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* But it is, nevertheless, to be feared, that the immediate wants of the ministers, the immediate pressure ‘ of the times, may induce them to concede now, with the hope, perhaps, of undoing their concession * hereafter, upon the ground of its having been extorted from them. A vain hope, indeed for the very ‘ effect of the concession will be to prevent them from ever undoing the deed; and, moreover, as long as the
“ present systera remains, the country would, by such concession (supposing it to extend to a relinqosh“ment of any part of our right of search), be disabled for the resisting of further encroachment. This, “ one would think, they must plainly perceive; yet, if they should be persuaded, that a refusal to concede “will produce a diminution in the source of the taxes, I am greatly afraid, that, acting here, as they have
done every where else, upon the Pitt system of temporary expediency, they will concede.— Such are: ‘my fears. If the event shall prove them groundless, no one will more heartily rejoice than myself, and ‘ no one will be more ready to give praise unto those by whom the unjust demands of the American States may have been resisted; but, in case of the realizing of these my fears, I shall not be backward in say‘ing all that I date, under our present laws, to say, against every one, who may have participated in plucking this other, and almost the last, feather from the wings of my country. Under any circumstances, however, under any laws, that do, or that may exist, I shall still have the power, and I am sure I shall ‘ have the will, to bestow on them my hatred, and to treasure up in my heart the hope of seeing the day, when the rest of my countrymen will think upon the subject as I do, and will have the power as well as the inchmation to act accordingly. The man who makes any part of his happiness to consist in promoting the welfare of his country, should never give way to feelings of despair or of disgust; or, at any rate, he ‘ should never permit those feelings so far to prevail as to deprive him of hope, or to check the operations ‘ of his zeal. The man whose mind is fashioned for taking a share in those enterprizes, no matter of what sort, that are connected with the fate of his country, will suffer no disappointments, no rebuffs, no acts
“ of folly or of wickedness, whether in the rulers or the people, to turn him aside from his pursuits. Such “a man, if, with all is exertions, he be unable to prevent evil from being done, instead of despairing will “see new hope of good even from the excess of axil; and, applying these observations to the case before
us, if, unhappily, our inimisters, actin: from the influence before described, were now to yield, the most valuable of our rights to the American States, we ought still not to despair, but to labour with more
‘... assiduity than ever in the pro-ucing of a state of things, which would enable our country to recover those
rights, and to hold them without the chance of their being again surrendered by such men and from
... oth motives; we should labour with more engeroes, and resolution than ever in the producing of a solo of things, which would, for a long time, at least, prevent the possibility of the recurrence of such a
Political Regist LR, 20 Dec. 1866, Vol. X. p. 979.
257] (258 - - To THE The writer of the Independent Whig, INDEPENDENT ELECTORS whose talents and whose undaunted courage OF THE is quite worthy of all the admiration, they
- - r r have excited, is, notwithstanding his talents, city AND L1BERTIES of WestMINSTER. mistaken, as he very well may be, with resLETTER XXII. pect to what he calls the impolicy of the con
Gentlemen, - duct of our commanders upon i. American
In resuming the subject of my last letter to you, I beg leave to remind you, that my reasons for using this mode of communicating my sentiments to the public, are, 1st, that, when addressing a body of persons of whose sound understanding one has an experimental proof, one is more likely to be cautious in stating, and correct in deducing; 2nd, that, having seen such striking proofs of your public-spirit, and having seen so little of that spirit elsewhere, I deem it a mark of respect justly your due, to appeal to you more particularly than to any other part of the nation; and, 3d, that I am fully persuaded, that, first or last, the opinions which you adopt and act upon, as to all matters whether foreign or domestic, will be adopted and acted upon by the whole of the people of this kingdom. - o
station. He says, that it is absurd to apprehend any serious injury to our maritime power from permitting the Americans to inveigle away and detain our seamen ; and, he asserts, that, for one British sailor that there is on board the ships of America, there are fifty Americans, and others, on board of British ships. This is an assertion calculated to give us a higher opinion of this writer's boldness than of his information upon the subject on which he is writing; for, the seamen on board the American ships amount to about 70,000, and, upon divers occasions, when I was in America, it was stated, and generally acknowledged, that one fourth part of the seamen on board of American ships, were subjects born of this country; and, as to for reigners on board of our ships, the number is comparatively trifling, and must be so, be
