Assembly agreed
to an address to the Queen in which Her Majesty was re-
quested to begin negotiations for reciprocal arrangements
between Canada and the United States, and the movement
which ended in the Reciprocity Treaty of 1854 was started. 1

On June 3, 1846, Gladstone replied to Cathcart's despatch
of May 1 3th, which had enclosed the " Address of the Cana-
dian Parliament," and after indicating to the Governor-Gen-
eral that the case of Australia showed clearly that colonial
prosperity did not depend upon a protective system, he re-
marked that the question of a reciprocity treaty between
Canada and the United States had been carefully considered,
and that "Her Majesty will readily cause directions to be
given to her minister at Washington to avail himself of the
earliest suitable opportunity to press the important subject
on the notice of the Government." z

This promise of the British Government was strictly ad-
hered to, and on June 18, 1846, Lord Aberdeen sent instruc-
tions to Mr. Pakenham, at Washington, to " bring this mat-
ter under the consideration of the United States Government
whenever you may consider the time favorable for pressing
on their attention a subject of such deep interest and im-
portance both to Canada and to the United States." 3

These instructions to Pakenham reached Washington on
July 8, 1846, five days after the passage of the Walker tariff
bill by the House of Representatives. 4 This measure was

1 Canadian Archives, Series G, 125.

2 Ibid., 125.


1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Online LibraryCharles Callan TansillThe Canadian reciprocity treaty of 1854 → online text (page 1 of 10)