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and restoring the British navy to its original footing, or as Robespierre was known to have said, " to starve the colónies, rather than give up an iota of their principles." The late ministers had been charged with having made fatal concessions to the neutral flags; he trusted, however, that those who have succeeded them, will not, by any rash, or precipitate measures, hurry us into those eyils such concessions were so well calculated to prevent; he trusted their sasliness would not end in a rupture with America. In 1801, the Russian convention was concluded upon, by which Russia gave up the treaty of 1756. Did the right honourable the Chancellor of the Exchequer intend to carry into office with him those sentiments which in opposition made him despise all commercial advantages, however extensive or important, which were to be held through neutral flags? He (Mr. Eden) believed he did not, and from the silence of the right honourable gentleman and his colleagues, upon the American intercourse act, he was inclined to believe that in this respect that right honourable gentleman, fortunately for the country, had abandoned those principles, which while out of power directed his opposition to this measure. He wished the House to examine attentively these accounts, which he now moved for; they would enable the House to form a just estimate of the accusation which had been thrown upon the late ministers for the neglect of the shipping interest : so far from having suffer, cd from the measures adopted by the late ministers, he would take upon him to assert that for the last year the number of British ships had increased in a proportion unexampled for the same time in any former war, notwith: standing the dininution that must naturally arise out of the high rates of insurance during a continuance of hosti, lities. He concluded with moving, that there be laid bcfore the House an account of British and foreign ships employed in the British trade for the last three years, ending 5th of January, 1807; shewing the number of vessels, tons, and men, entered inwards and cleared outwards, in each year.
Mr. Rose had no objection to the motion, but could not see what object it could answer; as to the number of British vessels in the British trade, it was not possible for the late ministers, during their short stay in office, to have diminished it in any considerable proportion. As to the American intercourse, he had no hesitation in repeating R2
from the track and American for a convenis, but lif o'cheaja
what he had when out of office stated to the House, that he thought it an act big with the worst consequences to our West India trade. It had almost driven our shi's from the trade now carried on so extensively between the West Indies and America. He had been lately applied to by an agent of Jamaica for a convoy to secure the little trade carrying on there in British bottoms, but he thought the advantages on the side of the Americans, as to cheas ness of insurance, number of vessels, and shortness of distance, too great for the British vessels to rival them in that trade. He bad, however, no objection to the motion of the right honourable gentleman, though he felt it difficult to discover what object could be attained by it, and thought it by no means justifiable to throw out any hint or dis respectful insinuations against such a weighty and respect, able body as the shipping interest of this country. .
Lord Howick thought the observations made by the · right honourable gentleman who had just sat down, the most extraordinary he had ever heard; was it to be be lieved that there was a man in that House who could sq far have mistaken his honourable friend who had made this motion, as to infer from what had fallen from him in support of it, any thing like contempt towards the shipping interest His learned friend, in the speech he had made, evinced a knowledge of the subject now before the House utterly irreconcilable with any sentiment towards the shipping interest, but that of respect. At the same time he professed to entertain the same sentiments for that body, it certainly did appear, that they were induced, un, der the influence of erroneous apprehensions, to petition that House against measures which wcre not of the nature that respectable body were led to believe; they were not productive of the consequences that certain persons were desirous of attributing to them; in this respect they were certainly misled by various reports, insidiously set on foot and industriously propagated, and they knew well how great bodies might for a time be misled by insinuations disseminated in that way. But what particularly induced him (Lord Howick) now to trespass on the indul: gence of the House was, what bad fallen from the right honourable gentieman (Mr. Rose). That gentleman had been bold enough to declare that he believed the American intercourse act had been productive of the most injurious consequences to the British trade in the West Indies, and
after so stating, the right honourable gentleman avows, that he has no intention of moving for the repeal of an act be thought so injurious; but there was even a shorter pro, cess; the repeal might not be necessary. If he understood the act, it was this, a bill to empower the king in council to permit an intercourse, &c. which, therefore, implied the sight of withholdi:g that permission; consequently all that ministers had to do, if they really thought their measure attended with such danger, was to suspend the intercourse; but if they should hesitate to do that, he did not know how to reconcile their professions and their practice. The right honourable gentleman complained of the evils which have caused the decline of our trade, compared with that of the Americans in that quarter; will the right honourable gen. tleman take upon him to say, that all those evils have sprung up within the last twelve months, or have they not existed for the last fourteen years ? and if they have been accumulating within that period, was it fair or candid to attribute them to a cause so foreign from them, for the mere pretence of justifying his friends by aitempting to criminate their predecessors ? All the reasons that existed, then, for a more, vigorous order of council, existed still; the famous decree of the 21st of November was now, as then, in full force against our commerce, and the power of the French government to enforce it, was as strong as ever, God grant that power was not now alarmingly greater! Why then not substitute for that order of council, which had been thought so weak and futile, another of more vigour, and able to effect all that the present ministérs, when in opposition, bad said that it ought to effect? · The Chancellor of the E.rchequer said, he did not rise to prolong the conversation, but merely to observe upon the candour with which the honourable mover had charged him with rąshness and precipitancy, in adopting measures which bad noi yet been adopted. Ile repeated what he had before said upon the order in council, and thought that if the decree of the 21st of November had been more firmly inet by his majesty's then ministers, such firmness would have been productive of the best possible results; but it did not at all follow, Uat though he then condemn. ed that, order, that now, under different circumstances, and at such a distance of time, he should be bound to advise its being entirely abandoned ; le should, however, assent to the motion.