- cause our officers have so great a dislike to them. It is hinted, that desertion from our ships might be prevented by avoiding to impress men on board, and by treating the seamen better when on board. Now, though, upon any of the principles of a free government, the impressing of seamen cannot be fully defended, still it is a thing which has shways existed in England; and, it follows, of course, that, when a man, or boy, first enters a coal or any other merchant ship, he is well aware of the condition, namely, that when the greater service of the country requires him, he is liable to be taken into that service. When a practice has existed for so many ages, under all descriptions of kings and queens, and under all political revolutions, it requires much thought upon the matter before it be held up to public execration. I will draw no comparison between the impressing of seamen and the ballot for the militia, the latter being evidently partial in the last degree; but, those who are the most strenuous advocates for the liberties of the people, are ready to acknowledge, and, indeed, to insist, that every landsman, capable of bearing arms, is, and ought to be, liable to be called forth in defence of the country, if need require; and, if this be just, what injustice is there in calling forth seamen, in cases of similar need 2 Nor will it, I think, be objected, that, in the latter case, the call operates partially; it applies to all seamen; and, observe, that, from all calls in defence by land, seamen are exempted; to which may be added this circumstance, that seamen, when impressed, are not taken from their homes, and put into a new cond strange state of life; but are taken from one ship to be put into another, have the same sort of labour to perform, and the same sort of life to lead; whereas the landsman, called forth to bear arms, is taken from his home and his business, is exposed to hardships unfamiliar to him, and returns, in all probability, injured in his mind, body, or estate. As to the treatment of our sailors when on board, my belief is, that much improvement might be made; but, Gentlemen, be you assured, that, as long as confinement shall be irksome to man; as long as change of scene shall be delightful to him; as long as a hankering after recreation and an indulgence of his desires shall form the leading propensities of his mind, so long will seamen, to whatever country belonging, and however treated while on board, continue, occasionally, to desert, and especially when they can do it with certain impunity. Numerous, therefore, as the ships of America are; met with
as they are in all the ports of the world, how l
could we possibly keep our seamen, unless we maintained and exercised the right of searching for them : Theirs we might have in return; but, theirs we do not want. We want to keep our own; we want to avoid confusion, a mixture of nations. Ships of war, indeed, the Americans have not many; but, if we admit the principle, that the notional flag is to cover every thing, I will warrant it, that we shall soon see enough of the American national flags; and, as I before stated, we should see our own seamen, collected by the Americans, transferred to the service of France, by whom special care would be taken, that they should not again desert. This would, unquestionably, be the greatest evil that we could possibly experience; and this evil, unless we submitted to all the demands of America, however extravagant in themselves and however insolently urged, we should very soon have to enCounter. But, Gentlemen, this writer, feels, or, at least, he expresses, great alarm, lest the Ame. ricans should shut their ports against our goods, in which feeling he has for rivals those disinterested patriots and profound politicians, the merchants trading with Ame. rica, whose Proclamation I will here insert for your perusal. It is dated from the Ame. rican “CHAMBER of CoMMER cr” at Liverpool, August 11th, 1807. “At a general “ and very numerous meeting of the mem. bers of this association Ireld this day, it “ was resolved unanimously, that the fol. “lowing circular letter, prefixed by this “ resolution, be printed, and that the vicepresident (in the absence of the pressdent) be requested to sign the same, on
“ behalf of the American Chamber of
Commerce in Liverpool, and to transmita “ copy thereof to Philip Sansom, Esq. Chair. “ man of the Committee of American Metchants in London.— Resolved, that the secretary do also furnish the several members of this association with copies, to be “ transmitted, as they in their discretion may “ deem expedient, to their respective cor“ respondents in Great Britain and Ireland. “ (CIRCULAR.) Sir, A Meeting of the Members of the American Cham: “ ber of Commerce, at this port. has been convened this day, for the purpose of taking into consideration the present se“rious and critical state of affairs, as relating to the intercourse between the Bii“tish Empire and the United States of America.--When it is considered how es“sentially the vital interests of both the countries are concerned in a maintain“ ance of the relations of amity and com"
