« VorigeDoorgaan »
COLONIAL NEGLECT AND FOREIGN PROPITIATION.
Among the various and pressing the consequences which result to all interests, the consideration of which classes in this country from such a is now brought home to the British stoppage in the vent for our produce. Empire, there is none which is of such In the year 1811, the hostility of Naparamount and growing importance poleon had closed all the harbours in as the extension of our Colonial Em- Europe against our commerce, while pire, and the securing of our con- the Americans, by a new Intercourse nexion with it. The more minutely Act, shut us out from every harand anxiously that our social condition bour in the United States. The conat home is considered, the more it sequence was, that the exports of will be found that the maintenance, Great Britain, which, in the year not only of our domestic prosperity 1810, amounted to forty-three milbut of our national independence, is en- lions, sank in the next year to tirely dependent upon promoting the twenty-seven ; and the fall in the exgrowth and maintaining the con- ports and imports taken together for nexion with our colonies; and that our the one year, amounted to no less than trade with other countries, so far thirty-six millions. Mr Brougham, from being a source of strength, may in terms no less just than eloquent, in at once be converted into the greatest the debate upon the Repeal of the cause of weakness on the next occa- Orders in Council in 1812, thus desion in which this country is engaged scribed the state to which the manuin a maritime contest. The facts on facturing districts in England were this subject which are to be found in reduced by this calamity :-“ Take, our Parliamentary Reports are of the for example, one of our great staples, very highest importance, and per- the hardware, and look to Warwickfectly decisive of the vast superiority of shire, where it used to flourish. Bircolonial to foreign commerce. Never- mingham and its neighbourhood, a theless, that they are very little known, district of thirteen miles round that even by those whose whole fortune centre, was formerly but one village, and interests are wound up with the I may say one continued workshop, subject, appears in the most striking peopled with about 400,000 of the manner from the astonishment which most industrious and skilful of man. the facts connected with this subject kind. In what state do you now find never fail to excite when stated to that once busy hive of men ? Silent, an intelligent and respectable assem- still, and desolate during half the bly; and, unless these facts are con- week ; during the rest of it miserably stantly brought home to the public toiling at reduced wages, for a pitmind, and come at length to influence tance scarcely sufficient to maintain the measures of Government by the animal life in the lowest state of com. accumulated force of public thought, fort, and at all times swarming with it may confidently be predicted that a unhappy persons, willing, anxious to catastrophe, at some future and pos- work for their lives, but unable to sibly not distant period, awaits the find employment. He must have a British empire, greater, perhaps, than stout heart within him, who can view has ever yet befallen any civilized such a scene and not shudder,
even this is not all : matters are getWe have now been so long in the ting worse and worse; the manufacenjoyment of profound peace, and in turers are waiting for your decision, the possession of an export commerce and if that be against them they will to every quarter of the globe, that the instantly yield to their fate, and turn older part of the present generation adrift the people whom they still, have forgotten, the younger never though inadequately, support with have experienced, what it was to have employment."-" In the West Riding the export trade of England to nearly of Yorkshire, the applications to the all but its own colonies closed by parish officers have so alarmingly inforeign hostility. Fortunately, how- creased, that they have given repeated ever, the experiment has been tried, warnings to the master manufacturers, and a durable monument remains of and I believe to the higher authorities,
of their utter inability to relieve the tripled, and our manufacturing popu-
