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Evidence Summed up by Mr. Clover


After the examination of Mr˙ Walker and Mr˙ Ellis, the whole was summed up, as follows:

Sir: Having closed the examination of witnesses, I


must recur to my introductory proposition; that from the evidence at your bar, and official papers upon your table, it shall be endeavoured to give the Committee a clear insight into the two capital branches of Colony Trade, the West Indian, the North American, and the immediate dependent upon both, the African, with the relations and proportions of each towards the other, and towards the several great interests, the Manufacture, Commerce, Navigation, Revenue, and Land of Great Britain.

Finding my authority so much diminished in number, I must supply the void by imagination, presenting, to my view, the genius of the place, the majestick genius of Parliament, holding a balance to weigh the future fortunes of Kingdoms, with an impartial hand, ready to receive the weights peculiar to each scale; and conscious that the welfare, perhaps the being, of a whole Empire depend on the turn.

I begin with investigating the general system of the British Empire, not only in description, but illustration by comparison. Ancient Nations were possessed of the widest dominion, not with commercial helps. To be brief, I shall confine the inquiry to one — to the Romans, in their ages of purity. Cultivation of their soil, rude manufacture, just adequate to their necessities, severity of manners, superiority in martial discipline, enthusiasm for the very name of Rome, and the dulce et decorum pro patria mori, made them masters of the world. War was conducted with little expense, and the weightiest arms in the most skilful hands prevailed. Commerce flourished among others, whose affluence submitted to the steel of Rome.

What is the system now? All over Europe the same weapons, the same discipline, the same military arts are in practice; war is attended with a profusion of expense; and the deepest purse is the best assurance of success. Hence the encouragement of manufacture and trade is the pursuit of every Nation in this quarter of the globe, except two, who derive the treasure which Europe wants, from distant mines, with a facility enervating their own industry, while the rest are exerting theirs, each for a share in that wealth which the other two introduce, and can only be obtained through the commercial channel. By this, Holland, with a territory insufficient to nourish her inhabitants, hath in her day stood forth a bulwark against tyranny and superstition. An artificial strength, created by commerce, enabled her to make head, with numerous Fleets and Armies, against Powers immensely her superiours in natural force. Above all, in commercial arts and advantages, is Great Britain. Her purse, kept full by her credit, the resource of a trading Nation, an annual expenditure at least of sixteen to eighteen millions recently supported so long, so extensive, and so vigorous a war. Had her purse been scanty, she never would have seen a Navy which bore little short of ninety thousand men, could never have engaged a potent ally, nor furnished such Troops as acted so efficiently, and at the same time in such different parts of the globe. Hence it is evident her system is commercial; her strength and resources are wholly derived from trade. I allow the first interest in rank among us is the landed, but interwoven altogether with trade. Pay no regard to a doctrine from me, but pay all to the supreme authority of the clearest luminary this country ever produced, the great Mr˙ Locke. His words are these: "The decays that come upon and, bring to ruin any country, do constantly first fall upon the land; and though the country gentleman is not very forward to think so, yet this nevertheless is an undoubted truth, that he is more concerned in trade, and ought to take a greater care that it be well managed and preserved, than even the Merchant himself."

On the firm ground of such authority, let inquiry be made, whether we should not remain content with the lot assigned us, which hath raised us so high among the modern Nations, where all are in rivalry for manufacture and trade; whether we should degrade our refinements by a parallel with an unpolished and rugged race of old, and contaminate the delicacy of modern sensations, with those primitive and stern principles which imposed such a yoke on mankind, as the ‘ Majestas populi Romani;’ or whether, confining our speculations to the placid sphere of enjoyments, with more quiet and less hazard, than the restless pursuits of their ambition, we should not have in contemplation, upon all extraordinary convulsions, how far the means of those enjoyments may be affected, that influx of


wealth, the creature of commerce, which solely constitutes our envied power and rank in the present world.

