Delegates of St. Lawrence County, N.Y.
Late Acts of the British Parliament
Commercial Intercourse, &c
January 24, 1827
Printed by order of the Senate of the United States
Printed by Gales & Seaton
To the Honorable the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States in Congress Assembled:
The memorial of the undersigned, Chairman and Secretary of a meeting of Delegates from the twenty towns in the county of St. Lawrence, and the State of New York, assembled in Convention in pursuance of previous public notice, to represent and express the views and interests of the citizens of said county, in pursuance of a resolution unanimously adopted at said Convention, do hereby, in behalf of said Convention, and of the citizens represented in it, beg leave respectfully to lay before your Honorable body a brief statement of the grievances under which they labor, and of the causes which produce them.
Your Honorable body need not to be informed that the Imperial Parliament of Great Britain, in and by its several acts passed on the 5th August, 1822, and on the 27th June, 1825, have imposed upon the introduction into their North American Provinces, of Bread-stuffs, Ashes, Lumber, and various other articles of American produce, such duties of impost as , in most cases, practically to amount to a prohibition of trade and intercourse therein : And that, in and by the latter act, it has actually prohibited, among other things, the introduction into the said Provinces, of salted provisions from the United States; thereby effectually depriving the inhabitants of this extensive and hitherto growing frontier, of its accustomed trade in the channels traced out by the finger of nature herself, and heretofore freely used, under the high sanctions of the Government, by amicable treaty regulations;† measures tending in their effects, if not seasonably and effectually counteracted, to impoverish the natural resources, undermine the prosperity, alarmingly to reduce the population, and consequently to sap the strength, of this important border of the Union:† which acts and all their provisions, whether they have their origin in the predetermined hostility of the British Government, which recent developments in relation to her general Colonial policy, ,as it regards the United States, afford some grounds to fear; or whether they are to be attributed to a total disregard of our unquestionable rights, when their exercise may be deemed to come in collision with the interests of that Government; ought to be met by calm, yet determined opposition, and to be counteracted by all the means which either Providence or fortune may have placed within our reach.
The National Legislature is also well advised of the fact, that, by the final establishment of the boundary line, between the United States and Canada, which lies between the point where the 45th degree of North latitude strikes the river St. Lawrence, and Lake Superior, as settled by the Commissioners of both Governments, under the 6th Article of the treaty of Ghent, the several islands in that river, known on the maps or charts thereof, by the names of Upper Long Sault Island, Lower Long Sault Island, and Barnhartís Island, belong to the United States:† whereby, and by the nature of the navigation, the only practicable route for loaded boats descending the said river, is through and upon, exclusively, American waters, on the Southerly side of said islands, for distance of 15 miles; thereby enabling this Government to control the use of those waters, and to impose, by law, such countervailing duties or burthens on foreign vessels and their cargoes, entering the same, as sound policy, and the ends of equal justice may require.
If the undersigned have a just conception of the intended operation of the late British Order in Council, in relation to the Colonial trade, the trade of this frontier with the Provinces immediately adjoining the United States, is not directly prohibited by the terms of that Order.† But the undersigned need only to refer to honorable body to the provisions of the aforementioned acts of the British Parliament, to bring to every mind the assured conviction that the practical effect of those provisions of exaction and of prohibition, is, and must continue to be, the entire destruction of the trade : a destruction much more complete and absolute than that of the trade between the seaboard of the United States and the British West Indies, by reason of that Order; inasmuch as, in the case of your memorialists, nature has forbidden them any resort to circuity of voyage to a market, through any intermediate neutral port, and the efforts of art have not yet, by overcoming the obstacles of nature, opened any internal communication to any of our own domestic markets.
The Order of Council, and the aforesaid restrictions imposed on the articles of trade passing down the St. Lawrence, are only different means to attain the same end, the destruction of our trade with the British West Indies, and with or through the Canadian ports; and seem to call for equally strong measures to countervail their efforts.
Your memorialists, reposing the most entire confidence in the wisdom of Congress to devise the best measures of redress for the unexampled sufferings which they endure, by reason of their utter exclusion from all foreign or domestic markets, for the bountiful and rich productions of their forests, their ores, their quarries, and their fertile soil, inhabited by sturdy freemen, destined to become, in times of peril, the defenders of this exposed Frontier, are content to abide the decisions, and to support the measures, which that wisdom shall adopt.† But they cannot forbear, respectfully to suggest to that body, whose acknowledged duty it is to extend equal protection to all, that, satisfied, as they mush assuredly be, that father negotiation affords no reasonable prospect of relief, it is the deliberate opinion of your memorialists, that it is the undoubted right, if not the incumbent duty of the National Legislature to impose, by law, upon British products, passing through or upon the aforesaid American waters of the St. Lawrence river, duties of transit, corresponding in amount with those imposed by the British act of June 27th, 1825, on American products passing into the Canadas, and in every respect countervailing the provisions of the said act of Parliament:† thereby visiting upon our commercial rival the evils of her own policy, and making a strong appeal to her interests, and convenience.
You memorialists therefore pray your honorable body, that such law may be passed; or that your honorable body, as well with a view to the future military defence, as to the permanent prosperity of this frontier, will adopt such other measures, as shall, by affording an interior communication with markets of the United States, produce the desired relief to this suffering section of the Union.† And your memorialists, as in duty bound, will ever pray.
Jabez Willes, Chairman
David C. Judson, Secretary
Ogdensburgh, January 1, 1827