is lost! Must we fall beneath the blow? Or have we resources that may repair
the mischief? What are those resources? Should they be sought in
distant Regions held by precarious Tenure, or shall we seek them
at home in the exertions of a new policy?
situation of the Kingdom is novel, the policy that is to govern
it must be novel likewise, or neither adapted to the real evils
of the present moment, or the dreaded ones of the future.
a Century past the Colonial Scheme has been the system that has
guided the Administration of the British Government. It was thoroughly
known that from every Country there always exists an active emigration
of unsettled, discontented, or unfortunate People, who failing
in their endeavours to live at home, hope to succeed better where
there is more employment suitable to their poverty. The establishment
of Colonies in America might probably increase the number of this
class, but did not create it; in times anterior to that great
speculation, Poland contained near 10,000 Scotch Pedlars; within
the last thirty years not above 100, occasioned by America offering
a more advantageous asylum for them.
people spread over an immense tract of fertile land, industrious
because free, and rich because industrious, presently became a
market for the Manufactures and Commerce of the Mother Country.
An importance was soon generated, which from its origin to the
late conflict was mischievous to Britain, because it created an
expense of blood and treasure worth more at this instant, if it
could be at our command, than all we ever received from America.
The wars of 1744, of 1756, and 1775, were all entered into from
the encouragements given to the speculations of settling the wilds
of North America.
is to be hoped that by degrees it will be admitted that the Northern
Colonies, that is those North of Tobacco, were in reality our
very successful rivals in two Articles, the carrying freight trade,
and the Newfoundland fishery. While the Sugar Colonies added above
three millions a year to the wealth of Britain, the Rice Colonies
near a million, and the Tobacco ones almost as much; those more
to the north, so far from adding anything to our wealth as Colonies,
were trading, fishing, farming Countries, that rivalled us in
many branches of our industry, and had actually deprived us of
no inconsiderable share of the wealth we reaped by means of the
others. This compartative view of our former territories in America
is not stated with any idea of lessening the consequence of a
future friendship and connection with them; on the contrary it
is to be hoped we shall reap more advantages from their trade
as friends than ever we could derive from them as Colonies; for
there is reason to suppose we actually gained more by them while
in actual rebellion, and the common open connection cut off, than
when they were in obedience to the Crown; the Newfoundland fishery
taken into the Account, there is little doubt of it.
East and West Indies are conceived to be the great commercial
supports of the Empire; as to the Newfoundland fishery time must
tell us what share we shall reserve of it. But there is one observation
which is applicable to all three; they depend on very distant
territorial possessions, which we have little or no hopes of retaining
from their internal strength, we can keep them only by means of
a superior Navy. If our marine force sinks, or if in consequence
of wars, debts, and taxes, we should in future find ourselves
so debilitated as to be involved in a new War, without the means
of carrying it on with vigour, in these cases, all distant possessions
must fall, let them be as valuable as their warmest panegyrists
evidently appears from this slight review of our most important
dependencies, that on them we are not to exert that new policy
which alone can be the preservation of the British power and consequence.
The more important they are already, the less are they fit instruments
in that work. No man can be hardy enough to deny that they are
insecure; to add therefore to their value by exertions of policy
which shall have the effect of directing any stream of capital,
industry, or population into those channels, would be to add to
a disproportion already an evil. The more we are convinced of
the vast importance of those territories, the more we must feel
the insecurity of our power; our view therefore ought not to be
to increase but preserve them.