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to remove impediments to this beneficial intercourse. Possibly, the real and solid advantages of this relaxation from our colonial monopoly will be hereafter much better understood. The system, in its present liberal extent, is new both to our colonies and to the traders of the United States. In our own colonies, a sufficient capital is not perhaps yet embarked to reap the full advantage of a market so calculated to enlarge itself. Possibly, the present decription of traders in these free ports is not exactly qualified to give a due effect to such a system. Larger capitals, and merchants more exercised in the habits of national trade, will necessarily lead to smaller profits and lower prices ; and thence to a larger dealing and consumption by the United States. It is impossible not to acknowledge that the frame-work is excellent, and in every respect consistent with liberal policy and just commercial views.

The next subject in order is the Cape of Good Hope-a vineyard, and assuredly, at no distant period, a granary under the most favorable climate in the world. It would be as absurd to judge of the importance of the Cape from what it actually is, as it would be to estimate the value of Virginia and Maryland by what they appear to have been in the time of Charles the Second. The Cape of Good Hope, as an appendage to the British Empire, is in every respect an infant colony. The quality of her vineyards is such as it now exists from the absence only of a due capital and competition. It is impossible to foresee, how far into the interior of Africa the characteristic spirit, activity, and intelligence, of British colonists may push the boundary of this promising settlement. But every new colony, and every augmentation of population and culture in those already possessed, necessarily enlarge the market for the reception of British commerce and manufactures. It is in the very nature of the produce of manufactures to increase from

year to year, and to become so depreciated in current price by their excess, as to occasion great distress amongst large bodies of men. It is an object of sound policy to encounter this mischief by precautionary measures. But the only measure of this kind is to provide for a proportionate augmentation of consumption. It is under this principle, that no efforts have been spared by our colonial administration to assist the culture and population of our new colonies. The emigrants to the Cape were sent with this view; they were selected with this view. Happily the present condition of this colony affords no subject of further remark. Under the general administration of the Colonial Department, and the exemplary execution of their duties by the local authorities, no settlement of this great empire affords a more cheerful aspect.

The same attentive consideration has been given to the state of the Ionian Islands. We have faithfully fulfilled our duties as their protector ;-we have purified, as much as in us lay, the inveterate evils of the old administration ;-we have raised the character of the inferior classes of the people, and have reduced the feudal chiefs to obedience of the laws. They no longer afford the most disgraceful spectacle in the midst of civilised Europe-a people without law, private morals, or public honor. In process of time we may contribute as much to their culture and commerce, as we have already done to their laws and morals. A promising fruit trade may hereafter become of proportionate importance to our foreign trade.


It will not require a long examination to show that the Board of Trade has performed its duties to the public, and that the industry, manufactures, and commerce of the country have received many solid benefits from its deliberate attention. These services may be distributed under the general heads of the Navigation Acts, the Warehousing System, the removal of numerous prohibitions and impediments under the Restrictive and Protective Statutes, an augmentation of the sphere of the Colonial Trade and of British Commerce, and the simplification of the laws relating to Forfeiture, Regulation, and Customs.

Urider the head of Navigation Laws, the board has been long occupied in a most useful and laborious investigation of the complicate system of these statutes. The result of its labors has been the preparation of several measures, which will probably become acts of the legislature in the session now ensuing. The enactments of these laws will possibly confer more upon

British como merce than it has received within the last hundred years. They will assist the business of the general merchant; they will advance the trade and commerce of the country, foreign, colonial, and domestic; they will remove much grudge and jealousy in foreign nations, without any proportionate sacrifice of our own peculiar interests.

It of course does not fall within the possible purpose of a short pamphlet to enter into a review of the involved and laborious system of our Navigation Laws; but, in justice to the labors of this department and its able presidents, a few observations are required, and a few only will be sufficient to explain their public services under this part of the subject.

It is scarcely necessary to premise, except for the sake of order, that British Commerce, with reference to the Navigation Laws, is distributed into the five heads: the European trade, the trade to Asia, Africa, and America, not being colonial—the Colonial trade, the Coasting trade, and the Fisheries. The Navigation System is composed of a class of rules arranged under these titles, and applicable to each. With respect to the European trade, the rule is, that all goods, the produce of Europe, shall be imported into England in three species of ships only-in British built ships; in ships of the build of the country or place of which such goods are the growth; or in ships of the build of the port or place which is the usual place of the shipment of such goods. With respect to the trade beyond Europe, not being colonial, the general rule is: that the growth or manufacture of such country can be imported only direct in British ships ; such importation to be made either from the place of growth or manufacture, or from the usual place of shipment only. The three rules of the Colonial trade, Coasting trade, and Fisheries, are merely exclusive of all ships but those of British build and ownership. Such, speaking in general terms, is the outline of our Navigation System.

