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ships have been employed in a circui. are chiefly consumed on the contie tous conveyance of it through the nent, the latter within the united continent ; or that any quantity has kingdom. Owing to a market for the been imported otherwise than in Bri- lighter and more valuable part of the tish ships, and directly from the place cargo not being afforded except in of its growth, except in a single in- Great Britain, the probibition on the stance, under very peculiar circum- importation of the produce of Asia stances.
from any European port, and the neThe trade with the United States cessity of an assortment of the cargo, of America, it is said, is carried on such as described, the Continental supprincipally in American shipping ; but ply of the more bulky articles has if, as is alleged, the American vessel been hitherto, in a considerable degree, has no advantage over the British one received through the United Kingin point of cheapness, the competition dom. These articles, which are most in any other than the American trade affected by the rate of freight, may, it cannot fail to be in favour of the Bri. is feared, be conveyed directly to the tish ship coming to the United King- continent by means of foreign navidom, in which the voyage is perform- gation, if a market were opened to ed directly ; while by that in the Ame- the lighter articles with which the rican ship the cargo can only reach cargo must be completed, by admitits destination circuitously, subject to ting their ulterior importation into this the additional inconvenience, delay, country. and expense of trans-shipment in a fo.. That this may happen occasionally, reigo port.
your Committee think far from im· The danger, therefore, of a circui- probable; but it is the permanent and tous conveyance being generally sub- habitualcourse of trade, and not the ocstituted for the direct one, or the fo- casional or accidental deviations from reign for British shipping, in the trade it, that is the object to which the at. with distant parts of the world, does tention of the legislature should be not excite in your Committee any ap- directed. So far from feeling these prehension ; and this observation, as occasional exceptions to be a matter well as the grounds on which it rests, of jealousy, your Committee are disin the opinion of your Committee, posed to consider the denial of faciliapply equally to foreign ships of the ties of this kind to foreigners, as a cheaper description, whether of the policy of useless severity, which has countries in the south or north of Eu- already produced effects highly unfa. rope, the Greeks and Genoese, not vourable to the general commercial less than those of Denmark, Norway, interests of the country. and Sweden.
The probability of the circuitous It has been represented to your course of trade becoming habitual, Committee, that the effect of the sug- must arise from the comparative adgested alteration might be, partially vantages it promises to those who may to reverse the course of the trade as engage in it. These must be sufficient now conducted between India and to compensate for the inconvenience Europe. A great proportion of this and additional expense of the circuitrade is at present confined to British tous conveyance of the most valuable ships. The cargoes consist in an as. part of the cargo, and also its liabilisortment of light and heavy articles, ty, in the markets of the united kingof which the heavy form the largest dom, to certain competition with a though least valuable part; the former supply brought directly in our own
ships ; this is a considerable risk. It weight than is justly due, your Commay be at the same time matter of mittee cannot find reason for presu. some doubt, whether the conveyance ming that the great tide of the trade of the bulky articles to the continent from India will be diverted from its in a foreign ship would be upon the accustomed course ; and that notwitha whole much more economical than in standing the proposed change in the a British one ; and if to this, the ine- law, the Continent will not continue vitable risk described, bearing upon still to receive the proportion of its the most valuable part of the cargo, supply hitherto furnished by British is added, there seems little reason to trade, through the ports of the uni. fear that such conveyance would be ted kingdom. No real danger, therehabitually preferred, even if no pecu- fore, to British navigation is contemliar advantages existed in favour of plated by your Committee as likely British shipping in carrying on the to result from the suggestion they are commercial intercourse with India, about to offer ; nor do they doubt
In all the ports of the British pos- that the preference our shipping possessions in India, (which include most sesses will be as exiensively and seof the principal ports of export,) it curely, as well as much less invidiousmust be remembered that a difference ly, enjoyed, when arising from the in the duties imposed on the exporta- advantages that fairly belong to it, tion of goods, to the amount of five than when apparently the effect of leper cent, exists in favour of the Bri- gislative protections and prohibitions. tish ship. The ships from the conti- When they consider, too, that under nent are understood to be in general the more general freedom it would eschiefly dependent on their return cargo tablish, British merchants in every to answer the whole charge of freight, foreign port might make their purwhereas a British ship going out load chases, assort their cargoes, and pured with merchandize is enabled to di- sue their speculations, without any of vide the charge of freight between the the doubts and apprehensions by which outward and homeward voyage ; a they are now checked and embarrassa circumstance which gives an obvious ed; and the still greater advantage of advantage in the expense of homeward