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ANDREWS, ISRAEL DE WOLFE, United States consul, special agent, and lobbyist; b. at Eastport, Maine, in May 1813; d. 17 Feb. 1871 in Boston, Mass.

Although an American, Israel de Wolfe Andrews had close family ties with British North America through his grandmother and father. As a youth he engaged in a trade “which consisted more or less of smuggling,” and its inconveniences impressed him with the desirability of moulding North American economic relations in conformity with geography.

Appointed United States consul in Saint John, New Brunswick, in 1843, Andrews observed the problems of trade and fishing which were plaguing Anglo-American relations, and which were not ameliorated until the passing of the reciprocity treaty of 1854. Andrews was instrumental in shaping that treaty by defining what was eventually its content, by assisting its negotiation, and by working for its ratification. The basic American demands which later formed the matrix of the treaty were elaborated by Andrews as early as 1848 in a letter addressed to the American secretary of state, James Buchanan. When the projet for the treaty was finally drawn up in 1853 by Secretary of State William L. Marcy and the British minister in Washington, Sir John F. T. Crampton, Andrews was present. His most vigorous efforts were devoted to getting the treaty ratified. He sought to mould a favourable attitude in Congress through two reports on trade which, as a special agent to the Treasury Department, he was commissioned to compile. He endeavoured to affect relevant segments of opinion by seeing that articles sympathetic to reciprocity were placed in key journals, and by exercising his persuasive efforts with influential members of the executive branch of the American government. When the treaty was ready for ratification, he exerted pressure on persons in the Maritime provinces, including William Hayden Needham and Moses Henry Perley*, whose willingness to accept American fishing demands would be crucial. He also worked indefatigably to marshal support for ratification of the treaty by the U.S. Senate during the summer of 1854.

Andrews’ extravagant expenditures in encouraging the treaty – supposed to be between $50,000 and $60,000 on behalf of the American government and $40,000 for the Canadian government – earned him an unenviable reputation both among contemporaries such as Lord Elgin [James Bruce*] and among historians. However, his actions, if unwise, were based upon strong convictions. His own writings and the maps he submitted with his second report reveal that he was a continentalist who believed that geography had created two great outlets, the Mississippi and the St Lawrence, for the heartland of North America. The accidents of politics had placed these two continental arterials in separate hands. Recognizing the political barriers inherent in the provincial attachment of the colonies to Great Britain, Andrews sought to encourage economic cooperation.

On 10 March 1855 Andrews was appointed American consul general to the British North American provinces, a new office deriving from the treaty. He held the post until his resignation on 11 July 1857. Thereafter he continued his lobbying activities, which included sending a memorial to Congress in 1860 protesting the possible termination of the reciprocity treaty, submitting a history of the treaty’s negotiations to the secretary of state, William H. Seward, in 1862, and corresponding from 1861 to 1863 with John A. Andrew, then governor of Massachusetts, on the strains placed upon Anglo-American relations by the American Civil War. Israel Andrews apparently also attempted to encourage North American unification during the Civil War. His enthusiasm and devotion to the ideal of continentalism may seem bizarre today, for history has failed to vindicate that cause. Had the outcome been different, Andrews might have been hailed as a visionary rather than damned as a knave.

Irene W. D. Hecht

PAC, MG 24, A16 (Elgin papers), correspondence concerning the reciprocity treaty of 1854. Diplomatic correspondence of the United States, Canadian relations, 1784–1860, ed. W. R. Manning (4v., Washington, 1945), III, IV. T. C. Keefer, A sketch of the rise and progress of the reciprocity treaty; with an explanation of the services rendered in connection therewith (Toronto, 1863). United States, Treasury Department, Report of the secretary of the treasury in answer to a resolution of the Senate calling for information in relation to the trade and commerce of the British American colonies with the United States and other countries since 1829 . . . ([Washington, 1851]); Communication from the secretary of the treasury, transmitting, in compliance with a resolution of the Senate of March 8, 1851, the report of Israel DAndrews, . . . on the trade and commerce of the British North American colonies, and upon the trade of the Great Lakes and rivers; . . . (Washington, 1853). I. W. D. Hecht, “Israel De Wolfe Andrews and the reciprocity treaty of 1854,” unpublished ma thesis, University of Rochester, 1961. D. C. Masters, The reciprocity treaty of 1854: its history, its relation to British colonial and foreign policy and to the development of Canadian fiscal autonomy (London, New York, and Toronto, 1936). C. C. Tansill, The Canadian reciprocity treaty of 1854 (Johns Hopkins University Studies in Hist. and Pol. Sci., XL, Baltimore, 1922). R. W. Winks, Canada and the United States: the Civil War years (Baltimore, 1960). I. W. D. Hecht, “Israel D. Andrews and the reciprocity treaty of 1854: a reappraisal,” CHR, XLIV (1963), 313–29. T. H. Le Duc, “Correspondence – I. D. Andrews and the reciprocity treaty of 1854,” CHR, XV (1934), 437–38. D. C. Masters, “A further word on I. D. Andrews and the reciprocity treaty of 1854,” CHR, XVII (1936), 159–67. W. D. Overman, “I. D. Andrews and reciprocity in 1854: an episode in dollar diplomacy,” CHR, XV (1934), 248–63.

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Irene W. D. Hecht, “ANDREWS, ISRAEL DE WOLFE,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 10, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed October 4, 2023, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/andrews_israel_de_wolfe_10E.html.

The citation above shows the format for footnotes and endnotes according to the Chicago manual of style (16th edition). Information to be used in other citation formats:

Permalink:   http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/andrews_israel_de_wolfe_10E.html
Author of Article:   Irene W. D. Hecht
Title of Article:   ANDREWS, ISRAEL DE WOLFE
Publication Name:   Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 10
Publisher:   University of Toronto/Université Laval
Year of publication:   1972
Year of revision:   1972
Access Date:   October 4, 2023