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concern in the quarrel, in order that one of the combatants may be eventually hampered in his financial operations; and that the other may keep up the spirits of his sailors by occasional captures, and indulge his commercial jealousy, under the pretext of following out a legitimate warfare. In balancing together the good and the evil to be produced by this restriction, the common sense and common equity of mankind has decided, without hesitation, against its adoption ; and the trade of neutrals with belligerents has been declared free by the law of nations.
Almost the whole of those general considerations apply to the trade of the colonies as well as to that of the mother country. The general loss to mankind by its suppression would be the same, and the remoteness and uncertainty of the benefit to the opposite belligerent. If it be said that the commercial loss to the neutral is not now to be reckoned on, because he was already excluded from this trade during peace, we have already shewn, that this exclusion was infinitely less severe than that which it is proposed to substitute in time of war ;—that it was, in fact, an exclusion only from the first carrying of the colonial produce, while what is properly called the trade in it was left free, and a plentiful supply furnished both for consumption and for exportation, to all the neutrals in the world. A merchant in Philadelphia might then order as many cargoes of coffee, or cotton, or sugar, as he thought proper, from the French or Spanish settlements, and might export or dispose of them in any way he found advantageous: the only restriction was, that they must be first brought to Philadelphia in a Spanish or French vessel. By the war, however, all Spanish and French vessels are absolutely and entirely confined to their ports ; and if the American is not permitted to go for his coffee and cotton, he must want it altogether, or, at any rate, obtain it precariously at an enormous advance of price. Is it possible to maintain, therefore, that he loses nothing by the war, or that he would be no more excluded at present by the rule 1756 than he was by the monopoly of the mother country in time of peace? The fact is, that a very considerable trade was always carried on by the Americans in distributing, to the northern nations especially, the products of the Spanish and French colonies; and from this trade they will be entirely excluded, if it were possible to suppose that the rule of 1756 should ever again be enforced.
But even if the whole trade to which this controversy relates, were to be considered as a new trade, and a free addition to the former commerce of the neutral, still, it may be asked, if he suffers no injury by being restrained by a third party from entering upon the beneficial traffic that is held out to him by its proprietors? Is it no misfortune
to a nation, or to mankind at large, that the means of improvement are cut off, and a people struggling for advancement forcibly withheld in their career of prosperity. Has America no right to complain if she is prevented from engaging in a trade by which her capital would be accumulated, her wastes cultivated, and her population increased ? As an independent state, she has a right to enter into any trade, whether new or old, that is not in itself illegal upon the principles of the law of nations. We have nothing to do with the circumstances or motives which induced another country to open its ports to her ;-before we can interfere, we must be able to shew, that the trade is, in itself, a violation of the duties of neutrality, and that it ought to be repressed as inflicting upon us a greater and more immediate injury than the neutral can suffer by its suppression. If we can shew this, we shall be entitled to proscribe the trade, whether it be anciently or newly established. If we cannot shew this, we cannot interfere with it, without transgressing the law of nations, and violating the rights of neutrality. În point of influence on the war, however, the colonial trade is exactly on the footing of the home trade of the enemy; as to which no question is stirred. It is only distinguished from it by its novelty; and this, we contend, for the reasons now given, is a consideration altogether foreign to the argument. If it were not, it is decided by the case of the new home trade of the enemy,
which is parallel at all points to that which we would interdict in his colonies.
Upon the whole, then, we conceive that the rule of the war 1756 is not agreeable to the analogy of any rule universally received as part of the law of nations, or to those views of general expediency and justice in which this law has its foundation; and that its unqualified revival at this moment would be a measure of which the neutral nations would be fairly entitled to complain.
After spending so much time in the discussion of the question of right, we can afford but a few words on the probable efficacy or prudence of the measure suggested by this author.
As to the efficacy of the measure, the assertion of the rule 1756 would probably have the effect of multiplying, for a while, our captures in the Western sea, and of raising the price of the colonial produce all over the world. We do not conceive, however, that it would ultimately take the trade out of the hands of the neutrals, or even materially diminish their profits in the conduct of it. Our author will scarcely suppose that the rich products of those colonies should continue to be absolutely locked up, and allowed to rot where they are raised. The enemy, however, cannot export them; and, therefore, they must be taken off by neutrals. Although liable to be captured when detected in the direct voyage to and from the
colony, there must evidently be less risk to a neutral than to an énemy in venturing that voyage. The West India islands lye so near the American coast, that, except at the very extremities of the voyage, it would be easy for a trader of that country to conceal his real destination, while a Frenchman would be liable to capture during the whole run. The trade, therefore, will remain in the hands of the neutrals ;—they will receive their neutralizing commission as regularly as before; and the colonial owners will insure in London, and pay themselves out of the pockets of the consumers and of our own underwriters, for the occasional losses sustained by our cruisers and privateers.
The author before us demonstrates, by his own statements, how inventive and ingenious men become in the pretexts and devices by which they are to evade the hazards of a gainful undertaking ; and has stated, in very strong language, the hopelessness of any attempt to suppress or alter that channel of commerce which is naturally pointed out by the wants and habits of mankind. Speaking of the commercial inconveniences which might arise from a war with the neutrals, he says,
• It is asked, “who would afterwards carry our manufactures to market?” I answer, our allies, our fellow subjects, our old and new enemies themselves. In the last war, nothing prevented the supplying of Spanish America with British manufactures, in British bottoms, even when they were liable to confiscation by both the belligerent parties for the act, but that the field of commerce was preoccupied, and the markets glutted by the importations under neutral flags.
