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false or fallaciously applied; or not in the least to the pur pose for which they are produced.
First, the author, in order to support his favourite paradox, that our possession of the French colonies was of no detriment to France, has thought proper to inform us,' that “they put themselves into the hands of the English." He uses the same assertion, in nearly the same words, in another place;2 "her colonies had put themselves into our hands." Now, in justice not only to fact and common-sense, but to the incomparable valour and perseverance of our military and naval forces thus unhandsomely traduced, I must tell this author, that the French colonies did not "put themselves into the hands of the English." They were compelled to submit; they were subdued by dint of English valour. Will the five years' war carried on in Canada, in which fell one of the principal hopes of this nation, and all the battles lost and gained during that anxious period, convince this author of his mistake? Let him inquire of Sir Jeffery Amherst, under whose conduct that war was carried on; of Sir Charles Saunders, whose steadiness and presence of mind saved our fleet, and were so eminently serviceable in the whole course of the siege of Quebec; of General Monckton, who was shot through the body there; whether France “put her colonies into the hands of the English."
Though he has made no exception, yet I would be liberal to him; perhaps he means to confine himself to her colonies in the West Indies. But surely it will fare as ill with him there as in North America, whilst we remember that in our first attempt at Martinico we were actually defeated; that it was three months before we reduced Guadaloupe; and that the conquest of the Havannah was achieved by the highest conduct, aided by circumstances of the greatest good fortune. He knows the expense both of men and treasure at which we bought that place. However, if it had so pleased the peace-makers, it was no dear purchase; for it was decisive of the fortune of the war and the terms of the treaty: the duke of Nivernois thought so; France, England, Europe, considered it in that light; all the world, except the then friends of the then ministry, who wept for our victcries, and were in
haste to get rid of the burden of our conquests. author knows that France did not put those colonies into the hands of England; but he well knows who did put the most valuable of them into the hands of France.
In the next place, our author1 is pleased to consider the conquest of those colonies in no other light than as a convenience for the remittances to France, which he asserts that the war had before suspended, but for which a way was opened (by our conquest) as secure as in time of peace. I charitably hope he knows nothing of the subject. I referred him lately to our commanders, for the resistance of the French colonies; I now wish he would apply to our custom-house entries, and our merchants, for the advantages which we derived from them.
In 1761, there was no entry of goods from any of the conquered places but Guadaloupe; in that year it stood thus: Imports from Guadaloupe, value, £ 482,179
In 1762, when we had not yet delivered up our con
In 1763, after we had delivered up the sovereignty of these islands, but kept open a communication with them, the imports were,
Total imports in 1763,
value, £ 1,005,850
Besides, I find, in the account of bullion imported and brought to the Bank, that during that period in which the intercourse with the Havannah was open, we received at that one
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shop, in treasure, from that one place, £559,810; in the ear 1763, £389,450; so that the import from these places in that year amounted to £1,395,300.
On this state the reader will observe, that I take the imports from, and not the exports to, these conquests, as the measure of the advantages which we derived from them. I do so for reasons which will be somewhat worthy the attention of such readers as are fond of this species of inquiry. Is I say, therefore, I choose the import article, as the best, and indeed the only standard we can have, of the value of the West India trade. Our export entry does not comprehend the greatest trade we carry on with any of the West India islands, the sale of negroes: nor does it give any idea of two other advantages we draw from them; the remittances for money spent here, and the payment of part of the balance of the North American trade. It is therefore quite ridiculous, to strike a balance merely on the face of an access of imports and exports, in that commerce; though, in most foreign branches, it is, on the whole, the best method. If we should take that standard, it would appear, that the balance with our own islands is, annually, several hundred thousand pounds against this country. Such is its aspect on the custom-house entries; but we know the direct contrary to be the fact. We know that the West Indians are always indebted to our merchants, and that the value of every shilling of West India produce is English property. So that our import from them, and not our export, ought always to be considered as their true value; and this corrective ought to be applied to all general balances of our trade, which are formed on the ordinary principles.
If possible, this was more emphatically true of the French West India islands, whilst they continued in our hands. That none, or only a very contemptible part, of the value of this produce could be remitted to France, the author will see,
1 Total imports from the West Indies in 1764, Exports to ditto in ditto,
Excess of imports
£ 2,909,411 896,511
In this, which is the common way of stating the balance, it wi. appear upwards of two millions against us, which is ridiculous.
perhaps with unwillingness, but with the clearest conviction, if he considers, that in the year 1763, after we had ceased to export to the isles of Guadaloupe and Martinico, and to the Havannah, and after the colonies were free to send all their produce to Old France and Spain, if they had any remittance to make; he will see, that we imported from those places, in that year, to the amount of £1,395,300. So far was the whole annual produce of these islands from being adequate to the payments of their annual call upon us, that this mighty additional importation was necessary, though not quite sufficient to discharge the debts contracted in the few years we held them. The property, therefore, of their whole produce was ours; not only during the war, but even for more than a year after the peace. The author, I hope, will not again venture upon so rash and discouraging a proposition concerning the nature and effect of those conquests, as to call them a convenience to the remittances of France; he sees, by this account, that what he asserts is not only without foundation, but even impossible to be true.
As to our trade at that time, he labours with all his might to represent it as absolutely ruined, or on the very edge of ruin. Indeed, as usual with him, he is often as equivocal in his expression, as he is clear in his design. Sometimes he more than insinuates a decay of our commerce in that war; sometimes he admits an increase of exports; but it is in order to depreciate the advantages we might appear to derive from that increase, whenever it should come to be proved against him. He tells you, "that it was chiefly occasioned by the demands of our own fleets and armies, and, instead of bringing wealth to the nation, was to be paid for by oppressive taxes upon the people of England." Never was anything more destitute of foundation. It might be proved, with the greatest ease, from the nature and quality of the goods exported, as well as from the situation of the places to which our merchandise was sent, and which the war could no wise affect, that the supply of our fleets and armies could not have been the cause of this wonderful increase of trade: its cause was evident to the whole world; the ruin of the trade of France, and our possession of her colonies. What wonderful effects this cause produced the reader will see be
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low; and he will form on that account some judgment of the author's candour or information.
Admit however that a great part of our export, though nothing is more remote from fact, was owing to the supply of our fleets and armies; was it not something? was it not peculiarly fortunate for a nation, that she was able from her own bosom to contribute largely to the supply of her armies militating in so many distant countries? The author allows that France did not enjoy the same advantages. But it is remarkable, throughout his whole book, that those circumstances which have ever been considered as great benefits, and decisive proofs of national superiority, are, when in our hands, taken either in diminution of some other apparent advantage, or even sometimes as positive misfortunes. The optics of that politician must be of a strange conformation, who beholds everything in this distorted shape.
Here is the state of our trade in 1761, compared with a very good year of profound peace: both are taken from the authentic entries at the customhouse. How the author can contrive to make this increase of the export of English produce agree with his account of the dreadful want of hands in England, p. 9, unless he supposes manufactures to be without hands, I really do not see. It is painful to be so frequently obliged to set this author right in matters of fact. This state will fully refute all that he has said or insinuated upon the difficulties and decay of our trade, p. 6,