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admitting Spanish vessels was given in Au- from the appearance of things in a single year, gust, 1765. That order was not signed at the I should from this increase of export infer the treasury board until the 15th day of the Novem- beneficial effects of that measure. In truth, it ber sollowing ; and therefore so far from affect- is not wanting. Nothing but the thickest igno ing the exports of the year 1965, that, suppo rance of the Jamaica trade could have made sing all possible diligence in the commissioners any one entertain a fancy, that the least ill a he customs in expediting that order, and effect on our commerce could foilow from this every advantage of vessels ready to sail, and opening of the ports. But, if the author argues the most favourable wird, it would hardly even the effect of regulations in the American trade arrive in Jamaica within the limits of that year. from the export of the year in which they are
This order could therefore by no possibility made, or even of the following; why did he bo a cause of the decrease of exports in 1765. not apply this rule to his own? He had the If it had any mischievous operation, it could same paper before him which I have now before not be before 1766. In that year, according to me. He must have seen that in his standard our author, the exports fell short of the prece- year, (the year 1764,) the principal year of his ding, just eighty pounds. He is welcome to new regulations, the export fell no less than that diminution; and to all the consequences £.128,450 short of that in 1763! Did the exhe can draw from it.
port trade revive by these regulations in 1765, But, as an auxiliary to account for this dread- during which year they continued in their full ful loss, he brings in the Free-port act, which force ? It fe! about £.40,000 still lower. Here he observes (for his convenience) to have been is a fall of £.168,000; to account for which, made in spring, 1766 ; but (for his convenience would have become the author much better than likewise) he forgets, that, by the express pro- piddling for an £.80 fall in the year 1766 (the vision of the act, the regulation was not to be only year in which the order he objects to could in force in Jamaica until the November fol- operate,) or in presuming a fall of exports from lowing. Miraculous must be the activity of a regulation which took place only in Novemthat contraband whose operation in America ber 1766 ; whose effects could not appear until could, before the end of that year, have re-acted the following year; and which, when they do upon England, and checked the exportation appear, utterly overthrow all his flimsy reasons from hence ! unless he chooses to suppose, that and affected suspicions upon the effect of openthe merchants, at whose solicitation this acting the ports. had been obtained, were so frighted at the ac- This author, in the same paragraph, says, complishment of their own most earnest and that " it was asserted by the American factors anxious desire, that, before any good or evil and agents, thai the commanders of our ships effect from it could happen, they immediately of war and tenders, having custom-house comput a stop to all further exportation.
missions, and the strict orders given in 1764 It is obvious that we must look for the true for a due execution of the laws of trade in the effect of that act at the time of its first possible colonies, had deterred the Spaniards from traoperation, that is, in the year 1767. On this ding with us ; that the sale of British manufacidea how stands the account?
tures in the West Indies had been greatly les
sened, and the receipt of large sums of specie 1764, Exports to Jamaica, £.456,528 prevented.” 1765,
415,624 If the American factors and agents asserted 1766,
415,544 this, they had good ground for their assertion. 1767, (first year of the Free-port act) 467,681 They knew that the Spanish vessels had been
driven from our ports. The author does not This author, for the sake of a present momen- positively deny the fact. If he should, it will tary credit, will hazard any future and perma- be proved. When the factors connected this nent disgrace. At the time he wrote, the measure and its natural consequences, with an account of 1767 could not be made up. This actual fall in the exports to Jamaica, io no less was the very first year of the trial of the Free- an amount than £.128,450 in one year, and port act ; and we find that the sale of British with a further fall in the next, is their assertion commodities is so far from lessened by that act, very wonderful? The author himself is full as that the export of 1767 amounts to £.52,000 much alarmed by a fall of only £.40,000; for, more than that of either of the two preceding giving him the facts which he chooses to coin, years, and is £.11,000 above that of his stan- it is no more. The expulsion of the Spanish dard year 1764. If I could prevail on myself to vessels must certainly have been one cause, if argue in favour of a great commercial scheme not of the first declension of the exports, you
of their continuance in their reduced state. moment he chooses it, he shall see the very Other causes had their operation, without same thing asserted by governors of provinces, doubt. In what degree each cause produced by commanders of men of war, and by officers its effect, it is hard to determine. But the fact of the customs; persons the most bound in of a fall of exports upon the restraining plan, and duty to prevent contraband, and the most inteof a rise upon the taking place of the enlarging rested in the seizures to be made in conseplan, is established beyond all contradiction. quence of strict regulation. I suppress them
This author says, that the facts relative to for the present; wishing that the author may the Spanish trade were asserted by American not drive me to a more full discussion of this factors and agents; insinuating, that the minis matter than it may be altogether prudent to try of 1766 had no better authority for their enter into. I wish he had not made any of plan of enlargement than such assertions. The these discussions necessary.
