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Thus under the reciprocity system Huskisson acted perfectly wisely in with that country, the trade has increas- concluding a treaty with America on ed between 1822 and 1836, from 138 such terms. But the real point of doubt ships to 226 ; while the American has is, not whether such a system is expediincreased only from 500 to 542. And ent with the countries where shipbuild. the British tonnage swelled from 37,- ing is dearer, but whether it is expedi385 to 86,383, while the American ton- ent with countries where shipbuilding nage has increased only from 156,054 is cheaper than in Great Britain. And to 226,483.
with reference to that point, it is clear This result however, so far from that the fact that the reciprocity system being a proof that the reciprocity has worked to the prejudice of Amerisystem, in its application to the trade ca, which builds ships dearer than of Great Britain with the old states of England, is founded exactly upon the the world, is founded on just principles, same principle in proving that it is predemonstrates diametrically the reverse. judicial to England, in her intercourse The reciprocity system has proved of with the Baltic powers, where it is advantage to the British shipping in cheaper. the intercourse with America, because The following table demonstrates labour and all the articles ployed in that in sixteen years, from 1820 to 1836, the building of ships are so much the reciprocity system has proved highdearer in America than in Great Britain, ly prejudicial to British shipping, and that the 'British shipowners can carry highly advantageous to foreign, in conon the trade at a cheaper rate than the ducting the British commerce; and American and, therefore, under an that if the same system is continued equal system of duties, the British for sixteen years longer, it will, in shipping has gained the advantage. spite of all the prodigious increase in There cannot be doubt of the expe- the British trade with their colonial diency of that system in its application possessions, render the foreign shipping to countries where ship-building and superior to the British even in conductnavigation are more expensive than ing our own trade. they are in this, and therefore, Mr.
Centesimal Proportions of British and Foreign Tonnage employed in the Import
and Export Trades respectively of the United Kingdom in each year from 1820 to 1836.
Thus it appears that while in 1820 In a word, the magnitude of a commerthe British tonnage employed in carry- cial nation's foreign commerce and the ing on the British trade was four times multitude of its manufactures, so far the foreign, in 1836 it bore to it only from being an element of strength, in the proportion of 70 to 30, or about 2 fact, are nothing but a source of weakto 1.
ness, if unaccompanied by a proportionBut then, say the advocates for the al naval power. It is liable by a reciprocity system, although the Bri- single reverse at sea to be blockaded tish marine interests undoubtedly have in its harbours, and to lose in a few suffered from such a system, yet the weeks the fruits of centuries of conBritish commerce has been revived and quest. The condition 'of a great inresuscitated by that change, and what sular and commercial state, which has has been gained by our manufacturers come to depend in great part upon and merchants in that respect is much foreign shipping for the conduct of its more than what has been lost by our commerce, is precisely similar to ship-builders.
that of a fortified town, which Even if the fact were as is now abounds with inhabitants and unwarstated, we should demur in the strong. like mouths, which has little to rely est terms to the expedience of sacri- upon but foreign mercenaries for the ficing, in any degree whatever, our defence of its ramparts, and the recall maritime to our manufacturing inte. of whom by the powers to whom they rests. What renders the shipping belong would neccssarily leave it eninterest of such incalculable import- tirely defenceless. The blockade and ance to a commercial state is not capture of Athens by Lysander, after merely that it constitutes the sinews the fatal defeat of Ægos Potamos, and basis of its naval strength and proves on how unstable a basis the national independence, but constitutes safety of every commercial state is the sole bulwark for the protection founded where the dominion of the seas even of the commercial and manufac- does not rest upon a great and inde. turing interests, which are so unhappily structible naval power. sometimes considered as of superior But let us come a little closer to the importance. Admitting that as long point, and examine whether the asser. as universal peace prevails, foreign tion of the great extension of our fo. commerce can be easily carried on by reign commerce by means of the recia maritime state which has lost its na- procity system, and with the countries val superiority, and is compelled to with whom reciprocity treaties have trust in great part to foreign shipping been concluded, is in reality well for production of its commercial inter- founded. course, what is to become of the trade Keeping in view that the reciproof such a state when in its own de. city treaties hitherto concluded have fence it is forced into a serious war, been with Prussia, Denmark, Sweden, and it is threatened with blockade in Norway, France, America, Brazil, and its own harbours by the combined Columbia, we refer to the table exhibitforces of foreign maritime powers ? ing the progress of the exports to these What the