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Ann Regis


As the American Fisheries were now abolished, it became necessary to think of some measures for supplying their place, and particularly to guard against the ruinous consequences of the foreign markets either changing the course of consumption, or falling into the hands of strangers, and those, perhaps, inimical to this country. The consumption of Fish Oil, as a substitute for Tallow, was now become so extensive as to render that also an object of national concern; the City of London alone expending about three hundred thousand Pounds annually in that commodity. Whatever present purposes the evidence lately before the House might answer, in showing that there was a sufficient fund of Money, Ships, Men, and inclination, ready for an immediate transfer of the Fisheries, not only without loss, but with great gain and benefit, it soon became evident that the Minister did not choose to risk matters of such infinite importance upon the veracity of those representations.

It seemed also necessary, in the present state of publick affairs, that the Kingdom of Ireland should be taken more notice of, and some greater consideration paid to her interests, than had been the practice for many years. The question between the Colonies and Parliament, particularly in the manner in which it had been lately argued, was not calculated to quiet that Kingdom. The repose of all parts still at rest was never more necessary. In the crisis to which matters were now evidently tending, little doubt remained that even assistance would be requisite from that country; besides, her patience, her sufferings, and her forbearance were to be held up as a mirror, and in contrast to the Colonies; and though these merits had long passed unregarded, this did not seem a fit reason to encourage an opinion, that a similar conduct would never obtain any reward. The nature of the benefit was, however, to be considered, and nothing could seem bettor adapted than a donation which would be an advantage instead of a loss to the giver. A share in the first fruits of a spoil was also a lure of undoubted efficacy


for enticing future service. It was not, in itself, very considerable; but it was said it might be considered as a beginning; and small benefits carry weight with those who had not been habituated to great favours.

It was shown, in the course of the late evidence before the House, that the Exports, from this country to Ireland, amounted to two million four hundred thousand Pounds annually; besides her supporting a large and excellent Standing Army, at all times ready for our defence; and the immense sums of her ready cash which her numerous Absentees, Pensioners, and Placemen spend in this country. Yet, from oppressive restrictions in Trade, some of them highly impolitick and prejudicial to ourselves, that country is cut off from the benefit of her great natural staple commodity, as well as excluded, in general, from the advantages which she might derive from her admirable situation, and her great number of excellent Harbours.

The Minister, accordingly, moved for a Committee of the Whole House, to consider of the encouragement proper to be given to the Fisheries of Great Britain and Ireland. This attention to Ireland was generally approved of, and, after some conversation upon the hardships which that country suffered, it was proposed by some gentlemen who were particularly attached to its interests, to extend the motion by adding the words, Trade and Commerce, and thereby affording an opportunity of inquiring particularly into the state of that Kingdom, and of granting such relief and indulgence in those respects, as could be done without prejudice to ourselves.

The Minister did not object to the reasonableness or expediency of entering upon this subject at a proper time; but said that the proposed amendment would introduce a mass of matter much too weighty and extensive for present consideration; that he would, therefore, confine the motion to the immediate objects of the fisheries, leaving the other matter at large. — Ann˙ Regis.