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class government; and how entirely mons, that the Protection Party such class government blinds the seemed to consider every importation vision even of the most clear-sighted, as in itself an evil, inasmuch as it to any thing but the perception of its displaced a corresponding amount of own immediate interests ?
native industry; but that till he found The evidence taken before the Com- that goods were brought by merchants mons' committee, on the comparative into the country for nothing, he never cost of building and navigating ships could see how importation did not enin the north of Europe and in this courage domestic industry as much as country, comes to this, that both are home orders. This is manfully spoken: about twice as expensive in this it comes home to the kernel of the quescountry as on the shores of the tion. It is pleasing to have to contend Baltic. A copper-sheathed vessel, with such an antagonist. We will anwhich there costs £4500, cannot here swer him equally briefly,and, as it seems be constructed for less than £9000: to us, decisively. The difference bea master's wages there, which are tween home orders and foreign orders £2, 11s. a month, are here £5 for the is this, that the one encourages indussame period: seamen's, there 7d. a try at both ends, viz., in the consumers day, besides provisions, &c., are here and the producers; the other, at one 1s. 2d. Every thing else is in the end only, viz., in the consumer. This same proportion. Shipbuilding and difference, however, may become vital ship-navigating are twice as costly to the national fortunes. If a London in Great Britain as they are in Norway merchant pays £20,000 a-year to and Denmark. How could it be British shipowners and seamen, he otherwise, when they have the ma- keeps in motion at once the industry terials of ships and rigging at their of the consumers, by whose produce doors, while we have to transport the freights are ultimately paid, and them to the British shores from the industry of the seafaring classes Canada or the Baltic; and they are by whom they are earned. But if he the poor nations, whose money being pays the £20,000 a-year not to Briscarce goes far, and we are the rich tish but foreign shipowners, the only one, whose money being compara- industry put in motion, so far as we tively plentiful goes but a little way. are concerned, is that which raises the Compare the cost of living in London produce which is to pay the freight. during the season, with what it is in The other end of the chain is placed Aberdeen or Inverness, and you will in Norway or America, and any enat once see the main cause of the ex- couragement to industry there afforded traordinary difference in the value of is wholly lost to England. It is just money, and consequently in the the difference between rents spent in money-price of articles, in the two Great Britain, and rents spent in situations. The difference in the cost Paris or Naples. of shipbuilding and seamanship, viz. Doubtless they are the same thing, one half, is nearly the same as the so far as the whole world is concerned; difference in the cost of raising sugar but are they the same thing so far as in our free-labour colonies and the that portion of the world in which we foreign slave ones, which is £10 a are interested, viz., the British Islands, ton in the former situation, and is concerned ? Unquestionably they £4 in the latter. And it is in the are not. What the Protectionists say perfect knowledge of the entire ruin is, not that no British industry is enwhich the approach even to a free couraged when importation takes trade in sugar has brought, under place : they know perfectly it is enthese circumstances, upon the British couraged at their end of the line; West India islands, that government what they say is, that it is not enare prepared to force a similar dis- couraged at the other end, because that astrous competition upon the British other end rests in foreign states; and shipowners, and through them on the that it is unwise to encourage industry palladium of British independence, at one end only, when it is possible the royal navy.
to do so at both. Adam Smith saw this Mr Labouchere said, in the debate perfectly when he so well explained the on this subject in the House of Com- difference between the home trade and foreign trade, and said the former was of Shinar; or as Waterloo Bridge is of "worth all foreign trade put together." the wealth produced by the favourable But his observations on this head are maritime situation of London, or York as much forgotten by the majority of Cathedral of the agricultural riches of our legislators as those he made on the the plains of Yorkshire. In all these great wisdom of our Navigation Laws, causes there is a relation between the as the only security for our national natural advantages which produce the independence.