To elucidate by facts a system so essential to our being, your Petitioners have appeared at this tremendous crisis, when Great Britain and America, the parent and the child, with equal irritation, are menacing at least, what barely in words, what barely in thought, is horrour — to unsheath the sword of parricide, and sever the dearest ties of consanguinity, of mutual aids, and general prosperity.

Your Petitioners preferred but one supplication to the all-merciful Being; their own reason suggested no other than to be heard by you. He hath inclined you to hear, truth enables us to speak. Truth in its nature is healing, and productive of reflection; reflection leads to composure of mind, and strengthens in our breasts a hope that an hour may come, when this humble application may not be found altogether ineffectual; if too, for that auspicious purpose, it may prove my good fortune so to collect and combine the various evidence from your bar, and from the copied records of office upon your table, as to establish a system of the whole, and found that whole upon truth; whose efficacy upon the mind I have described before, and with, some fervour of hope anticipate now.

Here, sir, I entreat your acceptance of a clue through the seeming labyrinth of accounts. The ways, indeed, are all unadorned, but the least perplexed of any to a little attention; and to make them short shall be mine.

You have before you official Accounts of the Exports from England to the West Indies, from Christmas, 1739, to Christmas, 1773. Of these thirty-four years, the first seventeen, ending at Christmas, 1756, forms a period which closes in the first year of the last war; the whole value exceeds £12,000,000, and gives an annual medium of more than £700,000. The last period of seventeen years end at Christmas, 1773, and renders a total of more than £19,000,000, and more than £1,100,000 at the annual medium I only observe in this place, that the increase of the latter upon the former is in the proportion of eleven to seven; and of the value in both, two-thirds are British Goods, and one-third only Foreign.

A second set of Accounts contain the Exports to North America. The first seventeen years yield more than £17,000,000 in the whole, and than £1,000,000 at the annual medium. The last period renders more than £40,000,000 in the whole, and largely more than £2,300,000, at the annual medium, an increase upon the former in a proportion of twenty-three to ten, with a value in both of three-fourths British Goods to one-fourth Foreign.

The third Account relates to Africa, whose commerce with England owes its existence to her Colonies. The first seventeen years reach nearly to £3,000,000, and to an annual medium something short of £180,000; the last seventeen years nearly to £8,000,000, and an annual medium of £470,000, an increase upon the first in a proportion of forty-seven to eighteen, with a value in each of two-thirds British Goods to one-third Foreign.

On this augmentation of Exports to your Colonies, irrefragable proof is founded, that through whatever channels riches have flowed among them, that influx hath made a passage from them to the mother country, and in the most wholesome mode, not like the dash of an oriental torrent, but in salubrious, various, placid, and copious streams, refreshing and augmenting sober industry by additional employment to thousands and ten thousands of families, and lightening the burthen upon rents, by reducing the contributions of Parishes to poverty unemployed.

But this requires a further explanation. The date of the last period is the commencement of the last war. The expenditure of publick money was one source of wealth to the West Indies. That temporary acquisition being soon exhausted, by its return to England, sufficient sums were procured upon credit after the peace, to cultivate new land and improve the old, still further enlarging the consumption of our commodities there and in Africa, that from the year of the peace to Christmas, 1773, the import of Sugar only to England, who, without her West Indies, must purchase that immense article from foreigners, hath risen from one hundred and thirty thousand to one hundred and seventy thousand hogsheads, an augmentation in value of £800,000.

