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to give our northern colonies a monopoly of supplying the islands with these articles : since that period, the history of the colony trade has been nothing but a record of sufferings and complaints. The citizens of the United States have been in a great measure excluded from it, but it has been by regulations, equally oppressive to the colonists as to the Americans, and rendered endurable to the former only by temporary suspensions of the law, at the discretion of Governors, or of the King in Council, when the restrictions had produced actual famine. Nor, indeed, was famine always considered sufficient to warrant a departure from the exclusive system, as B. Edwards records, that, in consequence of a succession of hurricanes in Jamaica, between 1780 and 1785, not less than 15,000 negroes were computed to have perished from want, whose lives would have been preserved, had ships of the United States been allowed to import provisions into the colonies.
In 1812, a declaration of war against England by the United States, not only put an end to all intercourse in any way between them and the islands, but greatly aggravated the sufferings of the colonists, by rendering it almost impossible for them to get supplies of any kind, even from the British North American provinces. But, as an integral and constituent part of the empire, they suffered without a murmur; and their loss became the gain of English merchants and ship-owners. Staves were carried, at an enormous rate of freight,
from Canada and Hamburgh, to London, expensively made up into casks there*, re-shipped, and carried out to the colonies, and again brought home filled with produce, the sale of which often did little more than pay the costs of the casks, and charges. The planter himself had the smallest share of the profits of his capital and industry.
When the treaty of Ghent had restored peace, a commercial treaty was concluded between England and the United States; and it is well known, that, if our Government would have treated on liberal, or even reasonable terms, an advantageous arrangement might have been made for the colonies also; but England would not hear of any participation by a foreign power in her colony trade. No, that was an English trade, and English vessels only were to have the advantage of it. English vessels accordingly got it; but, by way of retaliation, the Government of the United States imposed upon them a tonnage duty of two dollars and a half per ton, and other enormous charges, on entering their ports from the colonies, even in ballast. This system, mutually complained of, was continued about three years, when an Act of Congress, in 1817, put an end to it, by declaring that no vessels should, on any terms, be admitted into the ports of the United
Sugar and rom casks are usually made up by the slaves. Every estate has a few negroes employed as carpenters, masons, and coopers ; and many of the negroes have become so handy at coppersmith's and blacksmith's work, that it is going altogether out of the hands of white tradesmen.
States, coming from ports from which ships of the United States were excluded; the President being at the same time authorised to re-open the ports to colony vessels, provided England should open her colonial ports to American vessels.
As the countries were dependent on an exchange of commodities, and mutually desirous to trade with one another, it now became necessary for them (particularly for England, on account of her colonies) to devise some expedient or means of trafficking together, under an exclusion from one another's ports and this was happily hit upon, by making Bermuda a depôt, where they should each carry their respective commodities, and exchange them for those of the other. * On this occasion, we may fancy the following dialogue to have passed between these two great and enlightened nations :—.' Your ships shall not enter . the ports of my West India colonies,' says England. * Then ships from your West India colo
nies shall not enter my ports,' answers America.
But,' adds England, ‘my West India colonies ' * cannot well dispense with some of your commo‘dities : suppose, therefore, we fix on an intermediate station, the little island of Bermuda, for
In a table of the territorial extent of the different colonies, their productions imported into England, &c. copied in the Review from Mr. Marsball's Statistical Illustrations of the British Empire, p. 290, the productions wbich the Bermudas send to this country are stated to be 3,415 cwt. of sugar, 769 ditto of coffee, and 218 gallons of rum ; but there is neither a sugar cane nor a coffee tree iu these islands. Their principal production is the juniper cedar tree, of which they build small fast-sailing vessels, which are principally engaged carrying fish from Newfoundland to the West India islands.
• instance, where each country shall carry its com* modities, and put them down for the other: we
may thus continue to traffick, and yet each keep its ports shut against ships of the other ?' As you please in that,' replies America. • Your West India colonies owe their formation and prosperity, in no small degree, to their connection ' with me, while under one government; they ' cannot even now exist without my commodities, • and these they shall not have, unless I am al• lowed an equal share in the trade.* Ever since my separation from you, it has been your selfish
and preposterous policy to deprive me of any • share of this trade; and what has been the conse
quence? more injury, by far, to your own colo* nial subjects than to me : witness the proclama* tions of your governors, and your orders in council, • from time to time suspending your monopoly ' laws, to permit, or rather to invite me, to bring ‘ temporary supplies to your half-famished and ‘ruined colonists; witness also your island of Ja
maica, reduced to the necessity of importing my * commodities, flour and lumber, at a ransom, from
* For the supply of those essential articles, lumber, fish, flour, and grain, America seems to have been happily fitted, as well from internal circumstances, as her commodious situation ; and it is to a neighbourly intercourse with that continent, continued during one hundred and thirty years, that our sugar colonies, in a great measure, owe their prosperity; insomuch that, according to the opinion of a very competent judge, Mr. Long, if the continent had been wholly in the hands of a foreign power, and the English precluded from all commerce or intercourse with it, it is a very doubtful point, whether, in such case, we should at this hour have possessed a single acre of land in the West Indies.
B. Edwards's Hist. of the West Indies, Book xi. chap. iv.
' Cuba and St. Thomas's; now, you say, they are ' to be supplied through Bermuda: be it so.'
This memorable trade continued about three years to the great delight of the Bermudians, who, however, were the only profiters by it. Very different was the case of the unfortunate planters, who having to pay two freights on the bulky article of lumber (required both for their buildings and to make packages for their produce) with the additional expences of twice loading and twice unloading every cargo, found the cost of it ruinously enhanced; while to the English and American merchants and shipowners engaged in the trade, it proved unsatisfactory and unprofitable. At this time, staves were also carried north from Virginia to New Brunswick, and re-shipped from thence to the West Indies.
By the end of the year 1821, the struggle between the countries had been continued so long, that many Americans despaired of seeing England give up the point; and in the middle states, Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland, the people were clamorous that their own government should yield it. The public prints were occupied with the subject; numerous respectable meetings were held in the principal towns, to petition Congress to re-open the ports. In their petitions it was represented that England possessed such boundless resources, that the United States could not hope to bring her to terms of reciprocity, and that they were only injuring themselves by the attempt. I am per