we are regarded by foreign powers, ing, that they were forced to part and the general aspect of the political with their little stock of furniture, world at this time, we shall see no which used to make their cottages in reason to believe that the elements of some degree comfortable, and even strife are awanting in the political atthe clothes off their backs, to raise mosphere, or that the time is far disfood, until the pawnbrokers, having tant when war, even on as great a already loaded themselves with such scale as it was waged with Napoleon, deposits, refused to issue any more must be undertaken by the British tickets. But at Sheffield the same empire. With Russia, it is universally feature recurred in a heightened and admitted, we are in a state closely still more striking form. The work- bordering on hostility ; it is only a men in the cutlery trade, unable to question of time when that gigantic obtain any longer their usual market contest is to arrive. The menacing from the master dealers and merchants, aspect of the Baltic, of the thirty ships or brokers refusing to purchase any of the line lying ready, and thirty more, were compelled to pawn their thousand land troops ready at a moarticles at a very low valuation for ment's warning to embark in them money, and even for food and clothes ; of the Dardanelles, where fifteen Briso that this extraordinary state of tish ships of the line are constantly things arose--the pawnbrokers came stationed at the back-door of the Rusinto the London market with the sian empire-of Affghanistan, where goods, and there met with the regular twenty thousand British troops are dealers, whom they were able greatly permanently stationed in the very heart to undersell, in such wise as to sup- of Asia,-all demonstrate that both ply to a considerable degree the Lon- parties are preparing for this great don and other markets, to the extreme contest, and that it will be carried on augmentation of the distresses already on a scale which will render the world so severely pressing upon this branch itself the field of battle. And on whom of trade."'*
are we to rely for maritime support in Now,inorder to appreciate the misery such a contest? Is it on the Austrians, that would ensue to this country from who could not furnish a ship of the line a similar stoppage in its export trade or two frigates to save England from at the present time, we have only to re- destruction ? or on the French, who, flect upon the vast increase of exports, what between dread of Nicholas, and imports, and population, which have separate interests at Algiers, have since taken place; we have only to re- drawn off from the British alliance at collect that our exports, which in 1810 the very first outbreak of hostilities in were forty-three millions, had, in 1838, the Archipelago ? or the Americans, risen to one hundred and five millions; whose government is so weak, and and that our imports, which in 1809 their hostility to this country so invewere thirty-one millions, had risen in terate, that thousands of armed pirates 1838 to sixty-one millions ; and that have for two years back kept up an our population, which at the former almost incessant warfare upon the Caperiod was seventeen millions, is now nadian frontier ? Every thing indicates twenty-five. Now, if such wide-spread that a great maritime contest is not and heart-rending misery was produ- far distant, and that, when it does ar. ced then, what would be its effects rive, we will have to depend almost now, when the manufacturing estas entirely upon our own resources for blishments of the country have nearly our defence.
Parliamentary Debates, xxiii. 548.
And are these resources, then, par- consisted of two hundred and forty-two ticularly our maritime strength, in ships of the line, and a thousand and such a state as to warrant us in any sixty-one armed vessels of all sizes. reasonable expectations that we shall We shall content ourselves with re. be able to maintain our maritime supe- verting to a humbler and more parallel riority in the contest, and avert the period, viz. the state of the British evils of actual blockade from the Bri- navy in 1838 compared with 1792, betish harbours ? The preparations of fore the revolutionary warcommenced, the enemy are well known : they have and when the naval and military estathirty ships of the line and eighteen blishments of the country were on the frigates constantly in commission in scale to which Joseph Hume always the Baltic, and fifteen ships of the line refers as the ne plus ultra point of and twelve frigates constantly in rea- economic perfection.
Now, upon diness in the Euxine. In considering the turning to authentic documents, viz. force which England has at her com- the returns of the navy in 1792, given mand to resist aggression from such an by Mr James in his Naval History, enemy, we shall not go back to the we sball find that the defensive naval higher palmy days of British exertion establishments of the country at the during the war; we shall not go back to two periods stood as follows:the year 1809, when the British navy
Line in Frigates in Line, ordinary
Cummis. Commis. and building 1792, 26 52
124 1838, 21 9
Frigates, ordi. Total Total
63 153 115
Grand Total of all Vessels.
