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ours; not only during the war, but even for more So far as to our trade.
As to our trade at that time, he labours with all his might to represent it as absolutely ruined, or on the very edge of ruin. Indeed, as usual with him, he is often as equivocal in his expression, as he is clear in his design. Sometimes he more than insinuates a decay of our commerce in that war; sometimes he admits an encrease of exports; but it is in order to depreciate the advantages we might appear to derive from that encrease, whenever it should come to be proved against him. He tells you," that it was chiefly occasioned by the de"mands of our own fleets and armies, and, in"stead of bringing wealth to the nation, was to "be paid for by oppressive taxes upon the people of England." Never was any thing more destitute of foundation. It might be proved, with the greatest ease, from the nature and quality of the goods exported, as well as from the situation of the places to which our merchandize was sent, and which the war could no wise affect, that the supply of our fleets and armies could not have been the cause of this wonderful encrease of trade: its cause was evident to the whole world; the ruin of the trade of France, and our possession of her colonies. What wonderful effects this cause produced the reader will see below;† and he will form on that account some judgment of the author's candour cr information.
Admit however that a great part of our export, though nothing is more remote from fact, was owing to the supply of our fleets and armies; was it not something? was it not peculiarly fortunate for a nation, that she was able from her own bosom to contribute largely to the supply of her armies militating in so many distant countries? The author allows that France did not enjoy the same advantages. But it is remarkable, throughout his whole book, that those circumstances which have ever been considered as great benefits, and decisive proofs of national superiority, are, when in our hands, taken either in diminution of some other apparent advantage, or even sometimes as positive misfortunes. The opticks of that politician must be of a strange conformation, who beholds every thing in this distorted shape.
With regard to our navigation, he is still more uneasy at our situation, and still more fallacious in his state of it. In his text, he affirms it" to have been entirely engrossed "by the neutral nations." This he asserts roundly and boldly, and without the least concern; although it cost no more than a single glance of the eye upon his own margin to see the full refutation of this assertion. His own account proves against him, that, in the year 1761, the British shipping amounted to 527,557 tons-the foreign to no more than 180,102. The medium of his six years British, 2,449,555 tons-foreign only 905,690. This state (his own) demonstrates that the neutral nations did not entirely engross our navigation.
I am willing from a strain of candour to admit that this author speaks at random; that he is only slovenly and inaccurate, and not fallacious. matters of account, however, this want of care is not excusable: and the difference between neutral nations entirely engrossing our navigation, and being only subsidiary to a vastly augmented trade, makes a most material difference to his argument. From that principle of fairness, though the author speaks otherwise, I am willing to suppose he means no more than that our navigation had so declined as to alarm us with the probable loss of this valuable object. I shall however shew, that his whole proposition, whatever modifications he may please to give it, is without foundation; that our navigation had not decreased; that, on the contrary, it had greatly encreased in the war; that it had encreased by the war; and that it was probable the same cause would continue to augment it to a still greater height; to what an height it is hard to say, had our success continued.
But first I must observe, I am much less solicitous whether his fact be true or no, than whether his principle be well established. Cases are dead things, principles are living and productive. I affirm then, that, if in time of war our trade had the good fortune to encrease, and at the same time a large, nay the largest, proportion of carriage had been engrossed by neutral nations, it ought not in itself to have been considered as a circumstance of distress. War is a time of inconvenience to trade; in general it must be straitened, and must find its way as it can. It is often happy for nations that they are able to call in neutral navigation. They all aim at it. France endeavoured at it, but could not compass it. Will this author say, that, in a war with Spain, such
Here is the state of our trade in 1761, compared with a very good year of profound peace: both are taken from the authentick entries at the custom-house. How the author can contrive to make this encrease of the export of English produce agree with his account of the dreadful want of hands in England, p. 9, unless he supposes manufactures to be made without hands, I really do not see. It is painful to be so frequently obliged to set this author right in matters of fact. This state will fully refute all that he has said or insinuated upon the difficulties and decay of our trade, p. 6, 7, and 9.
1 P. 7. See also p. 13.
an assistance would not be of absolute necessity? that it would not be the most gross of all follies to refuse it?