The publick expenditure being much larger in North


America, produced a proportionate effect on the consumption of our Manufactures through that Continent. This money returned from its peregrination to the mother country, by 1764, or 1765 at the furthest. But, as the West Indies had a succedaneum, so had North America through a new opening of trade, which converted the misfortune of England into a blessing. Though I am convinced that the same number of hands at least is devoted to Agriculture here, and that the earth at a medium of years hath yielded the same increase. As we have been disposed to consume it all among ourselves, or as our presumption may impute the scarcity to Providence restraining the fertility of our soil for ten years past, in either case we could not spare, as heretofore, our grain to the foreigner; a reduction in our exports one year with another, of more than £600,000. The American subject took place of the British in markets we could no longer supply, extended their vent from season to season, and from Port to Port, and by a circuition of fresh money thus acquired by themselves, added fresh numbers to your manufactures, the rents of land increasing at the same time, till the amount of Exports to North America, for the last three years, ending at Christmas, 1773, stand upon your papers at £ 10,500,000, or £3,500,000 at the annual medium; add £1,300,000, the medium of the same three years, for the West Indies, and £700,000 for Africa, and the total value of Exports to the Colonies, nearly in a proportion of three-fourths British to one-fourth Foreign Goods, is £5,500,000, at the medium of these three years, ending at Christmas, 1773. A slight matter this to the great question before you, says the general voice without doors, and readily admitted without the ceremony of proof. This I mention by way of preparation to introduce the most material account of all, which will demonstrate, that the magnitude of £5,500,000, exported in the Colony branches, the West Indian, North American, and African, is not to be considered as an object so striking in itself, as in comparison with the whole export of England to all countries whatsoever. The annual medium for twelve years back stands on these papers at less than £15,000,000; but as I have limited the Colony branch to 1771, ' 2, and ' 3, I shall take the general Exports during that period, which renders a medium of £16,000,000. What part is the Colony branch? Five and a half is rather more than a third. Does the magnitude appear in a stronger light by the comparison? Or hath it been admitted in this view, before it was stated? Be it so.I have something behind, perhaps enough for the keenest appetite of admission to digest.

Sir, one part of our Exports to foreigners is supplied by Colony Produce, Tobacco, Rice, Sugar, &c˙, through Great Britain, for £1,000,000 sterling, at a low estimation. Add £2,000,000 more, exported of all kinds from England to her principal Colony, Ireland, and both to the former £5,500,000; your whole Colony branch will then exceed the half of your whole Export in the proportion of eight and a half to sixteen.

Thanks to the care and forecast of our forefathers one hundred and twenty years since. In the circle of ancient trade, narrow in comparison with the modern, the great trading states, Carthage, pre-eminent to all, suffered but little from rivalship. All in Europe are our rivals, all devoted to manufacture and traffick, as capital pursuits of policy; while we, struggling with such competition, have in some instances already experienced its hurtful effects, and must prepare for more; we had always one consolation left, that our Colony trade, kept to ourselves by old and salutary regulations, hath been augmented from period to period, till at present it constitutes more than half of the whole, with a prospect of further growth, rather than diminution, unless we create our own rivals.

One more observation remains, of all the most important, so far as safety to a state is a consideration above all others. Of this trade, the part which depends on the associated Provinces, contributes in Naval Stores, in other low priced and bulky commodities, more to the British Marine, than triple the present exports in commodities of such higher value, and if shipped so largely in foreign bottoms to the foreign market. Such was your situation.

Upon the present question I will not take that larger half before mentioned for my ground. I will deduct the £2,000,000 to Ireland, and the odd £500,000 furnished to Provinces


not of the combination, though they did not receive more than £400,000 in value, at the medium of these three last years; when there will remain £6,000,000 out of the £8,500,000; nay, I will further reduce the six by nearly £700,000, to remove all suspicion of exaggeration, and to make an exact third of the sixteen, and which is the part immediately affected by the Association in North America.

From this ground see what is put in hazard; not merely a moneyed profit, but our bulwark of defence, our power in offence — the arts and industry of our Nation. Instead of thousands and ten thousands of families in comfort, a navigation extensive and enlarging, the value and rents of land yearly rising, wealth abounding, and at hand for further improvements, see or foresee, that this third of our whole commerce, that sole basis of our Empire, and this third in itself the best, once lost, carries with it a proportion of our national faculties, our treasure, our publick revenue, and the value of land, succeeded in its fall by a multiplication of taxes to reinstate that revenue, an increasing burden on every decreasing estate, decreasing by the reduced demand of its produce for the support of Manufactures and Manufacturers, and menaced with a heavier calamity still — the diminution of our Marine, of our Seamen, of our general population, by the emigration of useful subjects, strengthening that very country you wish to humble, and weakening this in the sight of rival Powers, who wish to humble us.