better would Great Britain countries from 1827 to 1836. be of all its foreign trade carried on This table is in the highest degree in foreign vessels if in consequence of instructive. From it, it appears that the magnitude of the navy which had the export trade to Prussia, for the thus been reared up in foreign states, increase of which Mr. Huskisson in it found itself blockaded in its own 1923 was contented to repeal the naviharbours, and foreign fleets of war gation laws of England, the bulwark lying across the Thames, the Mersey, of our national strength, has declined, and the Clyde ? The very magnitude in ten years before 1836, from of its foreign commerce when such a L. 174,000 to L. 160,000 ; that with catastrophe occurred, would prove the Denmark has declined from L. 104,000 most serious of all embarrassments, to L. 91,000; while that of Germany because it would have reared up many had remained perfectly stationary millions of useless mouths, whose suf- through the whole period. The trade ferings and turbulence, upon the de- with France is the only one which has struction of their only means of sub- evidently increased, but that is the resistence, would render all attempts at sult entirely of the equalization of the prolonging resistance utterly hopeless. duties on wine; and accordingly that
of Portugal has fallen off in nearly a following candid admission as to the similar proportion; while the trade falling off of our foreign trade, from with the United States of America, the commencement of the present under the reciprocity system, upon the century, down to this time, with the whole, has remained nearly stationa- exception of the two years of inordiry, or rather declined. The great ex- nate commercial activity of 1835 and ports of 1835 and 1836 to that 1336. country were entirely fictitious, and • If the following table is taken in the result of the joint-stock mania this way, as the test of the progress of there during those years which led to our foreign trade, during the present the terrible commercial crisis of 1837, century, it will be seen that little or when the exports of Great Britain to none has been made-that, in fact, if the United States sunk to L.3,500,- we except the last two years 1835 and 000.
1836, the amount of our foreign But what is still more curious, it ap- trade has not been equal to that which pears from another table that the trade was carried on during some of the with the countries with whom we have years when we were at war with nearconcluded no reciprocity treaties, but sy all Europe, nor to that of the first with whom we still deal on the old five years of peace that followed. The restrictive system, and that with our average annual exports of British proown colonies, which is entirely and duce and manufactures in the decenrigidly confined to ourselves, has in- nary period from 1801 to 1810 creased much faster than that with the amounted to L. 40,737,970. In the reciprocity countries; and that in truth next ten years, from 1811 to 1820, the it is the vast increase of our trade annual average was L. 41,454,461; with those countries, who are out of from 1921 to 1830 the annual average the reciprocity pale, which has com- fell to L. 36,597,623. Since that time pensated all the evils arising even to the amount has been progressively adcommerce itself, from the adoption of vancing, and, in 1836, exceeded by that system with the other states. L. 1,765,343 the amount in 1815, the From this table it is manifest that our first year of the peace, which, with the trade with distant quarters of the world exception of 1836, was the greatest with whom we have no reciprocity year of export trade, judging from the treaties, such as Spain, Italy, Turkey'; value of the shipments, that this counand our own colonies, as Australia, the try has ever seen.” * Canadas, the East Indies, &c., has “ That part of our commerce which, doubled, and in some instances tripled, being carried on with the rich and during the very years that our trade civilized inhabitants of European nawith the countries with whom we had tions, should present the greatest field concluded reciprocity treaties was sta- for extension, will be seen to have tionary or had declined, affording thus fallen off under this aspect in a rea striking contrast to the miserable markable degree. The average anand languid state of our trade with nual exports to the whole of Europe the Baltic powers, to preserve or in- were less in value by nearly twenty per crease which we sacrificed the old and cent in the five years from 1832° to powerful bulwark of our navigation 1836, than they were in the five years laws.
that followed the close of the war, and From the Parliamentary returns it it affords strong evidence of the unappears also that our trade both with satisfactory footing upon which our northern and southern Europe has de trading regulations with Europe are clined under the influence of the reci- established; that our exports to the procity system; and is considerably United States of America which, with less in the five years preceding 1836 their population of only twelve milthan it was in the five years preceding lions, are removed to a distance from 1819. So clear is this decrease in our us of 3000 miles across the Atlantic, foreign trade to Europe, during the have amounted to more than one-half working of the reciprocity system, of the value of our shipments to the that Mr. Porter, although a strenuous whole of Europe, with a population advocate for its principles, makes the fifteen times as great as that of the
* Porter, II., p. 100.