In the next place, his method of stating a medium of six years of war, and six years of peace, to decide this question, is altogether unfair. To say, in derogation of the advantages of a war, that navigation was not equal to what it was in time of peace, is what hitherto has never been heard of. No war ever bore that test but the war which he so bitterly laments. One may lay it down as a maxim, that an average estimate of an object in a steady course of rising or of falling, must in its nature be an unfair one; more particularly if the cause of the rise or fall be visible, and its continuance in any degree probable. Average estimates are never just but when the object fluctuates, and no reason can be assigned why it should not continue still to fluctuate. The author chooses to allow nothing at all for this: he has taken an average of six years of the war. He knew, for every body knows, that the first three years were on the whole rather unsuccessful; and that, in consequence of this ill success, trade sunk, and navigation declined with it; but that grand delusion of the three last years turned the scale in our favour. At the beginning of that war (as in the commencement of every war) traders were struck with a sort of panick. Many went out of the freighting business. But by degrees, as the war continued, the terrour wore off; the danger came to be better appreciated, and better provided against; our trade was carried on in large fleets, under regular convoys, and with great safety. The freighting business revived. The ships were fewer, but much larger; and though the number decreased, the tonnage was vastly augmented; insomuch that in 1761 the British shipping had risen by the author's own account 527,557 tons.-In the last year he has given us of the peace, it amounted to no more than 494,772; that is, in the last year of the war it was 32,785 tons more than in the correspondent
year of his peace average. No year of the peace
exceeded it except one, and that but little.
The fair account of the matter is this. Our trade had, as we have just seen, encreased to so astonishing a degree in 1761, as to employ British and foreign ships to the amount of 707,659 tons, which is 149,500 more than we employed in the last year of the peace. Thus our trade encreased more than a fifth; our British navigation had encreased likewise with this astonishing encrease of trade, but was not able to keep pace with it; and we added about 120,000 tons of foreign shipping to the 60,000, which had been employed in the last year of the peace. Whatever happened to our shipping in the former years of the war, this would be no true state of the case at the time of the treaty. If we had lost something in the beginning, we had then recovered, and more than recovered, all our losses. Such is the ground of the doleful complaints of the author, that the carrying trade was wholly engrossed by the neutral nations.
I have done fairly, and even very moderately, in taking this year, and not his average, as the standard of what might be expected in future, had the war continued. The author will be compelled to allow it, unless he undertakes to shew, first, that the possession of Canada, Martinico, Guadaloupe, Grenada, the Havannah, the Philippines, the whole African trade, the whole East India trade, and the whole Newfoundland fishery, had no certain inevitable tendency to encrease the British shipping; unless, in the second place, he can prove that those trades were, or might be, by law or indulgence, carried on in foreign vessels; and unless, thirdly, he can demonstrate that the premium of insurance on British ships was rising as the war continued. He can prove not one of these points. I will shew him a fact more that is mortal to his assertions. It is the state of our shipping in 1762. The author had his reasons for stopping short at the preceding year. It would have appeared, had he proceeded farther, that our tonnage was in a course of uniform augmentation, owing to the freight derived from our foreign conquests, and to the perfect security of our navigation from our clear and decided superiority at sea. This, I say, would have appeared from the state of the two years:
The two last years of the peace were in no degree equal to these. Much of the navigation of 1763 was also owing to the war; this is manifest from the large part of it employed in the carriage from the ceded islands, with which the communication still continued open. No such circumstances of glory and advantage ever attended upon a war. Too happy will be our lot, if we should again be forced into a war, to behold any thing that shall resemble them; and if we were not then the better for them, it is not in the ordinary course of God's providence to mend our condition.
In vain does the author declaim on the high premiums given for the loans during the war. His long note swelled with calculations on that subject (even supposing the most inaccurate of all calculations to be just) would be entirely thrown away, did it not serve to raise a wonderful opinion of his financial skill in those who are not less surprised than edified, when, with a solemn face and mysterious air, they are told that two and two make four. For what else do we learn from this note? That the more expence is incurred by a nation, the more money will be required to defray it; that in proportion to the continuance of that expence, will be the continuance of borrowing: that the encrease of borrowing and the encrease of debt will go hand in hand; and lastly, that the more money you want, the harder it will be to get it; and that the scarcity of the commodity will enhance the price. Who ever doubted the truth, or
the insignificance, of these propositions? what do they prove? that war is expensive, and peace desirable. They contain nothing more than a common- -place against war; the easiest of all topicks. To bring them home to his purpose, he ought to have shewn that our enemies had money upon better terms; which he has not shewn, neither can he. I shall speak more fully to this point in another place. He ought to have shewn that the money they raised, upon whatever terms, had procured them a more lucrative return. He knows that our expenditure purchased commerce and conquest theirs acquired nothing but defeat and bankruptcy.
ed to credit the nation for the Havannah itself; a place surely full as well situated for every external purpose as Pensacola, and of more internal benefit than ten thousand Pensacolas.