Having been hitherto merely general, I must now descend to a detail, but of parts so large, that each is separately big with sufficient evils to draw the utmost stretch of your attention. I begin with those which threaten the West Indies.

To recapitulate the heads of that material evidence delivered by Mr˙ Walker and Mr˙ Ellis, would be tedious in me, unnecessary in itself. Leaving it, therefore, to its own powerful impression, I here add only, in a general mode of my own, that of the inhabitants of those Islands, above four hundred thousand are Blacks, from whose labour the immense riches there, so distinctly proved at your bar, are derived, with such immense advantage to these Kingdoms. How far these multitudes, if their intercourse with North America is stopped, may be exposed to famine, you have heard. One half in Barbadoes and the Leeward Islands, say one hundred thousand Negroes, in value at least four millions sterling, possibly, it grieves me to say probably, may perish. The remainder must divert to Provisions the culture of the produce so valuable to Great Britain. The same must be the practice in great part throughout Jamaica and the new settled acquisitions. They may feel a distress just short of destruction, but must divert for subsistence so much labour as, in proportion, will shorten their rich product. In fact, why should they raise the latter, if Lumber should be wanting for its package to Great Britain? How vague, how uncertain, how nearly impracticable, would be a supply of these necessaries through any new channel, I need not repeat; but shall close this head with another short general state, in confirmation of Mr˙ Walker' s most accurate detail. The gross amount of Imports, at an annual medium, from these now unfortunate Islands, exceed £4,000,000; one hundred and ninety thousand casks of Sugar and Rum, besides many other articles, the bulky loading for such a multitude of Vessels, more than authorize my assertion. Of these annual four millions, the Exchequer receives its proportion, the Navigator and Merchant theirs, the rest centres with the Planter; and how distributed by him? In the purchase of £1,300,000 in our Exports direct, and the largest part of £700,000 more in circuition through Africa, for a constant supply of Negroes. What is left, considerable as it may be among residents here, is applied to home consumption; not with a sparing hand, and to investments, upholding the price of land and the credit of publick funds. At the same time they are furnishing commodities to us of such necessary use, which else must be paid for to foreigners, and with a superfluity for foreign consumption likewise; I avoid comparison, but judge from this state how valuable a subject is the Planter. All these benefits, the healthy progeny of active trade, all or part must sleep as in a grave, during a total or partial stagnation.

Upon the North American Imports I shall only remark,


that the most considerable part of their bulky productions is bought by the foreigner, and of the amount consumed in Great Britain, the Exchequer hath a capital share. Nor will I take North America for a companion in my present melancholy walk, because she may prove the only gainer, and as the community become more sound and healthy, while every other member of the Empire lies bleeding. But my heart bleeds, when, renewing my gloomy progress, I turn a view towards one Kingdom, a great member, which may unhappily be distinguished above all sufferers in the present conjuncture; I mean the Kingdom of Scotland; and among my honourable bearers, they whose particular attention I may now engage, have no cause to doubt the sincerity of my feelings. I have taken equal pains with the accounts of Exports from that Kingdom as from this. The Papers I could collect began at Christmas, 1748, and end at Christmas, 1772, with two years wanting; a circumstance, however, which will not in the least impede me in illustrating the progress and improvement of the North British trade. A first period shews an annual medium of about £500,000. In a second it rises to £860,000. In a third to £1,150,000. And in the last, for 1770, 1771, and 1772, to £1,700,000, of which about £400,000 is Colony export, exclusive of Ireland, and the far greater part to the Tobacco Provinces, where many of my most worthy friends have a property lying, much larger than I choose to conjecture. To this I add a known export of Linen, exceeding £200,000, supplied to England for American use. The whole may be little short of £700,000; but calling it six, I ask if Scotland can well endure a stagnation of such a value for twelve months to come? Whether their export to Ireland of 3 to £400,000, will be affected; and how far emigration, of late so prevalent, may be extended by the pressure of a new calamity, I will not forbode. Sir, I feel — sir, those feelings forbid me to expatiate further; I choose to drop the subject, observing only, that the Colony Export from Scotland is to their whole much in the same proportion with ours. I will now pass over to Ireland.