ON THE CAUSE OF THE PRESENT DISCONTENTS.
HOC voro occultum, intestinum, domesticum malum, non modo non existit, verum etiam opprimie
antiquam perspicere atque explorare putueris.-C10
It is an undertaking of some degree of deli- not primarily ruled by lawu; less by violence cacy to examine into the cause of public dis- Whatever original energy may be supposed orders. If a man happens not to succeed in either in force or regulation, the operation of such an inquiry, he will be thought weak and both is, in truth, merely instrumental. Nations visionary; if he touches the true grievance, are governed by the same methods, and on the inere is a danger that he may come near to same principles, by which an individual withpersons of weight and consequence, who will out authority is often able to govern those who rather be exasperated at the discovery of their are his cquals or his superiours; by a knowerrours,
than thankful for the occasion of cor- ledge of their temper, and by a judicious marecting them. If he should be obliged to blame nagement of it; I mean,—when public affairs the favourites of the people, he will be consi- are steadily and quietly conducted ; and when dered as the tool of power; if he censures those government is nothing but a continued scuffle in power, he will be looked on as an instrument between the magistrate and the multitude; in of faction. But in all exertions of duty some- which sometimes the one and sometimes the thing is to be hazarded. In cases of tumult other is uppermost; in which they alternately and disorder, our law has invested every man, yield and prevail, in a series of contemptible in some sort, with the authority of a magis- victories, and scandalous submissions. The trate. When the affairs of the nation are dis- temper of the people among whom he pretracted, private people are, by the spirit of that sides ought therefore to be the first study of a law, justified in stepping a little out of their statesman. And the knowledge of this temper ordinary sphere. They enjoy a privilege, of it is by no means impossible for him to attain, somewhat more dignity and effect, than that if he has not an interest in being ignorant of of idle lamentation over the calamities of their what it is his duty to learn. country. They may look into them narrowly; To complain of the age we live in, to murthey may reason upon them liberally; and if mur at the present possessors of power, to they should be so fortunate as to discover the lament the past, to conceive extravagant hopes true source of the mischief, and to suggest any of the future, are the common dispositions of probable method of removing it, though they the greatest part of mankind; indeed the may displease the rulers for the day, they are necessary effects of the ignorance and levity certainly of service to the cause of government. of the vulgar. Such complaints and humours Government is deeply interested in every thing have existed in all times ; yet as all times have which, even through the medium of some tem- not been alike, true political sagacity manifests porary uneasiness,
may tend finally to compose itself, in distinguishing that complaint which the minds of the subject, and to conciliate their only characterizes the general infirmity of huaffections. I have nothing to do here with the man nature, from those which are symptoms abstract value of the voice of the people. But of the particular distemperature of our own air as long as reputation, the most precious pose and season. session of every individual, and as long as Nobody, I believe, will consider it merely as opinion, the great support of the state, depend the language of spleen or disappointment, if I entirely upon that voice, it can never be con- say, that there is something particularly alarmsidered as a thing of little consequence either ing in the present conjuncture. There is hardly to individuals or to governments. Nations are a man, in or out of power, who holds any other
language. That government is at once dreaded have, in their opinion, been able to produce and contemned ; that the laws are despoiled of this unnatural ferment in the nation. all their respected and salutary terrours; that Nothing indeed can be more unnatural than their inaction is a subject of ridicule, and their the present convulsions of this country, if the exertion of abhorrence; that rank, and office, above account be a true one. I confess I shall and title, and all the solemn plausibilities of