Thus the author has laid down his ideas on the subject of war. Next follow those he entertains on that of peace. The treaty of Paris upon the whole has his approbation. Indeed, if his account of the war be just, he might have spared himself all further trouble. The rest is drawn on as an inevitable conclusion. If the house of Bourbon had the advantage, she must give the law; and the peace, though it were much worse than it is, had still been a good one. 66 But, as the world is yet deluded on the state of that war, other arguments are necessary; and the author has in my opinion very ill supplied them. He tells of many things we have got, and of which he has made out a kind of bill. This matter may be brought within a very narrow compass, if we come to consider the requisites of a good peace under some plain distinct heads. I apprehend they may be reduced to these: 1. Stability; 2. Indemnification; 3. Alliance.
As to the first, the author more than obscurely hints in several places, that he thinks the peace not likely to last. However, he does furnish a security; a security, in any light, I fear, but insufficient; on his hypothesis, surely a very odd one : "By stipulating for the entire possession of the "continent, (says he,) the restored French islands are become in some measure dependent on the "British empire; and the good faith of France in "observing the treaty guaranteed by the value at "which she estimates their possession." This author soon grows weary of his principles. They seldom last him for two pages together. When the advantages of the war were to be depreciated, then the loss of the ultramarine colonies lightened the expences of France, facilitated her remittances, and therefore her colonists put them into our hands. According to this author's system, the actual session of those colonies ought to give us little or no advantage in the negociation for peace; and yet the chance of possessing them on a future occasion gives a perfect security for the preservation of that peace. The conquest of the Havannah, if it did not serve Spain, rather distressed England, says our author. § But the molestation which her galleons may suffer from our station in Pensacola gives us advantages, for which we were not allow
• P. 12, 13.
The author sets very little by conquests; || I suppose it is because he makes them so very lightly. On this subject he speaks with the greatest certainty imaginable. We have, according to him, nothing to do, but to go and take possession, whenever we think proper, of the French and Spanish settlements. It were better that he had examined a little what advantage the peace gave us towards the invasion of these colonies, which we did not possess before the peace. It would not have been amiss if he had consulted the publick experience, and our commanders, concerning the absolute certainty of those conquests on which he is pleased to found our security. And if, after all, he should have discovered them to be so very sure, and so very easy, he might at least, to preserve consistency, have looked a few pages back, and (no unpleasing thing to him) listened to himself, where he says, "that the most successful enterprise could not compensate to the nation for the waste of its peo"ple, by carrying on war in unhealthy climates."¶ A position which he repeats again, page 9.So that, according to himself, his security is not worth the suit; according to fact, he has only a chance, God knows what a chance, of getting at it; and therefore, according to reason, the giving up the most valuable of all possessions, in hopes to conquer them back, under any advantage of situation, is the most ridiculous security that ever was imagined for the peace of a nation. is true his friends did not give up Canada; they could not give up every thing; let us make the most of it. We have Canada, we know its value. We have not the French any longer to fight in North America; and from this circumstance we derive considerable advantages. But here let me rest a little. The author touches upon a string which sounds under his fingers but a tremulous and melancholy note. North America was once indeed a great strength to this nation, in opportunity of ports, in ships, in provisions, in men. found her a sound, an active, a vigorous member of the empire. I hope, by wise management, she will again become so. But one of our capital present misfortunes is her discontent and disobedience. To which of the author's favourites this discontent is owing, we all know but too sufficiently. It would be a dismal event, if this foundation of his security, and indeed of all our publick strength, should, in reality, become our weakness; and if all the powers of this empire, which ought to fall with a compacted weight upon the head of our enemies, should be dissipated and distracted by a jealous vigilance, or by hostile attempts upon one another. Ten Canadas cannot restore that security for the peace, and for every thing valuable to this country, which we have lost along with
the affection and the obedience of our colonies. He is the wise minister, he is the true friend to Britain, who shall be able to restore it.
To return to the security for the peace. The author tells us, that the original great purposes of the war were more than accomplished by the treaty. Surely he has experience and reading enough to know, that, in the course of a war, events may happen, that render its original very far from being its principal purpose. This original may dwindle by circumstances, so as to become not a purpose of the second or even the third magnitude. I trust this is so obvious that it will not be necessary to put cases for its illustration. In that war, as soon as Spain entered into the quarrel, the security of North America was no longer the sole nor the foremost object. The Family Compact had been I know not how long before in agitation. But then it was that we saw produced into daylight and action the most odious and most formidable of all the conspiracies against the liberties of Europe that ever has been framed. The war with Spain was the first fruits of that league; and a security against that league ought to have been the fundamental point of a pacification with the powers who compose it. We had materials in our hands to have constructed that security in such a manner as never to be shaken. But how did the virtuous and able men of our author labour for this great end? They took no one step towards it. On the contrary they countenanced, and, indeed, as far as it depended on them, recognized it in all its parts; for our plenipotentiary treated with those who acted for the two crowns, as if they had been different ministers of the same monarch. The Spanish minister received his instructions, not from Madrid, but from Versailles.
