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243 whole cargoes, and those have been the best off: Upon the whole, however, the trade of England has been extended. The proceeds of internal industry have been exported to an amount unusually large, and foreign articles to a less amount, perhaps, returned. Some of the adventurers have lost, but the people at large, husbandmen, labourers, and manufacturers, have been remunerated, and the public revenue has been increased.
In 1807, (the year preceding the American embargo) English exportations amounted to thirty, four millions sterling, employing 1,791,000 tons of shipping, of which one-third were foreign bottoms. In 1809, (during the operation of the embargo and non-intercourse, the greatest part of the year,) English exportations amounted to fifty-four millions sterling, and employed 1,993,000 tons of shipping, of which one-third were foreign bottoms. The
apparent prosperity of the United States during this unexampled period of eighteen years of war, itself at peace with the whole world, has advanced with giant strides. Large towns have started up suddenly; the general population of the country, without owing its increase to this circumstance, has been concentrated, and great wealth has been acquired. Such are, in ordinary cases, the sure foundations of social improvements and refinements, luxury and leisure,-new wants and ambition. The process seems, however, to have been pushed too rapidly, and is likely to stop at its first stage,-wealth and luxury. A field
be overmanured, and the rank crop go to decay before its maturity. It is very probable that the people of the United States would be, at this moment, more umited and respectable--more enlightened and happier, if the troubles of Europe had not opened
to them a career of commerce, disproportionate to their means, and excited against Great Britain an extravagant rivalship of trade, which keeps alive the old rancour of the revolution, and furnishes a pretence for the blind hatred of a considerable portion of the people, to vent itself in exaggerated speeches, abuse and violence.
It is hardly credible, and yet true, that, in 1807, at the height of those vexatious and arbitrary restrictions on our trade by the British orders in council, which occasioned the measure of the embargo at the end of the year, the United States were exporting to the amount of twenty-four. millions sterling of merchandise, half of which was their own produce, employing. 1,397,000 tons of shipping, almost entirely American vessels. The exportations of Britain herself, during that same year, (1807)--of that power, absolute mistress of the seas,-amounted only to thirty-four millions sterling, and the tonnage of their whole shipping in the merchant service was actually something less than ours. The net revenue of the customs in 1807 was in England nine millions sterling, and in the United States, three millions and a half stering, (dollars 15,845,521). We find, therefore, the
, United States without a navy, without colonies, without force or expenditure, acquiring and preserving an extent of commerce almost unexampled : more merchant vessels than Great Britain, ---their exportations compared to the British as twenty-four is to thirty-four, and their revenue from customs as three and a half is to nine. These advantages were the consequences of the war; and yet, because other consequences of the war prevented some farther increase, we chose to abandon the whole. If the United States had too much
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commerce, as I am inclined to think, why quarrel for a little more ? If they had not enough, why abandon the whole ?
The merchants of the United States had peculiar advantages in the India trade. The Spanish colonies furnished them with great quantities of dollars, at 25 per cent. less than those purchased in London by the East India Company; and their exportations of silver to India were so considerable, as to facilitate English returns from that country. By the treaty of commerce with Mr. Jay, in 1795, the Americans were allowed, in India, privileges withheld from the subjects of Great Britain ; and in consequence of these, they supplied the European markets, to the exclusion of the company, to such a degree, that, in 1804, the American tonnage, in the trade beyond the Cape of Good Hope, was nearly equal to two-thirds of the English.*
* Taking the average of five years (1802 to 1806) the United States employed in the trade of China 23,000 tons annually ; to Calcutta and other parts of India, about 7000; these 30,000 tons were for direct voyages, and exclusive of voyages to and from Europe. The English tonnage in the India trade appears, from a Report on Navigation and Trade, published by orders of the ship-owners of Great Britain (1807, Stockdale, Piccadilly), to be as follows: Ships.
Outward only. 1780,
26 20,000 3 ships 2043 tons. 1782, 23 17,000
10,000 1784, 27 20,000 1785, 43
26,000 1788, 32 27,000 1789,
26,000 1790, 25 22,000 1791, 28 23,000 1792,
43 37,000 1793,
In this state of things the belligerent powers chose, three or four years ago, to deprive each other of the American commerce, by means of blockades and arbitrary decrees. I do not know exactly who began ; opinions are divided on that point; or, which is the most odious injustice, that which is practised openly with contumely and violence, or that which is practised according to known forms and rules, and softened by outward decorum and diplomatic politeness. The latter at least shows some respect for moral principles, and for its victims; and the power who does you all the harm he possibly can, is more decidedly your enemy, than the one who does you only a small part of the in: jury he could inflict. It is impossible to deny that France, by her cruisers, and in her ports, that
in all the ports of the Continent, has seized and destroyed all that she could reach; while with the exception of certain branches of trade interdicted by England, (unjustly it may be), the com
is to say,
Ships. Tons. Outward only. 1794,
34 29,000 1795, 46
46 37,000 1797, 26 22,000 21,434 extra, besides regular 1798 39 36,000
34 30,000 1800, 49 42,000
39 35,000 1802, 52 45,000 1803, 54 46,000
1804, 50 43,000 Therefore the British tonnage, between 1802 and 1806, may be es. timated at 45,000 tons, being only half more than the American tonnage ; and if voyages of American ships to India by way of Europe were included, the difference would be much less.
Since writing what precedes, I have seen in an article of the Quarterly Review for December 1812, page 245, that the East India Company employs 115 ships, forming together 115,000 tons. There must be an error in this or the other statement.
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merce of America, every where in contact with her navy or in her ports, was' not only suffered, but protected,--was immense, and increasing.
Since 1801 the United States have had a philosophical administration ; which saw commerce in some respects as I see it, but did more than I would do, that is to say, it attempted to force the people to adopt its opinions, and, under pretence of securing to trade a certain abstract freedom which nothing human can attain, sacrificed the real and substantial freedom it enjoyed, and its very existence. To have made, with the belligerent powers, such treaties as circumstances rendered practicable, leaving trade and traders to act as their prudence and judgment might suggest, would have been too simple and vulgar a policy. The American
government was not contented with so passive a part; they had devised a system, and would establisha it by experiments. The commerce of their own people is, therefore, just now, under the bell of the pneumatic machine. They pump out the air, and imagine, that, by means of some indirect channels, the atmosphere of English commerce will be exhausted at the same time ;-whether that will be the effect, remains to be seen.
Such is the opposition of interest and manners between the different sections of the United States, that the utmost forbearance and mutual toleration can alone maintain their union. When the question of the slavery of negroes was before Congress twenty years ago, it gave rise to animated debates, in the course of which a southern member (General Jackson) made use of the following argument: * There are,” he said, “ in some of the states of the union, particularly in Pennsylvania, a certain sect who will not fight for their country,-- will not