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system and commercial monopoly in respect of the colonies had been already allowed—and what further relaxations of that system and monopoly he wished the committee to assent to. By the acts of 3d and 4th of Geo. IV., we had permitted, so far as related to the united states of America, an intercourse between our plantations in America and our colonies in those quarters. The enactments of the 3d and 4th Geo. IV. limited this sort of intercourse to a direct trade between such colonies and our plantations, and to certain articles specified in the act. By a subsequent act, parliament had permitted a direct trade with Europe; but it had confined that intercourse to British ships strictly—the trade being allowed as between the colonies and any friendly ports whatever in Europe. As to the colonies and the United States, an intercourse was permitted in ships being of the same country and ownership as the goods they imported into the colonies; but this was not extended to a trade on the same bottoms with Europe. With respect to their trade with British America, that was limited to ports and ships of British America and the colonies; but the produce or goods were not restricted as in the other cases. A British-built and owned ship, in short, only restricted as to cargo to the articles specified in the act, might trade between the colonies and any European port. The house must see, in point of fact, that since parliament had determined to consent to put America and our colonies on the same footing in regard to the shipping engaged in the trade, it was an accommo

dation to the United States most decidedly, because other countries, within the meaning of the act, were without any shipping that could transact any such trade. Perhaps it might have been expected that the grant of this privilege to the shipping of the United States—a privilege not granted to the ships of any other state—was an advantage and encouragement to them. But they had offered us no advantage in return; and it was a privilege which they were

not entitled to claim under any

stipulation or treaty. It was, therefore, with some little surprise that this government had learned, that after the intelligence of this beneficial arrangement in favour of American shipping had reached the United States, that government proceeded to pass a law to this effect—namely, to consider all British ships engaged in this commerce with the colonies, and resorting to the ports of the United States, as liable to the American alien duties on their tonnage, until the British government should concede this further advantage—“that the productions of the United States should be admitted into the ports of our colonies on the same terms as the like productions of any other countries;" expressly meaning by “any other countries” our own productions, or those of our own colonies themselves. A pretension was thus asserted which was never set up by any other power in its commercial relations with us; nor ever granted by us or any other power to America. It was a pretension implying that we were to grant, on our parts, no protection whatever to the staple commodity of our colonies, nor make any difference between it and the like produce of any other country. Had we said to America in reply, “we require that the sugar and rum of Jamaica shall be admitted into New York or any other of your northern states on the same terms as the sugar of Louisiana or any other of the southern provinces of the Federal Union, which comprises all the United States,” the demand would have been thought unreasonable and extravagant; but not one jot less extravagant or less unreasonable was it, on their parts, to make such a demand, as they had done, against the interests of our own colonial commerce. When intelligence of the course taken by America had reached this country, it was clear that we had but one of two courses to take—either, under the authority of the existing acts of parliament, to forbid her intercourse with our colonies altogether, or to protect our ownshipping by imposing similar duties on the shipping of the United States resorting to our colonies. This last would have been a very inconvenient mode of proceeding indeed, tending greatly to lessen, too, the benefit to the consumer in the West Indies. Wishing, however, to take the most moderate course, and that at the same time which was due to our own shipping and commerce, and understanding that the United States desired to investigate the question further, and he himself having had it last year in contemplation to propose to parliament a more comprehensive measure (such as that which he had now to suggest), in respect to the trade, generally, of our colonies, the British government did not sus

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pend the intercourse, but they adopted the milder proceeding he was about to mention. If the result should be that it would put the United States on the same footing only as all other countries, the United States would have no reason to complain. All which any other power could require of us at any time was, to be placed on the same footing as the most favoured nations. If, therefore, America should not choose to avail herself of this new system, all that could be said was, that he (Mr. Huskisson) believed the West Indies would now be able to do without her assistance ; a circumstance, however, which he should regret, both from his friendly feeling for the state in question, and his love of the principles of free trade. If such should be the course which America might think it proper to adopt, under some erroneous impression that we could not do without her, and that she might therefore impose what conditions she pleased upon us, in favour of her own navigation, perhaps he might be allowed to ask whether the British government would be justified in withholding from other powers those privileges which they had so extended to America? Were we, or ought we to be, more jealous of allowing the ships of Denmark, or of Hamburgh, or any other of the northern maritime states, to carry on this trade, than of allowing the ships of America to do so? He thought not. He thought that if Great Britain looked to those interests which she was most bound to cherish and protect, in justice to her maritime grandeur, and her commercial greatness—if she consulted her dearest distinctions, she must feel that she had at least as great a right to be just and liberal to other powers as to the growing commercial greatness of the United States. To him, therefore, it seemed that there could be no objection to confer upon the shipping of any European state in amity with us, and manifesting a disposition to reciprocate the benefits of commerce in their relations with us, the same privileges as to this colonial trade as had been permitted to America. But he would confess, that looking to those changes which had become so general all over the commercial world, he thought that parliament ought to go further. In his judgment, at least, he was prepared to state, that he thought they ought to place the trade with these colonies on the same footing as the trade of England and Scotland with Jersey, Guernsey, or Ireland (except, in truth, that some certain modifications would be necessary to be established, from the different circumstances of the countries). Certain prohibitions would also be necessary—such as ammunition, artillery, and other articles and stores of that description; and the protection that must be afforded by duties properly estimated to certain staples of the countries, such as sugar, rum, and other articles that the colonies supplied, and that were subject to various fiscal imposts. These prohibitions might be limited to the West India islands, and other colonies to be specified. With these exceptions, we ought to admit the ships of all friendly states to a free trade with all our colonial possessions, subject only to such regulations as would apply to them in their intercourse with any

