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it cannot fail to produce the most lamentable consequences, and extend the means relied on by France for annihilating the maritime power of Great Britain.
Thus the principles and views of the advocates of the new system become apparent; for though in other parts of this work, it is (but seemingly with reluctance) admitted, "that the policy of favouring our own shipping, cannot be doubted*;" yet there pervades throughout the whole of this examination of the conduct of Great Britain towards America, so strong a disposition to depreciate and lessen, the just popularity with which the recent energetic measures of the present administration have been received throughout the country, that little doubt can be entertained, that such is the real object of the publication. If, fortunately, these measures are not relaxed, but are adhered to and enforced†, it being evident," His Majesty cannot otherwise get out of the war with safety," the people may anticipate a successful termination of it; for on that depends the MARITIME power of GREAT BRITAIN, which constitutes at present the only barrier to universal despotism and misery, and on which the nation must rely for the continuance of its liberties and independence.
66 Qui mare teneat, eum necesse rerum potiri.”
"On the right of Great Britain to issue such‡ instructions
* Mr. Baring's Examination, p. 167.
+ See the Antijacobin Review for February, 1808, p. 204, for some. very patriotic observations on this subject." The king who makes war on his enemies tenderly, distresses his own subjects most cruelly.” -Dr. JOHNSON.
‡ "The decrees of the lords of the ocean may be unjust and op. pressive, but they are still mild, when contrasted with the mere sic val, which would issue from the court of the universal sovereign of bath elements."-Mr. BARING, P. 119.
"We are the Neptunes of the ocean,
"Lords of the world's great waste, the ocean, we
WALLER'S Panegyric on Cromwell.
"Desparing Gaul her boiling youth restrains,
The winds and seas are BRITAIN'S wide domain;
for regulating, as in point of fact they do, the navigation of the sea, and the policy of issuing them, it is unnecessary here to expatiate. The principles which justify retaliation on the enemy by measures which, though in their operation injurious to neutrals, are still obvious necessary measures of self-defence, are clear and unequivocal. The conviction on the public mind (a conviction which has preceded, and will not be lessened by the discussions in parliament), affords the grateful pledge, that the nation will patiently await the result of the system adopted by ministers, in conformity with principles avowed and partially acted on by their predecessors. The same just sense of the necessity of recurring to adequate means of defence and preservation, which induced the latter at the end of 1806, to reserve the right of acting in a way that must necessarily be injurious to neutral commerce; abundantly justify their successors, under circumstances no less imperious, in carrying that right into effect*." Let them persist then in their honourable course, and they may be assured the rational part of the community will continue to support them in their most laudable efforts; for though difficulties may attend the practical operation of the orders of council, the energy and activity which suggested their adoption, will find means to facilitate their progress; and from them, as well as from any great public measure, founded on sound principles, many collateral advantages not originally foreseen, may be expected to arise.
Experience has shewn that the former increase of British shipping was to be ascribed to the navigation system, which strikingly appeared in the application of it to the trade of the United States. When these countries were part of our plantations, a great proportion of their produce was transported to Great Britain, and the British West India islands, in American vessels; they had likewise a share in the freight of colonial produce from those islands to Great Britain; and they annually built many ships which were employed in the British carrying trade. But after the independence of these states, and their ships had been excluded from our plantation trade, and that trade was wholly confined to British built ships; we not only gained that part of our carrying trade from which they were so excluded,
* Sir F. M. Eden on Maritime Rights.
but we moreover enjoyed a considerable portion of the carriage of the produce of the United States. The policy. of this system, which has excited the admiration of friends and foes, and drawn forth the praises of the most opposite characters *, becomes every day more obvious, and the public cannot fail to be alarmed at the great decrease of British built ships, from whatever cause it proceeds. To trace the evil to its source was the object of "The Society of Ship-Owners of Great Britain" when they petitioned the legislature in 1802, during LORD SIDMOUTH's ad-, ministration, to institute an enquiry on the subject. Many of the writers of the present day, seem to forget, that this system was not intended, in the first instance, to promote trade, but to increase the naval strength of the kingdom; and afterwards as a secondary consideration, its provisions were directed to the former object; in consequence of which both of them were happily attained, and continued in a progressive state of improvement and increase, until the suspending system was introduced: its ruinous effects soon began to be observed and felt; and latterly the shipping of Great Britain have decreased more rapidly than they ever increased, whilst a proportionate depression has been felt in every branch of trade connected with shipping.
In confirmation of these observations, and to preclude in future all doubt of their truth and accuracy, it is only neces sary to recite the petition+ from the merchants of London, which was presented by Mr. MANNING, on the 20th of February, 1807, to the House of Commons.
"To the Honourable the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland in Parliament assembled.
"The petition of the undersigned merchants and other persons interested in the trade of Great Britain and its colonies, residing within the port of London,
"That your petitioners are most seriously apprehensive there is an intention to continue the duties imposed by the Acts of the 43d, 44th, and 46th,
Smith, Brougham, Hauterive, and Gentz. ↑ See the Votes for first session of 1807.
years of his present majesty, on the tonnage of British shipping, and on goods and merchandizes exported and carried coastwise, after the expiration of the present war, notwithstanding the solemn assurances given to your petitioners that the same should cease with it; and which, if adopted, will be, attended with the most ruinous consequences to the trading interests of the country.
"Your petitioners beg leave, with the greatest humility, to state to your honourable House, that the depressed state of the trading and shipping interests of the country, results principally from the suspension of the Navigation Act, and the indulgences granted to neutrals, both in the trade of the countries of the enemies of Great Britain, and in the trade of the King's dominions.
"Your petitioners venture, with great deference and
And your petitioners will ever pray, &c.
Robert Hibbert, junr
It may not be improper to observe, that this petition failed in its effect during the late administration+; and it was left
On this occasion a similar petition was presented by the shipowners of London; and amongst many others may be noticed the following signatures to it :-viz.
There were likewise similar petitions from Hull, Bridlington, Scarborough, Whitby, North and South-Shields, and other out-ports. + In further illustration of the preceding observations, the following extracts are selected from the printed reports of the debates in parliament, on lord Henry Petty's scheme of finance, against which this petition was presented.
Extract from lord Lauderdale's speech in the British Press, 24th April, 1807-" The noble lord proceeded also to deny the charge, ་་ insinuating, that any system had been adopted by the late ministers "of breaking through the navigation system; this, with other charges 86 equally false, as to the late bill brought in on behalf of the Roman "Catholics, had effected, it was true, a temporary clamour.”
Extract from lord Holland's speech in the same newspaper. "The "noble lord proceeded to animadvert on the conduct of those whe