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our iron and steel work; our tin, pewter, and plated goods; glass, and refined sugar. To which may be added, our colonial exports of coffee, rum, sugar, indigo, and India piece goods.
Under all these heads, it will be seen that our funds of commerce and industry exist in the same vigor and integrity as during the war. From 1817 to 1821, the value of our cotton manufactures, exported, rose from sixteen millions to twenty-one millions. But in no year of the war had the value of these exports exceeded eighteen millions. When the accounts shall be made
year now current, namely, to January 1822, the value of our cotton exports will be found to exceed twenty-three millions ; such at least is the promise of the quarter now current. Under this head, therefore, which in value exceeds one half of the total amount of all our exports of British manufacture, the resources of the country are not only entire, but exceed, by nearly one fourth, the average of the last three years of the war. Our next manufacture is our woollen. The
value of this export during the war was between five and six millions annually. Under the effect of the foreign wool-tax, the value of the same export, in the year 1821, was reduced to four millions and three quarters. In the year now closing it will much exceed five millions. Our linen manufactures have risen, between 1817 and 1821, from one million and a half to two millions, being double the amount of the same exports during either of the three last years of the war, 1811, 1812, and 1813. Our exports in silk, though as to exports only an incipient manufacture, have gradually become in annual real value half a million, about one-fourth the amount of our linen exports. Our exports of iron and steel, wrought and unwrought, in the year 1821, maintain their average produce during the war, and in January 1822 will exceed the export of any former year. From 1817 to the year 1821 our exports of refined sugar have increased from a million and a half to two millions, and have nearly doubled their amount in any year of the war. It would lead into a detail too minute to follow the comparative produce through the remaining articles in the long list of our exports. Suffice it to say, that they all exhibit the same aspect of unimpaired energy, and, from the promise of the current and commencing years, justify a strong expectation, that they are no longer vibrating between a high amount in one year and a diminishing rate in the following. Our tin, pewter, and plated goods, exceed, together, half a million in annual value, and exhibit an increase of nearly one half of their total amount above the war years of 1811, 1812, and 1813.
In colonial exports, sugar, rum, coffee, indigo, tobacco, and India piece goods, our exports in almost all cases equal their average amount during the three war years 1811, 1812, and 1813,
and in many
articles exceed double the average amount of a year, as in rum and indigo; the average war export of rum being in value half a million only, and in the year 1821 upwards of eleven hundred thousand pounds. The same of indigo ; the average war export, in 1811, 1812, and 1813, being of the value of 400,000l. only, whilst the exports of 1821 exceeded in value eight hundred thousand.
Nor has the average of our sugar exports declined from its amount during the war years above stated; a most important fact, when it is considered that, during the war, nearly all the sugar colonies in the world were our own. Another fact, and of most important bearing upon the question under consideration, should be retained in memory during the comparison of these two periods. Under the depreciation of all articles from the conclusion of the war to the present period, it is manifest that the same sums no longer represent the same quantities of goods, and, therefore, that the equality of value in the averages of the two periods is necessarily a proof of a great increase in the present time. Suffice it to add, in conclusion of this part of our subject, that our average exports of tobacco have nearly doubled their amount since the war; and that the average value of our India piece goods, exported, is gradually advancing from its amount of one million during the war, to a million and a quarter. Such is the present condition of our national resources as regards the question of our foreign and colonial exports.
Under the head of navigation, the entirety of our resources may be very briefly exhibited in its four usual divisions--of vessels built, vessels registered, outward tonnage, and inward tonnage. Of vessels annually built, the average of the three last years of the war was seven hundred and sixty vessels. The average of the years since the peace has been one thousand vessels. Of the total tonnage of vessels registered, the average, during the war, was two millions and less than a half. The average of peace very nearly reaches two millions and three quarters. outward tonnage of vessels was, during the war, about one million and three quarters. The same average, during the last three years, has exceeded two millions. The average of inward tonnage was, during the war, about eighteen hundred thousand tons. The same average, during the last three years, has exceeded two millions and a quarter. Such is the brief exposition of the state of our national sources as regards our navigation.
Before quitting this part of our subject, it is an act of justice to his Majesty's ministers to remind the country, that under no former administration has so much been conceded to the commercial interest of the empire. If ministers have not gone the
full speculative length of those gentlemen, who in pamphlets and reviews out of parliament, and in speeches and essays within it (very commendable from their length and labor), have recommended the general adoption of all the theories of Smith and Turgot they must not be denied in the first instance, the praise of having listened to these speeches with a patience as commendable as the industry of the speakers; and in the next, of having supported, and personally attended, the appointment of the parliamentary committees for which they have asked. If these committees have, in most instances, had no other termination than in the publication of a long report, the cause is, doubtless, to be sought in the difficulty of the subject, and in the wide difference between theory and practice-between diagrams of navigation upon dry land, and practical courses rendered necessary by sea and winds. It is not requisite to inform his Majesty's ministers that the first and best principles of commerce would be a perfect freedom of trade, and that in almost all cases legislators would act wisely in leaving it to find its own way. The same text-books were open for them as for their political adversaries. It was as easy for them, upon a petition from Manchester or Birmingham, to give a laborious summary of the three volumes of the Wealth of Nations. It was as easy for them to refer all national principles to the language of the exchange and the bullion-market. But, having been educated in another school, they have learned that a nation has other interests besides those of money-making. They have learned that the first interest of the empire is in its national defence, and in the maintenance, in their full integrity, of those funds of our maritime greatness and revenue, under which we have attained our actual condition. They perceive, moreover, that an absolute liberty of trade can exist beneficially for us, only by becoming a general system; for if one nation should abolish all its duties and restraints, whilst all other nations should retain them, the former will only sacrifice its revenue, and reduce all the sources of its national power, in order to strengthen and enrich the latter. Under these two controlling principles, his Majesty's ministers have indeed deemed it prudent to retain the navigation-laws of the kingdom, and to touch with great caution and delicacy a commercial system, under which the general commerce of Great Britian exceeds the collective amount of the trade of all the nations in the world.
