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mination to settle it on the permanent foundations of justice and equity; but the first step in this direction is the notice to terminate the existing treaty.
In the debate which ensued, Mr. Sherman, of Ohio, Mr. Collamer, of Vermont, Mr. Morrill, of Maine, Mr. Chandler, of Michigan, Mr. Foot, of Vermont, Mr. Doolittle, of Wisconsin, Mr. Farwell, of Maine, Mr. Conness, of California, Mr. Wilson, of Massachusetts, Mr. Cowan, of Pennsylvania, Mr. Riddle, of Delaware, and Mr. Richardson, of Illinois, spoke in favor of the notice; Mr. Ramsey, of Minnesota, Mr. Howe, of Wisconsin, Mr. Hale, of New Hampshire, and Mr. Hendricks, of Indiana, spoke against it.
January 12th, Mr. Sumner spoke again.
MR. PRESIDENT,- The proposition to terminate the Reciprocity Treaty has been mystified in various ways. There has been mystification because it came from the Committee on Foreign Relations, as if that committee, to which are referred all treaties and questions with foreign powers, was not the proper committee to consider it, according to the usages and traditions of the Senate. Pray, what other committee could so justly deal with it?
There has also been illusiveness in argument, by accumulation of statistics and figures without end. We have been treated to calculations, showing the increase of commerce since the treaty, and also the relative increase of exports and imports. To these calculations I am no stranger; but, after careful study, I am satisfied that it is impossible to find in them any terra firma on which to stand. They are little better than quicksand, or a deceptive mirage.
In the remarks which I submitted to the Senate yesterday I declined to dwell on these calculations, for I saw, that, while involving large amounts, they were un
certain, inconclusive, and inapplicable. With one theory of political economy they seemed to point one way, and with another to point another way. If, for instance, you accept the early theory that commerce is disadvantageous where imports exceed exports, they tell against the treaty; but if you accept the opposite theory of later writers, they tell the other way. All this assumes that they are applicable. But nobody is able to show that the general increase of commerce since the treaty has been caused by the treaty. Other agencies have had their influence; and it is difficult to say what is due to them, and what to the treaty.
In this uncertainty, I prefer to rest the proposition on the simple ground that the national revenue is impaired by this treaty. Authentic figures place this beyond controversy.
I forbear now all details, and content myself with stating the indubitable conclusion. The national revenue is impaired in two ways: first, at the customhouse on our frontier, which, under the operation of the treaty, yields little or nothing, when it might yield much; and, secondly, it is impaired through the check and embarrassment the treaty causes in our internal taxation. There is failure of duties and of excise. It is not enough to say that there is a countervailing advantage in the increase of our commerce. The conclusion is none the less exact, that the national revenue is impaired. And the question is distinctly presented, whether, at this critical moment, in a period of war, when the whole country in its wealth and labor is contributing to the support of Government, any good reason can be assigned why the commerce of Canada should be exempt from contribution. Commerce else
where, manufactures, business, income, tea, coffee, books, all pay tribute. The tax-gatherer is everywhere except on the Canadian frontier. At home there is not an interest, hardly a sentiment, free from taxation. Surely there is nothing in the recent conduct of Canadians to make us treat them better than we treat ourselves.
There is another consideration which is decisive, even if others fail. In view of existing Public Opinion, and considering the criticisms of the treaty, it is important that our relations with Canada should be carefully revised in the light of experience. The treaty, in authorizing its termination at the end of ten years, has anticipated this very exigency. But such revision cannot be made advantageously without the proposed notice. In the case of a lease, with a right to terminate it at the end of ten years on a year's notice, the landlord, if the character of the lease had been called in question, would not hesitate to give the notice, if for no other reason, that he might revise the terms anew on a footing of equality. For like reason we must give the notice to Great Britain. We must untie ourselves now, even if we would tie ourselves again for the future. The notice will leave us "master of the situation" to this extent at least, that we shall be free to act according to the requirements of the public good: Without this notice there will be no foothold for diplomacy or legislation; but the notice will be a foothold from which we may accomplish whatever is proper and just. The treaty may be reconsidered and then adopted anew, or it may be entirely changed, and we shall have a year for this purpose, so that, when the Old expires, the New may begin.
The joint resolution directing the notice was adopted in the Senate, Yeas 33, Nays 8, and was at once adopted by the House of Representatives, and approved by the President January 18, 1865. It was then communicated by Mr. Seward to Mr. Adams, our minister at London, who, under date of March 17th, addressed a note to Earl Russell, "giving formal notice of the termination of the Reciprocity Treaty, and inclosing at the same time a certified copy of the resolution expressing the sense of both Houses of Congress on that subject." Mr. Adams adds, in his letter to Mr. Seward: "This note was delivered by the messenger of this Legation at the Foreign Office at 2 P. M., notice of which was entered by him on the envelope, and also reported to me on his return. Not long afterwards I received from his Lordship his own acknowledgment of the reception of it." 1
1 Mr. Adams to Mr. Seward, March 23, 1865: Papers relating to Foreign Affairs, 39th Cong. 1st Sess.: Diplomatic Correspondence, 1865-66, Part I. p. 258.
THE EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION AND
LETTER TO A PUBLIC MEETING IN PHILADELPHIA, DECEMBER 26, 1864.
SENATE CHAMBER, December 26, 1864.
EAR SIR,- It will not be in my power to be present at the celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation by the Banneker Institute. But, wherever I may be, I shall not forget this great and good deed.
That proclamation has done more than any military success to save the country. It has already saved the national character. The future historian will confess that it saved everything.
It remains for us to uphold it faithfully, so that it may not be impaired a single jot or tittle.
In the spirit of the Proclamation, and taught by its example, we must press forward in the work of justice to the colored race, until abuse and outrage have ceased, and all are equal before the law.
The astronomer, Banneker, whose honored name you bear, would be shut out of the street cars in some of our cities; but such petty meanness cannot last long.
Accept my best wishes, and believe me, dear Sir, faithfully yours,
THE COMMITTEE, &c.