riches and the durable monument to Mr M Gregor said in debate on the the construction of which they lead, same subject, that " he admitted our and that relation is that of cause and naval strength had co-existed with effect. We entirely concur with the the Navigation Laws, but he denied member for Glasgow in thinking that that they were cause and effect. They the same connexion, and no other, had about as much to do with each other subsists between the Navigation Laws as the height of the Pyramids had with and the maritime greatness of Engthe floods of the Nile."* We agree with land as existed formerly between the the honourable member for Glasgow Pyramids of Egypt and the fertilising in one part of this observation. The floods which encircle their base. Navigation Laws have had as much to To prove that these remarks are do with our maritime prosperity as the not made at random, but that the NaPyramids had with the floods of the vigation Laws really are the foundaNile; and we will tell the ex-secretary tion of the maritime greatness of Engof the board of trade what the relation land, and that, when they are repealed, was it was that of cause and effect. Mr it must of necessity languish and M Gregor is too well informed not to ultimately expire, we subjoin three know that there exists in Cairo & tables : one showing the progress of Nilometer, and that, during the period British as compared with foreign of the inundation, the spirits of the shipping, from 1801 to 1823, when people and the animation of commerce the protection of the Navigation Laws rise and fall with the rise or fall of was first infringed upon by the adopthe prolitic stream. It is no wonder tion of the reciprocity system with the they do 80, for it is the source of life Baltic powers; and another showand prosperity to the whole commu- ing the comparative progress of our nity. Raised by the power of the foreign and home shipping with l'haraohs from the riches produced by Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and the inundations of former times, the Prussia, the countries with whom l’yramids are the Nilometer of anti- reciprocity treaties were first conquity, as much as the tower of Babel cluded, from 1823 to the end of 1847, aud the ruins of Babylon were the mo- when the reciprocity system had been nument of the opulence of the plain a quarter of a century in operation.
Tant showing the comparative progress of British and Foreign Tonnage inwards,
from 1891 to 1817, both inclusive, with Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Prussia.
-PORTER's Parliamentary Tables; and Parliamentary Report, 3d April 1848.
Thus, while our shipping with the comparative growth of our whole tonwhole world quadrupled, as compared nage, as compared with that of foreign with the foreign employed in the same states, from 1801 to 1823, when the trade, under the protective system, reciprocity system began; and again from 1801 to 1823; it declined under from thence to 1847, when free trade the reciprocity system of equal duties, in shipping was in full operation by in the countries to which that system the temporary suspension of the Naviwas applied in the next twenty years, gation Laws, from the effect of the Ortill it had dwindled to a perfect frac- ders in Council in March 1847 suspendtion;-our tonnage with Sweden being, ing the Navigation Laws under the in 1847, not more than a sixteenth part pressure of the Irish famine :of the foreign ; with Norway, a fiftieth part ; with Denmark somewhat above
Tons inward, Tons inward,
TOTAL. a sixth ; with Prussia somewhat under a fourth.
1801 922,594 780,155 1,702,749 But then it is said these are selected 1802 1,333,005 480,251 1,813,256 states which do not give a fair average
1803 1,115,702 638,1041,753,806
1804 904,932 607,299 | 1,512,231 of the reciprocity system, or afford a
1805 1953,250 691 883 1,645,138 correct criterion of its probable effects
1806 1 904,367 612,904 1,517,271 when applied, as it is about to be by a 1807 Records lost general repeal of the Navigation Laws, 1808 Records lost to the whole world. If they are
1809 1938,675 759,287 | 1,697,692
1810 “ selected states," we can only say
896,001 | 1,176,243 2,072,244
1811 they were selected by Mr Hus
| 1812 Records de- stroyed by fire, kisson and the Free-traders themselves 1813 as likely to afford the best specimen of 1814 | 1,290,248 599,287 1,889,535 the effect of their principles, and there
1815 1,372,108 746,985 2,119,093 fore as the first on which the experiment
1816 1,415,723 379,465 1,795,188
1817 1,625,121 445,011 | 2,070,132 was to be made. But we are quite
1818 11,886,394 762,457 2,648,851 willing to take the general tonnage of 1819 | 1,809,128 542,684 2,351,812 the empire as the test ; and we shall 1820 | 1,668,060 447,611 | 2,115,671 commence with a quotation from the
| 1821 | 1,599,274 396,256 | 1,995,530 tables of the great statistical apostle of
1822 1,664,186 469,151 2,133,337 free trade, Mr Porter, to show the effect of free trade in shipping on the
-PORTER'S Progress of the Nation, 407.