with great reluctance, and only on the world, have lost their reverence and effect; the compulsion of the clearest and firmest that our foreign politics are as much deranged proofs; because their account resolves itself as our domestic reconomy; that our depen- into this short but discouraging proposition, dencies are slackened in their affection, and “ That we have a very good ministry, but tha: loosened from their obedience; that we know we are a very bad people ;" that we set our neither how to yield nor how to enforce; that selves to bite the hand that feeds us; that with hardly any thing above or below, abroad or at a malignant insanity we oppose the measures, home, is sound and entire; but that discon- and ungratefully vilify the persons, of those nection and confusion, in offices, in parties, in whose sole object is our own peace and pros. families, in parliament, in the nation, prevail perity. If a few puny libellers, acting under a beyond the disorders of any former time; these knot of factious politicians, without virtue, are facts universally admitted and lamented. parts, or character, (such they are constantly
This state of things is the more extraordi- represented by these gentlemen,) are sufficient nary, because the great parties which formerly to excite this disturbance, very perverse must divided and agitated the kingdom are known be the disposition of that people, among whom to be in a manner entirely dissolved. No great such a disturbance can be excited by such external calamity has visited the nation; no means. It is besides no small aggravation of pestilence or famine. We do not labour at the public misfortune, that the disease, on this present under any scheme of taxation new or hypothesis, appears to be without remedy. If oppressive in the quantity or in the mode. the wealth of the nation be the cause of its turNor are we engaged in unsuccessful war; in bulence, I imagine it is not proposed to introwhich, our misfortunes might easily pervert our duce poverty, as a constable to keep the peace. judgment; and our minds, sore from the loss If our dominions abroad are the roots which of national glory, might feel every blow of for- feed all this rank luxuriance of sedition, it is tune as a crime in government.
not intended to cut them off in order to famish It is impossible that the cause of this strange the fruit. If our liberty has enfeebled the exedistemper should not sometimes become a sub- cutive power, there is no design, I hope, to call ject of discourse. It is a compliment due, and in the aid of despotism, to fill up the deficienwhich I willingly pay, to those who administer cies of law. Whatever may be intended, these our affairs, to take notice in the first place of things are not yet professed. We seem theretheir speculation. Our ministers are of opi- fore to be driven to absolute despair; for we nion, that the increase of our trade and manu- have no other materials to work upon, but factures, that our growth by colonization, and those out of which God has been pleased to by conquest, have concurred to accumulate im- form the inhabitants of this island. If these be mense wealth in the hands of some individuals; radically and essentially vicious, all that can and this again being dispersed among the peo- be said is, that those men are very unhappy, to ple, has rendered them universally proud, fero- whose fortune or duty it falls to administer the cious, and ungovernable ; that the insolence of affairs of this untoward people. I hear it indeed some from their enormous wealth, and the sometimes asserted, that a steady perseveranco boldness of others from a guilty poverty, have in the present measures, and a rigorous punishrendered them capable of the most atrocious ment of those who oppose them, will in course attempts; so that they have trampled upon all of time infallibly put an end to these disorders. subordination, and violently borne down the But this, in my opinion, is said without much unarmed iaws of a free government; barriers observation of our present disposition, and too feeble against the fury of a populace so without any knowledge at all of the general nafierce and licentious as ours. They contend, ture of mankind. If the matter of which this that no adequate provocation has been given nation is composed be so very fermentable as for so spreading a discontent; our affairs ha- these gentlemen describe it, leaven never will ving been conducted throughout with remark- be wanting to work it up, as long as discontent, able temper and consummate wisdom. The revenge and ambition, have existence in the wicked industry of some libellers, joined to the world. Particular punishments are the curo intrigues of a few disappointed politicians, for accidental distempers in the state ; they
inflame rather than allay those heats which cated on the Stuarts. A great change has taken arise from the settled mismanagement of the place in the affairs of this country. For in the government, or from a natural indisposition in silent lapse of events as material alterations the people. It is of the utmost moment not to have been insensibly brought about in the policy make mistakes in the use of strong measures : and character of governments and nations, as and firmness is then only a virtue when it ac- those which have been marked by the tumult companies the most perfect wisdom. In truth, of public revolutions. inconstancy is a sort of natural corrective of It is very rare indeed for men to be wrong in folly and ignorance.
