Hammond to Merivale (Permanent Under-Secretary)
20 November 1858
I have laid before The Earl of Malmesbury the Letter from the Colonial Office of the 9th Instant, 1 on the subject of the discouragement to the employment of British Shipping in the Trade with British Columbia which is stated by the Board of Trade, in a Letter to Secretary Sir Edward Lytton Bulwer dated the 18th of September last, 2 to be occasioned by the more advantageous position of American Merchants in consequence of their exclusive right to the coasting Trade of the Pacific seabo[a]rd of the United States.
With regard to the suggestion of the Board of Trade that Her Majesty's Government should renew their negotiations with the United States with a view toobtainManuscript image obtain a relaxation of the American Laws which regulate the coasting Trade, Lord Malmesbury desires me to request that you will state to Sir Edward Lytton that he will instruct Her Majesty's Minister at Washington to ascertain from the Government of the United States their feelings at the present time with regard to the opening of their coasting Trade, without entering upon those questions of possible retaliatory measures, the mention of which Sir Edward Lytton thinks would be inexpedient.
Lord Malmesbury observes that the Board of Trade suggest that even tho' the Government of the United States should be averse to throwing open their coasting Trade universally, they might be induced partially to relax the stringency of their present legislation. But when, in the year 1852, Her Majesty's Government endeavoured to prevail upon the United States to make such a partial relaxation of their laws in regard to the Coasting Trade, as would allow British Vessels totradeManuscript image trade between American Ports in the Atlantic and American Ports in the Pacific, Her Majesty's Minister at Washington, in a Despatch of which a Copy was sent to the Colonial Office on the 14th of January 1853, 3 stated that the American Government were unable to accede to such a proposal; not on account of commercial considerations, nor from any unwillingness to respond to the liberal measures of the British Government, but because the concession desired would be inconsistent with a provision in the Constitution of the United States 4 that no preference shall be given by any regulations of Commerce or Revenue to the Ports of one State over those of another, and that Vessels bound to or from one State shall not be obliged to enter, clear, or pay duties in another. The American Secretary of State stated that nothing less than a revision of the Constitution would be required in order to alter the provision above quoted, and this was out of the question.
Lord Malmesbury will also instruct Lord Napier to make enquiry, as requestedbyManuscript image by Sir Edward Lytton, as to the Laws of the United States in regard to the carrying of Passengers coastwise.
I am etc.
E. Hammond
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
Mr Elliot
Communicate a Copy of this letter to the Board of Trade?
VJ 28 N
See Minutes on 9582. 5
Lord Carnarvon
Send to Bd of Trade copy of our letter to F.O., and of this answer, for their information?
TFE 29 Nov
Annex draft.
C Nov 30
  1. A draft of this letter appears in Tennent to Merivale (Permanent Under-Secretary), 18 September 1858, 9582, CO 60/2, p. 228.
  2. I.e., Tennent to Merivale (Permanent Under-Secretary), 18 September 1858, 9582, CO 60/2, p. 228.
  3. = FO-CO, 14 Jan 53, re US shipping regs FIND Despatch to Colonial Office from Minister at Washington, 14 January 1853 re proposal for shipping trade and relaxation of American laws. Check US laws; Jones Act? [Not in CO 305]
  4. Article I, Section 9 of the U.S. Constitution states in part: "No Preference shall be given by any Regulation of Commerce or Revenue to the ports of one State over those of another: nor shall Vessels bound to, or from, one State, be obliged to enter, clear, or pay Duties in another."
  5. Minutes on Tennent to Merivale (Permanent Under-Secretary), 18 September 1858, 9582, CO 60/2, p. 228.
People in this document

Carnarvon, Earl

Elliot, Thomas Frederick

Hammond, Edmund

Jadis, Vane

Lytton, Edward George Earle Bulwer

Malmesbury, James, Howard

Merivale, Herman

Napier, Francis

Organizations in this document

Board of Trade

Colonial Office

Foreign Office

Places in this document

British Columbia

Washington City