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orders in council had been first enforced, the value of the exports amounted to about thirty-four millions and a half; in 1808 it amounted to about the same sum ; in 1809 it increased to upwards of fifty millions; and in 1810 sunk to about forty-six millions, which still left a great increase since 1807, when the orders were first issued.—The reports which had been circulated by the supporters of the motion as to the millions of British property confiscated by Buonaparte, were quite absurd and fo ; and even if they were true, ad not the least connection with the subject of the orders in council.—That the non-intercourse law, and the other measures adopted by America, had opened to this country a direct trade with the Spanish and Portuguese colonies, and had thus been of essential service to the commerce of Great Britain.—That a fair account of the exorts to America and the West Indies in different years, from 1807 downwards, would dissipate the delusion which some persons had attempted to impose on the country; that in 1807 these exports amounted to nearly fifteen millions; in 1808, notwithstanding the partial prohibition of importa
tion into the United States, to nearly
sixteen millions; in 1809, when the American non-intercourse act was carried into effect, to upwards of nineteen millions; and in 1810, while the same act was still in operation, the exports to America and the West Indies rose to about twenty millions and a half in value. It thus appeared, that in the intervening years betwixt 1807 and 1810, an increase, to the extent of six millions sterling had taken place in the export trade of this country to the whole of America.-That a foolish attempt had been made to misrepresent the objects which engaged the attention of the Board of Trade, since it was recently entrusted with the power ef determining what articles it was safe
and proper, in the present circum
stances of Europe, to import into
Great Britain.—That a most exaggerated account had been given of the injury done to the British shipping by
the orders in council, which could
easily be disproved by a reference to facts. In 1807 the British shipping
actually employed was 1,436,000 tons; in 1803, 1,311,000; in 1809,
1,539,008; and in 1810, 1,609,000 tons; so that an increase in British shipping had taken place, since the operation of the orders in council, to a very great extent. The number of seamen had also increased from 88,000 to 102,000; and although it was true that foreign shipping had also increased, yet it must be recollected that this foreign shipping, in the circumstances of the world, had contributed to the prosperity of British commerce. —To those who complained, that a partiality had been indicated to the foreign shipping of the continent, over that of America, it was answered, that no distinction had been made by Great Britain; and it had been the fault of the Americans themselves if they had not participated in the trade lately carried on.—That a great advantage accrued to England from an immediate intercourse with the Spanish and Portuguese colonies in South America; that the advantages of commerce, and the objects of the navigation act, were thus equally promoted. Had the orders in council never been issued, France would have enjoyed the full benefit of a trade with the whole world; she would have been enabled to supply herself with the raw materials of her manufactures, an object to which she
evidently directed her most anxious
efforts.--What was the real origin of the orders in council : France declared
that there should be no trade to Eng
land; the answer of England was, and
she had the power of enforcing her
mandate, that nothing should be exported from France but by her permission. She had a right to announce to neutral powers, that if they tolerated the regulations of one belligerent, inimical to all commercial interests, they must submit to regulations on herpart, indefence of these interests.— That the cabinet of England had been friendly towards America, while that of France had been hostile in the extreme. France had on all occasions seized and destroyed the property of American citizens.--That many proofs of the insincerity of the French government in the revocation of its decrees had lately appeared, even in the proceedings of the Admiralty courts of England.—That in France, the distinction between sequestration and condemnation, which had been ignorantly taken by some speakers, was merely nominal; and the existence of sequestrations, to a large amount, could not be denied.—That the perjury and immorality which had been so learnedly descanted on, had existed long before the orders in council and licence trade were known. That a house had been established at Embden, which, for frauds of that kind, had received a regular commission of 2 per eent: ; and were the orders in council and the licence system abolished, the country must return to the old practices of neutralization, which could not exist but by perjury-Many arts had been used to make the people believe that their distresses proceeded from the orders in council; yet the gloomy pictures which had been drawn of the state of the country were either very extravagant or entirely fanciful. The arguments which had been built on the assumption, that the goods exported in 1809 had not fif a market, rested on a gross mistake in point of fact: these goods had, in the first instance, found a ready market, which continued open until the month of March, 1810.—It was idle to talk of the repeal of the
