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appears to have always prevailed that they are not fitted for those restrictions. The late Lord Melville, in a letter to the Chairman of the East India Company, dated the 15th of April, 1793, says, It is not disputed that foreign nations are entitled to carry on trade with our Indian possessions; those countries never have been, nor ever can be, held upon the footing of colonial possessions. The ports of British India are accordingly accessible to the flags of all nations. They import foreign produce and manufactures, and export those of the East Indies under duties very little higher than are paid on goods by British vessels.

So far as our Eastern possessions raise within themselves their revenues and are open to general commerce, they stand in the same situation as if they were independent. The administration being named by this country, and under its controul, they are merely an extent of dominion, with the usual appendage of a public debt and annual expense; and without many of the peculiar advantages to be derived from colonial possessions. Local residence, indeed, and occupation afford opportunities for knowledge of the resources of the country; from which enterprize and intelligence may create commerce. Interchanges of productions will hence arise; and the supply of other countries with eastern produce (as, in some degree, it actually is) by difference of duty, and possession, be poured through the channel of this country.

But such share of commerce is, at present, almost wholly committed to the result of chance; whereas, under the more strict colonial system, as prevailing in our West India possessions, the produce must pass through this country, must employ its shipping and seamen, and must give a livelihood to numerous British residents. Thus the whole stream of wealth and commerce flows this way; and the abundance of the productions, if exceeding the consumption of this country, passes through its medium to other countries, which repay the value in their products again pouring through our channel in their course to the original spot. Hence ship-owners, seamen, factors, and many other industrious classes, are employed and enriched. Hence, too, arises mercantile capital, which is capable of being directed and determined to a certain course, and depends, consequently, much upon legislative regulations. Without the intervention of this capital, concentrated in a third hand, the produce of one country would go directly and more cheaply to exchange against the produce of another country. Greater abundance might exist on both sides; but the intermediate capital would cease where it was heretofore possessed,

This intervention with possession of capital is often seen to arise from casual circumstances, and to its continuance or cessation may be traced the rise and fall of most of those countries

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which, in time past, flourished by commerce. Thus in the middle ages, the Italian states were, by position, the medium of the supply of Europe with eastern productions. The passage of the Cape of Good Hope shifted the route, and with it the trade and consequent wealth of Italy gradually expired. This circumstance was one cause of the prosperous commerce of this country in the late war; during the course of which Great Britain became the medium of all the products from beyond sea, destined for the consumption of Europe. The effect of the change may be judged from the total imports and exports of the last three years of the war, compared with the three years just passed.

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Such has been the extraordinary declension of our commerce, since this country has ceased to be necessarily the route for the conveyance of foreign productions to continental Europe.* It was impossible to perpetuate such a route, (incident to the perturbed state of the world,) but it was possible to direct in this course the products of our own colonies.

The following statement of shipping will exhibit the tonnage clearing outwards to the principal colonial possessions, during the year ending the 5th of January, 1821; and will, likewise, furnish a contrast with the shipping engaged in the intercourse with the more important independent states. It will show, too, how large a portion of our foreign intercourse is carried on by the shipping of other countries; and how considerable a share of our navigation owes its existence to the strict colonial system.

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The effects of the restraints during the war were almost universally miscalculated. The British shipping,' says Colquhoun,' which amounted in 1801 to 1,725,949 tons had increased to 2,163,094 tons in 1812. Had the (continental) trade been open, this increase would probably have now been double the present amount.'

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The official value of exports to the colonies will show that they take as much British produce as the greater part of Europe; while again the colonial produce imported for re-exportation, forms a large portion of the exports to Europe.

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British North American Colonies £1,548,181 £452,852 £2,001,033

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It may not be unuseful to trace some of the consequences likely to ensue from removing all restrictions regarding foreign settlements, and loosening the ties which now unite Great Britain and her colonial establishments. This country will draw her supplies of sugar, rum, coffee, cocoa, from the Brazils, Havanna, St. Domingo, and St. Thomas, Java, and China, or any other place, friendly or hostile, as accident or design may effect.

The colonies will furnish themselves with manufactures from France, Germany, and ere long, perhaps, from the United States. The colonies in the West Indies will thence derive, at once, rude produce; and provisions from South America.

Under these circumstances of relaxation, what advantages may result from their possession adequate to the attendant charge, may be doubtful; and the ulterior step expedient to take, may be to release them wholly from a connexion held together by the most slender interests.

In this wide search after precarious benefits, what is to become of the certain employment now possessed by our shipping? In what navigation, with what freights are 220,000 tons and 16,000 seamen, now secure in the West India trade, to be maintained? In what the 300,000 tons and 22,000 seamen in the trade with the North American colonies? If other countries establish, as France, discriminating duties or positive prohibitions, where is to be found the opportunity to replace what is ceded to foreign navigation?

