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So that, while our West India and It is easy to see how it has bapNorth American colonies, under this pened that, in competition with the protective system, support 1,196,854 shipowners of every country, the Britons of British shipping against 3,724 tish shipowners have suffered so much of foreign, or 300 to 1 nearly; the under the partial operation of the American trade with the United States free-trade principles which the recionly maintains 437,095 of British procity system has afforded. It is the against 651,189 of foreign; in other inevitable fate of the old and the words about 2 to 3 nearly! But the rich state, in shipbuilding and agriFree-traders think it better to adopt culture to be undersold by the young the system which makes the foreign and the poor one.
The reason shipping to the British as 3 to 2, than that the old state, by the very magniuphold the one which has brought the tude of its wealih, the amount of its foreign shipping to the British, in the transactions, the number of its inhacolonial trade, as 1 to 300 !
bitants, the multitude of its fabrics, Observe, too the decisive proof is obliged to pay much higher for which the same return affords of the labour and materials of all sorts than vast superiority, in every point of the young and the poor one. Maview, of our colonial trade to our chinery and the steam engine comforeign, even in the hands of our best pensate, and more than compensate, free-trade customers, the Americans. This superiority in regard to manufacFor while less than 3,000,000 of souls tured articles. England undersells between the West Indian and North Hindostan where wages are a penny American colonies furnished employ; or twopence a day, by the work of ment to 1,197,000 tons of British and steam-power looms working on cotton foreign shipping, of which 1,193,000 raised on the banks of the Ganges. was British ; twenty millions of Ame. But there is no steam-power loom in ricans in the United States only fur- shipbuilding any more than in agri. nished employment to 1,088,284 tons culture. Great things in nautical of shipping, in all of which no more affairs, as in rural economy, can be than 437,095 were British! And this effected only by the labour of man's is the pet instance of the Free traders, hands and ihe sweat of his brow, in their favourite cheval de bataille-10 the last ages of civilization, as in the demonstrate the great superiority of tirst. It would appear to be a perfree and foreign over protected and manent law of nature, to which there colonial traile!
is no exception in any age of the Again, if we take the comparative world, or any stage of human progress, progress of British and American ton- that the chief branches of industry on nage in conducing the trade of the which the subsistence and defence of United States, since the reciprocity nations rest—agriculture, and the system was begun in 1823, the same naval and military arts—are pursued conclusion is forced upon the mind. more cheaply and with more success Not only is the American shipping, by young and rising than old and throughout the whole period, superior opulent states. History is full of exto the British in the proportion gene. amples in which the manufactures of rally of 3 to 1, but this superiority rich and ancient nations have obtained in their favour remains undiminished an undisputed supremacy over the in any material degree. We take the fabrics of poor and rising ones; but it following returns from Mr. Porter: presents still more examples of the
encroachments made on the industry British American
and power of old nations by the agriYear, tons inwards. tons inwards. cultural produce, or naval and mili1823 63,606
165,699 tary efforts of young ones. It is this 1826 47,711
151,765 law of nature which provides for the 1829 6 1,343
decay and ruin of nations when they 1832 95,203
167,359 1835 86,383
are approaching the limit of tbeir
allotted state of existence, and should 83,203
357,467 1841 121,777
give place to others entering on the 1844 206,183
career which they have terminated. 1845 224,089
444.609 No efforts of buman energy or virtue 1846 205,123
435,399 can prolong, for any considerable
period, this allotted space. But it is persist in and even extend a system the peculiar reproach of free trade which, without diminishing in the whether applied 10 agriculture or slightest degree the jealousy of Connautical affairs, that it tends to tinental nations at our manufacturing shorten, instead of prolonging, the superiority, has inflicted a serious and life of the nation to which it is ap- gratuitous wound on the naval replied, by oppressing instead of reliev. sources by which alone that superioring those vital branches of industry ity can be maintained ? on which its existence depends, and We have recently made a very great thus both aggravates the natural evils stride in free-trade principles, by the incident to old age, and accelerates sacrifice of our agricultural protection, the approach of the political society and the throwing open the English to the tomb.
