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who now fill the House had not the misfortune to be absent when he appeared at your bar. Besides, Sir, I propose to take the matter at periods of time somewhat
different from his. There is, if I mistake not, a point of 5 view from whence, if you will look at the subject, it is impossible that it should not make an impression upon you.
I have in my hand two accounts; one a comparative state of the export trade of England to its Colonies, as 10 it stood in the year 1704, and as it stood in the year
1772; the other a state of the export trade of this country to its Colonies alone, as it stood in 1772, compared with the whole trade of England to all parts of
the world (the Colonies included) in the year 1704. 15 They are from good vouchers; the latter period from the
accounts on your table, the earlier from an original manuscript of Davenant, who first established the Inspector-General's office, which has been ever since his
time so abundant a source of Parliamentary information. 20 The export trade to the Colonies consists of three
great branches: the African- which, terminating almost wholly in the Colonies, must be put to the account of their commerce, -the West Indian, and the North Ameri
All these are so interwoven that the attempt to 25 separate them would tear to pieces the contexture of the
whole; and, if not entirely destroy, would very much depreciate the value of all the parts. I therefore consider these three denominations to be, what in effect they are, one trade.
The trade to the Colonies, taken on the export side, at the beginning of this century, that is, in the year 1704, stood thus :
Exports to North America and the West Indies : £483,265
In the year 1772, which I take as a middle year between the highest and lowest of those lately laid on your table, the account was as follows:
To North America and the West Indies.
Scotland, which had in 1704 no existence.
From five hundred and odd thousand, it has grown to six millions. It has increased no less than twelve-fold. 10 This is the state of the Colony trade as compared with itself at these two periods within this century; - and this is matter for meditation. But this is not all. Examine
my second account. See how the export trade to the Colonies alone in 1772 stood in the other point of 15 view; that is, as compared to the whole trade of England in 1704:
The whole export trade of England, including
that to the Colonies, in 1704 Export to the Colonies alone, in 1772
The trade with America alone is now within less than £500,000 of being equal to what this great commercial nation, England, carried on at the beginning of this century with the whole world! If I had taken the largest 25 year of those on your table, it would rather have exceeded. But, it will be said, is not this American trade an unnatural protuberance, that has drawn the juices from the rest of the body ? The reverse. It is the very food that has nourished every other part into its 30 present magnitude. Our general trade has been greatly augmented, and augmented more or less in almost every part to which it ever extended; but with this material
difference, that of the six millions which in the beginning of the century constituted the whole mass of our export commerce, the Colony trade was but one-twelfth part; it is now (as a part of sixteen millions) consider8 ably more than a third of the whole. This is the relative proportion of the importance of the Colonies at these two periods; and all reasoning concerning our mode of treating them must have this proportion as its basis; or it is a reasoning weak, rotten, and sophistical.
Mr. Speaker, I cannot prevail on myself to hurry over this great consideration. It is good for us to be here. We stand where we have an immense view of what is, and what is past. Clouds, indeed, and darkness, rest
upon the future. Let us, however, before we descend 15 from this noble eminence, reflect that this growth of our
national prosperity has happened within the short period of the life of man. It has happened within sixty-eight years.
There are those alive whose memory might touch the two extremities. For instance, my Lord 20 Bathurst might remember all the stages of the progress.
He was in 1704 of an age at least to be made to comprehend such things. He was then old enough acta parentum jam legere, et quæ sit potuit cognoscere virtus. Suppose,
Sir, that the angel of this auspicious youth, foreseeing 25 the many virtues which made him one of the most
amiable, as he is one of the most fortunate, men of his age,
had opened to him in vision that when in the fourth generation the third Prince of the House of Brunswick
had sat twelve years on the throne of that nation which, 30 by the happy issue of moderate and healing counsels,
was to be made Great Britain, he should see his son, Lord Chancellor of England, turn back the current of hereditary dignity to its fountain, and raise him to a
higher rank of peerage, whilst he enriched the family 35 with a new one - if, amidst these bright and happy scenes of domestic honor and prosperity, that angel should have drawn up the curtain, and unfolded the rising glories of his country, and, whilst he was gazing with admiration on the then commercial grandeur of England, the genius should point out to him a little 5 speck, scarcely visible in the mass of the national interest, a small seminal principle, rather than a formed body, and should tell him : “ Young man, there is America — which at this day serves for little more than to amuse you with stories of savage men, and uncouth manners; 10 yet shall, before you taste of death, show itself equal to the whole of that commerce which now attracts the envy of the world. Whatever England has been growing to by a progressive increase of improvement, brought in by varieties of people, by succession of civilizing con- 15 quests and civilizing settlements in a series of seventeen hundred years, you shall see as much added to her by America in the course of a single life!” If this state of his country had been foretold to him, would it not require all the sanguine credulity of youth, and all the fervid 20 glow of enthusiasm, to make him believe it? Fortunate man, he has lived to see it! Fortunate, indeed, if he lives to see nothing that shall vary the prospect, and cloud the setting of his day!
Excuse me, Sir, if turning from such thoughts I re- 25 sume this comparative view once more. You have seen it on a large scale; look at it on a small one. I will point out to your attention a particular instance of it in the single province of Pennsylvania. In the year 1704 that province called for £11,459 in value of your com- 30 modities, native and foreign. This was the whole. What did it demand in 1772 ? Why, nearly fifty times as much; for in that year the export to Pennsylvania was £507,909, nearly equal to the export to all the Colonies together in the first period.
I choose, Sir, to enter into these minute and particular details, because generalities, which in all other cases are apt to heighten and raise the subject, have here a ten
dency to sink it. When we speak of the commerce 5 with our Colonies, fiction lags after truth, invention is unfruitful, and imagination cold and barren.
So far, Sir, as to the importance of the object, in view of its commerce, as concerned in the exports from Eng
land. If I were to detail the imports, I could show how 10 many enjoyments they procure which deceive the bur
ther of life; how many materials which invigorate the springs of national industry, and extend and animate every part of our foreign and domestic commerce. This
would be a curious subject indeed; but I must prescribe 15 bounds to myself in a matter so vast and various.
I pass, therefore, to the Colonies in another point of view, their agriculture. This they have prosecuted with such a spirit, that, besides feeding plentifully their own
growing multitude, their annual export of grain, compre20 hending rice, has some years ago exceeded a million in
value. Of their last harvest I am persuaded they will export much more. At the beginning of the century some of these Colonies imported corn from the Mother
Country. For some time past the Old World has been 25 fed from the New. The scarcity which you have felt
would have been a desolating famine, if this child of your old age, with a true filial piety, with a Roman charity, had not put the full breast of its youthful
exuberance to the mouth of its exhausted parent. 30 As to the wealth which the Colonies have drawn from
the sea by their fisheries, you had all that matter fully opened at your bar. You surely thought those acquisitions of value, for they seemed even to excite your envy;
and yet the spirit by which that enterprising employment 35 has been exercised ought rather, in my opinion, to have