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ficiently simple and comprehensive form for examining the expediency of the system, and the ground, as it were, cleared for the discussion, the consequences of the intended changes to our commerce, and the commerce of our enemies and allies, are investigated at considerable length, upon the supposition that the whole of our edicts are quietly acquiesced in by neutrals; and then their tendency to irritate those neutrals is separately pointed out. Instead of following the plan of the work, and analyzing its con. tents minutely, we shall, according to our practice, endeavour to exhibit a view of its substance, after our own way of considering it, and shall intersperse such additional remarks as suggest themselves to us, although they may have been omitted in the work under review. The subject is of infinite importance, not merely to this country at the present moment, but to the whole science of politics, in which, views, of a tendency the most novel, are now industriously propagated, and a great, and, in our opinion, not merely perilous, but fatal, experiment is attempted, by persons under the guidance of the most blind and extravagant passions with which the rulers of an enlightened people were ever stricken.
France having attempted, or rather threatened to blockade this country, and cut off all intercourse between us and our foreign customers, a prudent statesman would naturally have considered, in the first place, the probable consequences of such a resolution on the enemy's part being enforced. He would immediately have perceived, that the most rigorous execution of this measure could only have cut off our direct intercourse with the parts of the Continent where French influence prevails, leaving us all our trade with neutrals; that is, our trade with America, and with those parts of Europe not overrun by French troops; consequently, he would have concluded, that the utmost exertions of the French government, admitting them to prevail over the proverbial ingenuity of neutral traders, and to prevent our goods from getting in their bottoms directly over to the Continent, could have gone not one step further; and that our direct trade with those neutrals, and, consequently, through their countries, with the countries most subject to the enemy's influence, would still have remained to us. Thus, it would have appeared, that even if France had succeeded in preventing Americans (for example) from carrying over our goods direct to the Continent, she never could prevent them from carrying those same goods from hence to their own ports, and from their own ports to France. No certificates of origin, nor any other conceivable regulation, could have preventted a British cargo from finding its way over by such a route.
Nothing but the resolution to give up her whole trade at once, or the possession of fleets sufficient to invest our coasts, and cut off our direct trade with America, could have destroyed our roundabout trade with France. She neither has shown this resolution, nor . does she possess those feets.
The prudent statesman (whose existence we are assuming as a bare possibility) would next have inquired, by what means he could diminish most effectually the total amount of the restrictions which the enemy was thus enabled to impose on our commerce. As the roundabout trade was of all others the surest means of defeating those restrictions, he would, at all events, have left that untouched-encouraged it-relied upon it-satisfied that nothing but the destruction of it could ever carry the threats of France into execution. This would have struck him at any rate, and he would have laid it down as a matter of course. As little would it have been a question, whether the direct trade, which the enemy prohibited between us and himself, should be encouraged in spite of him, and prohibited on our side, as a mea. sure of retaliation. Whether we should say to neutrals, ' You shall not enter here from enemy's ports, because he won't allow you to land from our ports ; ' or, Come here freely, and depart freely; endeavour, by all means, to evade his restrictions; and we shall afford you every facility for this purpose.' This ques. tion would not have detained our statesman long; for he would immediately perceive, that, by adopting the former alternative, he was just playing into the enemy's hand-confirming his decree -carrying into execution parts of it which he himself could not have enforced and guarding against evasions of it, which must have rendered it almost nugatory without our assistance. To have encouraged the trade between the enemy's country and our own, direct by neutrals, would therefore be the next resolution of the reasoning which we are supposing. By leaving the roundabout trade with France untouched, we should have left open a channel of communication with the Continent in spite of her; and, by promoting all evasions of her decrees against the direct trade, we should have done our best to prevent her from blocking up another channel, much more within her power.
What do the statesmen, whose system we are examining, propose to themselves? They resolve at once to shut up the ch nel of the roundabout trade, which the enemy could least of allhave effected himself; and they try to encourage the direct channel, which is the most under his controul. They do his business for him, where he most wants their aid, and can the least do without them. Where he is powerful, and may do something in spite of their teeth, they attempt to counteract his regulations. There
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are two gates in our field through which we wish to drive our sheep : one of them we can open and shut at pleasure; it leads into the highway, and we have the key in our pockets: the other belongs, half to us, and half to a malicious neighbour, who wishes to prevent us from driving out our sheep at all. What shall we do? The great counsellors of the time, tell us to shut up our own gate by all means—to make it as fast as we can with bolts and bars, so that not a lambkin may get out; and then to go struggle with our neighbour at the other gate, and try to drive our flocks through that passage. It is related, that the Chancellor Oxenstiern said to his son, when he sent him to a congress of statesmen, and the young man was struck with awe at the solemnity of the occasion, Go, my child, and see how little wisdom it takes to govern the world.'
But supposing the prudent statesman, above imagined, had a mind to consider the question of retaliating upon the enemy, let us see how he would reason. He would certainly, in the first place, ask himself, whether, by any conceivable mode of retaliation, he could avoid doing, in great part at least, the very thing which the enemy wishes ? Whether, commerce being essentially, and in its own nature, a mutual benefit, he could stop the trade of France, without either immediately or ultimately stinting the trade of England ? He would then inquire, which party is likely to suffer most in the contest of self-destruction, in the rivalry of privations and losses ? And as it is clear that this must be the party which has most trade -- whose trade is most extensive in proportion to his whole resources--whose commerce, in a word, is most essential to his general prosperity—so would it likewise be manifest, that any injury we might inflict on the enemy would be trifling, compared with its expense to ourselves ; and that we should damage our own interests so much more than we could injure his, that the utmost we could gain by such a bargain would not be worth the price we must pay.
