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manufactures.-It cannot be denied that the fishery of the United States, by the wisdom of its government, increases to an astonishing degree, under great disadvantages arising from the local situation of their country. While the British fishery, with every natural advantage in its favour, has declined every year, not only, from the interference of the Citizens of the United States, but also from the want of adequate encouragement by the Mother Country, which would soon revive it, and be the means of inducing great numbers of the fishermen who have emigrated, and are now employed in foreign service, to return to their allegiance.
Oh is there not some patriot, in whose power
And teach the labouring hand the sweets of toil?
with venturous oar
How to dash the wide billow; nor look on,
That heave our firths, and croud upon our shores;
Bid BRITAIN reign the MISTRESS of the DEEP.
The admission of neutral ships into the trade of the British West India Islands, has likewise proved seriously detrimental, not only, to the inhabitants of the British North American provinces, but also to many persons in the West India settlements, whose capitals were embarked in plantation shipping. On the termination of the war in 1784, very few ships or vessels belonged to these settlements, but the good effects of adhering to the navigation system after that period, were as striking as they are incontrovertible, as will be seen by the rapid increase of colonial shipping, contrary to the assertion of the West India planters, before the Board of Trade, who then stated, that any shipping being fitted from the islands was hopeless‡.
*For Batavian read American.
In Bermuda and the Bahamas.
Reports of the board of trade, in 1784 and 1791, edit. 1807, which are highly deserving at this time of grave attention from the
"The following statement* clearly shews the increase under the old, and the decrease in the employment of plantation shipping under the new system.
Ships belonging to the British West India islands, exclusive of captured colonies, and employed in the trade between those islands and the United States, including their repeated voyages.
In 1794, when the navigation acts began to be relaxed
In 1804, in consequence of the suspension of the navigation laws
Decrease in ten years
Ships. Tons. Men.
706 86,010 5,115
Ships belonging to the British North American provinces, and employed in the trade between those colonies and the British West India islands, including their repeated
British ships employed in the direct trade from the United States, which entered inwards in Great Britain, in the
important and valuable information they contain; these Reports were framed by lord Liverpool when president of that board. Vide lord Sheffield on American commerce, and also Chalmer's Estimate, p. 166, * See Mr. Rose's speech on the American Intercourse Bill, 1806.
British ships employed in the direct trade to the United States, which cleared outwards from Great Britain in
It must, however, be admitted, that the whole of the decrease of British ships employed in the direct trade with the United States was not, altogether, attributable to the suspension of the navigation act, as there were other causes which contributed to it; yet, it is evident, how injurious the operation and effect of the new system have been on British plantation shipping, as well as on the shipping of Great Britain: the latter of which has, even within the last three years, decreased nearly one-half, viz.
Ships built in Great Britain, according to the returns to Parliament.
Thus, one of the most important branches of trade, which constitutes of itself a manufacture of the first impression, from the employment which it affords, and the encouragement it gives to national industry, will continue to decline, until the OLD SYSTEM is revived, and the shipping of the empire are put on a more equal footing with the ships of foreign nations; either by an increase of the alien duties, or by the substitution of others, sufficient to countervail the great difference in the expence of building and equipment of British ships and of those of other countries.
* The account of ship-building in Great Britain for 1807 is not yet presented to parliament, but it is apprehended there is a further decrease of tonnage. It is, however, too obvious, from the present state of the private building-yards in Great Britain, there is little inclination to` build merchant-ships; and, it appears, some inconvenience has been lately felt from the want of vessels for the Irish trade, and in parts of the coasting trade. See also a table of the annual consumption of shipping in the Collection of Reports on Navigation. edit. 1807.
The new system originated in an order of council of the 16th January, 1795, which was extended by a subsequent order of the 21st of the same month, and was afterwards established by the Dutch Property Acts, and those made in consequence of them: by which any neutral ships whatsoever, and however manned, were allowed to bring to this kingdom any sort of goods from any country or place whatsoever, under an order of his Majesty in council. The first act passed on this subject, was the 35th Geo. 3d. c. 15. which allowed the inhabitants of the United Provinces, to bring and land their goods and effects in Great Britain, under the limitations therein mentioned; and, before the close of that session, by another act, the 35th Geo. 3d. c. 80. the proprietors of all goods that had or might afterwards come in, were allowed to take them out of warehouse, and either reexport or otherwise dispose of them, upon payment of the duties, and complying with the regulations contained in the
By the 36th Geo. 3d. c. 76. a new principle was adopted, and the provisions of the two former acts very generally extended, though for a limited period, under orders of council, to ships belonging to any country in amity with his Majesty, and which was, as well as the two former acts, continued by subsequent statutes; namely, the 37th Geo. 3d. c. 12.; the 38th Geo. 3. c. 9.; and the 39th Geo. 3. c. 12. In the last of these sessions, by the statute c. 112. the suspending power was further extended, and his Majesty authorized, for a limited period, to permit any such goods as should be specified in any order of council to be imported in ships belonging to the subjects of any state in amity with his majesty.
These four acts relating to Neutral Ships were continued by the 39th and 40th Geo. 3d. c. 9. and c. 17. The three former were finally continued by the 39th and 40th Geo. 3. c. 65. to the 1st of January, 1804; and the latter by the 41st Geo. 3d. G. B. c. 20. which having expired, was renewed by the 41st Geo. 3. U. K. c. 19. and continued for a limited period.
The Peace of Amiens soon after taking place, the three first acts were taken into consideration, and repealed by the 42d Geo. 3. c. 80., in which other provisions were substituted, for continuing this trade in neutral shipping, in a manner supposed to be less invidious to the Shipping
Interest of Great Britain, until it should finally terminate, and the Navigation System resumed as before the war. This act, however, authorized, under orders in council, the importation of the produce of any part of America or the West Indies, not under the King's dominions, in neutral ships, provided the goods so imported were warehoused, and not removed but on entry for re-exportation.
This grievous extension of the New System having been seriously felt, and great injury resulting from it to the British Shipping Interest, his Majesty's then government, it appears, were induced to extend the same privileges to British Ships, by admitting them, under orders of council, to the same advantages of importation which had been granted, and previously enjoyed by foreigners under the former acts. This extension was accordingly legalized by the 42d Geo. 3. c. 80. sec. 2.; and limited in its duration until the first of September 1802; but even by this act certain articles, namely, rice, snuff, and tobacco, were excepted, though allowed to be imported in neutral shipping. This restriction on British Shipping was alleged to be in conformity with the regulations established under the Revenue
After the renewal of the war, the New System was during Lord SIDMOUTH's administration more generally extended under the 43d Geo. 3. c. 153. which authorizes, under orders in council, the importation in neutral ships of any goods from any place belonging to any state not in amity with the king, during the present war, and for six months after it.
The provisious of this statute are very extensive; the last section of the act being considered a virtual dispensation from the navigation system, in regard to countries with which we were at war; and the same discretionary power with respect to foreign America, and the West Indies, was vested in his Majesty, as had been granted by the 42d Geo. 3. c. 80. which was revived and continued by the 44 Geo. 3. c. 30, until eight months after the ratification of a definitive treaty of peace.
These two statutes, the 42d Geo. 3. c. 80. and the 43 Geo. 3. c. 153. with the 45th Geo. 3. c. 34. enabled his Majesty to grant all those facilities to neutrals which had been so justly complained of by the Shipping Interest: the im