That Kingdom takes from England and Scotland little short of £2,400,000 annually in Goods. How doth she pay for them? A large part in Linen and Yarn, the remainder in cash, acquired by her foreign traffick. In the printed report to this House, from their Linen Committee, it appears that, in 1771, the Linen made and brought to market for sale in trial Kingdom, for its own use and ours, amounted to £2,150,000, and the Yarn exported, to about £200,000. This immense value, the employment of such numbers, hath its source in North America. The Flax-seed from thence, not worth £40,000, a trifle to that Continent, forms the basis of Ireland, and reverts largely in Manufacture from her to the original seat of growth. In reply, what is the cry of my magnanimous countrymen without doors? Dignity! Supremacy! The evil hour is advancing, not yet come; no sooner come than felt: it may produce a discovery too late, that high-sounding words imply no food to the hungry, no raiment to the naked; and these, throughout our Empire, may amount to millions in number. But new channels of supply shall be found; our potency can surmount all difficulties. It is full time to begin the essay in Ireland, lest, during the experiment, emigration so constant there, should change to depopulation in the Protestant quarters.

I now return to England, not a member, but the head. Her sorrows I will leave to the contemplation of that superiour class which must be the ultimate and permanent sufferer. The sage Mr˙ Locke would tell the country gentleman, that his visible property must replace the loss of publick revenue; that he must provide for a Nation of hungry and naked, or sink into utter debility and despondency; when the Sun rises no more on this once flourishing Island, but to see the desertion of inhabitants, and a wretched remnant wandering, unclad and unfed, in lamentation over a wilderness.

I have mentioned the Revenue, and shall now be very concise upon that head: deducting Bounties and Drawbacks, the nett receipts at the Exchequer, from Duties and Excise on West India productions, I venture to set at more than £700,000, and another receipt in the North American branch, at just so much as with the former, may render a total of one million. To that amount the publick Revenue


is immediately concerned. Consequential loss, for instance, in the great article of Tea, for want of the usual supply of Sugar, or in any other articles, I do not dwell upon here, but leave to reflection.

Thus far, sir, I hope that I have proved what was your situation, happy in receiving from your Colonies all the possible advantage attainable in the nature of things. Could our forefathers, the authors of such a system, which, exclusive of foreign profit, could bring the numerous subjects of the same state in such dispersed habitations over the earth, thousands and thousands of miles asunder, to a concurrence in the extirpation of idleness, in promoting the comfort, and calling forth the faculties of each other: — could those venerable founders of a structure so stupendously great arise, and seeing it brought to such perfection by time and experience, yet find it within the last ten years so roughly handled in a conflict with finance, what looks would they cast on their blinded posterity — almost the whole British people, who, on every start of pecuniary contribution from America, have, under three Administrations, been open-mouthed, and are still for American taxation? Let the three Administrations have all the justification of "defendit numerus, junctaeque umbone phalagens." But I, an unconnected man, firmly pronounce, that the consenting voice of all mankind cannot make two and two, more or less than four; that the Vox Populi is not always the Vox Dei, and among us, upon the present subject, resembles the popular cry in old Jerusalem of, Crucify! Crucify!

Yet, sir, I likewise sincerely wish that the gloomy aspect I have given to our future situation may be all nugatory, all misrepresentation unintended; but not, therefore, less the result of errour and blindness. Hitherto I have looked on one side of the question only: permit me now to contemplate the other.

