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The motion was negatived by a latter were burthened with a higher majority of 222 to 40.
duty. For, said they, in conseThe ship owners, and others quence of the greater price of all connected with the shipping inter- the labour and
materials used, the ests, who believed themselves to rate of ship-building is nearly be affected by the late alterations double of what it is in most foreign in the navigation laws, complained, countries; the cost of navigation, equally with the silk-manufactu- when the ship has been built, is rers, of the mischievous consequen- much higher, because the wages of ces of innovation. They com seamen, and the price of the stores plained particularly of the system and victuals for the seamen, are which had been adopted of remov
much higher here than they are ing discriminating duties, and al- abroad. Without a countervailing lowing articles of merchandize to duty, therefore, laid upon their be imported in foreign vessels, foreign rivals, they were not put under the same burthens as if on a fair ground of competition they had
been imported in against these rivals. In support of British bottoms, on condition of these views they asserted, that, reciprocity in regard to ourselves. during the last four years, the They contended in numerous pe- tonnage of the foreign shipping titions to parliament, that such a entering our ports, had trebled, reciprocal removal of discriminat- while our own trade was declining: ing duties was ruinous to British that the foreign tonnage entering shipping; because the British and the port of London, during the the foreign owner could never be last three years, had doubled ; put upon an equality, unless the that, at this moment, nine-tenths
of the shipping coming into the judgment as to the difference between port of Liverpool were American ; foreign and home manufactured silk, and that, unless, therefore, it and the individuals so selected, were
were intended that our directed to go and look over the hun
navy dreds of pieces of silk in the warehouse should dwindle into insignificance, of the foreign manufacturer, and to it was necessary to lighten the take from among those hundreds, all burthens of the shipping interthe pieces of which they had no doubt est, and enable it to compete with as to their being manufactured abroad, the shipping interest of foreign so as to establish beyond all question, the guilt or the innocence of the indi- countries. vidual accused. This was accordingly The petitioners and their adhedone, and a report was made, that the rents in parliament, repeated these persons appointed had selected thirty- doctrines and assertions on every seven pieces of silk out of the many hundreds examined by them, of which opportunity; but, owing perhaps they had made seizure as contraband to the decided approbation which goods. What was then done by the the House of Commons had given foreign manufacturer?
He brought to the principles of the from Manchester, and from Spitalfields, the very men who had made every one
ment on the debate concerning the of those thirty-seven pieces; and it was silk trade, no attempt was made to proved upon oath, to the entire confu- bring them formally under the sion of the accusers, that every piece notice of the legislature. Mr. Hus. had been manufactured either in Man- kisson, however, to whose departchester or Spitalfields. quence was, a full and complete acquittal ment, as President of the Board of of the foreigner.
Trade, the subject belonged, did
not think it wise or becoming to ships entered was 21,986, the tonallow the session to terminate, and nage 2,786,844. The number of parliament to be dissolved, without foreign ships, in the same period, shewing how groundless these re- increased to 5,661, the tonnage being presentations were, and stating 68,192. And it was to be recolwhat had been the real conse- lected, that in this year there was quences of such changes as had an unusual demand for shipping, hitherto been ventured upon. On the both British and foreign, in con12th of May, he moved for “ re- sequence of the unprecedented exturns of ships built in the British tent of speculation in almost every dominions, between 1814 and 1825, branch of commerce. Therefore, both inclusive, distinguishing the on looking to these returns, it was number in each year, and the clear that the amount of British amount of their tonnage." The shipping had increased in a far motion was introduced by a very greater proportion than that of all elaborate, detailed, and masterly other countries put together. This speech, displaying a most accurate being the case, we were not cerknowledge of every part of his tainly in such a situation as was subject, and great power of stating calculated to excite alarm with reit luminously to others. Having spect to the comparative growth of developed the general principles on British and foreign shipping. which the navigation laws were ori. Even if the latter had somewhat ginally founded, the different ob- increased last year, it would form jects to which these principles had no ground of alarm, because it been applied, the modifications, if might fairly be attributed to the any,which, down to the present time very extraordinary cause that was had been made upon these objects, then at work, and the unusual deand the causes, arising from poli- mand for shipping, produced by tical and commercial changes, the spirit of overtrading and spewhich had rendered such changes culation which prevailed. The advisable or necessary, he stated, alarm felt upon this subject was ' that all the allegations of mischief grounded, in part, upon the state having ensued, and of an undue pre- of our commerce from the Baltic, ferenee having been given to foreign and the number of Prussian ships over British shipping, in conse- which entered our ports, as comquence of the late alterations on the pared with British. Now in 1824, navigation laws, were contradicted the number of British ships which by theaétual results. The complaint entered from the Baltic was 440, was, that, in consequence of these and, in 1825, 942. The number changes, a decrease had taken place of Prussian ships which entered in the employment of British ship- were, in 1824, 682, and in 1825, ping. Now, in December, 1824, 827. The number of Prussian the number of British ships which ships, therefore, increased only by entered our harbours was 19,164, a fourth, , while that of British and the tonnage 2,364,000. The ships was more than doubled. number of foreign ships which en Such was the comparative state of tered, during the same period, was the shipping of both countries in 5,280, the tonnage being 66,940. the last year; and, as Prussia seem: In 1825. the number of British ed to be the main object of jealousy; VOL. LXVIII.
