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of getting their American supplies carried to them at a low freight by the ships that bring home their produce, they must depend on American vessels, and as these generally go home in ballast, they must have such an outward freight on the lumber as will pay the whole expense of the voyage, while
many of the English ships (by which it might so well have been carried at a very moderate freight) are going out to the colonies in ballast. The trade of Cuba is exceedingly important to the shipping of the United States, as it gives them in an eminent degree the advantages which, but for the restrictions that have been described, we should possess between England and America, and between America and the colonies. The far greater part of the produce of that island is carried to Europe in their vessels, which return with European cargoes either directly to the island, or to the United States, from which they again proceed with lumber, provisions, &c. to Cuba. And when England shall have adopted the counsel of the Reviewers, and abandoned our sugar islands to our rivals, the advantages which the Americans will then possess, will enable them not only to keep the direct trade from the North American continent to the West India islands, but to command in a great measure the trade between the continents of Europe and North America; for the carriage of their own productions to the islands, and of the productions of the islands to Europe, will effectually secure to them the trade from
Europe to their own continent. The subjoined statement of the trade of the Havannah in 1823 will shew its magnitude, and the great share of it which the Americans have. The number of merchant vessels of all nations that entered the port that year was 1168, of which no less than 708 were American.*
* COMMERCE OF Havannah.–Our correspondent at Havannah, has put os in possession of a statement of the tonnage which has entered the port of Havannah, from the 1st of January to the 31st of December, 1823, inclusive, from which it appears that from the United States the amount of American tonnage was 828287, Spanish 3862), and other nations 336, making together 87027 ; from Great Britain, it was in British 7910%, American 3490, making 114007; from Netherlands, in Dutch 2003, American 667, making together 2670; from France, in French 2061, American 46554, and other nations 11041, making 78203; North and South of Europe, in Hamburg 3168, Bremen 3225, Danish 1969, and other nations 2245, making 10607 ; Gulph of Mexico, in Spanish 102071, American 17304, British 18074, and other nations 5316, making 14277 ; West Indies and Canaries, in Spanish 3221, American 5171, British 4442], and other nations 1391}, making 13226 : South America, in American 3746), British 760, and other nations 11183, making 5625 ; Spain, in Spanish 14199, American 3379, British 758, making 18336. There entered during the year, 274 Spanish merchantmen, 708 American, 96 English, 19 Dutch, 18 French, 16 Hamburg, 15 Danish, 15 Bremen, 4 Swedish, 1 Hanoverian, 1 Oldenburgh, and 1 Lubeck, 61 Spanish vessels of war, 53 American, 34 English, and 1 French, which makes a total of 1317 vessels.-- Wilmington (Del.) Gazette.
It thus appears, that however contemptuous an opinion certain theorists in England may entertain of the colony trade, our rivals on the other side of the water neither despise por neglect it. These theorists bave not explained wbat difference, as a source of wealth, there is between the colony and the coasting trade of Great Britain between the carriage of coals from Newcastle to London, and the carriage of sugar from Jamaica. If we may admit foreign vessels into the one trade without injury, why not into the other? And if foreign sugar ought to be freely admitted to our markets (as is contended), on the same terms as that of the British colonies, why not also foreign corn, cattle, timber, and every description of manufactured goods, if from any quarter they can be procured cheaper? The same principle applies to all.
I am far from meaning that restrictions on trade, and monopolies, may not be
But this is not all: the trade between the British West India colonies and the United States is clogged with other restrictions, not likely to be easily removed. Both the act of 1822, and that of last session, impose a duty in the colonies on all articles the growth, produce, or manufacture of the United States, while the same articles imported from our own Northern colonies are admitted duty free. I do not say that this is unreasonable on our part; far from it ;-bụt it is deemed so by the Americans, and met by a retaliatory regulation most injurious to the British West India colonies. Thus, while a ship of the United States entering a port in Jamaica pays no higher charges than an English ship, an English ship entering a port of the United States from Jamaica, is subjected to an extra tonnage duty of one dollar per ton, and to an additional duty of 10 per cent. on the value of the cargo, - which in effect gives their shipping an advantage exactly to that amount over British vessels in their freights. This will be better understood by mentioning that the difference of duty on a puncheon of rum is something above four dollars: consequently a merchant in Jamaica sending rum to the United States, generally finds it for
carried too far; but at the present moment there seems more danger to be apprehended from the cry for free trade - which in the existing state of the world may also be carried too far, and with no less ruinous consequences. Its sure effect would be to impoverish the rich, and to enrich the poorer countries. Having felt the inconveniencies of the old system, we are in danger of going to the other extreme.
Dam vitant stulti vitia, in contraria currunt,
his interest to give the carriage of it to an American vessel at a small freight (or less than four dollars), even while his own vessel is sailing at the same time, and from the same port, in ballast.
Again: our own regulations have limited the American trade to certain enumerated free ports where custom houses are established. This regulation was adopted for the protection of the revenue, or rather to prevent the clandestine importation of articles which the mother-country has prohibited or imposed heavy duties upon for the protection of her manufacturers and agriculturists. How far such a restriction is necessary for this purpose, I pretend not to say ; but it bears hard on the planters, particularly as respects the bulky article of lumber, the removal of which from one place to another is attended with so heavy an expense. For instance, between Morant Bay and Port Antonio, two of the enumerated free-ports in Jamaica, there is an extent of 60 miles of coast, possessing several harbours, (and one of the best in the island,) from whence a large quantity of produce is exported, and where, consequently, a great many staves, shingles, &c. are required. When a cargo of lumber from the United States is wanted in one of these ports, it must first be landed at Morant Bay or Port Antonio; and the expense incurred in landing, re-shipping, and freight to a coasting vessel for carrying it 10 or 20 miles along the coast, is equal to half the freight from America.
Allowing as all do, that the principles upon which ministers have lately acted with regard to the colony trade, are liberal and calculated in time, if adhered to, to be highly beneficial, it is altogether unfair to represent the measures that have been adopted as affording much immediate relief. The only one of them from which the colonists can yet be said to have derived any advantage whatever, is that which allowed a renewal of the intercourse with the United States of America, an intercourse which they cannot exist without, and which in truth it never perhaps was meant wholly to exclude them from, although it has been obstinately and absurdly attempted to exclude the ships of the United States from any share of the trade between their own ports and our colony ports. Whether the restraints by which this intercourse is still fettered (and now more on the part of America than of England) can all be removed, I presume not to say. There are points which will not easily be adjusted. The government of the United States, insists on our admitting their produce into our West India colonies, on the same terms as the produce of Canada: it would not be more unreasonable to insist on the wheat of the United States being received in England on the same terms as the wheat of Canada, or in us to insist on the sugar of Jamaica being admitted into the port of New York, on the same terms as the sugar of Louisiana.
If both governments would agree to act on the liberal system, the trade