But perhaps it will be said, that the former. To ascertain whether though the British navy capable of this is the case, let us examine what meeting an enemy, is not thus one-half was the state of the population, our of what it was in 1792, yet this is because exports and imports, at these two pethe resources of the country have so fal- riods, as affording a measure of the len off, that it was not able at the latter agriculture, manufactures, and general period to maintain the defensive esta- resources of the country. They stood blishment which was in existence at respectively as follows:t
Population of Great
Britain and Ireland. 1792, 12,680,000 1838, 27,250,000
Exports. Cfficial Value. £24,904,850 105,170,549
Imports. Official Value. £19,659,358
Tonnage. 1,540,145 2,785,357
Thus it appears that since 1792 the ation of all the sober reasoners, and population of the British islands has of all the intemperate admirers of demore than doubled, the imports more mocratic wisdom throughout the realm. than tripled, the exports more than It is impossible for any one who is quadrupled, and the commercial navy a friend to his country to contemplate increased about seventy per cent., such a state of things without the most while the ships of war, in all branches, serious alarm--an alarm which is only have sunk to nearly a half of their stand- rendered the greater from the experiard in 1792. This, too, has taken place enced difficulty of getting such future during a time when the colonial em- and contingent events to arrest the pire of Great Britain has been multi- attention either of Government or plied above five-fold, and the chances the nation in this unthinking age. of hostility with which we are brought But, above all, if the matter is seriousin contact at different points over the ly considered, and if we reflect upon globe, have been increased in a similar the imminent hazards of a maritime
We invite the Whig war, the miserable state of preparation Radical writers to examine and con- in which the British navy is to meet it, tradict these facts if they can, and and the awful effects which will ensue submit them to the deliberate consider- by the stoppage of trade, and the
* James's Naval History, II. 404; Barrow's Anson, App. 424.
blockade of our harbours by hostile the source of blessings, if a decided and squadrons, it must be evident that no manly course is taken by the nation more important subject of considera- and its Government in regard to its cotion ever was submitted to the atten. lonial interests. Indeed, so clearly tion of a thinking nation.
does this appear, that one is almost dwell
upon the subject with the more tempted to believe that the manifold earnestness, because, when our situa- political and social evils of our present tion as a whole is fairly looked in the condition, are the scourges intended by face, and the policy which duty and Providence to bring us back, by neinterest alike prescribe, is adopted, cessity and a sense of our own inte. there not only is no ground for alarm, rests, to those great national duties but the most satisfactory prospects of from which we have so long and so future prosperity and welfare are unaccountably swerved. Are opened on all sides to the nation. It oppressed with a numerous and reis in our colonies that this source of dundant population ? Are we justly strength is to be found; it is in our apprehensive that a mass of lius descendants on the other side of the man beings, already consisting of Atlantic and the Pacific, that we are to five-and-twenty millions, and multiplylook alike for the only certain marketing at the rate of a thousand souls for our produce, and the only unde- a-day, will erelong be unable to find caying elements for our strength. subsistence within the narrow space of Some very striking facts on this sub- these islands ? Let us turn to the Coject were brought forward upon the lonies, and there we shall find boundlate dinner given upon the occasion of less regions, capable of maintaining ten the embarking of the first emigrants times our present population in conto New Zealand, at Glasgow; and we tentment and affluence, and which rewillingly give a place them here, as quire only the surplus arms and mouths exhibiting, in a more striking light of the parent state, to be converted than has yet been done, the incalcu. into gigantic empires, which, before a lable importance of the British colo- century has elapsed, may overshadow nies, not merely to the extension, but the greatness even of European reto the independence and existence of
Are we justly fearful that the the mother country.
