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land, you must previously supply her with more
I believe it will be found, that if men are suffered freely to cultivate their natural advantages, a virtual equality of contribution will come in its own time, and will flow by an easy descent through its own proper and natural channels. An attempt to disturb that course, and to force nature, will only bring on universal discontent, distress and confusion.
You tell me, Sir, that you prefer an union with Ireland to the little regulations which are proposed in parliament. This union is a great question of state, to which, when it comes properly before me in my parliamentary capacity, I shall give an honest and unprejudiced confideration. However, it is a settled rule with me, to make the most of my actual situation; and not to refuse to do a proper thing, because there is something else more proper, which I am not able to do. This union is a business of difficulty; and on the principles of your letter, a business impracticable. Until it can be matured into a feasible and desirable scheme, I wish to have as close an union of interest and affection with Ireland, as I can have; and that, I am sure, is a far better thing than any nominal union of government.
France, and indeed most extensive empires, which by various designs and fortunes have grown into one great mafs, contain many provinces that
are very different from each other in privileges and modes of government; and they raise their fupplies in different ways; in different proportions; and under different authorities; yet none of them are for this reason curtailed of their na. tural rights; but they carry on trade and manufactures with perfect equality. In some way or other the true balance is found; and all of them are properly poised and harmonised. How much have you lost by the participation of Scotland in all your commerce? The external trade of England has more than doubled since that period ; and I believe your internal (which is the most ad. vantageous) has been augmented at least fourfold. Such virtue there is in liberality of sentiment, that you have grown richer even by the partnership of poverty.
If you think, that this participation was a loss, commercially considered, but that it has been compensated by the share which Scotland has taken in defraying the publick charge. I believe you have not very carefully looked at the publick accounts. Ireland, Sir, pays a great deal more than Scotland ; and is perhaps as much, and as effectually united to England as Scotland is. But if Scotland, instead of paying little, had paid nothing at all, we should be gainers, not losers by acquiring the hearty co-operation of an active intelligent people, towards the increase of the com
mon stock; instead of our being employed in watching and counteracting them, and their being employed in watching and counteracting us, with the peevish and churlish jealousy of rivals and enemies on both sides.
I am sure, Sir, that the commercial experience of the merchants of Bristol, will soon disabuse them of the prejudice, that they can trade no longer, if countries more lightly taxed are permitted to deal in the same commodities at the fame markets. You know, that in fact, you trade very largely where you are met by the goods of all nations. You even pay high duties, on the import of your goods, and afterwards underfell nations less taxed, at their own markets; and where goods of the same kind are not charged at all. If it were otherwise, you could trade very little. You know, that the price of all sorts of manufacture is not a great deal inhanced, (except to the domestick consumer) by any taxes paid in this country. This I might very easily prove. The fame confideration will relieve
from the apprehension you express, with relation to sugars, and the difference of the duties paid here and in Ireland. Those duties affect the interior consumer only; and for obvious reasons, relative to the interest of revenue itself, they muft be pro'portioned to his ability of payment; but in all cases in which sugar can be an object of commerce,
and therefore in this view) of rivalship, you are sensible, that you are at least on a par with Ireland. As to your apprehensions concerning the more advantageous situation of Ireland, for some branches of commerce, (for it is fo but for some) I trust you will not find them more serious. Millford Haven, which is at your door, may serve to thew you,
that the mere advantage ports the thing which shifts the seat of commerce from one part of the world to the other. If I thought you inclined to take up this matter on local confiderations, I should state to you, that I do not know any part of the kingdom so well situated for an advantageous commerce with Ireland as Bristol ; and that none would be fo likely to profit of its prosperity as our city. But your profit and theirs must concur. Beggary and bankruptcy are not the circumstances which invite to an intercourse with that or with any country; and I believe it will be found invariably true, that the fuperfluities of a rich nation furnish a better object of trade than the necessities of a poor one.
It is the interest of the commercial world that wealth should be found every where.
The true ground of fear, in my opinion, is this; that Ireland, from the vitious fyftem of its internal polity, will be a long time before it can derive any benefit from the liberty now granted, or from any thing else. But as I do not vote advantages,
in hopes that they may not be enjoyed, I will not lay any stress upon this confideration. I rather wish, that the parliament of Ireland may, in its own wisdom, remove these impediments, and put their country in a condition to avail itself of its natural advantages. If they do not, the fault is with them, and not with us.
I have written this long letter, in order to give all possible fatisfaction to my constituents with regard to the part I have taken in this affair. It gave me inexpressible concern to find, that my conduct had been a cause of uneasiness to any of them. Next to my honour and conscience, I have nothing so near and dear to me as their approbation. However, I had much rather run the risque of displeafing than of injuring them ;-if I am driven to make such an option. You obligingly lament, that you are not to have me for your advocate; but if I had been capable of acting as an advocate in opposition to a plan fo perfectly consonant to my known principles, and to the opinions I had publickly declared on an hundred occasions, I should only disgrace myself, without supporting with the smallest degree of credit or effect, the cause you wished me to undertake. I should have lost the only thing which can make such abilities as mine of any use to the world now or hereafter ; I mean that authority which is de rived from an opinion, that a member speaks the