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...-,,.. MEMORIAL 4 -
Of TS MJCBfSJIj 01 Tjaji cit jff HEW-
' ' ' " TORS; " '' t ;
,T the President of. the United State,' and
" the Senate and House, of Representatives ;
. t the United States of America, in Con
" gress assembled: The Memorial of the
Merchants of ihe city of New-York.
'.. Yoa,-' Memorialists beg leave respectfully."
to. approach, the government of, their country,
oa subjects of great importance, which huvc
eved, their minds with the deepest anxiety
d" alarm. i( , "' ' ,' f ' ( "
; jiptfjpfidilig'jn ther juitie'e ,and JTiicndly dis
position oi ihe government of Great-Uiiuin
gab ,tnjtep4sMpiOgj' &rj;e's(uldent eipecta
lion that fip iuual reitriclioiis wduld 'bt
imposed on Neutrt vbmmerce, witHbbt ad
equate natives and the riaobt, ample notice ;
jWcSUming (especially, tbftt comniet cial enter'
prues, commenced, under the sanction of
established, principle, would on no 'account
be. affccted by -a chafiqLevfof . system ; . your
msmoriarisu have employed ayasi capital in
importing various colonial productions,' he
surplus of which, exceeding the demands of
'this country, they, have leen,.accusu.nied to
export freely to the different markets of .u
r Aftel" this commerce had ibeen. prosecuted
without restrrclion for evetI yeai, and had
attracted a great proportion! of their wealth
' aflet their insurer had aisumed immense re
sponsibilities, grounded on, au opiition that
this trade was strictly, regular; having never
' received the slightest intimation, that tc could
bt deemed incGiiipanblg with the. lights oi a ;
belligerent nation, they have been suddenly '
confounded, : by Unexpected inuiligcnce of
Ihe arrestatiou on the high ,east of a large i
.portion of their property, which had been em
barked with the .most unsuspecting conK
'debce.vj ' , y ' ,
The feelings of your memorialists arc not
only excited by the losses which they have
actually sustained, in consequence of a mea
sure unsusceptible of previous calculation,
but also from the state of uncertainty in
which they are placed, with respect to future
commercial operations, i .
' Your memorialists heretofore believed that
commerce- between- the- United -States -and
colonies subject to the enemies of Great-Britain,
wheniju f.de prosecuted on their owl) !
account, would be perfectly afe from inter-'
"Vuption: ' They' hare also believed, that all!
articles, which might be securely imparted
intd "thc"Ufilied States, might be as secure
ly 'exported ; with , the exception well un
derstood, both in respect to the, import and
export trade of commerce with places
Xlocladed, or itr articles contraband of war.
In a recent interpretation of what is con
sidered by the tribunals of Great-Britain as
'a direct trads between the Colonics and the
parent countries of their enemies, jour me
morialists perceive with concern, the devc
lopementofa principle, which, it conceded
on the part of the United Stales must prufc
fatal to their commercial importance.
'It is understood to have been decided,
that whenever it appears to be the intention
of the importer of colonial produce, to tx-
fiott the same to Europe ; or, whenever it
s o exported by thte original importer, such
latentiuh or exportation,' shall be evidence
of a dtrett tradttm Subject the property,
though neutral, 'o confiscation.
Your memorialists consider it, their bou:i
den duty to themselves, and their country, to
express their most decided opposition to this
As to the evidence arising from the suppos
ed intention of an importer, they readily ad--
rnit, that the great quantities of colonial pro
duce which are. acquired by means of the
' American commerce, exceeding the demand
.- fi consumption in th United States, will
' fairly justify a general prtiumptijn, that Ihe
aurplus is ultimately destined for European
-markets. They assert however, that the
intention of a merchant in rcftpect to the fj
tute destination of kit property, must, from
the nature of things be inconclusive. All
plans of business, formed by individuals are
liable to le alTccted by circumstances, not
to be foreseen or controlled t lhee plans are
therefore necessarily revocable by those who
form thcrat and'au intention which has wf
ieen t-etuted proves nothing more than miht
justly be inferred from a general presump
tion, arising from the course of our com
merce. To apply such an intention, a
particular case, to the prejudice of an indi
vidual s to presume that he has volnntaiily
incurred an immense riskwhirh consistently
Vilh the success of his main object, he might
nave fairly avoided, and to inole him in
ruin for prosecuting a trade which, if umlcr
fsken with a different motive, would have
Veen declared lawful ; would I In the opi
tiion of your motnorialiu, to confound and
reserve thibesi nMi,Ud print ipUsof rea
son, equity and taw.