increasing manufacturing skill and “ Let us no longer strain," said Mr growing commercial jealousy of the Sheriff Alison, " after the impracti. Continental states may graduaily shut cable attempt to disarm the commer- us out from the European market, and cial jealousy of the European states; thatour millions of manufacturers may but, boldly looking our situation in the find their sources of foreign subsistface, direct our main efforts to the ence fail at a time when all home em. strengthening, conciliating, and in- ployments are filled up? Let us turn creasing of our Colonial Empire. to the Colonies, and there we shall sce There is to be found the bone of our empires of gigantic strength rapidly bone, and the flesh of our flesh. There rising to maturity, in which manufacare to be found the true descendants turing establishments cannot for cenof the Anglo-Saxon race; there the turi take root, and in which the taste people, who, already imbued with our for British manufactures, and the hatastes, our habits, our artificial wants, bits of British comfort, are indelibly must be chained for centuries to agri- implanted on the British race. Are cultural or pastoral employments, and we overburdened with the weight of can only obtain from the mother coun. our poor-rates and the multitude of try the immense amount of manufac- our paupers, and trembling under the tured produce which their growing effect of the deep-rooted discontent wealth and numbers must require. So produced in the attempt to withdraw strongly, gentlemen, am I impressed public support from the maintenance with these principles--so clearly do I of the adult and healthy labourer? see the future path traced out to Eng. Let us find the means of transporting land, not less by her duty than her in these healthy workmen to our colonial terests, that there is no one circum, settlements, and weshall conferas great stance in her present condition, not a blessing upon them as we shall give even those which are most justly consi. a relief to the parent state. Are we dered as pregnant with danger and disquieted by the rapid progress of alarm, that may not be converted into corruption in our great towns, and
alarmed at the enormous mass of fe- culty removed, would be converted male profligacy which, like a gangrene, into an element of national strength, infests these great marts of pleasure because it would induce all classes and opulence ? Let us look to the cheerfully to acquiesce in the duplicaColonies, and there we shall find tion of our naval force, from which states in which the population is ad. they all derive such obvious advan. vancing with incredible rapidity, but tages; the navy would augment in size in which the greatest existing evil is, and grow in usefulness under such a the undue and frightful preponderance salutary system; and the very quality of the male sex; and all that is wanting which Adam Smith long ago remarked to complete their means of increase is, as the greatest obstacle to the improve. that the proportion should be righted ment of the human race, that of being by the transfer to distant shores of the lumber which it is of all others the part of the female population which most difficult to transport, would benow encumbers the British isles. Are come the means of augmenting the the means to transport these numerous maritime force of England, and and indigent classes to these distant strengthening the upseen chain which regions awanting, and has individual holds together the far distant provinces emigration hitherto been liable to the of its mighty dominion.” reproach that it removes the better We cannot help thinking that the class of our citizens who could do for suggestion here made, of directing a themselves, and leaves the poorest who part at least of the British navy to the encumber the land? The British removal of such part of our populanavy lies between, and means exist of tion as desire it, to our colonial postransporting, at hardly any expense to sessions, is well worthy of the most the parent state, all that can ever be serious consideration. It must be required of our working population evident to every one who considers from that part of the empire which the extraordinary reduction which they overburden, to that to which they has taken place in our naval force will prove a blessing. Gentlemen, I during the last thirty years, and agree with my eloquent and esteemed which has brought it down from two friend, Dr M.Leod, that it is astonish. hundred and forty ships of the line to ing the attention of Government has eighty, that we have fallen now into not ere this been turned to this subject. an economical and commercial geneAnd why, I would ask, may not part, ration; and that the rulers of the at least, of the British navy be con- state, and the democratic constituenstantly employed in transporting emi- cies who direct the rulers, are entirely grants of all classes to our Colonial governed by that passion for present possessions? Why should two hun
economy, and that disregard of future dred vessels of different sizes, that are objects, which is the invariable charnow in commission in the British acteristic of the masses of mankind. navy,
be employed only in useless pa- No surprise need be excited at a de. rades, when hundreds of thousands on mocratic community being influenced the British shores are pining for the by such want of foresight, when all means of transport across the seas, the eloquence of Demosthenes was and millions of acres on the other side unable to persuade the most enlight
of the ocean, teeming with verdant ened of the states of antiquity to take + fertility, await only their robust hands any steps to ward off the danger ari
to be converted into a terrestrial para- sing from the invasion of Philip of dise? Why should the British navy Macedon; and all the wisdom of not be employed, like the Roman le- Washington, was unable to communi. gions in time of peace, in works of cate to the greatest republic of mopublic utility ? and why should their dern times, sufficient strength or foreefforts not construct causeways across sight to prevent its capital being the deep, which would bind together taken, and its arsenals pillaged, by a the immense circuit of the British Co. British division not four thousand lonial dominions, as strongly as the strong. It is of the last importance, highways constructed by the legions therefore, to discover some method cemented the fabric of their mighty by which the increase of the navy, empire ? In this view the last incon- evidently essential to our national venience attending a redundant pauper independence, and to avert the hor. population--that of being with diffi- rors of the actual blockade of our