But will it be asserted for a moment that nothing has been done by ministers, and by the system upon which they act, when it is recollected, that to this system the country is indebted for the opening of the trade to India ? Has nothing been done for the colonial trade, and for British commerce in general, by the several acts of the 52, 53, 54, and 57th of George the Third? Is it no relaxation from the ancient errors, as they are termed, of our colonial system, that, through the medium of free ports, nearly the whole exports of our colonies are open for the supply of the United States? Is it no departure from our ancient rigid monopoly, that American vessels, and the vessels of European powers, may now trade directly with India, and that by a very recent act, the British private trade to the East Indies may now seek a general market ? Is it nothing, that of all the ancient monopolies by companies, the most impolitic, .doubtless, of all monopolies, one only now exists, and that company so divested of its exclusive powers, as nearly to reduce it, as respects general commerce, to an open trade.
Will the political economists themselves refuse praise to his Majesty's ministers upon their own principles, when it shall be brought to their recollection, that in a time of much difficulty they bought up the monopoly of the South Sea Company, and opened that large portion of the sea to general trade ? Is it necessary to inform the patient and laborious lawyers of that party, how much litigation, and, in many instances, how many hardships to merchants were occasioned by these exclusive privileges of the South Sea Company, which were all abolished by the 55th of George the Third ? And, to conclude this part of our subject upon the present occasion, has nothing been done by the abolition in many cases, and the reduction in still more, of the system of bounties, which, in the last century, pressed so uselessly on the produce of the customs ? Assuredly, the merchants and traders of Great Britain will not refuse their tribute of gratitude to his Majesty's ministers, when they shall be reminded of those two most beneficial statutes, the 51st and the 54th of George the Third, by which the ancient fiscal rigor, respecting the seizure and forfeiture of ships for breaches of the revenue and navigation laws, has been so considerably relaxed, and a prompt and efficient remedy afforded to those hard circumstances so frequently occurring under them.
One further observation before this division closes. Looking to our navigation, trade, and commerce, under the two main heads of imports and exports, it has above been made manifest, that the average of the years of peace, reckoning from 1817 to 1821, far exceeds those of the three last years of the war, 1811, 1812, and 1813. In 1812 and 1813, both years of considerable trade, the value of our imports did not reach thirty millions; whilst the exports of those years, comprising British manufactures and foreign merchandize, did not exceed, in the most favorable of the three, forty-six millions. Now, in the year ending January 5th, 1821, the value of our imports exceeded thirty-six millions and a half, and our exports fell little short of fifty-two millions. In this ac
count, the year ending January 5th, 1814, is omitted, as the documents have been destroyed by the fire at the Custom-house, and the years 1815 and 1816 ought not to be taken as standards. They were years of unparalleled speculation in imports and exports, arising from the sudden opening of the markets of the world, and therein formed an extraordinary state of circumstances which of course disqualify them from becoming examples of the ordinary progress of trade.
As such is the state of the question, as regards our general commerce, the internal trade of the country exhibits an aspect equally promising. Amongst the ingenious writers of the present day, there has been much discussion respecting the comparative value of our home and foreign trade. According to some of these writers we are in every respect sufficient for ourselves ; and the industry, and even the wealth of the country, would be but little affected, if we withdrew as much as possible from commercial intercourse with foreigners. According to others, and those the most numerous, we exist only by our foreign trade; and our national prosperity is to be regarded as rising or declining, in the proportion in which our foreign trade increases or diminishes. As usually happens in questions of this kind, both sides are in the extreme. Considering not only the number of our population, but its habits and ability of consuming, it is perhaps not too much to assert, that the consumption of the British empire, of all articles, except only bread-corn and the necessaries of life, exceeds that of the whole continent of Europe. If this be true, and it is of easy proof, the supply of this consumption, upon the mere point of its magnitude, must necessarily be of much greater importance than our foreign commerce.
This consideration of the question is further confirmed by the comparative sums contributed to the revenue by our foreign and internal trade. Of the fifty-six millions composing our annual revenue, not one-fifth of the whole is paid by the customs, and of course more than four-fifths by the excise, and other duties on use, possession, and consumption. Of so much consequence is it to our national welfare that all our funds of trade and industry should remain entire.
The principal subject-matter of internal trade is necessarily in our four principal manufactures, cotton, wool, linen, and silk; in our iron, tin, and copper works ; in our glass, leather, printed goods, salt, soap, and candles ; to which, as regards consumption and revenue, may be added, sugar, tea, wine, malt, and British and foreign spirits. It is not our purpose to follow the annual produce of these several articles in minute detail ; a very few words upon one or more of them collectively will show, that the annual quan. tity of these articles which the country consumes, and the work