“ merce, and particularly at the present “juncture, it must be the wish of every “ sincere friend to his country, whether “ Briton or American, that these relations “should not be interrupted, unless such “interruption be rendered inevitable by “ some imperious and irresistille necessity, “ arising from that regard which it is in“ cumbent on every country to pay to its “ honour and its interest.—If the manu“facturers and merchants of this kingdom “shall be convinced that the conduct of the “ British government towards the United “ States of America has been and continues, “ such as becomes a government desirous of “ preserving the relations of peace and ami“ ty; and if it should now be found that “ these relations cannot longer be pre“ served, without compromising the honour, “ and thereby sacrificing the test interests “ of the British empire, it is hoped there “ are no sacrifices or privations to which the “ manufacturers and merchants will not “cheerfully submit, in order to prevent “such consequences.——If, on the contra“ry, the manufacturers and merchants of this kingdom shall be convinced that the intercourse, which has now subsisted for “ more than twenty years, between the “British Empire and the United States of “America, with so many, and such pro“gressively increasing advantages to each, is in dánger of being interrupted by an as“sertion to claims, incompatible with a due “ regard to the EQUAL RIGHTS of both “ countries, or by unjust cond::ct on the “ part either of the British government, or '' of any persons acting under its authority, “ it then becomes a duty to exercise that invaluable privilege, the essential bul“wark of the British constitution,-of re“spectfully making such representations to “ the government as the circumstances of “ the case may require.——And as these " circumstances may be such as to reader it | ‘‘ highly important that the persons inaking | '' such representations should act with “ promptness, and in concert;-I am re“ quested to inform you that, if such cir“cumstances should arise, the Members of
: the American Chamber of Commerce in Liverpool hold themselves in readiness ... to correspond and co-operate with the ma
nufacturers and merchants of Great Bri‘tain and Ireland, for the attainment of the important objects herein-mentioned.
... I have the honour to be, Sir, your obe- | : dient servant-Joss Rico.npsos, Vice ‘ President.” . Now, Gentlemen, though I do not *y, that Mr. John Richardson and the l
Corresponding Society, of which he is Vice President, have a perfect right to assemble and to invite others to “co-operate”
with them in order to act with “prompti
“tude;" in endeavouring to obtain, though contrary to the will of government, the objects which they have in view; though I by no means deny them this right, I greatly fear, that, if you were to form a Corresponding Society, for the purpose of effecting, “ by promptness and concert,” an abolition of useless places and pensions, and for a restoration of the act passed in the reign of king William III. “for the better securing of the rights and liberties of the people;” if you were to form a Corresponding Society for this purpose, and were to do me the honour to make me “Pice President” of it, I greatly fear, that John Richardson and his Society would, to a man, vote for my being hanged, and your being transported; and yet, it is, I think, evident, that our right, in the case supposed, would be as clear as that of the “Chamber of Commerce” now is. But, leaving this worst of all aristocracies to enjoy its day, and waiting patiently for the arrival of our day, let us examine a little, Gentlemen, into the grounds of the alarm, expressed by the Independent Whig and the Chamber of Commerce, at the probability of seeing the American ports shut against our goods. . - Gentlemen, part of the wool (one article is enough, for the same reasoning applies to all), which grows upon the backs of sheep, which feed upon the grass, which grows upon the land of England, is made into cloth of various denominations, which cloth is nuade by English labour, and is afterwards sent to clothe the Americans. Now, does it appear to you, that it would do us any great injury, if the Americans were to refuse to wear this cloth; if they were to refuse to receive the benefit of so touch of the produce of the soil and of the labor of our country They must go naked and absolutely perish without this cloth; but, that l lay aside, for the present, as of no account. What injury would it do us, if they were to be able to prevent our woollens from entering their ports Why, my assailant of the Indepen
dent Whig will say, perhaps, that such pre
vention won!d be the ruin of thousands; that it would break up our cloth manufactories, and produce starvation annongst the cloth makers. This sweeping way of describing is always resorted to in such cases; but, Gentlemen, though we actually clothe the Americans, they do not take off one tenth part of our cloth. And, supposing it possible for them effectually to put a stop to this
sequence would be, that cloth would be - cheaper in England; the consequence of
- would be less valuable; the consequence of that would be, that less of them would be raised.
