The Congressional Globe, Volume 13, Part 2: Twenty-Eighth Congress, First Session Page: 20
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APPENDIX TO THE CONGRESSIONAL GLOBE.
27th Cong 2d Sess.
Army Appropriation Bill—Mr. J. C. Edwards.
H. of Reps.
In Prance, however, although every minister of
the United States, from the year 1786 to the present
time, has earnestly pressed the subject upon that
Government, no change has been effected. The
Government of Prance still continues the monopoly,
or regie, which stops "up all the avenues to that
tijade, whilst the United Slates admit all the products
of French industry.
In Austria the same plan of monopoly, or regie,
destroys the prospect of any productive trade in to-
bacco; and our minister at that court holds out no
inducement to hope for any change for the better.
It may be proper to remark, that the proposed
treaty will not affect the provisions of existing trea-
ties with other foreign powers. The stipulation is
found in many of them, that, if the United States
should grant more favorable terms to any other na-
tion, those terms should be considered as extending
to the nations parties to these treaties.
But this stipulation is always understood as con-
ditional; that is, that the advantages of the new
treaty shall be given only on the same terms on
which tliey are given to the party to that treaty. If
they be given without equivalent, they must also be
given to those nations without equivalent; if they
be given in consideration of equivalents, no nation
can claim them, under the general stipulation above
mentioned, without offering a like equivalent.
The duties imposed on the importation of a par-
ticular commodity may therefore with propriety
be reduced, as to articles the produce or manufacture
of one country, which may, in consideration of such
reduction, reduce its duties on our staple produc-
tions, without giving to any other nation, with which
we may have such a treaty stipulation, a right to re-
quire the same reductions as to its productions or
manufactures, unless such nations will cotne under
the same conditions. The treaty of 1832 with
Prance is a precedent in point.
Denmark has, by sufferance, continu«d to impose,
up to this day, a most singular tax upon all goods
which pass in or out of the sound,'on board of every
ship that enters or leaves the Baltic by this highway
Denmark cannot demand this toll upon any prin-
ciple of natural or public law, nor upon any other
ground than ancient usage, which finds no justifica-
tion in the existing state of things. She renders no
service for this exaction, and has not even the claim
of power to enforce it.
A great and general dissatisfaction is felt, by all
nations interested in the Baltic trade, at this unne-
cessary and humiliating exaction. I respectfully
suggest that the time has arrived when the United
States may properly take some decisive step to re-
lieve our Baltic trade from this oppression.
For more full information upon this subject, I re-
fer to the report of Mr. Webster, hereinbefore alluded
to. No essential change has taken place since the
date of that report, and our vessels continue to lower
their topsails at the castle of Cronborg, and to pay
ti ibute to Denmark.
The condition of our navigation and shipping in-
terests demands, at this time, paiticular attention
from the Government. The great and constantly
increasing amount of foreign shipping in our ports
shows the necessity of prompt legislation for
the protection and enlargement of our commer-
cial marine. There is reason to apprehend that, if
the best advised measures be not promptly taken,
American commerce will soon be engrossed by the
ships and seamen of Europe. There can be no
doubt that the cause of tlus great evil is to be found
in the stipulations of our commercial treaties, winch
place the shipping of foreign countries on an equali-
ty with that Iif the United States, m the indued as
well as the direct trade.
This necessarily operates to the advantage of
those nations who can build and navigate their ves-
sels at the least cost.
It is well known that most of the nations with
which we have concluded such treaties, and espe-
cially those of the north of Europe, have a decided
advantage over us in both these particulars. Nearly
all the materials of ship-building are much more
costly 111 the United States than' in Europe. The
wages we pay to our seamen are nearly double, and
the general scale of living on shipboard is much bet-
ter, and consequently much more expensive. The
consequence of all th'is is, that our ship-owners, be-
fore, they can find employment for their vessels, are
obliged to wait in their own ports until Swedish,
Danish, and Hanseatic shipping has taken off as
^uuch freight as it can carry; and yet we persuade
ourselves that our treaties with all these powers
have placed our commerce upon a footing of perfect
The treaties at present existing with Denmark,
Sweden, the Hanseatic Republic, Prussia, Austria,
and Russia, have already extended beyond their
original limitation, and are subject to be discontinued
at one year's notice.
The remaining treaties in which the reciprocity
principle is adopted on the broadest scale, may be
made the subject of consideration as the term of
their duration approaches. The remedy is conse-
quently in our own hands; and we have only to re-
trace our steps, and make known the determination
of this Government to regulate its foreign trade, in
future, upon such principles of reciprocity as shall
not extend beyond the direct importation trade in the
produce and manufactures of the contracting par-
By the accompanying table, showing a com-
parative account of the domestic and foreign ton-
nage employed in the foreign trade of the United
States for the last fifteen years, it will be seen that
the average proportion of American shipping to for-
eign shipping was as follows:
Tabk of shipping.
Proportion per cent.
Periods. American, Foreign.
1828 to 1832 - - 81.7 18.3
1833 to 1837 - - 66.2 33.8
1838 to 1842 - - 69.1 30.9
The first period comprises the time when the
treaties allowing indirect trade, contracted with the
Hanse Towns, Sweden, and other powers, in 1827
and succeeding years, first began to operate; and,
although during the latter years the proportion of
foreign vessels rapidly increased, the average of the
whole was but eighteen per cent.