It appears from this most instructive to the foreign as 174 to 58, or 3 to 1 table that, under the protection sys- exactly, at the close they stood as 49 tem, from 1801 to 1823, the British to 22, or somewhat above 2 to 1 only. shipping employed in conducting our And observe the vast start of foreign commerce had gained so decisively shipping as compared with British, on the foreign employed in the same since free trade was introduced by Sir commerce, that it had increased, from R. Peel in 1846. For while the British having been on an average of five years, tonnage was to the foreign in 1845 as at the commencement of the second, 43 to 17, or as 24 to 1; in the year about two British tons to one foreign, 1847 it was as 49 to 22, or 2 to 1 only. to be, on the last five years, about So rapid has been the growth of foreign four British tons to one foreign : in shipping over British in eighteen other words, during these twenty-two months of general free trade. In years, the proportion of British to ten years of such a system, it is foreign shipping had doubled.
easy to see that the foreign tonnage Turn now to the contrast afforded employed in carrying on our trade by the comparative progress of British will be equal to the British ; and then and foreign shipping from 1823, when our national independence is gone for the reciprocity system was introduced ever, for we have nursed up in our with certain states, to 1847, when it harbours a body of foreign seamen was made universal by the suspension equal to our own. of the Navigation Laws in March of But we have not yet done with the that year :
parliamentary returns. From the return 3d April 1848, it appears that
the total tonnage, British and foreign, Year. British. Foreign.
TOTAL. employed in carrying on our trade
was1823 : 1,740,859 582,996 2,323,855 1824 1,797,320 759,441 | 2,556,761 British islands. Foreign. Total. 1825, 2,144,598 958,132 3,102,730 4,942,094 2,253,939 7,196,033 tons. 1826 1,950,630 694,116 2,644,746 18:27 | 2,086,898 751,864 2,839,762 1828 2,094,357
Deduct British and foreign tons em634,620 2,728,977 1829 2,184,525 710,303 2,894,828
ployed in the colonial trade, viz.1830 2,180,042 758,828 2,938,870
Tons Brit. Tons For, 1831 2,367,322 874,605 3,241,927
inward. inward. 1832 2,185,980 639,979 | 2,825,959 1833 2,183,814 762,085 2,945,899
Brit. N. Amer. colonies 953,466 3,274 1834 2,298,263 833,905 3,132,168
243,388 1835 2,442,734 866,990 3,309,724
.Channel islands 131,899 3,049 1836 2,505,473 988,899 3,494,372 Gibraltar
11,623 1837 2,617,166 | 1,005,940 3,623,106 Malta
33,554 3,789 1838 2,785,387 | 1,211,666 3,997,053 Ionian islands
13,101 1839 3,101,650 | 1,331,365 14,433,015
203,812 6,983 3,197,501 1,460,294 4,657.795 Asia and Australia 379,529 2,774 1841 3,361,211 | 1,291,165 4,652,376 1842 | 3,294,725 | 1,205,303 4,500,028 1843 ! 3,545,346 | 1,301,950 4,847,296
Total to colonies 1,970,372 19,847 1844 | 3,647,463 1,402,138 5,049,601 1845 · 4,310,639 1,735,079 6,045,718
Thus the British trade to our colo1846' 4,294,733 1,806,2826,101,015
nial settlements is about a hundred 1847 4,942,094 2,253,939 7,196,033 times the foreign, and constitutes
nearly a third of the whole tonnage
employed in carrying on our com-PORTER's Progress of the Nation, 407, 2d edition: and Parliamentary Paper, 3d April 1848. merce, and about two-fifths of the
total British tonnage,-(1,970,372 out Thus it appears that under the of 4,942,094.) reciprocity system with some countries But it is important to discover since 1823, and free trade in shipping what proportion the British tonnage with all in 1847, the foreign shipping employed in conducting our trade employed in carrying on the British with all the world, except our colonies, trade had so rapidly grown upon the bears to the foreign tonnage employed British, that, while at the commence in the same work. That is easily ment of the period the British stood found:
Tons For. 1847. Total British tonnage,
4,942,094 Total For. con. 2,253,939 Deduct British colonial tonnage, 1,970,372 Foreign do. 19,847 Remains in trade with all the world except colonies,