which always calls for-labour, and which
alarm, they must look upon commerce as
outlet, how would it injure us? The con
that would be, that wool would be cheaper; the consequence of that would be, that sheep
But, the feed which now goes to the keeping of part of our sheep, would go to the keeping of something else, and the labour now bestowed upon part of our woollen cloths, would be bestowed upon something else; in all probability upon the land,
never fails to yield a grateful return.
There is, Gentlemen, as it were by preconcert, by regular system, a loud cry, upon all occasions, set up about our loss of commerce. Wars have been made, over and over again, for the sake of commerce; and, when the rights and honour of the nation are to be sacrificed by a peace, the regaining or preserving of commerce is invariably the plea. To hear these merchants and their iginorant partizans talk, one would almost suppose, that, if sincere in their expressions of
the sole source of our food and raiment, and even of the elements which are necessary to man's existence. Commerce, they tells us, is “ essential to the vital interests” of the country. Who would not suppose, that commérce brought us our bread and our water. Gentlemen, to support commerce, the wars in Egypt were undertaken; the wars in India are carried on without ceasing; the war in South America, and in Africa are now undertaken. Oh! What English blood and English labour and , English happiness. and Fnglish honour has not this commerce cost But, “ without commerce “ how are we to defray the expences “ of government, and the interest of the “ national debt?” This is a question that every frightened female puts to one; and, really, notwithstanding it is well known that England has been upon the decline of power ever since she became decidedly commercial, and that France has grown in power in the same proportion as her commerce has declined, 'till, at last, having lost all her coma.érce, she is become abof the whole of the conti
commerce. The merchants would fain persuáde us (perhaps they may really think so) that their goods and their ships pay the greater part of the taxes. “ Look, here !” say they, pointing to their imports and exports. That is very fine, for a few hundreds of them; but what is it to the whole of the nation 2 “But,” say they, “ look “ at the Custom House duties.” Yes, and who pay those duties? It is ure, Gentlemen, who pay those duties. The payment comes out of our labour, and from no other source whatever. The people of America have been cajoled by this sort of doctrine. “We pay no tares,” says one of their boasting citizens, “ except such as aré imposed “ upon foreign commodities.” That is to say, except such as are imposed upon Rum, which is to them what beer is to us; Sugar and Coffee, of which, in part, the breakfist of every human creature in the country is composed ; IWoollens and Linens and Cottons, , without which the people must go naked by day and be frost-bitten by night. But, what is the difference, Gentlemen, whether they pay a tax upon their coats, or whether they pay it upon their candles 2 But, Gentlemen, bearing in mind, however, that we pay the custom-house duties, let us see what proportion those duties bear to the whole of the taxes raised upon us. The whole of the taxes, cellected last year, amount to about 50 millions; the customhouse duties, exclusive of coals, and goods carried from one part of the kingdom to another, to about 5 millions! Supposing, therefore, that, if we did not pay these 5 millions in this way, we should not possess them, to pay in any other way, if called upon ; supposing this, is there here any falling off to be alarmed at 2 Why, Gentlemen, the Barłvy aleue of England, pays. in malt and in beer, more clear money into the Exchequer, than all the shipping and all the foreign commerce put together; and, as to the revenue arising from the trade with America, it is less than what arises from the porter which you drink in the City of Westminster alone. The fact is, Gentlemen, that the means of supporting fleets and armies, the means of meeting all the squanderings that we witness, the means of paying the dividends at the bank, come out of the land of the country and the labour of its people. These are the sources, from which all those means proceed; and all thit the herchants, and ministers like merchants, tell us about the resources of commerce, ineans merely this, that while we are sweatio.g. at cocoy fore to pay the taxes, we ought to believe, that the taxes are paid by others. I will tell you, Gentlemen, who would be injured by the shutting of the American ports against our goods. A few great. merchants and manufacturers ; and, observe it well, some hundreds of men, and some of those very great men, who have their money in the American funds. These, and these alone, be you well assured, would suffer any serious inconveniences from the shutting of the American ports ; and these men are amongst the very worst enemies that the people of England have to overconne. o