their feelings concerning public misconduct ; as I am not one of those who think that the peo- rare to be right in their speculation upon the ple are never in the wrong. They have been cause of it. I have constantly observed, that so, frequently and outrageously, both in other the generality of people are fifty years, at least, countries and in this. But I do say, that in all behindhand in their politics. There are bui disputes between them and their rulers, the very few, who are capable of comparing and presumption is at least upon a par in favour of digesting what passes before their eyes at difthe people. Experience may perhaps justify ferent times and occasions, so as to form the me in going further. Where popular discon- whole into a distinct system. But in books tents have been very prevalent, it may well be every thing is settled for them, without the exeraffirmed and supported, that there has been ge- tion of any considerable diligence or sagacity. nerally something found amiss in the constitu- For which reason men are wise with but little tion, or in the conduct of government. The reflection, and good with little self-denial, in people have no interest in disorder. When the business of all times except their own. We they do wrong, it is their errour, and not their are very uncorrupt and tolerably enlightened crime. But with the governing part of the state, judges of the transactions of past ages ; where it is far otherwise. They certainly may act ill no passions deceive, and where the whole train by design, as well as by mistake. « Les révor of circumstances, from the trifling cause to the lutions qui arrivent dans les grands étals ne sont tragical event, is set in an orderly series before point un effect du hazard, ni du caprice des peu- Few are the partisans of departed tyranples. Rien ne révolte les grands d'un royaume ny; and to be a Whig on the business of an comme un gouvernement foible et dérangé. Pour hundred years ago, is very consistent with
e populace, ce n'est jamais par envie d'attaquer every advantage of present servility. This qu'elle se soulève, mais par impatience de souf- retrospective wisdom, and historical patriotism, frir.”* These are the words of a great man; are things of wonderful convenience: and serve of a minister of state ; and a zealous asserter admirably to reconcile the old quarrel between of monarchy. They are applied to the system speculation and practice. Many a stern repubof favouritism which was adopted by Henry the lican, after gorging himself with a full feast of Third of France, and to the dreadful conse- admiration of the Grecian commonwealths and quences it produced. What he says of revo- of our true Saxon constitution, and discharging lutions, is equally true of all great disturbances. all the splendid bile of his virtuous indignation If this presumption in favour of the subjects on King John and King James, sits down peragainst the trustees of power be not the more fectly satisfied to the coarsest work and homoprobable, I am sure it is the more comfortable liest job of the day he lives in. I believe there speculation ; because it is more easy to change was no professed admirer of Henry the Eighth an administration than to reform a people. among the instruments of the last King James ;
Upon a supposition, therefore, that in the nor in the court of Henry the Eighth, was opening of the cause the presumptions stand there, I dare say, to be found a single advocato equally balanced between the parties, there for the favourites of Richard the Second. seems sufficient ground to entitle any person to No complaisance to our court, or to our age, a fair hearing, who attempts some other scheme can make me believe nature to be so changed, beside that easy one which is fashionable in but that public liberty will be among us, as some fashionable companies, to account for the among our ancestors, obnoxious to some person present discontents. It is not to be argued that or other; and that opportunities will be furwe endure no grievance, because our grie- nished for attempting at least, some alteration vances are not of the same sort with those under to the prejudice of our constitution. These which we laboured formerly; not precisely attempts will naturally vary in their mode, ac. those which we bore from the Tudors, or vindi. cording to times and circumstances. For am
bition, though it has ever the same general • Mem. de Sully, tom. I. p. 133.
views, has not at all times the same means