It is the general acceptation, that the associated Provinces submit in consequence of the measures taken. The measures I allude to are publick facts; and, with some relief to my own dejection, I apply them to introduce another fact, incontestible and brilliant, whereon I gladly dwell for a while: it is a subject of praise, requiring but few words, because it is true. I have named the Romans; we have among us a select body, whom I compare with them, as their equals at any the most distinguished epoch of their martial science and prowess. I will not hazard a panegyrick. The grateful sensations of all our memories retain the illustrious and recent achievements of the British military, by Land and Sea, with a warmth which would render the most elaborate encomium spiritless and cold. But themselves, lettered gentlemen of England, and versed in history, will allow, that the peculiar superiority derived from discipline, possessed by them in its highest excellence, is but the effect of human art; that there are left at large in human nature certain sparks, whose occasional concurrence produces operations not to be circumscribed or controlled by art or power, and hath caused such wonderful vicissitudes, recorded in times past, but I hope will make no part of our future annals: I allude to that violent agitation of the soul, enthusiasm. Such vicissitudes, not to be shunned by art or power, merit the most attention when most is set upon a cast.

Many without doors have treated the existence of this uncontrollable spirit as imaginary. I did not reason with those who either feel no enthusiasm for any thing serious, or retain just so much as may be requisite in the eager pursuit of diversions, pleasures, or profit. I would have accompanied others more speculative through their several gradations of hope, still disappointed, and still reviving, but for one observation, which I have generally kept concealed, but will soon reveal to you. But for this observation I might have concurred with the publick belief, that the capital of a Province, now declared in rebellion, would have submitted on the landing of a few Regiments; this failing, that other Provinces, from ancient jealousy and disgust, would not have interfered, rather sought their own advantage out of that Town' s distress; this failing, that they never would have proceeded to the length of constituting a certain inauspicious Assembly among themselves; this failing, that the Members of such Assembly would have disagreed, and not framed a single Resolution. This last hope having proved abortive, a new one is popularly adopted; that the first intelligence of enforcing measures, at


least the bare commencement of their execution, will tame the most refractory spirits. I will here stale the grounds of this, and all the preceding hopes; afterwards, with your indulgence, the ground of my original and continued doubts.

Our trading Nation naturally assumed, that the present contention would be with the traders in America. The stock of a trader, whether his own, or in part, and often the greatest part a property of others, confided in him, is personal, lodged in a magazine, and exposed in seasons of commotion to instantaneous devastation. The circumstance of such property, the considerations suggested by common prudence, by the sense of common justice to those who have given a generous credit, rarely make room for that intrepidity which meets force with force. Hence I admit, that the mere traffickers would have submitted at first, and will now, whenever they dare. The reason why they have not dared, is the foundation of my doubts. I am speaking to an enlightened assembly, and conversant with their own annals. In those ages, the reverse of commercial, when your ancestors filled the ranks of men at arms, and composed the Cavalry of England, of whom did the Infantry consist? A race unknown to other Kingdoms, and, in the present opulence of traffick, almost extinct in this, the yeomanry of England; an order of men possessing paternal inheritance, cultivated under their own care enough to preserve independence, and cherish the generous sentiments attendant on that condition, without superfluity for idleness or effeminate indulgence. Of such doth North America consist. The race is revived there in greater numbers, and in a greater proportion to the rest of the inhabitants; and in such the power of that Continent resides. These keep the traffickers in awe. These, many hundred thousands in multitude, with enthusiasm in their hearts, with the Petition, the Bill of Rights, and the Acts of Settlement, silent and obsolete in some places, but vociferous and fresh, as newly born among them; these, hot with the blood of their progenitors, the enthusiastick scourges at one period, and the revolutional expellers of tyranny at another; these, unpractised in frivolous dissipation and ruinous profusion, standing armed on the spot, delivered down from their fathers, a property not moveable, nor exposed to total destruction, therefore maintainable, and exciting all the spirit and vigour of defence; these, under such circumstances of number, animation, and manners, their Lawyers and Clergy blowing the trumpet, are we to encounter with a handful of men, sent three thousand miles over the Ocean to seek such adversaries on their own paternal ground. But these will not fight, says the general voice of Great Britain. Agreed. I desire to meet my antagonists in argument upon no better ground.

That Exports to the associated Provinces have ceased for months, is a fact. May not their Non-Importation Agreement singly be a weapon sufficiently effectual in their hands, without striking a blow? Why strike without occasion?

