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on the subject, and show that the advantages which' are represented to be derived by this country from the trade with America are greatly exaggerated.
It is stated that the average importations from
And the average exports from the United States to the dominions of Great Britain for the same period,
Leaving a balance in favour of Great Britain of £.2,893,000 "Which must be paid to us by the continent of Europe from the proceeds of consignments made from America to Holland, France, Spain, Italy, &c."
It is also observed t, "That the three years above mentioned, included one of extraordinary scarcity in this country, during which our importation of provisions was unusually large; so that upon the whole, it would be no exaggeration to say, that we should draw from the continent of Europe between four and five millions sterling annually in return for the manufactures sent to America, and for which that country has no other means of payment."
It is likewise alleged ‡, that the amount of the annual importation, on the average of the preceding years into the United States from all parts of the world was
And the exports from America on an average of the same years amounted to
Leaving a balance against America of
And that "the balance which this statement would leave against America must arise from the mode of stating the accounts §. Probably it is in her favour, but not much, as her demand for European articles will naturally be regulated by her means of paying for them."
The manner in which this publication has been noticed + Ibid, p. 143€ ́
Mr. Baring's Examination, p. 138. ‡ Ibid. p. 139.
§ Ibid. p. 140.
by a few of the leading members of opposition, and the respect which has been shown to the author of it, from his general knowledge of American commerce, is not surprising; there being great reason to fear that on subjects of this nature, the public are too frequently seduced and led away by specious reasoning, rather than undergo the fatigue or trouble of looking narrowly into or ascertaining the real state of facts: it therefore could not fail to excite, some degree of astonishment to find, it stated, that the exports from the United States to this country, on an average taken of the years 1802, 3, and 4, included one year of great scarcity, during which the importation of provisions was unusually large; intending, it is presumed, to show, that the average of those years was considerably more than the ordinary imports from the United States to Great Britain, and its de pendencies. It is however to be remarked, that this statement does not include the year of scarcity. The harvest in this country failed in 1800, and it was in 1801 that the large imports alluded to were made to Great Britain +. This average therefore does not include that year; but what is of more importance to be noticed, it includes one of peace, and a subsequent year, when the belligerents had not given the subjects of the United States an opportunity to avail themselves of their situation, in consequence of the recommencement of the war.
By the same authority from which this writer has taken his statement, namely, Mr. Galatin's Report, it appears that the exports for the year 1801, prior to the 1st of October, from the United States to Great Britain and her dependencies amounted to dollars 42,132,000, or
Which is nearly twice the amount of the exports on the average of the three years before mentioned, viz. 1802, 1803, 1894, or £.5,200,000 Under these circumstances, it may not be improper to draw the attention of the public to a subject which appears to have entirely escaped the notice of this writer, namely, the amount of freight paid on the imports from the United States into Great Britain and her dependencies, and which
* Mr. Baring's Examination, p. 143. † Ante p. 66.
added to the amount of imports, the account between the two countries will then appear in a very different point of view. The average imports from the United States
into the dominions of Great Britain for the four years before stated, is
The freight on which, whether to the British Colonies or to Great Britain, is paid to the American Ship Owners (145,650 tons of American shipping came to Great Britain alone in 1801), and upon an accurate calculation may be estimated at one-fourth value, or £25 per cent. of the first cost in America, is
Which makes the whole value of the annual import into the British dominions from the
United States, on the average before stated, £.7,837,406
The exports from Great Britain and her dependencies to the United States for the year 1801, amounted to
And the average of the exports to them for 1802, 1803, and 1804 was
Or making an average export from Great Britain and her dependencies to the United States in four years of
Whilst our imports amounted for the same pe
Leaving a balance in favour of Great Britain of only
therefore, upon a fair average of the four years 1801, 2, 3, and 4, including the year of scarcity, the balance of trade between, Great Britain and the United States appears only to be £113,094, in favour of this country, which, by this writer, is stated at £.2,893,000!! and which is the only return or compensation for the loan of £8,000,000 of capital, furnished annually by Great Britain to enable the United States to carry on their trade with all parts of the world, (which is not stated at a larger sum, although this author and those who appear to think with him, represent it at £.12,000,000)
or two-thirds the value of their entire trade, agreeable to their mode of computation.
