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on this subject; and I take the liberty of hoping that your Excellency will give to this fair questiou your serious and proximate attention.
I avail, &c. Señor Pacheco.
No. 165.—Lord Howden to the Earl of Clarendon.-(Rec. Jan.6,1855.) MY LORD,
Madrid, December 28, 1854. Having learnt that one of the Prussian Chambers had decreed the coasting trade open to foreigners, I did not lose the opportunity of addressing the Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs on a subject which I have before urged. I also profited by the occasion to allude to the question of the flag and the differential duties attached to it, trusting that the Commission which has been so long sitting on the question, would soon come to a satisfactory conclusion.
I have the honour to inclose to your Lordship herewith, copy of the note which I have addressed to Señor Luzuriaga.
I have, &c. The Earl of Clarendon.
(Inclosure.) Lord Howden to Señor Luzuriaga. SIR,
Madrid, December 27, 1854. The Chamber of Deputies of Prussia, with a sound knowledge of the principles upon which nations rise to commercial prosperityprinciples long misunderstood and blindly combated in England, and still existing in this country—has just decreed, without a single dissentient voice, the coasting trade of Prussia open to all nations. If protection was a system that was ever really and not apparently profitable, one would say that the commercial marine of Prussia was precisely in a condition when such an imaginary aid would be required, accordivg to the old system, and excused by its advocates ; but the Statesmen of that country, rising above popular prejudice and economical delusion, have taken a step which shows that their doctrines are in the right direction, and will lead to increasing commerce.
On this occasion I take the liberty of sending to your Excellency copy of a note which I addressed to Señor Calderon de la Barca on the 6th of February of this year. The measure inaugurated in the speech of the Queen of England was quickly followed by Piedinont, a nation which is making singular progress in all good things, and whose sagacity in adopting and perseverance in executing cannot have escaped your Excellency's observation.
There is another subject much akin to the primary object of this note, and that is, the distinction of the flag still made in the ports of Spain. I respectfully call your Excellency's attention to the observations I have ventured to make thereon in the accompanying
note; and as all these shackles on the communication between nation and nation, to the benefit of none, belong to doctrines now completely exploded in the great commercial world, I trust your Excellency will be able to inform me that the Commission which has been sitting on the question is at the close of its labours, and that the result is in harmony with that future legislation which I sincerely believe to be the absolute interest of Spain.
I avail, &c. Señor Luzuriaga.
No. 168.—Lord Howden to the Earl of Clarendon.-(Rec. Feb. 13.) MY LORD,
Madrid, February 7, 1855. From a narrow examination lately into the probabilities of whether the differential duty of the flag on cargoes is likely to be suppressed by Spain, I regret to say that I do not see the least chance of this important step in free trade taking place. Your Lordship will have seen that even the Ultra-Liberal Deputies who proposed the reform in the tariff have maintained this differential duty, and, from the various conversations I have had on the subject, I see the intention on all sides to leave things as they are, so long as Spain goes on enjoying advantages in British ports without yielding reciprocity.
It is therefore for your Lordsbip to judge whether it is fair towards our own trade that this anomaly should continue. I believe, by the wording of the Act, we are able to give or refuse the equality of the flag according as it is given or refused to us; and, in my humble opinion, we should be completely justified in not asking for, but in exacting, reciprocity from Spain, naming a certain time for the reprisal to come into operation. I have, &c. The Earl of Clarendon.
No. 169.-The Earl of Clarendon to Lord Howden. My LORD,
Foreign Office, March 16, 1855. With reference to my despatch of yesterday's date, and to your Lordship's despatch of the 7th ultimo, stating that, in your opinion, it is hopeless to expect from the Spanish Government the abolition of the differential duties still levied in the ports of Spain, to the prejudice of goods carried in British shipping, I transmit to you herewith a copy of a letter from the Board of Trade upon this subject, and have to state to you that that part of the letter which refers to the expediency of putting an end to our Commercial Conventions with Spain is under the consideration of Her Majesty's Government; and a further communication will be made to your Lordship upon it.
I am, &c. Lord Howden.
CLARENDON. (1862-63. min.]
(Inclosure.)—Sir J. Emerson Tennent to Lord Wodehouse.
Office of Committee of Privy Council for Trade, MY LORD,
Whitehall, March 14, 1855. I am directed by the Lords of the Committee of Privy Council for Trade to acknowledge the receipt of your Lordship’s letter of the 15th of February, transmitting a copy of a despatch from Her Majesty's Minister at Madrid, in which Lord Howden reports the hopelessness, in his opinion, of obtaining from the Spanish Government the abolition of the differential duties still levied in the ports of Spain to the prejudice of goods carried in British shipping, and suggests that retaliatory measures should be resorted to, to extort their abandonment by exerting the power reserved by the Act of 1849 (12 and 13 Vict., cap. 29),* by which, in the event of any foreign country imposing restrictions or charges on British shipping or their cargoes from which the national vessels are exempt, Her Majesty is authorized to impose such countervailing duties as may place the trade of such countries in British ports on as nearly as possible an equality with that at which they shall have placed British commerce in their own.