French decrees, since it had been declared by the French government, that no repeal could take place until England should abandon her jo ade,-a requisition in which America concurred, as she required of Great Britain to repeal so much of the regulations of 1807 as might leave the trade of America perfectly unimpeded. What would he the consequence of repealing the orders in council, and giving up the licence trade —to open to France and America the trade of the whole world. America would then carry the manufactures and colonial produce of France to the different ports of Europe; while England would be excluded from a participation in a commerce which she would thus permit to her enemies.—That the measures of Buonaparte, although they had in some degree affected this country, had also j a severe blow on his own commerce and resources; that the revenue of France had suffered greatly since the issuing of the orders in council; and that her trade had experienced a very serious diminution appeared from her money transactions, and the state of the affairs of her national bank.—With reference to the measure immediately before the house, it was said that the appointment of a committee could serve no good purpose, unless it were intended that the committee, by interfering with the affairs of America, should controul the deliberations of the cabinet; a proposal which was not likely to find support in the House of Commons. If such a committee were appointed, gentlemen of different interests must be examined; some deeply connected with the American trade, and naturally entertaining certain prejudices in its favour; others connected with the trade to the continent of Europe, and full of prejudices of an opposite nature; and how, in such circumstances, could the committee extract the truth from them : It was a mean and despicable thing, at all events, to proclaim to the world, that a question of such great national importance was to be decided on the narrow and sordid principle of profit and loss.—That the great prosperity of British trade in 1809 and 1810 had, by encouraging a spirit of wild speculation, occasioned much of the late distress; but was the House, by appointing a committee, to confirm a prejudice of the manufacturers, artfully raised from bad motives, that all their distresses were imputable to the impolicy of their own government, not to the barbarous system of the enemy, who had violated all the laws of civilized nations?—That the question as to the licence trade was totally unconnected with the orders in council; that British property could find admission into the continent only under the cover of neutrality; and there is no maxim more obvious, than that trade cannot be carried on betwixt enemies except by licence; a rule which is intended to prevent unlawful and treasonable intercourse. That no plan could, in the circumstances of Europe, have been devised for carrying on the trade of England with the continent in a manneraltogether pure and irreproachable; but it betrayed a vile hypocrisy to assert, that trade ought to be wholly abandoned on account of the excusable frauds necessarily practised in conducting it.—That the object of the licence system was merely to protect vessels from British seizures and condemnations; for it was by other means that they calculated on evading the provisions of the continental system, and introducing their produce into the French territories.—Even if the orders in council had been repealed, and the Americans allowed, without molestation, to carry the sugars of Cuba into France, and the manufactures of Germany into South America, while the British trade was controuled by the 6
French decrees, there would still have been (as was said with regard to the existing system) “forgery in the origin, and perjury and fraud in the conclusion of the transactions.”—It was absurd to suppose that Buonaparte was an enemy to all commerce; he was a decided enemy, indeed, to British commerce, but as to his own trade he appeared to have its interests very much at heart. That America had joined with him in requiring not only the repeal of the orders in council, but the abandonment of the British system of blockade; and it was childish therefore to imagine that the repeal of the orders in council would be sufficient to conciliate her.— The principle of these orders was described by Mr Canning, as being strictly retaliatory. It had been thought expedient indeed to qualify the principle by a restriction, which amounted only to a mitigation in favour of neutrals; a mitigation that shewed the desire of the British government to confine the evil to the enemy. Where the principle of retaliation was strictly adhered to, the injury to the neutral was merely incidental, and wholly unavoidable; the injury was matter of regret, but the measures from which it resulted had been forced on the British government.—Those who objected to the principle of retaliation in warlike measures, forgot that there is in fact no other method of enforcing obedience to the law of nations, but by the operation of this principle. If a considerable state presume to set all laws at defiance,—to contemn every principle hitherto regarded as sacred, and to carry on war in violation of every maxim of the law of nations, how can its mad career be arrested but by recurrence to measures of retaliation ? It had been said, that if England did retaliate, she ought to have done so in the mode and form in which the enemy had injured her; yet