the recognition of a principle that freight to a British ship. Nor must would tend so much to introduce we forget that a considerable portion clearness and simplicity into the reguof the funds of the Indian trade are lations of our commercial system. supplied by the remittance of the ac- Your Committee feel it their duty to quisitions of British subjects, to be recommend to the consideration of the realized or expended in their native House the relaxation of the principle country ; that a great part of the ex- of the Acts of the 12th, 13th, and port trade of India is through the 14th of Charles II., to the extent of East India Company ; that the indi. admitting the importation into the viduals through which the greatest united kingdom of the produce of proportion of the remainder is con- every part of the world, from every ducted, are sprung from the united part of the world, without reference kingdom, whose commercial con. to the place of their growth or pronexions are with British houses and duce, provided such importation be British merchants, and whose feelings made in British ships. and interests are exclusively British. Notwithstanding your Committee When all these circumstances are con- are able to perceive no serious objec. sidered, without giving to them more tion to the adoption of this measure, yet feeling it impossible to calculate exportation is confined to certain epowith certainty all the bearings and merated foreign articles ; and that only consequences of an alteration 80 ex. certain ports
of the united kingdom, tensive in its operation, they should and those unequally, are open to reoffer it with more diffidence, if they ceive them. were not convinced that it is easily
This distinction made in respect to susceptible of modification, should cir- ports, arises only from the degrees in cumstances hereafter arise to render which they possess the means of af. buch a modification essential to the fording accommodation and security protection of any of the great objects to the collection of the revenue. Whenwhich every consideration of the na- ever it appears to the Lords of the tional safety and power imposes the Treasury, that sufficient provision is duty of inflexibly maintaining. Flow. made for these objects, every port be. ing as this concession will do from the comes eligible to receive the advanspontaneous and liberal feelings of the tage of having goods warehoused with British legislature, neither granted as in it. Your Committee do not feel any the condition of advantages obtained alteration to be required on this point; from other states, nor guarded by any as they are not aware that the esten. pledge of the public faith, should it sion of this privilege to each particu. be attended with consequences incon- lar port, and the limitations under sistent with the regard due to those which it should be done, can be betobjects, it may, without affording the ter regulated than by the discretion of Blightest ground for reasonable com- those to whose superintendance and replaint, or the impeachment of our jus- sponsibility the collection of the pubtice or liberality, be subject at any lic revenue is intrusted. time to such modifications as may be To the Treasury also has been de required, or even, if necessary, be ab. legated the power of making addisolutely revoked.
tions to the list of such enumerated The warehousing or bonding sys- articles as may be admitted to ware. tem appeared to your Committee so house ; which they have occasionally much connected with the subject of exercised. The principle of the las their preceding recommendation, that is, however, restrictive ; and, not withthey have thought it right to include standing the articles admitted are puit in this part of their inquiry, as well merous, has still a very extensive opeas in their present Report. If, contra- ration.. ry to their expectation, any of the ap- The result of the evidence received prehensions created by the proposed by your Committee on this subject, relaxation of the navigation-laws should has made a strong impression of the be realized, it is in the improvement advantages that would arise from giand perfection of the warehousing sys- ving the most unlimited extension to tem they confidently anticipate an am- the warehousing system. They do not ple compensation to every interest con- conceive the ports of the united kingpected with the shipping of the Uni- dom can be too widely opened to the ted Kingdom.
importation of every description of The origin and progress of the ware- foreign merchandize for re-exportahousing system is detailed at length tion to any part of the world, excluin the evidence of Mr Frewin, to which sive of the British colonies ; exempt your Committee beg to refer. From (with few if any exceptions) from all chat statement it will appear, that the duties in passing through them, as privilege of being warehoused for re- well as relieved from every charge and inconvenience, which the safety of the ted kingdom and its colonies, the free revenue, justice to individuals, and the importation of articles of foreign mainterests of commerce itself, do not nufacture, for re-exportation only, can impose the necessity of continuing. affect the interests, or ought to excite While we preserve to our own manu. the jealousy, of our manufacturers. factures a preference in the home British ingenuity and industry, mamarket, and the supply of our colo- chinery and capital, may confidently nial possessions, additional facilities meet competition, wherever the field will thus be furnished, and all practi- is impartially open to our manufac. cable inducements tendered, to foreiga turers, in common with those of fo. as well as British capital, to collect in reign states. Nor does that competithe depositaries of Great Britain, ma- tion seem to your Committee to beterials for every variety of traffic with come more favourable to the foreigner every quarter of the world.