2,233,092 So that, setting aside our colonial competition to which this exposed the trade, the British tonnage is to the West India planters naturally protonnage with all the rest of the world duced in them a desire to be liberated as 29 to 22, or as 4 to 3 only! Con- from any burdens to which they were sidering the rapid strides which, under subjected for the benefit of the mother the reciprocity system established country; and in this demand the only with a limited number of coun- Canadians, exposed to the competitries in 1823, the foreign shipping is tion of American grain, for a similar making in encroachment upon the reason concurred. Thus the cry for British, this fact affords room for the cheap freights, originating in freemost serious reflections. It is clear, trade principles in England, came to be from the great advance of foreign over responded to from the British colonies British shipping in the single year of on the other side of the Atlantic; and temporary suspension of the Naviga- the Navigation Laws began to be repution Laws, under the pressure of famine diated by the colonies-the very thing in 1847 — viz. from 1,735,679, to which formerly it was their most 2,253,979; while the British in the anxious desire to uphold. The firm same period advanced only from though unseen bond of mutual interest, 4,310,639, to 4,942,094,- that two or founded on protective . principles, three years of free trade in shipping which has hitherto held together the will bring the foreign vessels employed vast and widely separated dominions in conducting our trade, exclusive of of the British empire, is dissolved. those engaged in the colonial, to an Being deprived of the benefit of equality with the British. The moment protection, they very naturally wished that period arrives, our maritime to be relieved of its burdens. Such superiority, and with it our national is the maze of error and danger into independence, hang entirely on our which we have been led by the colonial trade, which, and which alone, sophistry of free trade; and such the strikes the balance at present in our way in which the greatest and best favour. And yet, the colonial trade consolidated empires are first loosened, is the precise thing which it is the and then destroyed, by the delusions object of the repeal of the Navigation of those entrusted with their guidance. Laws to throw open to foreign nations! The manner in which foreign shipIn their anxiety to cheapen every ping has encroached upon British, since thing, the Free-traders would gladly the reciprocity system began in 1823, is expose our shipping interest engaged in clearly proved by the centesimal prothe colonial trade to the same competi- portions of each, published by Mr Portion, which has already proved so disas- ter, from 1820 to 1844, both inclusive. trous to that part of it which is engaged It will be seen from the following in the traffic with foreign nations. table, that, since 1820, the centesimal
Observe how one false step in policy proportion of British shipping emby nations, like one deviation from ployed in conducting our trade has virtue in private life, leads by natural declined from 78 to 72, while that of consequences to a repetition of errors foreign nations has increased from 21 and crimes, till irreparable ruin en- to 27. But this proportion, such as sues. The agricultural interest at it is, is solely upheld by our colonial home was first attacked; and by the trade, which, as already shown, emcry of cheap bread, and the weight of ploys nearly 2,000,000 tons of our class legislation, its protection was shipping. But for it, the encroachment taken away. The West India islands of foreign on British shipping would were the next victims; because, if appear in such alarming colours as to the farmer in England raises his strike the most inconsiderate. It is wheat with nothing but a nominal the rapid growth of our colonial trade protection, it was plausible to say the under the protective system which has West India planter must raise his alone concealed the ravages effected sugar on the same terms. The ruinous on it by free trade under the reciprocity.