Notwithstanding the existence of such a power and the persistence of other countries as well as Spain in the maintenance of prohibitions and distinctive duties prejudicial to British interests, Her Majesty's Government have hitherto abstained from its exercise.
Spain imposes a differential duty on all articles imported under a foreign flag, which exceeds by 20 per cent. the duty levied on the same goods if imported in a Spanish ship, and, as stated by Lord Howden, this unjust distinction is proposed to be retained even in the projects for the reform of the tariff recently submitted by the most liberal members of the Cortes. • The following return exhibits the extent to which this unfair system has been operating to the discouragement of British com. merce with Spain, and the undue employment of Spanish shipping in the trade with the United Kingdom. RETURN of the Number and Tonnage of Spanish Vessels entered and cleared at
Ports in the United Kingdom in each Year from 1850 to 1854, exclusive of
RETURN of the Number and Tonnage of British Vessels entered and cleared at
Ports in the United Kingdom, from and to Continental Spain (including their repeated Voyages) in each Year, from 1850 to 1853.
It will be seen from this return that whilst British shipping engaged in the trade with Spain has made little or no advance during the last few years, notwithstanding the fact that the value of our exports to that country has nearly doubled, the tonnage of Spanish vessels engaged in the carrying trade between the two countries has been more than doubled during the same period under the unjust preference enforced in its behalf.
Notwithstanding this injustice, and the determination of the Spanish Government to persevere in maintaining it, the provisions of the successive Treaties negotiated with Spain since 1713, A.D., present an obstacle to the mode of retaliation suggested by Lord Howden, since they secure to the subjects of each Kingdom the enjoyment of at least the same privileges, liberties, and immunities as to all duties, impositions, or customs relating to merchandize and shipping, as are enjoyed by the subjects of France or any other the most favoured nation.
So long as these stipulations are in force it is presumed that Spain, however equitably disentitled by her own policy, may legally claim the advantage of all concessions made to the commerce of nations more generous than herself; and Her Majesty's Government will find themselves debarred from exerting, if so disposed, the power of retaliation reserved by the Act of 1849.
It will be for the Earl of Clarendon, therefore, to consider whether it may not be expedient to intimate to the Government of Spain that, failing to obtain for the commerce of this country that equality of treatment which we are so justly entitled to demand, another remedy is still open to us, by putting an end to those Commercial Conventions which are productive of wrong and injustice to the trading interest of the United Kingdom, and withdrawing altogether from the obligations of a Treaty so unequal in its operation as to secure to one of the Contracting Parties all the benefits of the liberal and enlightened policy of the
* Including the Canaries; but only two or three vessels of small tonnage.
other, and to shield her at the same time from the consequences of her refusal to reciprocate them.
I am, &c. Lord Wodehouse.
J. EMERSON TENNENT.
No. 171.-M. Conte to the Earl of Malmesbury.—(Rec. May 14.)
(Translation.) MY LORD,
Spanish Legation, London, May 12, 1858. The Government of the Queen my august Sovereign having it in contemplation to introduce some reforms in the laws of navigation, would wish to know previously the nature of those laws in England. I will therefore request your Excellency to have the kindness to furnish me with some information relative to the following questions :
1. Does foreign or Spanish merchandize imported into England on Spanish ships pay any additional dues ?
2. Is there any Power privileged by Treaties whose flag is assimilated to the national flag in England ?
3. What measures are used by Her Britannic Majesty's Government to protect the national mercantile navy ?
Thanking your Excellency by anticipation, &c. The Earl of Malmesbury.
No. 172.-The Earl of Malmesbury to M. Conte. SIR,
Foreign Office, June 3, 1858. : I SHOULD have had the honour of replyivg sooner to your note of the 12th ultimo, had it not been necessary for me to consult the Board of Trade as to the points connected with the navigation laws in this country, on which you have requested information.
I have now to state to you that Spanish or foreign merchandize does not pay any additional duty in the United Kingdom in consequence of its being imported in a foreign instead of a British ship. No country has in this particular any advantage over another. And as regards the protection “ of the national mercantile flag" (if by that term is implied any special favour to those sailing or carrying cargo under it), no such distinction exists; even the coasting trade of the United Kingdom having within the last few years been thrown open to the flags of all nations.
I am, &c. M. Conte.