There are other considerations which it is likewise necessary to take into the question of the value of the American trade to Great Britain. No allowance is made in this writer's calculations for bad debts, though all the exports from Great Britain to the United States are made on long credits. By the recent examinations in the House of Commons, an average of eighteen months is taken as a fair period to expect returns ; it may therefore be estimated according to mercantile calculation, that on a gross sum of £. 8,000,000, not less than £.400,000 per annum is lost by bad debts. It is not believed any English merchant would insure these debts for 5 per cent.; and on the other hand, the imports from the United States are chiefly sold here for ready money. There is another and greater evil, in the extended credit given to the citizens of the United States, above all other countries with which the subjects of Great Britain have commercial dealings, as it enables them to hold out the cessation, if not, the actual confiscation of this capital upon any difference between the governments of the two nations; alarming the persons concerned in it; and furnishing them with arguments to assail the government of the country, whilst it strengthens the application of the American negotiators here. This evil has been frequently felt since 1786, and the late attempt to procure petitions among the manufacturers, and to raise a cry throughout the country in favour of American interests is another proof of it, whilst it affords a striking and memorable instance of the patriotism and good sense of the people at large, who are not so easily to be deluded and influ enced as the advocates of America expected.
That the balance of trade is a subject of much abuse and false theory*, is manifest by the statement of the author of this work, in the average he has formed of the years 1802, 3, and 4; for it is maintained that Great Britain derives no more than a mutual advantage from her trade with America® when the whole of that trade is fairly calculated and considered: the operation of the four years' average before stated clearly shows, that little or no balance remains in favour of Great Britain, and whenever the subsequent statements can be made up for the years 1805, 6, and 7, it is not too pre-~
* Mr. Baring's Examination, p. 147.
suming to predict, that this position will be found to be strictly Indeed there is no reason to doubt the fact, that our imports last year from America have been equal to our exports; for the American ships which have discharged their cargoes in this country exceed in number those in the year 1801, their tonnage being 146,700 tons. Therefore unless it can be proved that this position is incorrect, and that the freight paid by Great Britain to the American ship owners, is not precisely the same as paying for the produce of the country from whence it is brought, and which consequently encreases the value of that import, it is certainly fair to contend, in order to maintain this important fact, that our exports to America, by no proof as yet adduced, so far exceed our imports from that country, as to make it necessary to Great Britain, that the United States should have an extended commerce to Europe to enable her to pay the balance of trade that may be due to us.
It may be said, that adding 25 1. per cent. or one-fourth part of the value of the produce of America exported to Great Britain or to her dependencies for freight is a mere speculative opinion; it is however not difficult to prove the contrary; for the article of lumber, whether carried to our colonies or brought to this country, pays more than the first cost for freight : Naval stores, tar, turpentine, pitch, and rosin in the same proportion. Flour, rice, and tobacco, about onethird; therefore allowing very liberally for cotton and other articles, the average will be full one-fourth part, and indeed it is under rated at that sum. It is therefore not unreasonable to infer, this writer has never seen the official account of the tonnage, on which the duties were collected in the United States, or he would not have affected so much ignorance of the statement of the whole imports into America annually exceeding the whole of the exports £1,550,000 :) without being able to account for it, otherwise, than in the mode of stating the accounts;" he surely forgot there was any freight of American shipping to be considered, which on examination forms a very large portion of the wealth of the United States.
The United States are entirely their own carriers to and from all parts of the world (with some very few exceptions) therefore in all their imports from foreign countries they have to pay their own Ship-Owners, the freight
*Mr. Baring's Examination, p. 140.