“ But would I advise a toleration of these new modes of relieving the hostile colonies ?' Its toleration would not be necessary. Even your own hoftilities would not be able to overcome the expansive force of your own commerce, when delivered from the unnatural and ruinous competition of its present privileged enemies. You might often capture the carriers of it, and condemn their cargoes ; but the effect would chiefly be, to raise the price upon the enemy, and the difference would go into the purses of your seamen. The prize goods themselves, would find their way from your colonies into the hostile territories.' p. 205-6.
And, again, after ridiculing the notion, that commodities actually consumed in a commercial country can ever be effectually excluded from it; he concludes,
• For all this, I might have more briefly appealed to the first principles of commercial science. I might have appealed even to the impotent attempts of France in the last and present war. I might further Tupport myself by the fact, that in the utmost latitude given to neutral commerce in the colonies of Spain, there was an express and anxious exception of British merchandize, which was almost wholly without ef Lect. But the intelligent reader will dispense with all such arguments,
He may not, indeed, be able to foresee clearly what will be the new
We do not know that we could have found any where an argument more conclusive against the supposed efficacy of the rule 1756, in destroying the colonial trade of the enemy.
With regard to the prudence of the measure, we humbly conceive, that in spite of all that our author has said upon the subject, very little doubt can be entertained with regard to it. It is not pleasant to be obliged to compromise our just rights from a cautious calculation of consequences, or to abstain from an effectual remedy, on account of the dangers of obtaining it. Such, however, is the conduct which is occasionally prescribed to all nations in the different conjunctures of political relations; and such is the conduct which we think would be prescribed to this country, even if the were perfectly satisfied with the reasonings of this author as to the efficacy of the remedy he recommends, and as to her own right to make use of it. It is a confolation to us, however, that we have been able to persuade ourselves, at least, that the course of conduct from which we are debarred at any rate by our political situation, is one which we could not justly adopt if it were free to us, and one from which no very beneficial consequences could be expected if it were to be a. dopted.
Our limits will no longer permit us to enter into the grounds of the very decided opinion which we have formed as to the ima prudence of provoking the hoftility of the few neutrals that are now left around us, by the unqualified affertion of the rule 1756. They will be easily anticipated by any one who attends to the fubject, and are not at all obviated, or indeed distinctly noticed, by the author before us, in what he has written on this branch of the argument. There is one point, however, upon which we entirely agree with him; and it is one of a very confolatory nature, in the present unsettled state of our commercial relations. A war with America would be fully more unfavourable for that country than for this; and we have therefore every reasonable ground for hoping that our differences will be amicably adjusted, and that both parties will be willing to recede a little from their pretensions, rather than recur to a measure which can be benefi. cial only to our great enemy.
Although the views which we have been led to take of the general privileges of the neutral traffic, have forced us to condemn VOL. VIII. NO: 15:
the whole principle of the rule 1756, and to conclude in favour of an unlimited trade with the colonies of the enemy, we are by no means prepared to say, that, in practice, there should be no limiz sation. The facts and cafes detailed by the author before us, have fatisfied us completely, thar a great part of the produce exported from those settlements is truly the property of the enemy, and is carried to market, under a false neutral name, on their account. This property is, therefore, a fair object of hoftility; and we are not only entitled to inquire very narrowly into the evi. dence of neutrality by which it is guarded, but also, as it appears to us, to proceed in many cases upon the general presumption arising from the nature of the voyage undertaken. The direct trade, for instance, between the colony and the mother country to which it belongs-that trade which comes in place of the supplies and remittances interchanged in time of peace between the proprietors and their agents or factors-can scarcely be presumed to be converted all at once into a genuine neutral trade of foreign adventurers buying and selling upon the mere chance of a market; and in a department where it seems impossible to dispute that a great deal of timulation and fraud is admitted, no great injustice will be done, probably, by disallowing one whole class of transactions that stand in other respects in a very suspicious predicament. In this view of the matter, indeed, we do not see that the neutrals would have any cause to complain, although the subfifting instructions thould be retained, and their commerce with the hostile colonies restricted to the direct trade with their respective mother countries. It is an argument of some weight, that, in the most favourable times of peace, all the produce of these colonies which they exporteil, were first landed in their own territories ; and considering the vast amount of the hostile trade which they unquestionably carry on under falfe and fraudulent pretenees, it is probably no more than a fair compensation to limit their neutral traffic a little more than might be justifiable upon strict principle in the case of unfufpected persons.
With regard to the forgery and perjury of which our author complains in terms of such vehement lamentation, we are afraid that, upon our present fystem of proceeding, there is no prospect of an immediate remedy. False witness, we fear, will always be produced in requisite quantities, whenever there is an effectual demand for it, and the profits are confiderably higher than the temporal risks of the delinquent. A few trials for perjury might perhaps quicken the consciences of witnefles in our courts of prize: and, at all events, we do not see why those enlightened tribunals should not take
them to decide according to their own conviction of the truth, rather than according to depositions which