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to the present ministers to fulfil the assurances which had been given in lord SIDMOUTH's administration, that the war duties on exports and tonnage should cease with it; an exception to that effect having been introduced into lord HENRY PETTY's plan of finance by the present chancellor of the exchequer.
The Shipping Interest have likewise been represented as tenaciously endeavouring to prevail on government to adhere to restrictions injurious to other classes of the community, evidently meaning the West India planters; but before that assertion could be admitted to be true, it surely, was not unreasonable in them, or the loyal colonists in the King's provinces in America, whose interests were so deeply implicated in the question, to require a fair and impartial investigation of the subject; it having been satisfactorily shown in the years 1784 and 1791, by the reports of the Board of Trade, that the mother country and its dependencies were competent, in time of war, to supply in British ships the West India colonies with the articles they consume; it was therefore assuming too much to suppose the reverse of that fact could be admitted to be true in 1806, without any inquiry or investigation.
It is presumed sufficient has been stated to establish the constitutional and political ground on which the Shipping Interest opposed the American Intercourse Bill; and the present state of the shipping of the Empire, unfortunately proves the fears entertained by the ship-owners, to have been too well founded; and-" that they did not cry out, before they were hurt *"
assumed the title of the Shipping Interest,' and who would have "sacrificed the national policy to their own selfish interests. He con"sidered this amended Bill, as being neither more nor less, than passing a compliment to the prejudices of a few of these ship-owners." Extract from lord Grenville's speech in the Times of the same day. "He entered at length, into the subject of the alteration of the Bill, "which he considered, after the resolution of the other House had "passed, a violation and breach of faith, in compliment to what had "been called the shipping interest. He put the case of the shipping "interest having been clamorous and busy at the late general election, "and the possibility of this sacrifice being made to them, from some "motives of gratitude for such services. He exposed the futility of "their clamours, and contended there was much to justify his "assertion.."
Ab alio expectes, alteri quod feceris.
* Mr. Baring's Examination, p. 170.
The fact is, the Shipping Interest were not sufficiently known until that discussion took place, or their importance to the state truly felt by the late ministers; otherwise, it is probable, their representations would have had more weight: since then, their influence appears to have been more generally acknowledged *; and it is to be expected in future that, what, from its political importance, constitutes the second leading interest of the empire, will receive that support and protection from the legislature, which is so essentially necessary to its existence; and to which it is entitled from being accessary and principally contributing to the maintenance of the naval power of the kingdom.
The capital embarked in 1804 in British shippingt, at the low valuation of 121. per ton, was 27,401,304 1. sterling, and the persons who constitute the majority of the proprietors of this immense property, are land owners as well as ship-owners, and are, otherwise, deeply interested in the general welfare of the country.
It is observed by the same writert, that "in the general paths of trade, the American does not appear to interfere much with the British ship-owner. In the ports of our enemies, the latter is of course excluded and deprived of nothing by the former. The supply of our West-India islands with provisions and lumber appears the only essential point of collision. My limits will not permit me here to examine this question minutely, and I shall barely state my opinion, that during war, proper and adequate supplies can only be furnished by the United States, and in their own vessels.”
Thus it is admitted, as it was by the late ministers §, that
See the addresses of many of the candidates to their constituents at the late general election, amongst whom were many of the members of the present opposition, who voluntarily pledged themselves to support whatever measures were introduced in parliament, not only to maintain and give effect to the navigation and colonial system, but also to enforce the maritime rights of Great Britain.
+ See account of ships and vessels belonging to the British empire on the 30th Sept. 1805, being the account delivered for the antecedent year, but then corrected:
Ships and Vessels.
It may be fairly asked, what other interest in the country, except the agricultural interest, is possessed of a visible tangible property, equal in amount to the Shipping interest.
Mr. Baring's examination, 171.
§ See Introduction to Collection of Reports, &c. on Trade, &c. p. 14, edition 1807.
islands in consequence of British ships being driven out of the circuitous trade by the employment of Americans; so that there is reason to believe, if the subject was fairly and impartially investigated, it would appear, the planters would not be benefited by the present intercourse with the United States, if the trade with the British West India Islands was wholly confined to the articles which are now allowed by law to be imported and exported in American vessels.
It should be recollected, it is not only the injury sustained by the loyal colonists in America and the Shipping Interest by this impolitic and unnecessary intercourse, which renders it so improper, but the depression it has likewise produced on the provision trade of Ireland. Previous to the admission of neutrals into the British colonial trade, there were established in the West-India islands English merchants, whose chief business was to supply those settlements with provisions, lumber, and colonial stores; knowing the average consumption of the islands, no inconvenience or scarcity was felt or experienced, as they kept up a constant and regular supply of all the articles required, and so continued until the new system was introduced; when they found it impossible, with any rational prospect of profit, to carry on that branch of trade any longer, from the admission of supplies in American shipping, which so frequently overstocked the market as to produce great loss, and ultimately, in some instances, ruin to many of the British merchants engaged in that trade, in consequence of which, most of these establishments have been abandoned, but which there is no doubt would soon be revived, if the former system was again resorted to *.
In answer to the allegation, that, in general, American ships do not interfere much with British shipping, it may be remarked, it is difficult to find out a branch of trade in which they do not, in some measure, and successfully, compete with them. They possess nearly all the Mediterranean trade, and trade, and the great quantity of American tonnage which was lately "employed in the trade of this country, under licences, is too
*Lord Sheffield's Strictures, p. 203, and the Appendix to it, for the Addresses to the Assembly of Jamaica by the English merchants on this subject; also Alfred's Letters to Lord Holland in Yorke's Political Review, vol. i. and extra-official State Papers, vol. ii. Appendix, No. 18; also Mr. Knox's Evidence before the Board of Trade, March 1784, containing much important information on this subject.
well known to be doubted; with respect to their intercourse with the British West-India islands, it is only necessary, in order to shew the evil tendency of admitting them into a participation of our colonial trade, both as it affects British ship-owners and the British American colonists, to state, that from the 5th Sept. 1805, to the 5th Sept. 1806, the tonnage of British ships employed in the trade of Jamaica was only 117,433 tons, whilst that of American ships was 77,133 tons, and it is probable, that in nearly the same proportion, the trade of the other British West-India islands is carried on *.
As these selections are from a work professed to be written with candour, disinterestedness, and impartiality; and," as the public has been led by the misrepresentations of those who have not carried their inquiries beyond their own supposed t interests" with a view to correct-" some very important mistakes as to facts, which at present prevail :" it is therefore not uncandid to ask what confidence can be expected to be reposed in such observations, when it is without hesitation asserted, that during war, proper and adequate supplies can only be furnished the British West-India islands from the United States in American bottoms §!. Thus, contradicting without proof, the facts adduced in the two reports of the Board of Trade on that subject, and negativing the allegations contained in the several petitions before referred to; which the petitioners stated they were so anxiously solicitous to substantiate and prove
"Qui statuit aliquid, parte inauditâ alterâ
It, however, affords some satisfaction to observe, that amidst these endeavours to mislead the public mind, and to depreciate the navigation and colonial system of Great Britain, its policy and wisdom, though reluctantly, are admitted.
An impartial examination of this writer's statement of the imports and exports of the United States for the years 1802, 1803, and 1804, so far as the same relate to their trade with Great Britain, will refute his observations
* See Statement of Exports and Imports of Jamaica for this period, in Yorke's Political Review, vol. in p. 318. + Mr. Baring's Examination p. 13- #Ibid. $ Ibid. p. 171..