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SINCE the following argument was framed, the East-India, Gibraltar, and Malta Trade Bill has passed the Legislature.-That Bill is of great consequence, and is in agreement with the principles laid down in this Essay; but, being only partial in operation, does not preclude the consideration of the subject at large. The duty on Rice has also been rescinded, but, being a measure of temporary and exigent regulation, does not affect the general course of the argument.
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THE causes which tend to the decline of rich and powerful States, are counteracted in the instance of Great Britain:
First.-By her Social Institutions, which dispense to industry and talent the rewards of wealth and distinction, and consequently assure to the community a constant succession of active and able members.
Second.-In her Trans-Marine Dominions, which not only constitute an extension of her agriculture and give increase to her trade, but by the direct and relative employment of seamen, contribute most of the advantages, without the expence and civil evils of a standing military force for defence.
Relatively to those dominions, chiefly, it is now purposed to examine some of the particulars of the British Commerce; the inquiry leads to remarks on the trade of the United States of America, and also brings the Slave Trade into a point of view in which it does not appear to have been hitherto considered.
Europe depends upon the Countries within and adjacent to the Tropics, for vast supplies of Agricultural produce.
A Tropical, or other Trans-marine Farm, within the British Dominions, is, in effect, a British Farm, with the advantage common to every other British Farm, of producing that within the Empire, for which a Foreign Nation must otherwise be paid; with the further advantage of employing the mariners who convey the produce to market.
The British Tropical Dependencies exceed in the production of most of their staple articles, the home consumption; they of themselves, give to Great Britain, the character of an export country, and her power will be in proportion to her independence of Supply from other nations, for her own consumption, and to the extent of
her exports to the market of Europe, directly or indirectly, from her Trans-Marine Dominions.
That market repays not only the charge for labor, the cost of the manufactures used in the culture and preparation of the produce, the rent of land and taxes, but, also, the cost and equipment ofthe ship employed for conveyance, and the wages of the seaman.
Further, the vender of the Trans-Marine productions in the market of Europe, selects the goods which are to be invested in return ;-he ranks with the best customer of the manufacturer, and the power of controul over the vender, is therefore an object of political science;-a foreign ship arrived at Amsterdam, or at Hamburgh, from the East or from the West, will seek to invest the manufactures of the Continent in return; a British ship, in a like situation, may be required to receive her return cargo, at a port of the United Kingdom, and, without being restricted in any other. respect, will assort a cargo with the best probability in favor of the British manufacturer.
Great Britain can reduce her demand upon foreign labor for her own use and consumption ;-she can embrace, in a proportion of great increase, the market of Europe for Tropical productions; in proportion to that increase she will be enabled to influence the investment of the returns, and the means necessary to those important ends are in unison with the best dispositions for promoting the interests of society..
Tropical Agriculture resolves itself into two divisions, Eastern and Western.
The Eastern division is cultivated, chiefly by native free laborers.-The Western division by foreign slaves; the former at the lowest, the latter at the highest rate of expence.
A limit to British Colonial agriculture, in the West, is fixed by. the suppression of the British trade in Slaves; the heart triumphs in the decision; but unless a more commanding and comprehensive policy, in the regulation of trade generally, be adopted, the nations which rank the lowest in moral feeling will, through the resources of the Tropical agriculture and navigation, which Great Britain has humanely abandoned, make the largest advances in political
The effect of that limitation to British industry, is seen in the increased activity of the foreign planter. In Cuba,—in the Brazils, the impulse is sensibly felt; by affecting the demand for the produce of the toil of Slaves only, can the trade in Slaves be prevented; when abandoned by all the governments now existing, is the policy of States which may yet be formed in Mexico and the Countries South of that Province, within the possible view of the philosopher or the statesman?
With a soil and climate rich and various, supposing equal distance and facility of navigation, and equal political encouragement, the native, free and unexpensive labor of the East must have prevented the first demand of Europe upon the foreign, compulsory, and expensive labor of the West. In the present improved state of navigation, equal political encouragement being supposed, the labor of the West, even with the advantages of less distance, high cultivation, great capital and skill and effective establishments, must yield to the labor of the East.
The subsequent examination' will establish that conclusion. East India Sugar is become, to some extent, an article of consumption in the United Kingdom, although liable to the payment of ten shillings per cwt. duty more than Sugar imported from the British West India Plantations, and is in extensive demand for the market of Europe, even with the increased charge of transit by way of Great Britain.
East India Cotton Wool, (the produce of the Island of Bourbon excepted) until the scarcity of other Cotton, occasioned by the American Embargo, was, for most purposes, rejected by the British Spinner. At that period its qualities were more nicely investigated, and the demand in consequence became regular and extensive, and is increasing both for domestic and foreign consumption. The importation of East India Cotton Wool to Great Britain, during the first six months of the present year, (1817) is upwards of 50,000 bales, in value equal to 700,0001.
East India Rice, from various occasional and temporary causes, has been lightly esteemed in the British and other European markets. Under the advantages of reduced freight and expeditious carriage, the prospect may be entertained of that article becoming to the European Nations and to the Western Colonists, a cheap auxiliary in domestic economy, and in seasons of distress an unfailing resource.
East India Rice contains more nutriment,2 will keep longer, and can be delivered at market cheaper than the Carolina Rice.
Persons who have resided in India, prefer the East India Rice for their tables. The European habituated to the Carolina Rice, prefers the latter. But would the same preference continue, if the East India Rice were carefully cleaned, without breaking the
Sugar, Cotton, Rice, Indigo, Coffee and Tobacco, only, (being the leading Staple Articles common to the East and West,) are expressly adverted to in these pages.
2 Upon an experiment recently and carefully made with an equal weight of East India and of Carolina Rice, the former was found to produce a considerably greater increase of weight when boiled, and the food is obviously more solid.
grain; if the same care and attention were directed to its preparation for market, as the Carolina Rice receives?
Duly considered, the presumption arises, that the Trade in Rice is at the command of Great Britain, through her Indian Provinces; and it offers employment to her shipping,' sustenance to her population, domestic and colonial; sustenance to her neighbours, and activity to her commerce.
Such are some of the indications of the power of the Asiatie cultivator to meet the demand of the European market, in the great staples of Sugar, Cotton, and Rice,' even under disadvantages from the want of more active superintendence by the European: with the full enjoyment of that superintendence, the progress of the Indigo Trade, more plainly shows the extent of his powers.
The culture of Indigo, in the East Indies, has been particularly fostered by the East India Company.
The quantity of Indigo, imported into Great Britain from the East Indies, in the year 1783, was 93,047lbs., which by progressive imports had increased in the year 1802 to 2,264, 199lbs.
The East India Company's Sales of Indigo, in successive were,
6,738,462 1816. 6,978,939 India, from remote antiquity, is known to have been fruitful in the most valuable productions, and is acknowledged, from their first introduction into Europe, to have excelled in the Silk, Cotton, and other manufactures; her productive powers are equal to any supposable demand upon her soil and industry; her richest Provinces are British; and if it be indeed desirable to consummate the
Suppose the cost of a Ton of Rice, at Calcutta, to be 51., and the value on the European quay to be 211., or 24d. per lb. the Consumer, will pay 161. or sixteen parts in 21, to the Navigation of the Carrying Country.
2 The Coffee Plantations of Java, sufficiently manifest the capability of India in regard to the production of Coffee.