t " Your memoriltis tnnff ml for no innovs.
lions (in the law of nations and.cacrpt where
. ipetisl treaties have prescribed a dilTcrrnt
role, Ihtjr admit that they may lawfully be
It strained from transporting the prnpiiiy vf
r the parties engaged in war. In the recent
dteisiars which prohibits an tmportcrof toti
hial produce trom exporting ii to Europe,
tney nowever perceive wun concern
a nugatory aoil ' .twtiou reg'utaiion, -orU.
meditated blow, at whaOhedeim an m?btt
testible and valuable rjgh.ti 3 a ,v ",
- Heretofore there existed clear3 awobvioii
circumstances of discrimination, betweeri the
direct tmleH which" Great-Bntain has assum
ed the right, of. denying to neutral, and. the
jndirect or circuitous trade, which she admibi
to be lawful.'. The direct trade could be per-'
,for(rned by; ft - singlct shipment or yoyagefj
whereas, tefl'.cjlicuitous trade subjected ;tht
property to double freights and , insurahces,
to deductions-hi favour of tjie revenue' and
various p)her expence!( in this country ,
Jf the arriyal.Mof a' ship in' the cou'htr,' id
which i,t belongs the landing of the cargo
the ' inspection . of the Custom-llouse ;, the
payment or security of duties; ; do not
terminate , "a . voyage ; then we V Confess
our ignorance on a point, wnicn, never nav
ipg been before questioned, has been assutri,.
ed by .u'ss'ati acknowledged.truth. ; Jfthj
entry fd'rf exportation ; - the 'embarkatiph' c(f;
merchandize ; the re-inspection of the Cu-tom-IIouse;
the bond for securing a delivery
in a loieign country, and a public clearance,
do not indicate the commencement of a new
voyage, then we are yet to learn the meaning
)f the expression. It all the formalities and
sari!'-tin4 established for the security of our
revenl-; if operations of immense magni
tude, transacted with, the .greatest publicity,
and without a".- motives for .concealment,
are considered as unreal teprcsentations, and
merely cok$rabhr fiaudulent contrivance.s
to cover an-Jllicit trade, between the colonic'
and the parent countries of the enemies of
Great-Britainj then it become necessary,;
both in regard to our characters and inter-"
eats, to inquire, whether the new'regulationv
establish, a more definite criterion for the dis- j
cbvery of truth f r ;
' We repel with indignation the suggestion,
that the trans-shipment of property for a for
eign market, by the original importer, is e
vidence of fraud or chicane; or that unsup.
ported by other circumstance's, it can justify
'a suspicion, that it is other than neutral. In
our opinion, any discrimination between the
rights of an importing merchant, and a ven
.dee in the United Slates, is manifestly fal
lacious, as it virtually metis, that the for
mer can exercise only an imperfect dominion
over property lawfully acquired, and posses
sed in this country, while at the same time
he can convey to the latter a title to a privi
lege not enjoyed by himself j in short, that
a trade is unlawful, when the advantage is to
result to one person, but may be rendered
lawful, by being participated with another.
i If the new doctrine is executed in the mild
est form, its operation must be highly in-
pinous, oy originating new questions tor
litigation, and of course, subjecting all our I
commerce to new hazards of interruption. - '
We presume not, however, to comprehend !