hich the ithin the Twas conten; to the the answer
Sir Charles Price vindicated the shipping interest.
Lord Henry Petty said, that the honourable baronet must have totally misconceived his honourable friend, if he understood hiin to have said any thing disrespectful of the shipping interest ; as to the petitions that had been day after day presented to that House, in the course of the late Parliament, he should not say by what misrepresentations that body had been induced to present them, but this he would say, that that body had but partially acted, for certain he was that a great part of the shipping interest had nothing to do in presenting such petitions ; but what he rose to notice, was tlie extraordinary ground taken by the right honourable gentleman (Mr. Perceval); that gentleman would now abstain forsooth from more vigorous measures, in order that he might not incur the charges of rashness and precipitancy; and what had been the answer of the same right honourable gentleman, to the statements of his honourable friend? It was contended, that all the benefits resulting within the last year to the shipping interest, by which the number of British ships in the British trade had been increased in so considerable a proportion, that all those benefits could not within the short space of a year be attributed to the late ministers, because in so short a time they could have done no considerable harm, while it has been at the same time contended, that all the evils alleged to have arisen out of the intercourse act, are to be attributed to the late ministers within the same short year. With what candour the right honourable gentleman can refer to the late ministers, the evils that have been accumulating for the last fourteen years, and deny to the same men the merit of the good effects of their own measures within a year, he left it to the House to determine.
Lord Castlereagh contended that the policy of the present questions, as affecting the order of council, was widely different from what presented itself to the late ministers.
Lord Temple observed, that the order of council was issued after the treaty with America.
Mr. Secretary Canning said that he had just learned (not being in the House at the commencement of it) that that debate was on a motion which was agreed to upon all sides. As to the inconsistency with which ministers had been charged, he denied that they were bound to look to the order of council under the circumstances existing
when it was issued, but under present circumstances. At the same time he had no hesitation in declaring, that he thought that order to partake of all the bad qualities of half-measures, attended with all the inconveniences of strong measures, without being productive of any of its good consequences.
Mr. Whitbread was sorry the right honourable gentleman had not been present during the discussion that had arisen, as in that case he would probably have preferred speaking to what was the question, than to what was not. The honourable gentleman here proceeded to recapitulate the arguments advanced by Lord Howick, and concluded with saying, that he seldom knew any good consequences to arise from the over-strained violence of blustering po. liticians.
Mr. Canning, in explanation, said, that he was not aware of having deviated from the question ; but at all events he should rather appear in the character of an injudicious ad viser than in that of a blundering accuser.
Mr. Baring spoke in favour of the motion ; but in so low a tone as not to be audible in the gallery.
Mr. Ryder replied to Mr. Baring, and vindicated the ministers from the charge of inconsistency.
Dr. Lawrence contended, that the present ministers were pledged to repeal the act, which in opposition they had argued, and still professed, was destructive to the
British trade in the West Indies. All that was in their i power to do, the late ministers had done, as far as relates
to the altering or abolishing what, when out of power, they had condemned. They had not been idle in plucking up the numberless thorns and briars from the bed of roses they had been placed in ; the measure under consideration, was not dependant upon circumstances, it was the same now as five months ago, and therefore it was a mere pretence for ministers to say, that though they condemned it five months ago, it was not now expedient to abolish it. There was no way of proving to the House they were sincere in their opposition to it, than but by repealing it at once. They profess it to be dangerous, they denounce it as injurious to British commerce, that its operation had done mischief, and continues to do mischief, and yet they cannot think it right to repeal, or even temporarily to suspend it. And all who presume to complain of such satisfactory explanation, and self-evident consist