To overset this suggestion, an assertion is brought, that necessity will break the combination. I take this fresh ground to shew that necessity, in conjunction with enthusiasm, may produce a directly opposite effect. I throw but a transient glance on the extraordinary stock of Goods laid in by the Colonists last year, though said to be sufficient for the consumption of two. The arguments I shall use carry their own evidence with them. Let the population in the associated Provinces be three millions, as delivered into the Congress, or be reduced to two and a half, white and black. At a moderate computation per head, the quantity of Goods, including all uses besides apparel, is not adequate to half their consumption, which I stated before to the amount of three millions sterling, without separating some considerable articles for the month. This annual supply they never did annually pay for, but always remained under a heavy debt to the mother country; a capital advantage to her, as shall be explained in its place. How is the other half of their consumption, unsupplied from hence, provided with the several articles for clothing and other necessaries? What is introduced through illicit trade with the foreigner must be paid for in ready money, and is chiefly


for the rich and the few. How is the multitude supplied, dispersed over that vast Continent, and at considerable distances from the Sea? Sir, by the same means, and necessarily so, as are practised in most countries of these Kingdoms. There are two kinds of manufacture; one active and systematick, collected under a superintendence, and brought to the markets of sale. The other is sedantry and domestick, obscure, but large; could the small and scattered parcels be gathered up for computation, as may be made of the former, from the records of publick marts. The latter lies among the wives and children of rural, of rustick families; is applied to domestick use, and rarely sees a market for sale. In the same mode the American yeomanry are furnished among themselves. The domestick manufacture must, in course, be large for the use of such numbers; the active for sale is far from maturity among them; but necessity, urged against them, may extend the arts and materials, already indubitably possessed; and enthusiasm may stamp on their home-spun all the value, all the pride of ornament.

Sir, I foresee these differences with America will be composed, and how? Their silence becomes me best. It will be so late, that Great Britain must receive a wound, which no time can heal. A philosophical sense of dignity must step in under the shape of consolation.

This reflection I wish to obviate, and will state a strong question from the other side. Admitting, if I please, the practicability of the Colonist supplying his wants with his own homely manufacture, improvable too by time and experience; yet will not an interruption to the vent of his own produce, and to the profits of his trade, be a loss of such magnitude, as may quickly, and with an intermediate stagnation, too short for us sensibly to feel, reduce his mind to a state of humiliation? The interruption, I allow, will be a loss to individuals; large to some, and small to many, and operate in degrees proportionate to situations and tempers. The trading class foresee it already, and are humbled enough to submit if they could. Those who keep them in awe, the multitude of small, but independent proprietors of land, may feel their part of the loss so light, as not to relax the restiff spirit which they have manifested down to this day; and may be strengthened by a truth too obvious, that America, as a publick, must be a gainer by such interruption.

She always hath been, and is now, largely indebted to the British Merchants; a proof that the nett value of her annual produce and remittances, through the circuitions of her trade, hath ever been short of her purchases here. So far as this difference reaches, whether small or large; so far as she substitutes more of her own labour in the stead of ours, for her own wants, just so much will be, on a general balance, a clear profit to her community, while the intercourse with ours is stopped, and a loss to Great Britain irrecoverable, so far as, during the melancholy interval, the arts of manufacture may be better established, and more extended in that Continent; but if extended beyond frugal uses, the yeomanry there will sink into futile and enervating enjoyments, the source of venality and discord; and in their turn verify a celebrated axiom in politicks, that discontents, murmurs, profusion, and outward shew, are the sure signs of a state in decay.

Sir, you have repeatedly heard before this day of the large debt from the Colonists to our Merchants; an uncontrovertible truth, to the permanent amount of millions. Grieved as humanity must be at any occurrence which puts such a property and so many meritorious subjects in peril, or even under a temporary anxiety, yet such being the course of that trade, the effect of a voluntary conduct, publick policy hath cause to rejoice, at the same time to acknowledge a high, though unsought obligation to the Merchant, who, by this practice, holds in his hand the principal bond of Colony dependence, enforces the Act of Navigation, and becomes, in the publick behalf, the true guardian of that half divine law, the work of penetration and wisdom, equal to the great man who framed it. Illicit traffick is common to all regions and Governments; nor to be avoided in any, but by a strict care not to lead into temptation. Upon the whole, no commercial regulation hath been more accurately observed than the Act of Navigation, to which the American Congress most intelligibly submits, and which, in their deprivation of capital privileges and liberties, enjoyed