to what extent, or in what manner the princi- I
pic will be applied; we perceive, that the 1
ancient land-mark has been removed, but we '
seek in vain for a beacon to direct our course ; '
If we enquire whether a Jide sale and 1
delivery of Mercltandiie.by an importer, be- '
ing a citizen to another known citizen of
the United States, for a valuable considera
tion, will.hsln ordinary esses, be conclusive
evidence of a transferor property, and the
answer is affirmative ; then we complain that
our ships have been detained, the fates of in
surance enhanced, and our property confisca
ted, for the establishment of a rule; which
when once understood, will bttomc nugato.
ry, and cease to produce any commercial or
political effect. If on the other hand, this
evidence is not lobe deemed conclmive, we
profess ourselves to be utterly at a loss to
disrovrr, what proofs of Vwnership,"and neu-
trality of property, can with safety, be rtlitd
But these embarrassments, though perplex
ing and vexatious, are not those which prin
cipally occasion our solicituijs. Wc are
compelled to consider the late derisions of
the British tribunals, as preliminary steps to
wards a system for controlling the imports
4tons and cxportalions of colonial productions,
thereby annihilating the most lucrative
branches of our foreign commerce.
If we owedthis trade solely to thcfavo-ir
ofGrrat-Biitain ; stilt we might ask, what
urgent motive, what imperious necessity,
required that the favour should c resumed,
at a piwoil when our commerce was spread
over the ocean, and when a change so essen
tial slight destroy its security, and subject
us to incalculable losses I
Wc deny, however, that the rights of
commerce, as claimed by us, are to be deem
ed favours; on the contrary, if the Uw of
nailonsts other than a temporary rule, prescrib
ed by an arbitrary will, k enforced by power,
then we appeal to its most universal and in
violable principle, in our defence. This prin
CTpic is, thai the toocs tf a kivtral tomtit-
1 irtf rf etlie'ts f costs Al4o a waa, in 4
. XtCTSAl. vIsVEL, tmjtejed in SJSrCT
j l!Ut, hhttn MVTBAL C6VMTBIIS fti
In li e ctrbterstcs bicli Lata existed st
differeht times, for extending the ptVileges
of neutral Vessels, and limitmg the grounds l
oT capture,' we take no part:; we appeal' to"
the Old law. If neutral rights can be reduced i
Within more confined limit than, this law ;
prescribes, we perceive not ho," amidst ihe.
cofliflioua of national interests, any neutral
commerce can existeveu in our native pro
"If it be intimited, that hetifrats shdlild be
confined to a commerce with such places,
and in! such articles only as were allowed in
peace, by the municipal regulations of the
countries engaged in war; the doctrine may
be repelled by the notorious lact, that, no such
principle has governed the conduct of nations,
during any wars in which . they Have, been
engaged j all were fixeto Vary, and In fact
kllhave varied, their commercial system :
whatever theoretical opinions may therefore
have been advanced, there has existed no
such practical rule, and to set up sucli a rule
under the unparralleled circumstances of the
present war, must infallibly destroy, the com
merce of this country. ' ' ,'
v. It is a well known fact, -that the people of
the United States export to foreign countries
a greater pr6portlon of the aggregate annual
value oLthe products of their industry, than '
any other people of the globe-; they arb con-'
sejuently most deeply interested in the se
curity and freedom of their trade i in short,
being almost exclusively an agricultural unci
commercial people, those parts of our coun
try) which, from recent settlement, br from
other circumstances, are wholly agricultural
are 'more immediately interested than any .
Other, as they are in a greater degree, depvti-'
dent oh foreign supplies, and consequently
most liable to he affected, by any vibrations
of the commercial system.
As our manufactures do not flourish in pro
portion to the progress of our population,
wealth end luxury, the necessity of extend
ing our cbmmerce is constantly increasing.
The basis of all our trade is the aggregate
Value of our native productions, exceeding
'whit are consumed in the United States r
these are exported' to various countries, from
which we receive supplies for domestic use,
or other articles . for exportation. A very
great proportion of all the results of our
tommcrce with the world centre in the do-"
minions of Great'Britain, and we receive al
most exclusively from thatcountry,ourcloathk
ing, and other necessary iruriul'nuui-es.