The second period commcnced at about the time
when a new impulse was added to the already in-
creasing foreign navigation by the "colonial ar-
rangement" with Great Britain in 1831 and 1832.
During these five years, the proportion of foreign
tonnage nearly doubled, while the amount thereof
increased from two to six millions.
During the last five years, a period marked by ex-
traordinary commercial fluctuations, the acquired
proportion of foreign tonnage has been preserved
with remarkable uniformity. This latter fact is an
evidence that, however the commercial interests of
the UmtPd States may have been depressed by these
revolutions and fluctuations, the navigation inter-
ests of foreign powers have not been seriously af-
fected in their intercourse with us.
The able report of the Committee on Commerce
of the House of Representatives (No. 835, May,
1842) embraces all the facts and statistics relating to
our navigating and shipping interests; and I refer to
it, with pleasure, for full information.
All which is respectfully submitted.
A. P. UPSHUR.
To the President op the United States.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE GLOBE.
Jefferson City, Mo.,
November 30, 1843.
Sin: Some have complained of my course in ref-
erence to the proposition to dismount the second
regiment of dta°oons. I am persuaded that any
complaints made about this matter proceed from the
want of a knowledge of the course I really did take
m reference to the subject. An officer of that regi-
ment complained to me at Washington; but I showed
him that part of my speech made while the army
appropriation hill was under consideration, m refer-
ence to the amendment of the honorable Cave
Johnson of Tennessee to dismount the second regi-
ment of dragoons; and with my course lie seemed to
be perfectly satisfied. I suppose my position in
favor of reducing the army and navy generally has
induced the belief that I was also in favor of redu-
cing the dragoons. Such was not the case. My
speech was not published at the time; and to correct
any wrong impression in reference to my course,
I now send you a copy, which you will oblige me
by inserting in the Globe.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant.
JOHN C. EDWARDS.
SPEECH OP MR. J. C. EDWARDS,
In the House of Representatives, August 3, 1842.—
The army appropriation bill and amendments be-
ing under consideration—
Mr. EDWARDS said :
Mr. Chairman: Until late yesterday evening, I
made no attempt to get the floor, because the dis-
cussion during the preceding part of the day had
been confined mainly to the superintendency of the
armories. I had my preference on that subject; yet
it was not so material to me whether the armories
were under the control of civil or military officers,
as it seemed to be to other members of the House;
and, therefore, I left the discussion of that matter to
But not so in reference to the amendment of the
gentleman from Tennessee, [Mr. Cave Johnson.]
On the subject of that amendment, in common with
my constituents, I feel the deepest interest. That
amendment proposes, first, a general reduction of
the army; and second, the disbanding of the second
regiment of dragoons. The first object of the amend-
ment I approve; to the second, 1 am utterly op-
posed. I am in favor of a large and general reduc-
tion of the army, and of the navy too; but I am op-
posed to disbanding either the first or second regi-
ment of dragoons.
I am in favor of a large and general reduction of
the army; and especially, I would reduce the number
of officers. We have but little use for an army now.
We are at peace with all the world, and all the na-
tions of the world are anxious to maintain peace
with us. The bare speck in Florida is no war.
We have no prospect of war. If we have no war,
and no prospect of war, of what use, then, is our
army' Shall we keep it up at its full size in anti-
cipation of war? We have no ground for antici-
pating a war for many years to come. We have
more reason to suppose that the world will grow
wiser; and that the humane and oft-repeated wish
of the wise and the good—"that the sword and the
bayonet may be converted into the scythe and the
ploughshare"—will be realized. But while we are
reducing our army, and by that means curtailing
our expenses, we should not *neglect the proper
and rational means of defending our country. We
are all in favor of defending ourselves. We only
differ as to the best mode of doing so.
In reference to the defence of our country, my
own opinion is clear and well settled as to two mat-
ters, and has long been so. In the first place, I be-
lieve the worst of all possible modes of defending a
country is to exhaust her means; to impoverish her
people; to corrupt her morals by keeping up a large
army and navy in time of peace. In the second
place, I believe the best mode of defending a
country is to make her taxes light; to let her
people grow rich; to let them husband their
resources; to make the operation of our laws
equal; to avoid distinctions in society; to en-
courage education; to encourage union and
harmony among ourselves; to make our Gov-
ernment a good one, and our people a happy people;
to give them homes and firesides, and wives and chil-
dren (or the prospect of both) to fight for, and officers
of their own choosing to lead them to battle. To do
these things is the best mode of preparing to defend
a country. A people who have warm firesides, warm
hearts, comfort and ease at home, and liberty and
happiness to fight for, cannot be conquered. Seven-
teen millions inhabitants—almost every man armed
•—the best shots in the world—easy, and comfort-
able, and happy—with the necessaries of life around
them—educated and intelligent—-united and friend-
ly, and living under equal laws, and bearing equal
burdens—satisfied with their Government and the
administration of its affairs—relieved as far as pos-
sible from the burdens of an army and a navy m
time of peace;—such a people, numbering seventeen
millions, and capable of concentrating immense
forces at any point of attack, would be utterly invin-
cible. The world, united against them, could not
conquer them, so long as they were united among
themselves. And every year during which they
could dispense with their army and then- navy would
add from fifteen to twenty millions of dollars to their
capacity for defending themselves, and that much to
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United States. Congress. The Congressional Globe, Volume 13, Part 2: Twenty-Eighth Congress, First Session, book, 1844; Washington D.C.. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth2368/m1/30/: accessed May 27, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.