by their fellow-subjects here, comprehends their contribution for protection; an Act which hath generally been well obeyed by them, and the Merchant at home hath made it their interest. A foreign correspondent might account most justly for the nett proceeds of Tobacco, Rice, Sugar, &c˙, but will not give credit for a stiver more; and for that reason doth not receive such consignments even from the less scrupulous observers of the law. The British Merchant, on a hundred Pounds, netted from a consignment, readily supplies the American' s wants for a hundred and twenty, thirty, how far is immaterial. This accommodation he hath not, and through long habit doth not try to have from any quarter out of Great Britain, and therefore chooses to send his produce through her channel; nor will a few exceptions invalidate the argument: and till the awful volume of earthly vicissitudes shall disclose the fatal page, where that Omnipotent Hand, which hath lifted up and cast down the proudest Dominion of old, may have written the designation of Empire to the child; till then the Merchant of Great Britain will keep the child in all possible dependence on the parent.

Sir, after all, though my fellow-subjects rise more and more in the flattering confidence, that the Colonies will not adhere to their Agreements, I do not commit myself in asserting the contrary; I do not pronounce, that they will; I only suggest, that they may; and on that supposition have attempted to shew, what England, Scotland, and Ireland stake on the contest; nothing less than a long-approved and successful system, embracing every circumstance of national stability, prosperity, and lustre. For what this is put in hazard, I humbly hope is a question too serious for casuistry; and, I humbly believe, solely to be measured by expediency and practicability, under the direction of that great Council, which holds the guardianship of three Kingdoms, and their boundless dependencies.

Right, authority, sovereignty, dignity, supremacy, are admitted to the utmost extent of their ground. Is there not another ground antecedent and original, that from the nature of mankind, there never was, nor is, and never will be a community who, after the possession of benefits, delivered down from father to son for more than a century, will be persuaded to relinquish such possession by any plea of law and right, urged with all the eloquence of advocates? A force superiour to argument is requisite, which brings the question back to expediency and practicability.

Conceive not, sir, that our very thoughts have presumed to interfere with the counsels or determinations of the state; but as the present subject of deliberation and measures is too pregnant with events not to run far into the future, we submissively hope, that the facts we have produced, and the deductions from them, if not in the present hour, may prove of some utility hereafter.

You, in your future deliberations, will separate the frivolous from the important, the specious and the plausible from the sound and the true. You, searching the depths of human nature, will not be misled by trite and popular opinion; and, when the force of self-interest is alleged at this momentous crisis, you will discover that interest is not the predominant ruler of mankind — I repeat, that interest is not the predominant ruler of mankind. The few, indeed, are under that frigid influence; but the many are governed by passion, whose train I need not arrange. Perseverance in acts of violence from one quarter, and perseverance in another to suffer, may be in both the result of passion. Passion can misinterpret words, give solidity to empty sounds, and convert shadow to substance. Passion could give weight to the cry of the Church, when Sacheverell infatuated a Nation, renowned above all others for solid sense and depth of thought.

To conclude: if, sir, in any future operation, this honourable House may condescend to a moment' s remembrance of us, our appearance may prove not altogether in vain. Although there is still much remaining to offer, permit us now to withdraw, unreproved, we hope, by you; but surely so by our own conscientious feelings in thus attempting our discharge of a duty to the publick; over the Acts already passed and passing, I do not breathe out a word — only a parting sigh.

Mr˙ Speaker resumed the Chair.



* The following remark might have been trite to the honourable hearer, but may not occur to every common reader: That if there are any seeds of talents and genius in a country, they are drawn into action and vigour by publick ferments and troubles; but might have remained in times of tranquillity for ever useless and unknown, perhaps at the plough, under a shed, or amongst the lowest class of mechanicks.