markets to cultivators of all nations. When Mr. Huskisson, in 1823, intro. In the three last months of 1846, and duced the Reciprocity System, he did even of 1847, in consequence of the not dispute thai it would injure our import duties being removed, above maritime interests; but he contended £30,000,000 sterling was sent that it would open a new field for our of the country to purchase foreign manufactures,—that the time had now grain; and the moderate duty of eight arrived when the Protective System shillings a quarter has since been recould no longer be maintained, and it imposed on wheat,- yet it terminates had become indispensable to sacrifice in February next, and corn from all to a certain extent our maritime in- quarters will then be admitted for the terests, in order to preserve the chief nominal duty of one shilling a quarter. vents on Continental Europe for the We have abandoned the protection industry of our artizans. The sacri- of our colonies 10 conciliate the slavefice was made, and the tables already growing states, and augment the margiven show with what fatal effect to ket for Manchester goods in Cuba and our shipping interest. Has it extended Brazil. With what disastrous effects the market for our manufactures, or these changes have been attended, diminished the jealousy with which upon the best interests of the empire, they are regarded by the states of need be told to none who are familiar Continental Europe ? Let the Zoll. with the total ruin which has in converein league, at the head of which sequence overtaken our West India Prussia has placed herself, and which colonies, and the unprecedented dis. has imposed duties to an amount, in tress which prevails in all the great practical operation, of fifty per cent. seats of our manufacturing industry. on our manufactures, give ihe answer. The loss of half the realized wealth of The exports which we send to the Liverpool, Manchester, and Glasgow, states of Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and the creation or nearly a hundred and Prussia, are still after a quarter thousand persons, including dependof a century's experience of the im- ants, in state of pauperism, in each mense impulse it has given to their of those once rich and prosperous maritime interests, and corresponding cities, is the price which, in a year and depression to ours, a perfect trifle.* a half, we have paid for the adoption Our exports to America are less than by Sir R. Peel of Mr. Cobden's prin. they were fifteen years ago, despite ciples of free-trade, and Mr. Jones the boasted conciliatory effect of Loyd's principles of a feltered curtwenty years' reciprocity. What can rency. Have we, ir consequence, be more injudicious, therefore, than to reaped any countervailing advantage,
* Exports from Great Britain-to 1844 Sweden
505,384 Porter's Progress of the Nation, p. 366, 2d edition. + Exports to United States of America :1836
or does the increase of our export of adding a fifth to the apparent tonand import trade show any benefit nage of all British vessels, subsequent derived io the nation, to compensate to ihat date. This change was clearly sach dreadful wounds inflicted on its proved by the witnesses examined internal prosperity, in the attempt to before the Commons' Committee ; but disarm the jealousy of foreign manu- though Mr. Porter, in his last edition facturers ? So far from it, onr ex- of the Progress of the Nation, menports and imports have steadily tions the change, (p. 368), he makes declined since 'free-trade principles no allusion to it in comparing the were introduced. All the main sources amount of British and foreign tonnage of our strength have diminished since since 1834. Of course a fifth must Sir R. Peel abandoned protection in be deducted from British tonnage, as July 1846. In adopting these prin- compared with foreign, since that ciples, we have gratuitously inflicted time; and what overwhelming force a grievous wound on our own people, does this give to the facts, already without having obtained for them the strong, in regard to the effect of the shadow even of a benefit to compen- reciprocity system on our maritime sate the evil.
interests! Such have been the effects of free. The second is, that the tonnage trade principles on the comparative with countries near Great Britain, prosperity of British and foreign ship- such as France, Belgium, and Holping, on the showing of the Free- land, includes steam vessels carrying traders themselves, and according to passengers and their repeated voythe figures which their great statis. ages. In this way a boat, measuring tician, Mr. Porter, has prepared and 148 tons, and carrying passengers published at the Board of Trade. We chiefly comes to figure in the returns were unwilling to mix up a great na- for 24,000 tons ! It is evident that tional question, such as the repeal of this important circumstance deprives the Navigation Laws, with any sub- the returns of such near states of all ordinate examination as to the accuracy value in the estimate of the comparaor inaccuracy of the view of our mari. tive amount of tonnage engaged time affairs which these figures exhibit. the trade with different countries. Such is the strength of the case, ibat That with France will appear greatest it will admit of almost any concession ; in spring 1848, in consequence of the and the opponents of their repeal have number of large vessels then employ. no occasion to go farther than to the ed in bringing back English residents statistics of their adversaries for the expelled by, or terrified at, the Revolumost decisive refutation of their prin- tion—though that circumstance was ciples. But there are two observa. putting a stop 10 nearly all the comtions on the tables published by the mercial intercourse between the two Board of Trade, so important that countries. As steam navigation bas they cannot be passed over in silence. so immensely increased since 1834, The first is, that in 1834, when Mr. when the changes in the measurement Poulett Thomson was president of was introduced—and Great Britain, the Board of Trade, a regulation was from its store of coal and iron, enjoys made by the Board as to the measure more of that traffic than all Europe put ment of vessels, which had the effect together--this is another circumstance
-Porter's Parl. Tables ; and Parl, Paper, 3d April 1848.