other ports in the British empire, namely, that the cargo should belong to the same nation as the importing ship; and that the other usual regulations as to ownership, &c. should be complied with. The result of this regulation would be, to reduce all the direct commerce between the colonies and other countries, to the same principles that regulated the direct commerce between the colonies and the mother country; and all the circuitous commerce between the colonies and this country to the same simple rules that regulated what he had before called a coasting trade, if it could with propriety be so named. We should, in short, give every facility (consistent with the safety and the interests of the navigation of the empire) to a trade between our colonies and all the rest of the world. Of course it would be necessary, in order to effect those benefits, to enlarge greatly the list of articles which, under the existing acts, the colonies were at present permitted to import through any other channels than that of the mother country. It would be necessary to employ, for the purpose of protecting the staple commodities of the colonies, moderate protecting duties. In the present list annexed to the acts in question, certain rates and duties were imposed on some of those articles. In some cases there was an ad valorem duty of 7l. 10s. per cent. On those artiticles, however, that might seem most to require protection, he should propose to raise the ad valorem duty, in some cases to 15l. per cent.—in others to 20l.— and in others, even as high as 30l. The application of the increased duties would, of course, be a subject for the decision of the colonial legislatures. This country would only subject the trade between the colonial ports and ports elsewhere to such duties; but the colonial legislatures, as heretofore, must adopt that mode of application which would seem most expedient to them. It was to the colonies that the benefit was meant to be extended; the increased duties would form a revenue which would be theirs, and would be carried to their account. They could have no jealousy, therefore, of the new system as one at all likely to intrench on their privileges in those respects. With a view to encourage our own trade and that of the colonies with other countries, he should also propose to establish, in certain parts of those colonies where the operation of the system could be most advantageously applied, the whole benefit of the warehousing system, such as it now existed in this country; by allowing goods from all parts of the world to be bonded till convenient opportunities for exporting, or re-exporting with advantage might offer. Looking to the present state of Spanish America, this establishment must be attended with extraordinary advantages. The wants of those vast countries were enormous, and would require to be promptly supplied. A cargo from this country, however, at present, often glutted the market; it was very desirable, therefore, that warehousing ports should be established in the colonies; and the hon. gentleman instanced, as a striking exemplification of their value, the case of New Orleans, where the warehousing system had been introduced with extra

ordinary advantage to the United States. He mentioned the establishment at New Orleans, not because it was an exclusive establishment, but because it was so conveniently situated for carrying on commerce with Mexico, and with other places on the gulf of that name. Having stated generally the nature of the proposition which he wished to submit to the committee, it appeared to him that the effect of it would be somewhat different with respect to the sugar colonies, and the British provinces of North America. In the sugar colonies he conceived that it would afford a greater facility and economy in their commercial intercourse, and that they would thereby stand a chance of supplying their wants more cheaply and on more advantageous terms than they could at present. They would stand, he thought, a much better chance of getting rid of their surplus production more beneficially for themselves, and more advantageously for the general interest of the empire. But those were not the only advantages he contemplated from this change of system. The amelioration of the colonies under this altered policy would not, perhaps, proceed very rapidly; but in the end he was sure it would produce very important benefits. In the sugar colonies a new description of inhabitants would probably spring up--a new description of commerce would be introduced—new houses of agency would be established—merchants would be found fixing themselves there, for the purpose of watching over their interests, and sending the produce of those islands all over the world. The system which he had explained would possibly give birth not only to new varieties of commerce, but to a new description of industry with respect to agriculture. It was possible that those colonies might, under the liberty which would be extended to them by this change of system, launch forth into other and most important branches of industry—that they would be no longer confined to the cultivation of sugar. Why might they not raise silk?—why might they not cultivate indigo 2 Why should not the cultivation of a great variety of other articles find its way into those countries? It would be his duty to bring this subject before the house, and to recommend that some encouragement should be given to the cultivation of other articles—that other supplies, besides sugar, should be raised in those colonies. By pursuing this course, might they not hope to see infused into the population of the West-India islands, more industry and a greater spirit of enterprise than existed there at present? Was it unreasonable to suppose, that a population different from that of the overseers who now watched over the sugar-estates, would ultimately be created there? If they did this—and he thought it might be easily effected—then they would do much to secure the prosperity of those colonies, and to uphold the interests of that part of the empire, which they were bound, by all the ties of honour and duty, to protect in the most efficient manner. If he were asked to be more particular—if he were asked to state in what way this change would be effected—if he were called on to say in what progress of time those benefits would be realized, he must frankly own,

that it was not in his power to make such a precise statement, nor, indeed, was it in the power of any man to do so. He recollected individuals who were perfectly conversant in the affairs of the East Indies, who were perfectly acquainted with its commerce, could not, in 1813, hazard a statement as to the way in which the relaxation then proposed would affect the commerce of India, or the interests of this country. It was stated, generally, that this relaxation ought to be made; but the most sanguine did not attempt to point out what would be the political and commercial benefits which the projected change would confer on this country. It was merely contended that great benefits would arise to Great Britain if some of the restrictions by which the commerce of the East Indies was clogged were taken away. His view of the subject was this— that a plan which gave greater scope to the employment of capital —which gave a new impulse to industry, the operation of which produced new interests, must extend to the parent state which granted this additional scope, as well as the colonies themselves, very considerable benefits; and he had no doubt that the West India colonies would afford a further proof, in addition to that already afforded in the instances of Ireland, of America, and of the East Indies, of the great political and commercial maxim, that the free trade of a thriving country, carried on with a state possessing an extensive capital, was of infinitely more service than a trade carried on under a system of rigid monopoly, for the purpose of making the productions of the

colony

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