If, however, retaliation must be resorted to, and if we are resolved to hurt the enemy, cost what it will to ourselves, our statesman would take especial care to see that his measures were really those of retaliation; and if he had the sense of a child, he would be cautious how he mistook cooperation, for retaliation. Our new system makes exactly this mistake. We attack the commerce of neutrals and allies; and we favour the trade of the enemy. One of the greatest markets, if not the greatest for American commerce, is France, and the rest of the restricted country. We at once obstruct all direct communication between America and this market. One of the best markets of France and the restricted country is England. We not only facilitate, by every
means in our power, the access to this market; but we actually compel all neutrals to drive the traffic of France with her best customers in the shortest and easiest way. American commerce, we say, shall be all confined, round-about and indirect. Hostile commerce-French commerce, shall be easy, direct and open.
In truth it now depends on our enemy, by means of our assistance, whether any, and what commerce, shall be carried on between himself and England. And this we call a blockade of France, which is in truth much liker a blockade of England. In truth, a general and rigorous blockade of France, liable though it be to many of the objections already stated, is at least an intelligible and consistent measure.
• It cuts off his foreign trade entirely, although it deprives us of our trade with him ; and if commercial distress can ruin him, such a proceed. ing gives us some chance of effecting his downfall. But the new system is only a blockade of the enemy, if the enemy himself chufes that it shall be so. It can never, by possibility, ruin him, or even materially in. jure his commerce : for the moment he is pinched, he can relieve himself. He can allow neutrals to enter his own porta, from those of Great Britain ; and thus obtain as large a share of foreign commerce as he de. fires. * These neutral carriers, it is true, muft land and re-ship in England certain cargoes ; and many (but not by any means all) of these voyages will be somewhat more circuitous than formerly. An Ameri. can bound to Bordeaux, must touch at Cork, Falmouth, &c. which is fomewhat out of her course; if bound to Dunkirk, Amsterdam, &c. she would probably touch at Cowes from choice, to receive advices refpecting the market from London correspondents. Admitting that some considerable inconvenience arises from bence, in all cases on an average; the whole effect is to raise the prices of the neutral goods a little to the enemy, and to lower somewhat the profits of the al, without any gain whatever to ourselves. Our friends and our enemies lose each a little, and we gain nothing at all. The obligation to land certain cargoes can do us no more real good. It increases somewhat the loss of the neutral and the enemy, and may enable us to keep a few more cul. tomhouse officers. If, indeed, the Orders in Council are followed up by an act of Parliament impofing duties on the goods so landed, then we clearly shall propose to ourfelves, not certainly to distress the enemy's trade, but to profit both by his commerce and that of our friends. Would it not be a much simpler expedient, and answer the very fame purpose, to propose that America should pay us a yearly tribute, and to raise it as she best can, either upon her own citizens, or her French cuí tomers? If the duty which we mean to lay on is not the merest trifle, we may be well assured that America will not submit to it.' p. 44-46. Iit
molt is confidently reported that some relaxation of the French Decree has airearly been allowed in Holland, though this does not appea very likely.'
Upon the probable consequences of a colonial blockade, (the only thing like a blockade in the new system) as it applies to the enemy's designs in Europe, the following remarks are quite conclusive.
This measure is much more plain and consistent with belligerent vier than the reft of the plan ; but, when examined, it appears equally fhorfighted and unwise. The blockade of the enemy's colonies can only have two obje t o deprive the enemy of certain articles of confumpion ; and to increase the demand for those articles in our own market. These objects are, in a confiderable degree, incompatible ; for our Wet India produce commonly finds a vent on the Continent, by fupplying the wants of the enemy. But supposing, for argument sake, that both the two ends may be gained at once, let us 'examine the con. fequences.
i The French have borne every species of public and private calamity for nearly eighteen years; they have passed through all the viciffitudes of revolution, from anarchy to despotism ; they have tasted only of war, with its whole train of evils, of which privations have been the smallest ; they have suffered the moft unsparing conscription, augmented in rigoar as the service of the army became more irksome and dangerous : to all this they have submitted in quiet, with rallying points for emigration in the neighbouring nations, and for rebellion in the heart of their own country. No dangers, no calamities, no private distresses, not even the conscription itself, has ever extorted a murmur of discontent and we now expect insurrections to break out as soon as coffee and sugar fhall become scarce at Paris, or the army shall find tobacco growing dear! The conscription is at an end, or is become only holiday work; the armies go out, not to fight, but to revel in triumph, and to amuse them. selves with foreign travel : But grocery and snuff are advancing in price, and let Bonaparte look to it! If he does not speedily make peace on our terms, restore the Bourbons, and give up Belgium, his carthly course is run!--This is the argument.
But if it be not a waste of time to give such positions as these a serious refutation, let us only consider how little chance any commercial blockade has of being effectually enforced. Every successful attempt of this kind which we make, augments incalculably the temptations to elude our vigilance. If certain druge, for example, were almost excluded from France by the activity of our cruizers, their price would rise so enormously, that a neutral merchant would find his account in attempting to land a cargo of bark, (necessarily lowered in price elsewhere), though he should lose three fourths in the attempt ; so that we shall in vain continue to wage war against the wretched hospitals of our enemy. To a certain degree the fame remark applies in all the other cases. In one way or another the goods will find their way from the places of p!ut, to those of demand. Their prices may be somewhat enhanced 2od the use of such as are not essentially necessary, will be diminished.
• All the changes of this fort, however, which we attempt to make, ad to a certain degree successfully, will take place gradually. The