But however wise the general system of these laws, and most wise has it been proved by the experience of its effects, the exact and rigid application of all the abore rules has been attended with particular mischief pressing hardly upon general trade. The first rule, for example, consists of two parts, the former of which confines the importation of European goods to British ships, to ships of the build of the country, and to ships of the build of the usual place of shipment. By a second part of this rule, an invidious and most groundless exception is made against the produce of Holland and the Netherlands ; certain articles of which are prohibited to be imported in any ships whatever. It is indeed true, that these exceptions, originating in particular feelings against Holland at the time the acts were passed, have been much reduced by subsequent statutes. But it is equally true, that enough of these jealous restrictions still remains to create embarrassment in trade, and to excite an angry feeling in a friendly people. Many goods are prohibited from Ostend, which may come from Calais ; and, more absurdly still, many goods may come from Calais, which would be forfeited, coming from Dunkirk. Again, under the rule of the trade beyond Europe, not being colonial, British ships can bring the produce of such countries from the place of their production, or place of usual shipment, directly only. Hence,” as well observed by the able Vice President of the Board of Trade, in his eloquent speech in the House of Commons, upon this subject, “if a British ship finds in an American, an African, or an Asiatic port, articles the produce of any of the other quarters of the world, however convenient for its assortment, or mar


ket, such ship is prohibited from receiving and carrying them, under the penalty of confiscation of ship and cargo, on its arrival in a British port.” Again, the rule of the European trade confines, as above said, the importation of European produce to British ships, or ships of the country of production. By the effect of this rule, it becomes totally impossible for a foreign merchant, trading from a port abroad, to send an assorted cargo to a British port, inasmuch as the goods of each country require a separate ship. Such in practice are the main actual inconveniences under our existing navigation laws.

The labors of the Board of Trade, and of its most intelligent President and Vice President, have been directed, in the first instance, to apply a remedy to these particular defects of a system so generally excellent. Accordingly, under a course of persevering industry, a bill will probably be passed in the ensuing session, which will remove these heads of grievance, common to ourselves and foreign nations; and will so simplify the general system of our navigation laws, as greatly to facilitate foreign and domestic com

Under the proposed clauses of this bill, the invidious and useless exceptions respecting Holland and the Netherlands will doubtless be repealed. British ships will be enabled to bring cargoes from any port or place of Asia, Africa, and America, not being colonial, without the useless and mischievous restriction of such cargoes being the produce of the place only from which they are brought. And still more importantly, and with a promise of much future benefit to general commerce, foreign merchants will be enabled to bring assorted cargoes in the European trade.

The subject next in order and importance is the Warehousing system.

The object of this system, and of the new measures proposed to parliament under it, is to invite the deposit of foreign commodities, of every description, in British warehouses ; for the purpose of enabling British and foreign ships, departing from the ports of this country, to take assorted cargoes, and thus to carry on a general exportation trade to every part of the world; subject, however, to the regulations necessary for the security of the revenue, and for preserving to our own manufacturers a just preference in our own markets. If this system be not entirely new, it is new at least in the extent and liberality in which the Board of Trade now proposes its adoption. This depôt or transit system was first introduced into practice by the 43d of the late King. But this statute, like all other incipient measures, has a strong infusion of the jealousy of the times in which it was ventured ; and whilst it recognises the principle, proceeds with much timidity and hesitation in the practice. Whilst it admits the importation of raw produce and mateVOL. XX.




rials, it excludes under this jealous feeling almost every species of foreign manufactured goods. The reason of this restriction was doubtless in the apprehension of assisting the competition of foreign manufacturers with our own dealers in foreign markets. But the employment of such means for such an end is as nugatory as it is mischievous. It is mischievous, because it deprives us of the incalculable advantage of becoming the general magazine of the world, and of superadding the profits of general trade to those resulting from dealing only in our own manufactures. It is nugatory, because, in the present state of European nations, no prohibitions of this kind can prevent foreigners from supplying themselves from the best mart. The sole security for preference to British manufacturers is in their own superior skill, intelligence, and activity ; in their vast accumulated capital, and in a magnitude and quality of machinery, the growth, like our capital, of a hundred years

successful commerce. All other m ans are accessible by all, and will be employed by all. Under such considerations, it has been the laborious effort of the Board of Trade to relieve the general commerce of the country from this restrictive system, and to awaken our manufacturers to just views of their own interests. Such is the object of the Warehousing bill."

The subject next in order and importance for the consideration of the Board was such a new arrangement of the Timber duties, as might reconcile the fair claims of our North American colonists, and our British ship-owners, with the interests of general commerce, and with the reasonable expectations of friendly nations. To this subject the Board, in common with his majesty's ministers, directed its most laborious attention; and the result was the Act of the last session of parliament, by which this object has been effected. It is scarcely necessary to observe, that the former duties upon timber had been imposed in the year 1809, when our naval resources were menaced by the effect of the French decrees. Under these circumstances, an offer had been made to government, by some merchants and ship-owners, to supply the necessary timber from Canada, if the employment of their capital were secured by protecting duties. His majesty's ministers accepted the offer, but with the distinct understanding, that the duties should only be temporary ; and that upon the conclusion of the war, or the occurrence of another state of things, the continuance or repeal of these duties should be open to the consideration of parliament. Upon this subject, his majesty's ministers have surely a just claim

For a more detailed view of the Navigation and Warehousing system, and the proposed amendments, the reader is referred to the most able speech of the Right Hon. T. Wallace, Vice-president of the Board of Trade, made in the House of Commons, June, 1821.


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