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shop, in treasure, from that one place, £559,810; in the year 1763, £389,450 ; so that the import from these places in that year amounted to £1,395,300.
On this state the reader will observe, that I take the imports from, and not the exports to, these conquests, as the measure of the advantages which we derived from them. I do so for reasons which will be somewhat worthy the attention of such readers as are fond of this species of inquiry. I say, therefore, I choose the import article, as the best, and indeed the only standard we can have, of the value of the West India trade. Our export entry does not comprehend the greatest trade we carry on with any of the West India islands, the sale of negroes : nor does it give any idea of two other advantages we draw from them; the remittances for money spent here, and the payment of part of the balance of the North American trade. It is therefore quite ridiculous, to strike a balance merely on the face of an access of imports and exports, in that commerce; though, in most foreign branches, it is, on the whole, the best method. If we should take that standard, it would appear, that the balance with our own islands is, annually, several hundred thousand pounds against this country. Such is its aspect on the custom-house entries; but we know the direct contrary to be the fact. We know that the West Indians are always indebted to our merchants, and that the value of every shilling of West India produce is English property. So that our import from them, and not our export, ought always to be considered as their true value; and this corrective ought to be applied to all general balances of our trade, which are formed on the ordinary principles.
If possible, this was more emphatically true of the French West India islands, whilst they continued in our hands. That none, or only a very contemptible part, of the value of this produce could be remitted to France, the author will see, i Total imports from the West Indies in 1764, . £ 2,909,411 Exports to ditto in ditto,
. . 896,511 Excess of imports .
. £ 2,012,900 In this, which is the common way of stating the balance, it will appear upwards of two millions against us, which is ridiculous.
perhaps with unwillingness, but with the clearest conviction, if he considers, that in the year 1763, after we had ceased to export to the isles of Guadaloupe and Martinico, and to the Havannah, and after the colonies were free to send all their produce to Old France and Spain, if they had any remittance to make; he will see, that we imported from those places, in that year, to the amount of £1,395,300. So far was the whole annual produce of these islands from being adequate to the payments of their annual call upon us, that this mighty additional importation was necessary, though not quite sufficient to discharge the debts contracted in the few years we held them. The property, therefore, of their whole produce was ours; not only during the war, but even for more than a year after the peace. The author, I hope, will not again venture upon so rash and discouraging a proposition concerning the nature and effect of those conquests, as to call them a convenience to the remittances of France ; he sees, by this account, that what he asserts is not only without foundation, but even impossible to be true.
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 increase of exports; but it is in order to depreciate the advantages we might appear to derive from that increase, whenever it should come to be proved against him. He tells you,1 " that it was chiefly occasioned by the demands of our own fleets and armies, and, instead of bringing wealth to the nation, was to be paid for by oppressive taxes upon the people of England.” Ñever was anything 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 merchandise 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 increase 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 be
low; 1 and he will form on that account some judgment of the author's candour or 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 optics of that politician must be of a strange conformation, who beholds everything in this distorted shape.
Here is the state of our trade in 1761, compared with a very good year of profound peace: both are taken from the authentic entries at the customhouse. How the author can contrive to make this increase 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 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.
So far as to our trade. 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. In 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 show, 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 increased in the war; that it had increased 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 is 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 increase, 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
1 P. 7. See also p. 13.
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 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 everybody 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 panic. Many went out of the freighting business. But by degrees, as the war continued, the terror 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, increased to so astonishing a degree in