United States of America, and with have done, for the decline of their an abundance of productions suited to trade with the old states of Europe ? our wants which they are naturally Tlie answer to this is to be found in the desirous of exchanging for the pro- prodigious simultaneous increase of ducts of our mines and looms."'* our colonial trade. It is there that
Thus it distinctly appears, both the real strength of Great Britain is from the Parliamentary returns and to be found. It is there that an antithe admissions of the most able and dote has been silently prepared for all well informed advocates for the reci- the errors of our modern commercial procity system, that the anticipated policy; and it is by confounding the and promised extension of our foreign growth of our distant colonies, and trade, from the adoption of that system, the immense trade which has sprung has not taken place ; that so far from up from their influence, with the effects it, our trade has rapidly and signally of the Reciprocity System in our interdeclined, during the last tive-and-twen- course with the European states, that ty years, with the old states of Europe, its advocates have been able to conceal fifteen of which have been spent under from the world the real tendency of the reciprocity system; and there. their system. The number of ships fore that we have gratuitously inflicted built for the United Kingdom and its a severe wound upon our own maritime possessions in Europe, is just about the interests, without having purchased same as it was twenty-five years ago, thereby any equivalent advantage, while that for the trade to the colonies, either for our foreign trade or our home during the same period, has nearly manufactures.
quadrupled. Nevertheless, it is certain that onr An examination of the quarters of foreign trade and intercourse with all the world in which our trade has in. the world has upon the whole increased, creased, demonstrates clearly that it is and in many quarters most rapidly, in our intercourse with our own coloduring the last twenty years.
nies that the compensation for the deWhere then, it may be asked, have cline of our trade with Europe itself the British merchants found a compen- has been found. sation, as they unquestionably must
Frem Mr. Porter's Tables it appears that from 1802 to 1835, the trade of Great
Britain with Europe has declined from 65 per cent. to 48 per cent.
to 26 With the United States of America, has increased from
to 9 And that with India has increased from
3 3-4 to 5
** It is perfectly clear therefore, that that it is in our intercourse with our the reciprocity system has had no colonies that the real sinews of British tendency to check the serious decay strength are to be found ; that the rewhich is going forward in our Euro- ciprocity system is wholly unable to pean trade, while the restrictive sys- preserve our European trade from des tem, which is still applied with undi- cay, while it is utterly ruinous to our minished force to our colonies, at least shipping interests employed in comin their intercourse with the parent merce with these countries; and therestate, has had as little effect in check- fore that our true interest is to be ing the rapid and astonishing growth, found in cultivating, with the most both of our shipping and foreign trade, assiduous care, our colonial dependenwith those distant parts of the empire. cies, in our intercourse with whom we Nothing but the most obstinate ad- employ only our own shipping, and in herence to theory, and the most per- our commercial intercourse with which verse blindness to facts, can enable we experience the benefit of a trade any person to resist the conclusion sharing in the rapid extension and
* Porter. II., p. 101.
unchecked growth of those vigorous rican possessions, whose situation has offshoots of the empire.
now become of such overwhelming Let us now direct the attention of interest from the manifest dangers, our readers to the following impor- from foreign and domestic enemies, tant facts regarding our trade with with which they are threatened. Canada, and our other North Ame
Comparative view of the British shipping, employed in the trade of each of the
British North American colonies in the year 1836.
1065 334,369 61 40,682 1326 375,051 15,986 550 154,295 2443 210,229 2993 364,524 16,816 112 22,073 | 5094 316,675 4621| 338,748 17,841 358 52,487 431 41,525 789 94,012 5,473
2085 563,224 | 7444 609,111 9720 1,172,335, 56,116
And the value of the trade with those important possessions may be judged of by the following
Table, showing the comparative view of the trade of the United Kingdom, with
the Canadas and the other British North American Colonies, in the year 1836.
Lastly, the rapid growth of this trade may be judged of by the following Table showing the trade of the United Kingdom with the Canadas alone, from 1827 to 1836.