which militates against the returns as which has revived Chartism, and exhibiting a fair view of our trade, rendered it so menacing in the land. compared with that of foreign nations, We should like to see how long a especially with near countries, and legislature, elected by universal suf. fully jusiifies Mr. Porter's admission, frage, would allow Spitalfields and when examined before the Lords' Macclesfield to be pauperized by Lyons committee, that “considerable fallacy silks, and Manchester invaded by is to be found in the returns." Un- Rouen cottons, and the shipwrights of fortunately for the Free-traders, how. Hull and Sunderland 10 be ruined by ever, who had the preparation of them Baltic shipbuilders. As the operative in their hands, these fallacies all point classes have obtained the ascendency one way-viz., to augment the appa- in the principal Continental states, a rent advantages of free-trade in ship- sinilar jealousy of foreign interference ping
with industry may with certainty be Such as free-trade principles are, looked for in Continental Europe. Can they are evidently not likely to re- anything be more insane, therefore, main, if these islands are excepted, than 10 persist in a policy fraught, as Jong in the ascendant either in the every thing around us demonstrates, Old or the New World. The American with such ruinous social injury to ourtariff shows us how little we have to selves, and which the progress of po. expect from Transatlantic favour to litical change on the Continent renders our manufactures; the savage expul- incapable of producing the ultimate sion of English labourers from France, benefits, in exchange for those evils how far the principles of “ Liberty, which their authors hold out as the inEquality, and Fraternity,” are likely ducing causes of the ineasures which to be acted upon by our enthusiastic have produced them? and democratic neighbours on the While the political changes which Continent of Europe. It is clear have recently occurred on ihe Contifrom the communist and socialist nent of Europe have rendered any reprinciples now in the ascendant, both ciprocity of advantages utterly hopeat Paris, Berlin, and Vienna, that less from the most violent adoption of the interests of labour will above all free-trade principles, they have augthings be considered by their gov- mented in a proportional degree the ernments in future times, and that the dangers to this country of foreign ag. must rigorous measures, in the form gression, and the risk to be appreof fiscal regulations, if not absolute hended from any diminution of our prohibition, may shortly be expected naval resources. The days have in France, Italy, and Germany, gone by when the dream of a free against manufactures of any sort trade millennium, in which a reciprowhich interfere, or seem to interfere, city of advantages is to extinguish all with the interests of the dominant feelings of hostility, and war is to be multitude of operatives. Why does our looked back to as a relic of the pregovernment adhere so strongly, in the Adamite world, can with safety be inface of the clearest evidence of their dulged. It is rather too late to think ruinous tendency, to the present system of ihe termination of the angry pasof free trade and a fettered currency ? sions of men, when Europe, in its Because it works well for the great length and breadth, is devastated alike capitalists, who desire to have money by civil diss nsion and foreign war. dear, and the great manufacturers, fare; when barricades have so recently who wish to have labour cheap, and been erected in all its chief capitals; because a majority of the House of when bloodshed is hourly expected in Commons has been placed by the Re- Paris and Berlin; when the Emperor form Bill under their influence. Give of Austria has fled to Innspruck; when the operatives the majority, and the every station in London was, only a opposite interest will instantly pre- few days ago, occupied by armed bat. vail. A successful Chartist revolt talions; and when a furious war, would at once send the whole free rousing the passions of whole races trade and fettered currency measures of men, is raging on the Mincio and by the board in three months. In truth, the Elbe. Threatened by a raging it is the disasters they have produced fire in all the countries by which we
are surrounded, uncertain whether we Navigation Laws, so long the bulwark
While Western Europe is torn by on the maintenance of our colonies.