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strangling the manufacture, the smuggler of America holding one end of the cord and the smuggler of Great Britain the other.” Discoursing of the exports to Germany and Holland, and the risk of the loss of that trade, and the tax on the poor by the duty, he says, “I always make a reserve, the smuggler is always very ready to give relief; he may relieve."
“I have in my eye again (p. 1129) that deluded man who would go to work to make damasks and diapers; he will find himself supplanted by the smugglers again. I say every lady has as good a right to cover her table with smuggled damask as her husband has to set on his smuggled wine. I have drunk smuggled wine at the table of a First Commissioner of the Treasury ; I told him so; had not his wife a right to cover it with smuggled damask?”
Retaliation against the higher duties by the Germans is suggested with the assertion that a new duty in 1767 on Silesian lawns had led to a decrease in British woollen manufacture. Then Mr. Forster, the agent for the Russia Company, defends the importation of Russia linens at a low rate of duty, on the ground that they were used mainly by the poor, and that the hemp, iron and flax of Russia were indispensable. Seven to eight thousand tons of flax were yearly imported, and the trade was carried on in British ships.
A proposal is made for a bounty on export of British and Irish linens to help the trade. Lord North is willing for the bounty if it does not injure another branch of trade, the cotton manufacture. Governor Pownall goes to the root of the difficulty of all duties and bounties when he urges that a bounty is a go-cart to the infant that is not yet able to stand on his legs; but if that child is kept too long in a go-cart, it will go upon crutches as long as it lives.
As each country was equally determined to protect its own trade, home and colonial, the likelihood of retaliation had always to be considered when imposing duties. When, in 1786, a treaty between France and Britain gave an opening to the import of British textile and other goods competing with French manufactures, the French, frightened, made proposals, like Swift's for Ireland and Gandhi's for India, to use only French goods. The deputy of the National Assembly showed “ les manufactures anéanties, les ouvriers sans travail."
The smugglers affected agriculture and wages unfavourably, as the labourers employed at a fancy wage to carry the “run goods inland in the night seriously hampered the farmer's labour market. But he dare not complain. Burnt ricks and barns, stolen horses, very likely personal injury, would have been the result if he had done so. He was obliged to be content with a gift of smuggled goods.
Burke, the attorney for the smugglers on both sides of the sea, when attacking the ministry for their interference with the illicit trade of America, sums up the situation in the islands.
Whenever,” he says, “ the laws of trade, whenever the laws of revenue press hard upon the people in England, in that case all your shores are full of contraband. You know that there is not a creek from Pentland Firth to the Isle of Wight in which they do not smuggle immense quantities of teas, East India goods and brandies" (P.H., XVII., 1287-40).
There was a perpetual and bloody war going on between the customs officers of all the nations and the smugglers, in which the former did not by any means always get the advantage. The smugglers were desperate men, well armed and well organized, pursuing a most lucrative business, and such was the terror they inspired that under the second George, apart from the raids of bodies of dragoons, there was no protection for decent people against them. The forces in the islands, both naval and military, were unable to cope with the situation, and there was no police and no organized civil power to meet it. The dangers to the customs officers were so great that they were often either in collusion with the smugglers or slack in enforcing the law. After the Seven Years' War an effort was made to check the evil by such measures as the purchase of the Isle of Man, but the trade was so lucrative and the force at the disposal of the Crown so small that the effect was small.
If this was the condition in the islands, what about the American colonies ? Let us look across the ocean to the West.
viii. Colonial Trade and Smuggling.–The colonial trade stood on a different footing from that of Europe. The spirit of legal acceptance of customs duties by the British in the islands truly was willing, though the flesh, in the form of dragoons and preventive cruisers, was weak. In the islands the armed law was always present, if its action was uncertain and fitful. On the contrary, in the colonies opposition to any enforcement of social obligations was a watchword gradually becoming a definite faith under the ægis of the word liberty.
In the first instance the population were men who, from the very fact of their emigration from Europe, were unwilling to obey any inconvenient law by whomever imposed. Then the case for restrictions on their trade were of a wholly different character. The British in Europe were fighting Continental competition by prohibition or by tariffs for the benefit of the British manufacturer. But the tariffs and prohibitions laid on the Irish or on the Americans were not for their benefit but again for the benefit of the British manufacturer, for whose advantage they might be expected to be lukewarm. The Irish or American smuggler had the full sympathy of his countrymen in that the tariffs which he evaded were imposed with a view to crush his infant industries at home in the interests of the larger island
The British, in the first place manufacturers and traders in manufactured goods, had their foreign competitors at their door; the Irish had seen their industries destroyed one after another by prohibition and hostile tariffs from the fear that they might compete with the British ; the Americans were in great part producers of raw material; it was the treatment of their home industries growing fast and becoming dạily more impatient of external control in the interests of the British manufacturer, three thousand miles away, which eventually resulted in their rebellion.