nothing could be more extravagant. If the enemy chose to violate the law of nations, in a case in which he had nothing to lose, while we had every thing at stake, could it be seriously pretended that we were bound to retaliate, not where we could make him feel the consequences of his folly, but where we could do him no possible injury —The object of the orders in council was not to destroy the trade of the continent, but to compel the continent to trade with England, and with England alone.—That must have been an absurd species of reasoning which attributed the recent difficulties of trade to these orders, when it was incontestably proved, that for two or's three years after they were issued, an effect directly opposite had resulted, and when the embarrassments of commerce had been so clearly traced to other causes.—In answer to those who complained of the immorality of the licence system, as displayed in the form of the licences themselves, it was remarked, that the very clause which had been censured with so much severity, had been drawn up by a former administration, and found by the present ministers in their offices, prepared and digested by the very persons who now affected to be so much scandalised by the discovery.—That the real question upon this branch of the subject was, if trade cannot be car
ried on with certain countries except by means of licences, are the objections to that system so formidable that the trade must be abandoned rather than have recourse to it?—It was a foolish notion to suppose that the orders in council had no effect on the trade of France; the diminished produce of the French customs contradicted such an opinion; and in an address of the senate to Buonaparte, it was acknowledged that the French no longer had any trade, except what was carried on by means of canals; while it was admitted, without hesitation, that they laboured in all respects under the most unexampled difficulties. —That on no principle was Great Britain bound to suffer France to give laws to neutral powers, without making an effort to induce them to assert their rights. The grand object of the orders in council had been not only to inflict retaliation on France, but to induce America to disengage herself from a connection in which she had unhappily been involved, and to resume her consequence and independence among the nations of the world. Such is the substance of these famous discussions in both houses of parliament; and the result was, that the motions of the Marquis of Lansdowne and Mr Brougham were negatived by a very great majority.
American Afflirs continued. Declaration of the British Government relating
to the disputed Poins of Maritime Law. Renewed Discussion on the Orders in Council. 1 he
to the United States.
British Government rescind them with respect to America.
Secret Mission of Captain Henry
dissatisfied. Decla es War against England. Capture of the Guerriere and Macedonian Frigates. Destruction of the Armies of Generals Hull and
The frequent acts of plunder and confiscation committed by the French, seemed for a time to have some effect on the councils of the United States, and to have encouraged a pacific disposition towards Great Britain, which was, perhaps, not a little strengthened by the disclosures so recently made as to the state of the American finances. . Yet the proposals submitted to the British government were perhaps not very sincere, but intend. ed merely for the purpose of gaining time. An offer was made by Ame. rica to establish, under some important modifications, the treaty which was signed by the plenipotentiaries of the two governments in the year 1806, but which Mr Jefferson refused at that time to ratify. The American government must have known, however, that England could not, without surrendering all her pretensions, accede to such a proposition. In the mean time the Americans were making preparations for war; a loan of eleven millions of dollars was proposed for the service of the year; the interest upon which was to be paid by an in
crease of the duties on importation, The loans for 1813 and 1814 were at the same time estimated at eighteen millions each year; and although a vigorous opposition was made to * measure which threatened to subject the citizens of the United States to a severe system of taxation which they were unable to bear, the bill at last received the sanction of the legilature. A bill of a most extraordinary no ture was about the same time intro" duced, which provided that any so. reigner guilty of impressing Americo citizens on board a foreign ship, should when arrested, be tried, and, if convico ed, suffer death as a pirate. The object of this, as well as of the other measures adopted at this period, could not be mistaken; and the general ho tility towards England seemed to increase in spite of the vain attempts * negociation, which the American go" vernment still continued to pursue: An event occurred about this time
which imperiously demanded of the
British government, a distinct avowal of its principles in the new state"