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Thus, while our trade with Prussia, tonnage, the exports to those posDenmark, Sweden, and Norway, to in- sessions in 1848 will be no less than crease which we have sacrificed the L.8,100,000, and give employment to navigation laws, and inflicted a griev- upwards of 1,560,000 tons of shipous wound upon our maritime strength, ping; upwards of a half, in all probahas either declined, or been altogether bility, of the whole British shipping stationary for the last two years, that employed in our foreign trade at that with our North American colonies has period—the whole British tonnage at tripled during the same period, and present employed being 2,400,000 now employs no less than 560,000 tons tons. of our shipping; more than a fifth part Nothing can more clearly illustrate of the whole British shipping employed the vital difference between the imin our foreign trade to every part of the portance of the colonial trade and that world.
conducted with an independent forAnd here arises a most important eign state. It is so great, indeed, as observation, decisive as to the differ- to appear almost miraculous, and to ence upon our maritime strength be- demonstrate, beyond the possibility of tween the trade carried on under the doubt, that no reliance can be placed reciprocity system, and in the most on foreign trade with independent favourable circumstances, with a for- states, as a foundation for maritime eign country, and that maintaine 1 with strength, but that the empire of the our own colonies.
seas is for ever destined to the possessThe trade with the United States of or of the most extensive and powerful America, it has been seen, takes off colonial dominions. about eleven millions of our manufac There is nothing peculiar in the tures, but in doing so employs only situation of the Canadas which has 86,000 tons of our shipping, the re- given rise to this extraordinary proof maining 266,000 being carried on in of the superior efficacy of colonial American bottoms.
trade to that of foreign independent The trade with Canada takes off states, both in encouraging domestic only L2,700,000 worth of our manu- industry and forming a nursery for factures, but in doing so gives employ- naval strength. At the opposite exment to no less than 560,000 tons of tremity of the globe, in Australia, a our shipping, besides 560,000 tons em- progress still more wonderful and graployed in the course of trade by Cana- tifying has taken place, sufficient to da itself.
demonstrate that if ignorance or inNow, the trade to our North Amer- fatuation does not make us throw ican colonies has tripled within the away our advantages, Great Britain last ten years. If it goes on at the still possesses the means of maintainsame rate in the next ten, and draws ing her maritime supremacy and staafter it a similar increase of British tion among the nations of the earth.
Table showing the progress of the British trade and tonnage, with New
Holland, from 1820 to 1836.
Thus it appears that while the ton- dominions; but they cannot deprive us nage employed in the trade with Aus- of that dependence upon our trade and tralia has increased in the last sixteen shipping which is necessarily inherent years, from 1,291 to 19,195 tons, or in all infant and rising states, whether about sixteen-fold, the value of the colonial or independent. With such exports has increased from L.124,232 states, even after they have emancipatto L.835,637, or about seven-fold. ed themselves, the reciprocity system
If the same proportion should con- cannot fail to be advantageous to Great tinue for the next ten years, in the Britain, because their interests are neyear 1848 the tonnage employed in the cessarily wound up with the growth of trade with Australia will be 300,000 agriculture and the rural manufactures; tons; and the value of the exports to and therefore it neither can be their inthat colony between five and six mil- terest, nor will they possess the power, lions sterling
to attempt to rival the parent state, And if it should continue for the either in the finer manufactures or in next twenty years, the tonnage in maritime exertion. The United States 1858 will be, even on the most moderate of America, it has been seen, notwithcomputation, 1,500,000 tons, and the standing their great ambition for a value of the exports above twenty naval force, and their having been for millions sterling.
more than half a century independent, Startling and extravagant as these are not yet able to compete with Great results will probably appear to almost Britain in the carrying on of their own all our readers, they are no more than trade, and accordingly British shipa fair application to the future of the ping is continually making greater experience of the past-the only safe advances over the American in the and sound principle on which political, conduct of the commercial intercourse equally with physical reasoning, can between the two countries. The same be founded ; and if they appear, as must be the case, in a still greater dethey really do, chimerical, it is only gree, with our colonies in North Amebecause the elements of national rica and Australia, because they are strength and greatness, involved in behind America in the career of civil. the progress of a great colonial em- ization, and therefore must be for a pire, greatly exceed any thing which longer period dependent upon the even the imagination of the most ar- mother country both for the supply of dent speculator can venture to sug- their manufactures and the carrying gest.