Nothing is more convenient for the purpose of a squandering, jobbing, corrupting, bribing minister, than a persuasion amongst the people, that it is from the commerce, and not from their labour, that the taxes come ; and, it has long been a fashionable way of thinkiug, that, it is no 'matter how great the expenses are, so that the commerce does but keep pace with them in increase. Nothing can better suit such a minister and his minions than the propagation of opinions like these. . . but, seen the commerce trippled since the fatal day, when Pitt became minister; and have
you found, that your taxes have not been
increased ?. The commerce has been trip. pled, and so have the parish paupers. Away, then, I beseech you, with this destructive delusion 1 See the thing in its true light. Look upon all the taxes as arising out of the land and the labour, and distrust either the head or the heart of the man who would cajole you with a motion of their arising from any other source. But, Gentlemen, the much-talked-of and often-threatened non-importation act of America is a bug-bear fit only to frighten children and men of childish minds. Such an act was passed nearly two years ago; but, observe, it contained a tail clause, empowering the President to suspend its execution. The Congress has met twice since; the act has been renewed, but, still the suspending clause, that magic rag in the tooth of the serpent, has prevented its execution. Nay, in one case, by mistake, the term of suspension - appears to have expired; but, though the act was for a few days in force, it was not executed; and had no more effect upon the importation of English goods, than if it had been one of the old ballads, of which you see such an abundance hong upon the walls at Hyde Park corner. Nor let it be imagined, that this arises from a reluctance to quarrel with us. I have before assigned the true cause. I have, in Volome X, Page 97.1, &c. shown it', it is morally
Gentlemen, you have .
impossible, that, for any length of time, such an act should be executed in America, our goods, besides being iudispensally necessary to the people of that country, being the source of much more than one half of the whole of its revenues. I then said, and I have since said, that, whether at war or at peace with.us, they will have our goods and we shall have theirs; that, talk about the non-importation act as long as they please for the purpose of forming a combination amongst our merchants and manufacturers favourable to them, they can never put such an act in execution for any length of time; and that, therefore, our ministers would be amongst the most criminal of men, if, in yielding to such combinations, they gave up a single particle of our maritiale rights. The “ Chamber of Commerce,” this mercantile club, this new Corresponding society, forces me back, for a moment, to the subject ox maritime rights. These gentry, too, without any other learning than what they have picked up, in mere scraps; from the newspapers, talk about the “ EQUAL, “ rights of both countries,” thereby assuming, as a principle admitted, that America is equal with England as to all manner of rights upon the sea. It is truly said, Gentlemen, that, where the to easure is, there will the heart be also ; but, as, comparatively speaking, very few Englishmen have treasure in America, so, I trust, that there will be very few of them who will be found to adopt the sentiments of the “ Chamber “ of Commerce,” which, indeed, calls itself American, and which is, probably, composed of men, whose fortunes are principally lodged in that country. Men with English hearts, of whatever opinions respecting domestic matters, have never, until lately, suffered, in silence, any one to deny to their country a right of sea dominion. The dominion of the seas, even to the opposite shores, has, until of late, been distinctly claimed by all the kings and queens and rulers of England ever since our country has borne that name; and, our history shews, that those who have been most, distinguished for their attachment to our domestic liberties, have been the most zealous in maintaining this sea-dominion. They were not frightened with the threats of France and of Holland (then great in mari. time force) combined. They heard the solemn German quack authors and the flopant Frenchmen talk about the law of notions, and, as far as these related to the forms of treaties and the like, they paid altentioi! to them, . But, they scouted the ide.,