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The objections to this, on the part of the people of Great Britain, are numerous and strong It is said, that the advantage in question is the only one she has reserved to herself, as head of the empire, for the vast expence of supporting foreign connections, establishing, maintaining, and protecting colonies, which alone belong to her ; that when she
gave the participation of all other advantages, the reserved this alone ; which if the yields, there are few other points in which the navigation laws will be of service to her, relatively to Ireland. It is the only commercial part of them that is of consequence; it is the single privilege, which leaves any gleam of hope to Great Britain, that she shall weather the consequences of the war, to which Ireland contributes nothing. In fact, the very operation in question of the navigation laws, is the only barrier remaining against the migration of her manufacturers and merchants. The preamble of her navigation and other laws, give the reasons, for confining Colonial and foreign trade, viz. “ Not only for the sake of employing and " increasing English Thipping and seamen, " and securing a vent for woollen and other
"manufactures; but also to make this king“ dom a staple of the commodities of those
plantations, as well as of the commodities “ of other countries for the supplying them;
(it being the usage of other nations to
ķeep their plantation trade to themselves) " and farther, if Colonial commodities “ should be taken from any part but the
plantations, that the trade of them would “ thereby in a great measure be diverted “ from hence, and carried elsewhere ; His
Majesty's customs and other revenues “ much lessened, the fair trader prejudiced, " and this kingdom not continue a staple “ of plantation commodities, nor that vent
for the future of the victual and other “native commodities of this kingdom.”Such was the declared principle of the navigation act *, and such certainly was the principle of those acts † which passed explanatory of it; and the act which repeals so much of the navigation laws, as prevented a direct
* 12th Charles II.
+ 15th Charles II. and the 22d and 23d Charles II. confirms the intention of the 15th, to prohibit importation of, &c. from Ireland, and restrain it to Britain.
intercourse between Ireland and the British plantations, does not repeal the 12th Geo. III. chap. 55.
* which prohibits the import from Ireland into Britain, of ruin, sugar, coffee, and other American and Asiatic goods: nor can it be said, that it appears from the act, which extended the trade of Ireland, to have been the intention of the Legislature to make any alteration in that respect. The customhouse practice has continued the fame since, as it was before the passing the act, and during upwards of a century, viz. not to admit the articles in question from Ireland. Nor can it be objected as inequitable, that Britain declines to take from Ireland commodities which that country takes from her. Ireland takes them from the mother country of the colonies; and, strictly considering the matter, she has no rightful claim to get them
Although this act was passed to bind both countries, and those parts which purport to have an internal opesation in the levying of forfeitures or penalties, or are directory to the officers of the Irish revenue, may now be considered as a dead letter; yet, the spirit and intention of this act is clear, and that part which was intended to bind Britain, and which prohibits importation of the produce of Asia, Africa, and America, from Ireland, is ftill in forcę.
from any colonies, except through the indulgence of the mother country of those colonies. Ireland takes little from Britain of any kind, that she can get cheaper elsewhere : she takes as it suits her, and the cannot object to Britain the price she pays for West-India commodities, or the giving the monopoly of her markets to the produce of the British plantations, as in return she has her share of the monopoly of their markets. It would be an extreme folly in Great Britain to maintain settlements at an immense expence of public money, and to confine herself to the purchase of their produce at an unreasonable price, and to the private detriment of individual consumers, and then to put it in the power of another country to purchase, with the manufactures of that country, the produce of such settlements, and to retail them afterwards in the British market. The mischiefs connected with that point alone are too obvious to be infifted on. It is farther to be observed, that trade is of so delicate a nature, that it is almost impossible toconjecture, how restraints either laid on, or taken off, will operatethat it is prudent to apprehend every evil, of
which there is any probability, however distant-to fear the effect of a concession, the whole extent of which it is at least difficult to forefee—and that it is unnecessary to risk the consequences of the measure in question. The maintainers of these objections will add, that Great Britain was greatly benefited by being the depot of American, Afiatic, and African produce; and the has reason to exped, that the will till be soin a very considerable degree. The mere mercantile gain is an inconsiderable object, when compared with the various advantages of the exchange of commodities; with the value and quantity of industry, which the above system of trade diffuses throughout the community; with the employment given to an incredible number of people; with the various expences incurred from the time of the arrival, until the re-exportation of the commodities, in landing, foring, assorting, re-packing, porterage, re-shipping, &c.; but above all, the increase of shipping, and of seamen. The value of trade is best ascertained by the quantity of employment and maintenance given to the industrious part of the community. In short, it would be entering into a wide