when there existed so little ground states came to retaliate upon the for it with respect to that nation, discriminating duties of this counwe might dismiss our
apprehensions try, by the adoption of a similar upon this point. There was no system, the duty could no longer mode by which the change which be kept up, so far as America was had taken place in the trade with concerned, without leading to disa the Baltic, could be more accurately astrous consequences. It became ascertained than by comparing the indispensable, therefore, to enter number of all vessels which, in two into some arrangement upon the different periods of ten years, had subject with the American governpassed the Sound. He was fur- ment. That having been done, nished with the means of making and other nations demanding that such a comparison between the the same principle should be experiod which elapsed from 1783 to tended to them, it was impossible 1793, and from 1816 to 1826. From for us to embark in a contest upon such a comparison it appeared, that, the subject without being, in the in the last year, the number of end, the greatest sufferers. It was British ships which passed the much more advisable, under the Sound was greater than in any circumstances, to make arrangeprevious year since 1783. In 1821 ments in time. Whether the old the total number of British ships system was a good or a bad one, which passed the Sound was 2,816; government was no longer at lithe number of ships belonging to berty to make a choice; for, what all other nations, 9,177: In 1822 was their situation, with respect to British ships, 3,000; of all other other countries, at the time this nations, 9,000. In 1823 the com- changeof system was recommended ? parative number was about the In 1822 the king of Prussia issued same as in 1822. In 1825 the an ordinance, establishing in his number of British ships was 5,186; dominions the same duties which of all other nations, 13,000. So existed in our own, with a view that last year we had more than of inducing other countries, and a third of the whole of the navi- particularly Great Britain, to act gation through
the Sound. There upon more liberal principles of facts were sufficient, or ought to commerce, and to enter into arbe sufficient, to quiet all the appre- rangements for that purpose. This hensions which had been excited, order applied equally to ships and silence all the clamours which coming in ballast, and to such as had been raised; but it was doubly had cargoes on board. The conpleasant to know that these were sequence was, that, in 1823, gothe results of our measures, when vernment was assailed with me the latter were measures which we morials from all quarters, stating, could not have any longer avoided. that it was impossible any longer The system of discriminating duties to carry on the trade with Prussia, could not have been longer main- owing to her heavy port charges. tained under the changed cireum
A communication in consequence stances of foreign powers. After was made to the Prussian minister the American war, great attention here; but with what show of had been drawn to the subject, in reason or justice could we complain consequence of the rapid growth of of this, we who had set the exthe United States ; for, when those ample? The natural answer was,
that Prussia had nothing else in The only change made upon the view, but to induce us to re-con- Navigation-laws during the session sider our own system. In such a was rendered necessary by the situation of affairs, if we had em commercial treaties which had barked in a contest of prohibitory been coneluded between this counduties, all commercial intercourse try and Colombia, and the United would have ceased between the Provinces of the Rio de la Plata. two nations, except that carried on When these states emerged from in their own ships. Such being the condition of colonies into that of the state of things, a discussion independent republics, they were was entered into with the Prussian in possession of no commercial government, and the question was marine of their own. In their put, will you withdraw all dis- state of colonial dependency on criminating duties, if we do the the mother countries, they had same? The answer having been possessed no trade, and consein the affirmative, an arrangement quently no ships. But the British was entered into upon that basis. Navigation-laws, even as they at Similar arrangements were made present stood, imposed burdens with Denmark, Sweden, Norway, upon the importation of foreign and the Hanseatic cities of Ham- produce, if not imported in vessels burgh, Bremen, and Lubeck. It belonging to the country of which would have been unworthy of this the cargo was the produce, which country, if, while extending this were not imposed upon national principle to America, and some of vessels bringing a national cargo. the powerful states of Europe, it As Colombia, however, and the had been refused to those little states of the Plata, possessed no republics which, in the feudal national ships, it was deemed right times, were the means of preserve to allow them a fair and reasoning the seeds of liberty and free able time to procure ships, before trade. Small these states might they should be placed on the same be; but they were not unimportant, footing with long-established counand it was our duty to treat them tries : otherwise the treaties, so far with equal generosity and justice as regarded the permission to imas the greatest. Perhaps if Dant- port their produce into this counzic had still formed a component try, would be nugatory. It would part of that combination of free have been unfair, on
the first cities, instead of having passed establishment of commercial reunder the dominion of Prussia, lations with them, to compel them there might not have been so to employ only their own shipping, much danger in Prussia insisting when, in fact, they had none. It upon a principle, the tendency of had therefore been stipulated in which was to exclude us from the treaties, that vessels, wherecommercial intercourse with her soever built, being the property of ports, because that commerce might any of the citizens of either rehave been carried on through public, should be considered as Dantzic.
national vessels of that republic, The motion was agreed to; sir the master, and three fourths of M. Ridley expressing his hope, the mariners of the vessel, being that the subject would receive a always citizens of such republic. full investigation in the next par- A bill to give effect to these liament.
stipulations was brought in by treaties of a like nature might be Mr. Huskisson, and was passed concluded by his majesty with
opposition, except other states of South America, not what was founded on opposition't yet possessed of any national merto the general principles of com- cantile marine, the same provision mercial policy, of which parliament was extended, in the same terms, had só repeatedly and deliberately, to states with which such treaties approved. The duration of the might be formed. *
o sislor sit privilege was limited by the stan tute, to seven years from the date of the respective treaties; and, as
7 Geo. IV. c. 5.