on of their trade. And if it be said that long before The details which have now been such halcyon days can arrive, Canada given will explain how the reciprocity and Australia will have thrown off advocates have for so long a period suctheir connection with the mother state, ceeded in blinding the people of this and declared themselves independent, country to the real tendency of the polthe answer is obvious. By so doing, icy of the commercial system which has they will indeed deprive us of that great been pursued for the last fifteen years. and extraordinary advantage to our And how it happened that amidst the maritime strength which arises from constant complaints of the ship-ownthe possession of flourishing colonial ers, their interests were declining and
almost destroyed, and their property Huskisson's principles were quite well ruined by the operation of that sys- founded in the abstract, and on the tem, the President of the Board of supposition that the prices of difTrade was always able to meet them ferent commodities were the same in by Parliamentary Returns, which all countries, and that all were to enter showed that the trade aud shipping of the field of commercial regulation with the empire, taken as a whole, were hands unfettered—with hearts unimnotwithstanding on the increase. It passioned—and without any great was evidently by confounding together vested interests already existing which the exports to our colonies with the depended on the continuance of the exports to the reciprocity countries, former system of trade. But his grand that the official advocates of the new error consisted in this, that he oversystem were so long able to mystify looked the paramount necessity in all and delude the world. They constant. countries of attending to the national ly told us that our exports were in. security and defence in preference to creasing, and our tonnage getting the national wealth. The vast diflarger every year, but they did not ference in the cost of producing the tell us, what was nevertheless the case, same article in different countries, and that the countries with whom our the consequent necessity of protecting trade was increasing were our own by fiscal regulations those branches colonies or distant states, with whom of industry, if essential to the national we have no reciprocity treaties, and independence, which are conducted at that the countries with whom it was a disadvantage and the absolute nediminishing were the European na- cessity of getting some compensation tions in our neighbourhood with whom in return for a reciprocity concession, we had concluded reciprocity treaties, not by a reciprocity in regard to that and to propitiate whom we have been one article, but in regard to some content to sacrifice three-fourths of other article in which the disadvantage our shipping employed in the Baltic lies on the side of the country to whom trade. It is by separating the great the concession is made. mass of our export trade and foreign Nothing can be clearer than that tonnage into its component parts, and the national defence and independence showing in what quarters it has in- is of more importance than the mere creased and in what diminished, that growth of any particular branch of the real tendency of the system which trade or manufacture. The considerwe have been pursuing is brought to ations already urged on this subject light; and it is distinctly made to ap- are so obvious and important as to pear that the reciprocity advocates render it perfectly unnecessary to enhave succeeded in bolstering up their large farther upon it. It is no doubt system solely by concealing its effects a very good thing to be rich, but it is upon us in the countries with whom also a very good thing to be indeit has been carried into execution, un- pendent. It is an advantage to have der the cover of the vast increase with wealth, if we also possess the means those to whom it has not been applied, of defending it; but if we are destior who stand in the situation of colo- tute of that security it will rather nies to the mother country.
prove a curse, by alluring rival or And what is not a little singular, hostile nations to encroach upon or and perhaps unparalleled in such inves- plunder our possessions. No country tigations, the reciprocity advocates in reality is in so dangerous and prehave succeeded with a large portion carious a state as one which has a vast of the public in maintaining the credit foreign trade and no adequate means of their system, and decrying the value of defence ; because its wealth exof our colonial trade, solely in conse- poses it to violence which it has not the quence of the effect of the great in- means of resisting. crease of that very colonial trade in The two grand articles in the trade concealing the operation of their fa- of which it is of paramount importance vourite reciprocity principles.
that a maritime state should at all It is a mistake to say that these re- hazards maintain its superiority, are sults demonstrate that practical expe- grain and shipping. The former is rience is at variance with principle in necessary for the subsistence of its this particular. There is in reality people—the latter is an essential eleno contradiction between them. Mr. ment in its national defence and inde
pendence. It is in vain to say that a done, reciprocity is a perfect mockery, free trade can ever, consistently with because it is all on our side. For exthe national security, be maintained ample, France produces abundance of in either of these articles. If we are wine in admirable quality, and Engdependent on foreign supplies for land produces iron and cotton goods grain, we cannot maintain even the in similar quantity and quality. Real shadow of independence; because for- reciprocity would consist in a comeign nations can at any moment, bymercial treaty, whereby, in considera. simply closing their harbours, reduce tion of the wines of France being adour people to desperation, and our mitted into England at a low duty, the Government to submission. If we iron and cotton goods of England have not a powerful navy, we are should be admitted at a low duty into equally liable to be subverted by hav- France. There would be no reciproing our harbours blockaded, and our city in France saying to England, we foreign manufactures converted into will admit your wines on the same a source of the most ruinous weak- terms on which you admit ours; or in ness, by being suddenly deprived of all England saying to France, we will vent for their industry. A great com- admit your cotton goods on the same mercial state therefore that would terms on which you admit ours. The maintain its independence, at all haz- simple answer to such a proposal ards, and even if necessary, at the sa- would be, that the cotton manufactures crifice of part of its wealth, must pre- of France would be ruined by the suserve itself from falling into a state of perior capital and skill of those of dependence upon either foreign grain England, and that the sour wines of or foreign shipping. If it does not do England would be immediately extinso it is liable to have all its wealth at guished by the claret and Champagne any moment wrested from it by the of France. In like manner, there mere stoppage of the foreign supplies would be no reciprocity in Poland or or vent for produce on which it depend- Prussia proclaiming a free trade in ed, and the resources on which it main- corn, or an interchange of equal duly relied for the subsistence of its ties with England; because that is an people turned into the certain instru- article in which we never can compete ment of its subjugation.