. By the events of the late and present warj
many countries with which we prosecuted
an increasing tiade, have been either diverted
from manufacturing pursuits, or have been
greatly impoverished, or conquered and sub
jected to the colonial system of Great-Britain.
With these preliminary facts in view, we
request pel mission to detail some of the most
important consequences of the assumed rule,
that neutrals maybe restrained, in time vf vjr,
to their cccustomtd trace in f mr of peace. I lie
injustice of such a rule," in relation to the Uni
ted States, will be more manifest : the indi
viduals eniployed in commerce, would not a
lone be affected : all the internal relations of
our country would be' disturbed: the inter
ests of those districts which are most remote
from our principal ports, would, in proportion
to their dependence on foreign supplies, be
most severely depressed.
The effects of War cannot be confined to
the countries engaged in war. The value of
money ; the price of labour ; the rates of
freight and insurance, arc by war enhancid
throughout the woild ; all articles of inerch-'
.andize,bothof export and import,arc various
ly affected, in their quantities and value, by
new wants ; by the relinquishment of for
mer pursuits, and by the new direction which
is thereby given' to the industry of different
nations. . Other consequences result from
the effects of war as the impoverishment of
some, and the sggratiduemcnt of other coun
tries; alsp, from the acknowledged right of
belligerent nations to interdict commerce in
contraband articles, and toinsliiute blockades.
This last right is highly injurious to neutrals
as it frequenjl restrains them from proceed
ing to the best markets. lit i obviously im
possible, therefore, to confine the United
States, in time r f war, amidst all these chan
ges and disadvantages, to their actuttomtd
irwJ in time $J peace wnfout ddlrou tilt
If in consequence of the war, certain arti
cle usually exported from the United States
to countries from which we received neces
sary supplies, cease to be demanded in those
countries, may wc r.ot esport other ariiiks,
and thereby l.lilain the supplies we tired t
" If articles usually imported into the United
, States in lime of peace, rca to be demanded
by tit in lime or war, in consfquence of our
ability to'ohtain suhMiiutes which we prefer,
shall we be required to renounce our export
trade by Ik inn tybid to imfrtrt other article
for consumption or for comnrfe ! r shall
wt be compctlci to rrtciteiti eschar f,c, arti
cle which we do not require f
If, in consequence of an Incrratm! demanJ
for our exports to pattivular cutitiiei, we
obtai.i in exchange, artlc'tiol con rrtcees.
ceed'iOgour domestic wants, shall ,1 berequi
ted that the snrphis prritb ot our hat, li '
If Crcat DiiUiA ptrj'.'.s csa-rnrj.-p lr-
ItreeV her subjects ahd the colonies of her
enemies'may' we not,' with the consent i f
those colonies, participate in the same commerce-?
'.-'-- ' ,
I f our commerce with the enemies" of Great
Britain may- now be' confined to the system
established in time of peace, may we, not
apprehend thit the principle Will be retalia
ted; in respect to our commerce with the co
lonies oflPreaNBritamrin that case, what
can ensue'but war,' pillage," and devastation ?
These "We 'hot imaginary Suppositions:
, they illustrate the most important principles"
Of our commerce ; they evince the necessity
Of a Circuitous trade, to enable 'us to leaiizd
the great. Value of exports in our native pro
ductions,' which 8lon,c we atquiie live pow
er to liquidate the balance against us; iri Ut
commerce with Great-Britam ; theydem'oh
strate, thai' thfc position against which we
tonic-rid, is not a rule of the law of nations i
thelaiv of nations ordains no rule - winch is
Unequal and unjust.
But sill we haVe bt'her and more forcible
bbiection; the concession which is required
would deprive. US of many advantages, con
nected witV.our local situation, our enter-
prise, our wealth, and our fortune ; it would
require usto ltivert much of our capital and
industry to new employments .it would a
mount to an abandonment of views, as a com
mercial people, and might involve us in dan
gerous .controversies,, by virtual admission,
that any essential articles of supply may, at
the pleasure of a belligerent nation. be pla
ced in a state of inhibition, equivalent, to be
ing declared contraband of war.