For a hundred years under various laws, the Navigation Acts, 25 Charles II. and 6 George II., both import and export duties had been laid on and paid by the American colonies to Britain. By these Acts, tobacco and, later, indigo, produced in America, and sugar, cotton-wool, indigo, ginger, fustic and other dyeing woods produced in the West Indies, could not be carried from the place of origin except to Great Britain and other British colonies. By 25 Charles II. duty was payable if these goods were carried from one colony to another. By 6 George II. duties were laid on imports of foreign rum, sugar and molasses.
Even Burke dwelt (P.H., XVII., 1235) on the enormous benefits given to the colonies by Great Britain, who had built them up by trade through, and in spite of, restrictive regulations.
America,” he says, " subject to these navigation laws had the compensation of your capital which made her bear her servitude. She had another compensation which you are now going to take from her.” (Alluding, I suppose, to the trial of smugglers without a jury in the Court of Admiralty.) “She had, except the commercial restraint, every characteristic mark of a free people in all her internal concerns. She had the image of the British Constitution. She had the substance. She was taxed by her own representatives. She chose most of her own magistrates. She paid them all. She had in effect the sole disposal of her own internal government. This whole state of commercial servitude and civil liberty, taken together, is certainly not perfect freedom; but comparing it with the ordinary circumstances of human nature it was a happy and a liberal condition.”
It was a fine indictment of the American rebellion by one of its authors. The helplessness of the British manufacturer in the face of the rebellious spirit of the colonist and the great danger to British trade by the shiftings of policy and retreat before the violence of the mob was seen by several prominent men, though their willingness to use the mobs as a lever against the Crown and their terror of reactionary tyranny blinded them to the mischief, and prevented any assistance being given towards safer conditions. Lord Camden wrote in 1768, “If the Americans can practise so much self-denial as to subsist for one month without British commodities, I do very much fear they will carry their point. Patience and perseverance in this one measure will ruin us." Barré, deprecating Burke's proposal that the governor should order the troops to fire on the mob, says, “We stand upon the commerce of America." Pownall says of them, “ They have a great surplusage of hides and leather, they have peltry, wool, linen, cotton, fish, game, beef, mutton, iron and copper.
They already make the implements of husbandry better than those which came to them from England." If a stop is put to importations only for one year, the factory employers and their men would, he thinks, emigrate to America from Great Britain, as they formerly did from the Netherlands to England. Speaking in 1770, Lord North says, “In 1768 our exports to America amounted to £2,378,000; in 1769 to £1,634,000.” “The consequences which are now taking effect," says Pownall of the duties on glass, etc., "would have proved a millstone about the neck of those who originated the measure of laying these duties, had they remained to have had the struggle of carrying the measure into execution.” As it was, the blame was to fall historically on the shoulders of King George and his minister, who succeeded at the instance of those who were responsible.
It was this formidable weapon, the threat of reprisals on British manufactures and not the disasters to our arms, which decided the conflict. It was the British trader who forced war on the King and Parliament, who decided when it was time to give up the unequal conflict. Franklin gives an idea of the importance of the trade when he mentions as one item that in 1752 ten thousand hogsheads of flax-seed, each containing seven bushels, were exported to Ireland from Philadelphia, and an equal export from New York. On January 17, 1766, a petition of the merchants of London trading to America sets forth the great quantities of British manufactures of every variety exported in exchange for rice, indigo, tobacco, naval stores, oil, whale fins, furs and potash; and bills of exchange and bullion obtained by the colonies from exports to other countries. The colonies, they say, decline to pay their debts of several millions sterling on the ground that 4 George III., granting certain duties in the British colonies and plantations, have so disturbed trade as to create bankruptcies and prevent payment, which may or may not be true. But, as was pointed out, the merchants in America and in England were the links of the chain that bind the two countries together; "they are deeply concerned in preserving the union and connection. Whatever opinion we may superficially obtain of the operation and effect of our sovereign government, commerce and intercommunion of our mutual wants and supplies is the real power and spirit of attraction which keeps us united."
War injures trade; if the merchants of the two parts of the Empire could have come together the conflict might have been postponed. But the same influence which had brought