Ireland must cease to supply the West Indies with her salt provisions, beef, pork, butter, various kinds of grain, and her linens. Scotland, with her manufactures, linen, and, possibly, cotton; and may fear even for her herring fishery. The agriculture, the manufactures, the fisheries, and the mines of the United Kingdom, must undergo great and important changes upon such entire innovation in this leading branch of the national commerce.

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Could the colonies explore the world for a market, the proprietor and merchant would be full as likely to take up their residence in France, Germany, or America, as here: were the latter, who has invested his property in plantations, to remain in England, while the produce was forwarded in direct voyages to the continent, his interests would become wound up in those of every other country but his own. It has been often observed that the merchant is, from the nature of his calling, less interested in his local residence than any other class of the community..

It may be said that these arguments would tend to keep up an exclusive intercourse between this country and her colonies, though their sugars or other produce should cost fifty per cent. dearer than foreign; and though the productions of this country should come fifty per cent. higher to the colonies than could be procured elsewhere; and to the great pressure of both sides. But, it is to be recollected, the advantages have their measure; they consist in securing a steadiness of market, security of capital, and policy of intimate connexion; and these may be exceeded by the evils of extreme constraint. The commerce must be placed upon a natural as well as regulated footing. It is not any extreme forced system of which we are the advocates. Mr. Malthus has justly stated that it is by proportions we must estimate the propriety of proceeding, and act in national measures.

The art of

a practical political economy is to ascertain, and judge of these proportions.

If the produce raised in the colonies should be unequal to the consumption of the country, then the price might rise exorbitantly under the exclusion of foreign.-This effect is remediable by a discriminating duty. The degree of advance which the country can be brought to pay would be thus limited by her own act; and the price once rising above the ratio of preference, the supplies will be sought from a neighbouring market or foreign source. If, however, the produce of the colonies exceed the consumption of the country, as is our case in tropical productions, they must become lower than elsewhere, until the price cause the export to foreign markets to meet on a footing with similar produce from other settlements. The extent and variety of our West India colonies always furnish this excess. It is but due to the planter, who is obliged to come first to this country, to give every facility to the

It will be found, I believe, true, that all the great results in political economy, respecting wealth, depend upon proportions; and it is from overlooking this most important truth that so many errors have prevailed in the prediction of consequences; that nations have sometimes been enriched when it was expected that they would be impoverished, and impoverished when it was expected that they would be enriched.'— Malthus's Political Economy, chap. vii. sec. 7.

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re-exportation of the excessive supply, by exemption from transit duties, port charges, and the like burdens to the utmost degree possible. If the colonies now get a higher value than other sources of like produce, under a system of freedom, the price must fall to them; but if the colonies get a lower, which it is probable is the general case, then the country cannot change for the better, but would lose by admitting other states to an intercourse with the colonies, and participation of the advantages.

It is unjust to oblige the colonies to receive their supplies from this country, and yet refuse to them the admission of their produce here, at the same time restraining them from sending it elsewhere. Yet this is, in some respects, our system with respect to the British North American settlements. This is the only country in Europe,' said Mr. Fox, in which the colonies are permitted to sell their crops; surely then, by every principle of reason and natural justice, they should also have an exclusive access to our markets; a monopoly subsisting on one side, necessarily implying a monopoly also on the other.'

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Whatever restrictions fall upon the consumption of the labourers or slaves of the colonies, or directly on the formation of the pro duce, tend to raise its price; but whatever fall upon the articles used by the planter and the easier orders of the community, may operate as a tax allowable in favour of the protecting country.

In conformity with these views of the relation of the metropolitan state and the colonies, that is to place them in such a situation as to raise their produce with the same advantage as independent states, or, if possible, with greater, but always to preserve their connexion with the mother-country and its dependencies in preference to one with foreign nations; it is often matter of difficulty to regulate the intercourse of settlements with other countries, in the way that circumstances will often render in part indispensable, in part advisable. Our West India colonies stand in this peculiar situation with regard to the United States of America.

The vicinity of these states renders them the readiest resort for the supply of provisions and lumber, while, on the other hand, their population offers a considerable vent for the produce of the colonies. Previously to the separation of the United States from Great Britain, the most free intercourse was allowed between them and the West India possessions in all articles, whether those called enumerated (or otherwise confined to the mother-country) or non-enumerated. This intercourse ceased under the operation of the navigation laws, when the North American provinces became an independent state. The provisions and lumber of America were, however, found indispensable to our colonies, and the governors

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