in consequence of his goods being perThe benefits the nation cannot fail mitted to pass through the ports of to reap from such a measure, in the the united kingdom; the effect of improvement of its commerce, and the excluding him from them would not augmented demand for its manufac- be to obviate his competition, although tures and shipping, are so obvious, it might change the place in which it that your Committee feel it unneces- would occur, and by such a change sary to occupy the attention of the possibly render it less propitious to House by dwelling upon them in any the interests of the British manufacdetail. In the examinations to this turer. point, it is readily acknowledged, that A doubt has been expressed of the great general advantage is likely to expediency of allowing articles actualarise from the facility which would be ly prohibited from importation to be afforded to British as well as to fo. admitted and warehoused for exportareign merchants to make the assort. tion; and among the manufactures ment of their cargoes in this country; likely to be exposed to risk by it, that the effect of which, it is justly pre- of silk goods has been mentioned to sumed, would be to render the united your Committee; but they do not find kingdom the place in which a great in the statements made in the evidence proportion of the commercial adven- to which they refer sufficient reasons tures of the world would take their to induce them to recommend any exorigin. And while the assortment of ception to the general freedom of im, British manufactures with foreign mer- port and export in respect to the silkchandize in the completion of cargoes manufactures of foreign states; or that for the respective adventures, whether the admission of the prohibited artion British or foreign account, would cles for exportation only will, if prolargely contribute to the demand for perly guarded, be productive of any the productions of every branch of dangerous consequence. our own industry, the conduct of the The policy of remitting the existing enterprizes would be in a great mea- duty on the entry and re-export of fosure through British intervention, and reign linens, imposed for the protecbecome the means of the increased tion of the British and Irish linen employment of British shipping. trade, has, in reference also to this
It does not appear to your Como part of their inquiry, naturally occumittee, that so long as their own mar- pied the attention of
Committee; kets are preserved to them in the uni. it will be observed, that the testimony
VOL. XIII. PART II.
tioning the wisdom of a restrictive or and beneficially recommended, no less protective policy, as necessary to the with a view to the interests of this state of our trade at an earlier period country, than to the situation of surof our history, as applicable to the cir- rounding nations. Upon them the pocumstances of the present day, it ap- licy of Great Britain has rarely been pears very doubtful. The time when without its influence. The principles monopolies could be successfully sup- recognized and acted upon by her may ported, or would be patiently endured, powerfully operate in aiding the geneeither in respect to subjects against ral progress towards the establishment subjects, or particular countries against of a liberal and enlightened system of the rest of the world, seems to have national intercourse throughout the passed away. Commerce, to continue world, as they have too long done in undisturbed and secure, must be, as it supporting one of a contrary characwas intended to be, a source of reci- ter, by furnishing the example and jusprocal amity between nations, and an tification of various measures of cominterchange of productions, to pro- mercial exclusion and restriction. To mote the industry, the wealth, and the measures of this nature her pre-emihappiness of mankind. If it be true nence and prosperity have been unthat different degrees of advantage justly ascribed. will be reaped from it, according to It is not to prohibitions and protecthe natural and political circumstances, tions we are indebted for our commerthe skill and the industry of different cial greatness and maritime power ; countries; it is true also, that what- these, like every public blessing we ever be the advantages so acquired, enjoy, are the effects of the free priothough they may excite emulation and ciples of the happy constitution under enterprize, they can rouse none of those which we live, which, by protecting -sentiments of animosity, or that spirit individual liberty, and the security of of angry retaliation, naturally excited property, by holding out the most by them when attributed to prohibi- splendid rewards to successful industions and restrictions, jealously enact- try and merit, has, in every path of .ed and severely maintained.
human exertion, excited the efforts, Your Committee are, however, sen- ncouraged the genius, and called into sible, that at once to abandon the pro- action all the powers of an aspiring, hibitory system, would be of all things enlightened, and enterprizing people. the most visionary and dangerous. It 18th July, 1820. has long subsisted : it is the law not only of this kingdom, but of the rest of the European world, and any sudden departure from it is forbidden by every consideration of prudence, safe- SECOND REPORT ty, and justice. No such sudden change is in the contemplation of your Com of the Commissioners on the Education mittee, nor indeed the adoption of any
of the Poor. change, without the utmost circum
TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE THE spection and caution. But they still
LORDS SPIRITUAL AND TEMPORAL, feel, that a principle of gradual and
IN PARLIAMENT ASSEMBLED, prospective approximation to a sounder system, as the standard all future We, the Commissioners named and commercial regulations, may be wisely appointed by his Majesty's Commis