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prohibited from getting salt at Tertuga,) they would not be able to carry on their sugar-works. This hath been confirmed to us by several considerable planters concerned in those parts.
Upon the whole, your majesty's subjects having enjoyed an uninterrupted usage of gathering salt at Tertuga, ever since the first settlement of the continent as aforesaid, we humbly submit to your majesty the consequence of preserving that usage and right upon which the trade of your majesty's plantations so much depends."
Notwithstanding it appears from what is above written, that our sugar-islands were like to suffer considerably for want of fish from New England, no care was taken to have this matter remedied by the explanatory articles, which were posterior to the abovementioned report.
However, in the third article of the treaty, made with his present majesty, this business is fully settled to our advantage.
The British merchants having had several hardships put upon them at Bilboa, which occasioned the decay of our trade at that place, the said merchants did make and execute, in the year 1700, a treaty of privileges with the magistrates and inhabitants of St. Ander, very much to the advantage of this kingdom, in order to their removing and settling there: the effect of which was prevented by the death of King Charles the Second of Spain, and the war which soon after ensued. This matter, it seems, was slighted or neglected by the managers of the Utrecht treaty: for, by the fourteenth article of that treaty, there is only a liberty given to the British subjects to settle and dwell at St. Ander, upon the terms of the ninth and thirtieth articles of the treaty of 1667,' which are general. But no regard was had to the forementioned treaty of privileges in 1700; whereas, by the second article of the treaty now made with his present majesty, the forementioned treaty of privileges with St. Ander is confirmed and ratified.
Another considerable advantage is, that the French, by the treaty made with his present majesty, are to pay the same duties at the Dry Ports, through which they pass by land carriage, as we pay upon importation or exportation by sea; which was not provided for by the Utrecht treaty.
By the schedulas annexed to the treaty of 1667, the valuable privilege of having judge-conservators (appointed to make a more speedy and less expensive determination of all controversies arising in trade) was fully established. But, by the fifteenth article of Utrecht, that privilege was in effect given up. For it is therein only stipulated, “That in case any other nation have that privilege, we shall in like manner enjoy it.' But, by the fifth article of the treaty now made with his present majesty, it is stipulated, that “We shall enjoy all the rights, privileges, franchises, exemptions, and immunities whatsoever, which we enjoyed by virtue of the royal schedulas or ordinances by the treaty of 1667. So that hereby the privilege of judge-conservators is again confirmed to us.
As nothing but the reputation of his majesty in foreign countries, and of his fixed purposes to pursue the real good of his kingdoms, could bring about treaties of this nature: so it is impossible to reflect with patience on the folly and ingratitude of those men, who labour to disturb him in the midst of these his royal cares, and to misrepresent his generous endeavours for the good of his people.
No. 42. MONDAY, MAY 14.
O fortunatos mercatores !
EVERAL authors have written on the advantage of trade in general; which is indeed so copious a subject, that as it is impossible to exhaust it in a short discourse, so it is very difficult to observe any thing new upon it. I shall therefore only consider trade in this paper, as it is absolutely necessary and essential to the safety, strength, and prosperity of our own nation.
In the first place, as we are an island accommodated on all sides with convenient ports, and encompassed with navigable seas, we should be inexcusable, if we did not make these blessings of Providence and advantages of nature turn to their proper account. The most celebrated merchants in the world, and those who make the greatest figure in antiquity, were situated in the little island of Tyre; which, by the the prodigious increase of its wealth and strength at sea, did very much influence the most considerable kingdoms and empires on the neighbouring continent, and gave birth to the Carthagenians, who afterwards exceeded all other nations in naval power. The old Tyre was indeed seated on the continent, from whence the inhabitants, after having been besieged by the great king of Assyria for the space of thirteen years, withdrew themselves and their effects into the island of Tyre; where, by the benefit of such a situation, a trading people were enabled to hold out for many ages against attempts of their enemies, and became the merchants of the world,
Farther; as an island, we are accessible on every side, and exposed to perpetual invasions; against which it is impossible to fortify ourselves sufficiently, without such a power at sea, as is not to be kept up, but by a people who flourish in commerce. To which we must add, that our inland towns being destitute of fortifications, it is our indispensable concern to preserve this our naval strength, which is as a general bulwark to the British nation.
Besides; as an island, it has not been thought agreeable to the true British policy to make acquisitions upon the continent. In lieu, therefore, of such an increase of dominion, it is our business to extend to the utmost our trade and navigation. By this means, we reap the advantages of conquest, without violence or injustice; we not only strengthen ourselves, but gain the wealth of our neighbours in an honest way; and, without any act of hostility, lay the several nations of the world under a kind of contribution.
Secondly, Trade is fitted to the nature of our country, as it abounds with a great profusion of commodities of its own growth very convenient for other countries, and is naturally destitute of many things suited to the exigences, ornaments, and pleasures of life, which may be fetched from foreign parts. But, that which is more particularly to be remarked, our British products are of such kinds and quantities, as can turn the balance of trade to our advantage, and enable us to sell more to foreigners, than we have occasion to buy from them.
To this we must add, that, by extending a well-regulated trade, we are as great gainers by the commodities of many other countries, as by those of our own nation; and by supplying foreign markets with the growth and manufactures of the most distant regions, we receive the same profit from them, as if they were the produce of our own island.
Thirdly, We are not a little obliged to trade, as it has been a great means of civilising our nation, and banishing out of it all the remains of its ancient barbarity. There are many bitter sayings against islanders in general, representing them as fierce, treacherous, and inhospitable. Those who live on the continent have such opportunities of a frequent intercourse with
men of different religions and languages, and who live under different laws and governments, that they become more kind, benevolent, and open-hearted to their fellow creatures, than those who are the inhabitants of an island, that hath not such conversations with the rest of the species. Cæsar's observation upon our forefathers is very much to our present purpose; who remarks, that those of them that lived upon the coast, or in sea-port towns, were much more civilised than those who had their dwellings in the inland country, by reason of frequent communications with their neighbours on the continent.
In the last place, trade is absolutely necessary for us, as our country is very populous. It employs multitudes of hands both by sea and land, and furnishes the poorest of our fellow subjects with the opportunities of gaining an honest livelihood. The skilful or industrious find their account in it: and many, who have no fixed property in the soil of our country, can make themselves masters of as considerable estates, as those who have the greatest portions of the land descending to them by inheritance.
If what has been often charged upon us by our neighbours has any truth in it, that we are prone to sedition and delight in change, there is no cure more proper
for this evil than trade, which thus supplies business to the active, and wealth to the indigent. When men are easy in their circumstances, they are naturally enemies to innovations: and indeed we see, in the course of our English histories, many of our popular commotions have taken their rise from the decay of some branch of commerce, which created discontents among persons concerned in the manufactures of the kingdom. When men are soured with poverty, and unemployed, they easily give into any prospect of change, which may better their condition, and cannot make it much worse.
Since, therefore, it is manifest, that the promoting of our trade and commerce is necessary and essential