This was not hid from our ministers at home, and the discovery ought to have alarmed them, if the good of their country had been the object of their anxiety. They could not but have seen that the whole Spanish monarchy was melted down into the cabinet of Versailles. But they thought this circumstance an advantage; as it enabled them to go through with their work the more expeditiously. Expedition was every thing to them; because France might happen during a protracted negociation to discover the great imposition of our
In the same spirit they negociated the terms of the peace. If it were thought advisable not to take any positive security from Spain, the most obvious principles of policy dictated that the burthen of the cessions ought to fall upon France; and that every thing which was of grace and favour should be given to Spain. Spain could not, on her part, have executed a capital article in the family compact, which obliged her to compensate the losses of France. At least she could not do it in America; for she was expressly precluded by the treaty of Utrecht from ceding any territory or giving any advantage in trade to that power. What did our ministers? They took from Spain the territory of Florida, an object of no value
except to shew our dispositions to be quite equal at least towards both powers; and they enabled France to compensate Spain by the gift of Louisiana; loading us with all the harshness, leaving the act of kindness with France, and opening thereby a door to the fulfilling of this the most consolidating article of the family compact. Accordingly that dangerous league, thus abetted and authorized by the English ministry without an attempt to invalidate it in any way, or in any of its parts, exists to this hour; and has grown stronger and stronger every hour of its exist
As to the second component of a good peace, compensation, I have but little trouble; the author has said nothing upon that head. He has nothing to say. After a war of such expence, this ought to have been a capital consideration. But on what he has been so prudently silent, I think it is right to speak plainly. All our new acquisitions together, at this time, scarce afford matter of revenue, either at home or abroad, sufficient to defray the expence of their establishments; not one shilling towards the reduction of our debt. Guadaloupe or Martinico alone would have given us material aid; much in the way of duties, much in the way of trade and navigation. A good ministry would have considered how a renewal of the Assiento might have been obtained. We had as much right to ask it at the treaty of Paris as at the treaty of Utrecht. We had incomparably more in our hands to purchase it. Floods of treasure would have poured into this kingdom from such a source; and, under proper management, no small part of it would have taken a publick direction, and have fructified an exhausted exchequer.
If this gentleman's hero of finance, instead of flying from a treaty, which, though he now defends, he could not approve, and would not oppose; if he, instead of shifting into an office, which removed him from the manufacture of the treaty, had, by his credit with the then great director, acquired for us these, or any of these, objects, the possession of Guadaloupe or Martinico, or the renewal of the Assiento, he might have held his head high in his country; because he would have performed real service; ten thousand times more real service, than all the economy of which this writer is perpetually talking, or all the little tricks of finance which the expertest juggler of the treasury can practise, could amount to in a thousand years. But the occasion is lost; the time is gone, perhaps, for ever.
As to the third requisite, alliance, there too the author is silent. What strength of that kind did they acquire? They got no one new ally; they stript the enemy of not a single old one. They disgusted (how justly, or unjustly, matters not) every ally we had; and from that time to this we stand friendless in Europe. But of this naked condition of their country I know some people are not ashamed. They have their system of politicks; our ancestors grew great by another. In this manner these virtuous men concluded the
peace; and their practice is only consonant to| and Barbadoes; Exchequer bills; and Navy their theory.
Many things more might be observed on this curious head of our author's speculations. But, taking leave of what the writer says in his serious part, if he be serious in any part, I shall only just point out a piece of his pleasantry. No man, I believe, ever denied that the time for making peace is that in which the best terms may be obtained. But what that time is, together with the use that has been made of it, we are to judge by seeing whether terms adequate to our advantages, and to our necessities, have been actually obtained. -Here is the pinch of the question, to which the author ought to have set his shoulders in earnest. Instead of doing this, he slips out of the harness by a jest; and sneeringly tells us, that, to determine this point, we must know the secrets of the French and Spanish cabinets,* and that parliament was pleased to approve the treaty of peace without calling for the correspondence concerning it. How just this sarcasm on that parliament may be, I say not; but how becoming in the author, I leave it to his friends to determine.