with them, from the weight of the In considering the application of national debt and the higher price of the reciprocity system also, it seems labour in this country; or in England to be equally material to keep in view proclaiming a free trade in cotton the essential distinction between the goods with Prussia, because that is an price at which different commodities article in which they never can comcan be reared in different countries, pete with us, from our extraordinary and not to run away with the idea that manufacturing advantages. But there we have got a real reciprocity for our would be a very real reciprocity in a people, or entered into a commercial treaty of this description :-We will treaty on equal terms with our neigh- take your grain at a moderate duty, bours, merely because we have agreed provided you take our cottons at as to admit some particular articles of moderate a duty. In support of such manufacture on the same terms with a treaty, we might say with justicethem. Every thing depends upon the “ Nature has given you the power of relative price at which that article raising grain at two-thirds of the price can be reared in the two countries. at which we can do it, in consequence If the article can be reared cheaper of the superior cheapness of your laabroad than at home, it is a perfect bour and abundance of your harvests, delusion to say, that we have entered and she has given us the means of prointo a fair reciprocity treaty, because ducing cotton goods and cutlery at we admit that article on the same two-thirds of the price that you canterms with them. Real reciprocity in consequence of the superior rich. consists not in admitting the same ness of our coal mines and excellence article into our ports on the same of our machinery. Let us then conterms on which our neighbours receive clude a commercial treaty founded on ours, but in obtaining admittance for a just appreciation of our relative situaa corresponding article on our side in tions. Do you consent to encourwhich we have a corresponding ad- age our manufactures, and we will vantage over them. Unless this is consent to encourage your farmers;
and let us mutually admit the goods ours. No person can doubt that alin which nature has given a superiority though such a system might have to the one and the other, on the same been hurtful to our maritime interests, terms.” Such a proposal might be and dangerous to our national superidangerous to national independence or ority, yet it would, with reference to the home trade, by depressing our merely to national wealth, be a fair agricultural interest, but it would at reciprocity treaty, and would in the least be a fair reciprocity, and unob- end communicate upon the whole an jectionable on the footing of commer- equal and reciprocal benefit to the cial dealing. But it would obviously staple and natural branches of indusbe a perfect mockery at equality for try of both countries. But instead of England to say to Prussia, “We are this, what have we done under the dealing with you on the footing of reciprocity system? We contented reciprocity, because we admit your ourselves with issuing a proclamation, cotton goods on the same terms on in which we said that we would admit which you admit ours;” or for Poland Prussian, Danish, and Swedish shipto say to England, “We are dealing ping into our harbours on the same with Great Britain on the footing of terms on which they received ours. reciprocity, because we admit English We never thought of making a stipugrain into our harbours on the same lation in return for the boon thus conterms on which they admit Polish.” ferred on their shipping, in which they It is quite evident that in both these had the natural advantage over us, that cases the country admitting and acting they should concede to us a similar on such false principles would gra- boon for iron and cotton goods, where tuitously inflict a serious evil upon we had a natural advantage over them. itself, without any equivalent what. That would have been real reciprociever; and that running away with the ty, but we contented ourselves with name of reciprocity without the reali- nominal reciprocity, which was on our ty, it would in a very short time, with own side only. The consequence has out any return whatever, consign a been, that the Baltic ship owners gainvaluable portion of its industry to de- ed the incalculable advantage of obstruction.
taining a competition on equal terms Now this is just what we have done with the British shipping interest in by deluding ourselves with the name the carrying on the intercourse beof reciprocity without the reality in tween the Baltic shores and the British our maritime intercourse with foreign harbours, and sweeping off to them. powers. Everyone knows that the selves three-fourths of that valuable Baltic powers can carry on ship-builde traffic, while the British manufacturers ing far cheaper than England, for were not enabled in return to sell one this plain reason, that the materials of pound's worth more of their articles in ships--timber, cordage, hemp and tar- the Baltic ports than before. are produced by nature on the shores But this is not all. Not content of the Baltic, in countries where labour with giving us no commercial advanis not half so dear as in the British tage whatever, in return for this huge isles. On the other hand, cotton goods boon to their shipping interest, the and iron of all sorts can be manufac- continental nations have done just the tured far cheaper in Great Britain than reverse; and Prussia in particular, to either in France or the Baltic states, propitiate whom the navigation laws, in consequence of the accumulation that is, the nursery for our seamenof capital and great skill in machinery were sacrificed, in return, has organin this country, and the incalculable ized the celebrated Prussian commeradvantage of our coal mines. Real cial league, by which more than the reciprocity, then, would have consisted half of Germany has been arrayed in in a treaty, whereby in consideration decided hostility to our manufacturing of our admitting their shipping into industry. We have repeatedly, in our harbours on as favourable terms this Miscellany, drawn the attention as they admitted ours into theirs, they of our readers to the importance of the consented to receive our cotton goods subject of this Prussian commercial into their ports on the same terms as league ;* and it is sufficient to obwe received their cotton fabrics into serve at present, that by this celebrat
*Blackwood's Magazine, vol. xxxix., p. 49.