Hitherto we have regarded it as a peculiar
felicity incident to our neutral situation, that
-It was equally beneficial to Wrselves, and to
all the parties with whom we are connected t '
the articles exported by us to the enemies or
Great-Britain, being convenient supplies- '
promised to secure to our ships in their pons
a welcome reception and hospitable treat
ment. As the direct returns for these ex- -ports
were inconsiderable, and as the pro
ducts were almost exclusively remitted ti
Greut-Britain, and thereby. applied in pay'
ment for manufactures purchased oh ctir ac
count, we considered ourselves suit- of re-
ceiving from them, at least that ilegiee- of
" protection,which was - recommended 'by a'
regard to neutral interests. '
It is however with much surprise that, we
have recently discoveredi that the very cir
cumstances upon which our hopes of secur
ity are reposed, have been Uicd as at rai
ments to justify an invasion of our riglns, and
st1rat, having totally supprejsed the external
commerce of her enemies, Grcat-Bt hin It
now counselled to appropriate to herself that
of herfritnds. If it be true that.asexpr.rwr
of certain articles to the ultimate raiket,
our interest are in collision with her's yet it
ought to be recollected, that it is a partittlvf
and minor interest only which st.iTVrs, and
that the dis; civontnge is. a necessary rrn?c
quenrc of her colonial hjstcm: that the.
general results of our commerce are trer-My
j in her fuvor ; that they invijfi rate l.er iiii.-j
niaciuring interests, w inen are the grot t;i.sf
of her wealth; and that tlicse ititi resls caii
never be promoted by.thr impovcrishmeiit oV
her best customers. Surely the srcui iy 1
neutral rights ought not to 'diininish, ttther
value is augmcn'edi stirely a m:titimr pfe
ponderancjr, which e rabies its posnsscr' t-
blockade any of the pot ts ofiistiu-inits, con
veys no just title to a rnoiitpoly otl.c cotn
merce ofthe vorld!
In the list of our complaints, we car.:.;.,
foibear to enumerate the humiliating and ex
pressive conduct of ships uf war, in the ti
cin'uy of our coasts and liarbouis. We res
pect the principle ahd emulate the conduct
ofGreat-llritain, in regard to our own jui ia
diction, and we wish merely ro claim lor our
selves ihe same measure of justice which
she exacts from others
But whl! we contend that we ouM not
to be exposed to humiliating inqUtaiiioh in
the verge cf our poit, which by means of se
ct cicoi.hevions with our city, may be render
ed conducive to the indulgence of partiality
fator or malice, ,v.e disavow every w ish to di
vest the belligerent nations of their rit.hts.
It, In particular instances, the American flagi
and the character of an ,mcrlran mmhni,
have brcn prostituted to unworthy purposes
we declare the individuals thus guilty to he
our enemies, and wc wUh not to sent n
them from ific just consequeiees cf iluif
Misconduct c alio assert, that a teni.
'"prVhrnsive view of our eomtj.rtcs), affords
. a a - -
cone lusne evirsmce that ol the property nr-CiiJ-ted
through this poll, li.e piujitnii
which ran poibly belong tothe cnmit,f
(irrat-Hritain, it an object titiUuithy il.r at
Irntiwii of a ireat Mtr ; etpiciaSlt. if in a
rigorous piiiil of its strict lights,' it iruurs
ihe haiard of forleiving the itUcm .f i's
If, therefore, the mode in wl.ifh ihr A
mrrican coiiirm fee i prosemtrd, is atlw
ed by the law of nations; if iittluah!e e
vidtnee arises frnrr our sitt-.ation, wants. bM
necessary turihrctlona with the rest of the
worl I, that it'i ',mol esrJttsit!y Krnundtd
on American c ipiul ; if tS sor iiin. lKt
j we ate the m?:e aqrnti ol forcu'.rirrs are urie
r.ttoa :?:.. cr Ltrive-i as rpolvjiel fwr ii