Having thus gone through the questions of war and peace, the author proceeds to state our debt, and the interest which it carried, at the time of the treaty, with the unfairness and inaccuracy, however, which distinguish all his assertions, and all his calculations. To detect every fallacy, and rectify every mistake, would be endless. It will be enough to point out a few of them, in order to shew how unsafe it is to place any thing like an implicit
trust in such a writer.
debt. The extreme fallacy of this state cannot escape any reader who will be at the pains to compare the interest money, with which he affirms us to have been loaded, in his State of the Nation, with the items of the principal debt to which he refers in his Considerations. The reader must observe, that of this long list of nine articles, only two, the exchequer bills, and part of the navy debt, carried any interest at all. The first amounted to 1,800,000l.; and this undoubtedly carried interest. The whole navy debt indeed amounted to 4,576,9157.; but of this only a part carried interest. The author of the Considerations, &c. labours to prove this very point in p. 18; and Mr. G. has always defended himself upon the same ground, for the insufficient provision he made for the discharge of that debt. The reader may see their own authority for it.+
Mr. G. did in fact provide no more than 2,150,000l. for the discharge of these bills in two years. It is much to be wished that these gentlemen would lay their heads together, that they would consider well this matter, and agree upon something. For when the scanty provision made for the unfunded debt is to be vindicated, then we are told it is a very small part of that debt which carries interest. But when the publick is to be represented in a miserable condition, and the consequences of the late war to be laid before us in dreadful colours, then we are to be told that the unfunded debt is within a trifle of ten millions, and so large a portion of it carries interest that we must not compute less than 3 per cent. upon the whole.
The interest of debt contracted during the war is stated by the author at 2,614,8921. The par- In the year 1764, parliament voted 650,000l. ticulars appear in pages 14 and 15. Among them towards the discharge of the navy debt. This sum is stated the unfunded debt, 9,975,0171. supposed could not be applied solely to the discharge of bills to carry interest on a medium at 3 per cent. which carrying interest; because part of the debt due on amounts to 299,2501. We are referred to the seamen's wages must have been paid, and some bills Considerations on the Trade and Finances of the carried no interest at all. Notwithstanding this, Kingdom, p. 22, for the particulars of that un- we find by an account of the Journals of the house funded debt. Turn to the work, and to the place of commons, in the following session, that the navy referred to by the author himself, if you have a debt carrying interest was, on the 31st of Decemmind to see a clear detection of a capital fallacy ber, 1764, no more than 1,687,4421. I am sure of this article in his account. You will there see therefore that I admit too much when I admit the that this unfunded debt consists of the nine fol- navy debt carrying interest, after the creation of lowing articles: the remaining subsidy to the the navy annuities in the year 1763, to have been duke of Brunswick; the remaining dedommage-2,200,000l. Add the exchequer bills; and the ment to the Landgrave of Hesse; the German demands; the army and ordnance extraordinaries; the deficiences of grants and funds; Mr. Touchett's claim; the debts due to Nova Scotia
Something however has transpired in the quarrels among those concerned in that transaction. It seems the good Genius of Britain, so much vaunted by our author, did his duty nobly. Whilst we were gaining such advantages, the court of France was astonished at our concessions. "J'ai apporté à Versailles, "il est vrai, les Ratifications du Roi d'Angleterre à vostre grand étonnement, et à celui de bien d'autres. Je dois cela "au bontés du Roi d'Angleterre, à celles de Milord Bute, à "Mons. le Comte de Viry, à Mons. le Duc de Nivernois, et 'en fin à mon scavoir faire." Lettres, &c. du Chev. D'Eon, p. 51.
"The navy bills are not due till six months after they have "been issued; six months also of the seamen's wages by act of "parliament must be, and in consequence of the rules prescribed "by that act, twelve months wages generally, and often much "more are retained; and there has been besides at all times a
whole unfunded debt carrying interest will be four millions instead of ten; and the annual interest paid for it at 4 per cent. will be 160,000l. instead of 299,2507. An errour of no small magnitude,
large arrear of pay, which, though kept in the account, could "never be claimed, the persons to whom it was due having left "neither assignees nor representatives. The precise amount of "such sums cannot be ascertained; but they can hardly be "reckoned less than 13 or 14 hundred thousand pounds. On 31st "Dec. 1754, when the navy debt was reduced nearly as low as it "could be, it still amounted to 1,296,5671. 188. 11d. consisting "chiefly of articles which could not then be discharged, such ar"ticles will be larger now, in proportion to the encrease of the "establishment; and an allowance must always be made for "them in judging of the state of the navy debt, though they are not "distinguishable in the account. In providing for that which is "payable, the principal object of the legislature is always to dis"charge the bills, for they are the greatest article; they bear an "interest of 4 per cent.; and when the quantity of them is large, they are a heavy incumbrance upon all money transactions."